The Boulder Bubble and Beyond
Boulder is a city and county of many parts. Anyone who lives or visits here can’t help noticing. Within an hour’s drive of downtown you can find everything from hamlets nestled into pine-covered foothills to municipalities threading cottonwood traces, from the pristine vistas of Rocky Mountain National Park to the anchor of the Great Plains spreading eastward.
Given that variation, it’s no surprise a host of interests come into play. Businesses—from national corporations to one-off boutiques—have made their home in the region. Industries as diverse as aerospace and recreation find a foothold here, have thrived because of that diversity.
Life and the people who live it follow suit. On a typical day in Boulder you’re as likely to meet an astrophysicist as an artist. The woman hiking ahead of you could be an entrepreneur or masseuse, outside for exercise or ultra-marathon training. The man at the next table could be devising an app, laying groundwork for a non-profit, or weighing various meditation techniques, often in the same breath. College freshmen rub elbows with retired soldiers; CEOs share bike racks with stay-at-home moms.
Coming to a one-size-fits-all definition, then, is anything but easy. In fact, that’s the point. In a state that draws transplants from all parts of the country, tourists from all corners of the world, Boulder and its region distill those currents. A dizzying range of people find awe in the jutting Flatirons, comfort in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains. Those looking for community at a distance settle into wild pockets lining Boulder Canyon, into the open space of Erie. The more urban-minded take up residence in self-contained Boulder proper, in the gentle sprawl of Longmont or pleasant tangle of Louisville/ Lafayette.
Those who call the area home are of similar temperaments, unless we aren’t. We agree on many things, until we don’t. Our similarities and differences, that meeting and defying of expectations are what connect us. And, frankly, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
It’s these contrasts that have kept me interested over the years, why those from elsewhere keep coming back. It’s in the details where you see the character of a place, through its people and their residues. That’s what I want to bring you, whether long gone or just established, personal or grander in scope. There’s a portrait of our Colorado yet to be written. Little by little, it’s my hope to bring that into sharper focus.
Maybe we’ll find the Rosetta Stone of Boulder, maybe not; might come to conclusions, or simply more questions. What I can promise is a deepened sense of life here, of the people who make it what it is and was. With a little wonder, perhaps anything is possible. I say, let’s find out together.