Colorado induces visions of blue spruce, evergreens and aspens. It definitely does not scream apple orchard and certainly not cherry ones. However, little known to even Coloradoans themselves, Westminster, a suburb of Denver located about twenty minutes northwest of the city, used to be the country's largest apple and cherry orchards before 1950. Since then, Westminster has been noted for its exponential growth. Due to a toll road that went through Boulder and Denver, Westminster went from a small town to a formidable city. Now, it is has a population of over 100,000, its own burgeoning economy, and a growth plan that can accommodate its residents.
Although people no longer arrive in droves, Westminster is still an appealing locale for young families, and well-to-do executives. Visitors often make the trip for the annual Holy Cow Trail Stampede, a 10k run 14 years running. As far as entertainment is concerned, Waterworld, the country's largest water park, takes the cake. People come from all over the Front Range to shoot down slides and wade in the wave pool.
Westminster straddles two counties: Jefferson and Adams, and though the impact of arbitrary county lines is virtually negligible, it does mean that Westminster is endowed with three school districts. Adams 12 Five Star Schools, Adams District 50 and Jefferson County schools all serve the Westminster area. The regions charter and private schools, including a handful of parochial academies only add to what seems like endless options for early education.
As the case is with any suburb, competing with downtown Denver's restaurants and shopping is no easy task. Westminster does have a mall, aptly named Westminster Mall, with department store mainstays and 140 other shops. About five years ago, it underwent a $10 million renovation and has since exuded a more modern motif.