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Denver Restaurants Get Creative With Winterized Outdoor Dining

Denver Restaurants Get Creative With Winterized Outdoor Dining

Winter is coming. There’s no getting around the fact that patio season as we know it will soon come to an end, and with it the opportunity for diners to enjoy the warm weather on expanded restaurant and bar outdoor eating areas, while COVID-related indoor dining capacity remains restricted to 50 percent or up to fifty people (with some exceptions).

Coloradans are a hearty bunch, braving the elements at the Beach at Arapahoe Basin for burgers and beers during ski season, dancing the night away at the annual Icelantic Winter on the Rocks at Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and tailgating in the most miserable conditions before Broncos games. But what about a romantic dinner for two under the stars in January, or cocktails with friends during an outdoor Sunday brunch when the wind cuts through your sweater quicker than the first Bloody Mary cuts through the haze of your hangover?

A drive through Denver’s many neighborhoods and restaurant zones reveals that most businesses are still in summer mode, with misters going full blast; umbrellas, tarps and open-sided tents deployed to provide shade; and the occasional patio heater on hand for those evenings when temperatures dip into the 50s. But some businesses are already getting creative in order to keep guests comfortable outside this winter, taking advantage of the City of Denver’s one-year extension of its expanded outdoor seating program, which now allows bars and restaurants to spill out onto parking lots, lawns, sidewalks and traffic lanes through October 2021.

And they may have to get very creative: Larger outdoor seating areas could end up being considered indoors for capacity purposes under recently released guidelines from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment. According to those rules, open-sided tents are considered outdoors, as are tents with two opposite sides open; the only

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Five U.S. Small Lodgings Offer Creative Fall Treats And Outdoor Activities To Get You Traveling Again

Five U.S. Small Lodgings Offer Creative Fall Treats And Outdoor Activities To Get You Traveling Again

You may be understandably hesitant to travel, but these fine small lodgings have sweetened the deal with special autumn treats to let you know things will be fine, if you remember health guidelines and focus on seasonal, outdoor fun.

Pie on the Pillow

Wandering byways, antiquing and such may take much of your day. But at night, at the Caldwell House Bed and Breakfast in Salisbury Mills, New York, in the Hudson Valley, a slice of pie greets guests on their pillow. The inn, about an hour’s drive from New York City, offers cherry, cream, and apple. (The apple pie recipe is here.)

Riverboats and Foliage

Stay at the Huron House Bed and Breakfast in Oscoda, Michigan, and hike through the majestic Huron-Manistee National Forest. Next day, consider a trip on the AuSable River Queen, the only paddlewheel river boat of its kind in the north. You’ll see Bald Eagles perch on the trees along the river bank. A “land and sea foliage” package is available.

Apple-Caramel Dippings

At The Hotel Saugatuck in Saugatuck, Michigan, start your visit at the nearby Crane Orchards and hand-pick your own apples. Then return to the lakeside property in the evening for a private in-room caramel apple feast for two. The hotel will provide warm caramel and a selection of toppings so you can dip and ‘decorate’ your freshly picked apples. 

Pumpkin Patch Hayride with Photography

At BlissWood Bed and Breakfast Ranch, an hour west of Houston Texas, take a hayride from the barn to the lake this October, then to the pumpkin patch, where you’ll pick your own pumpkin.

BYO pumpkin carving kit and carve funny, silly or spooky faces at the barn. Take take photos and enter into the

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Restaurants get creative to keep outdoor diners warm

Restaurants get creative to keep outdoor diners warm

People enjoy outdoor dining amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 14, 2020.

Jeenah Moon | Reuters

Ice huts, yurts and tents have been growing in popularity over the last several years as restaurateurs looked to extend the life of their outdoor patios.

This year, the popularity of such structures is soaring, thanks to capacity limits restricting the number of diners inside restaurants. 

The coronavirus pandemic has forced restaurant owners to get creative to keep their businesses afloat. Florida is among the few states that have allowed bars and restaurants to return to full capacity, but the overwhelming majority of eateries are still navigating how to attract as many customers as possible while obeying social distancing measures. Some operators responded to expanded outdoor dining with set-ups meant to reflect the aesthetic of their indoor dining rooms. 

But seating customers outside also means reckoning with the weather. Heavy rainfall in the summertime in New York decreased restaurant visits by 14%, according to a recent study of restaurant traffic and weather trends from Foursquare and AccuWeather. The season, city and type of cuisine can also influence how much weather can affect a restaurant’s traffic trends.

“We see, across the board, no matter where you are, it doesn’t matter what condition it is, people are going out in the fall,” said Bill McGarry, senior vice president of advertising sales at AccuWeather. “Whereas in the winter, in New York, you see when it’s really cold, nobody’s going out.”

Some restaurant owners are trying to buck the trend with cozy, heated outdoor set-ups. But others are choosing to go into hibernation rather than sink more money into outdoor dining. Fiberglass igloos, for example, cost $1,000 a pop. 

Here’s a few solutions that restaurants across the country are trying:

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As winter weather approaches, restaurants get creative with outdoor dining

As winter weather approaches, restaurants get creative with outdoor dining

For many restaurants across the nation, outdoor dining has served as a crucial pivot to recapture business lost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced cities to shut down indoor dining to prevent the virus’ spread.

As winter approaches and temperatures drop, restaurants in locations with colder weather are starting to rethink how to keep outdoor dining open.

Research from the National Restaurant Association found 1 in 6 restaurants closed permanently or long term due to the pandemic. And as more states report rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, there’s a fear more restaurants will shut down. Continue reading.

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