Uncharted

Friends forging a course together through the unexpected

The Mile High City June 18, 2014

The Mile High city of Denver was my home over the weekend. Matt and I flew in to visit fellow Uncharted author Sarah. We had a “loose” itinerary for our visit. Meaning, we had a few things we’d like to do but we didn’t have to do all of them.

Denver Capitol building

Denver Capitol building

Sarah picked us up from the airport and we headed straight for the Capitol building tour. The free tour explained the history about Denver as well as fun facts about the beautiful building. One fun fact is that the building is the only one in the world with beautiful rose onyx. Why? Because the quarry was wiped out to use all the onyx for the Capitol building!

Keeping with the tour theme, our next stop was Stranahan’s distillery tour. Once again we learned a lot of fun facts that none of us knew about whiskey. For example, did you know that to be considered an American whiskey, the distillery must use virgin American white oak barrels? And they can only be used once. Our tour guide was awesome and explained their process as well as how to properly taste whiskey. I learned with a little drop of water I can actually tolerate it!

Where whiskey is made

Where whiskey is made

Running ahead of schedule, we stopped in at Breckenridge Brewery for a few beers and to catch up. Before we knew it, dinner time arrived. We headed to the heart of downtown Denver, Larimer Square. My sister-in-law recommended Bistro Vendome from a previous trip. The French style restaurant was amazing! Our waitress was very knowledgeable and made recommendations for our meal. My favorite part of dinner was not only the incredible food but our adorable table location right on the patio under the Italian style lights.

Friday was hike day in Rocky Mountain National Park in Estes, Colorado. Everyone had a blast exploring different paths, bouldering and climbing over snow paths. Pretty quickly I found out it’s time to invest in some hiking shoes and not just gym shoes, at least if I wanted to play in the snow and not get my feet wet. The views were breathtaking at every turn. From seeing the mountain peaks to roaring falls you were not disappointed. We completed two hikes and then Sarah drove us up 12,000 feet to one of the highest peaks in the park. We were able to walk around despite the crazy wind and even caught a glimpse of a marmont.

Enjoying the view

Enjoying the view

Mountains!

Mountains!

Saturday we took it easy and hit up a few local breweries. On the brew stop list included Crooked Stave, a brewery known for its sour beer. The tap room is in The Source, a recently renovated building featuring restaurants, a florist, baker, cheese and sausage shop as well as a wine store and art gallery. We grabbed a few snacks from the bakery and cheese and sausage shop to enjoy with our beer while watching the World Cup. Our next brew stop was Prost. The German style brewery offered a great selection of beer as well as delicious warm pretzels with mustard horseradish. I almost forgot to mention their outdoor patio is dog friendly and has spectacular views of downtown Denver.

Beer anyone?

Beer anyone?

2nd brew stop

2nd brew stop

Pretty soon it was time to head over to the Red Rocks to enjoy the sounds of Phillip Phillips and O.A.R. The venue was AMAZING and so was the show. I kept looking around at scenery. From jagged stones leaping out of the ground to cute little valley towns off in the distance. The best was watching the sunset hit the rocks and turn them purple, amber, yellow and orange. Once darkness fell, it was beautiful to see an almost full-moon rising and the glow of the towns in the distance. If you head out to Denver, definitely try to catch a show!

The Red Rocks Venue

The Red Rocks Venue

Sunday was organize day. It was time to repack and of course go to brunch. Fellow Uncharted author Kelly visited Sarah and recommended going to Jelly. After a 50 minute wait we understood why so many people would put up with an hour wait. What helped was getting fresh donuts. We picked out maple bacon and lemon curd flavors. The donuts were warm and melted in your mouth. I had to hold back from ordering more! Once inside, I ordered an eggs benedict with spinach and turkey over artisan bread. It was scrumptious! My favorite part of the meal was the homefries served with a side of sour cream and chives. With a full belly it was time to say goodbye to Denver.

Brunch!

Brunch!

We accomplished a lot but we didn’t get to do everything on our itinerary which is a great reason to visit again!

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Rocky Mountain High November 6, 2013

Filed under: Kelly — Uncharted @ 12:57 am
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

At the end of October Dave and I took a little trip out to Denver to visit our dear friends Jon and {fellow blogger} Sarah.  We have wanted to go for awhile, it’s been two years since I’ve been there and Dave hadn’t been since they moved out there.  On top of that it was Dave’s birthday weekend and we wanted to celebrate the last year of his youth (Haha, sorry honey I’m not sorry).  Our relationship with Jon & Sarah is special because not only are we friends as couples, but me and Sarah have been friends since 1st grade and Dave and Jon have been friends since 8th grade.   We always have a good time when we’re with them and our long weekend in Denver was no exception!   They were sweetheart hosts and fulfilled all our Denver expectations!  I’m going to take you through our itinerary and show you some pictures and perhaps one day if you are ever going to Denver you’ll go some of the cool places we went!

 

Day 1:

Arrive in Denver pretty late.  I am prepared with Claritin, Flonase, and plenty of water to ward off any altitude sickness I may have in store (last trip I was dizzy most the time).  This time I had really no issue except for a few minutes on a hike.

Day 2:

Slept in and headed over to a lovely place called Jelly in the Capital Hill neighborhood.  All I have to say is I loved every little bit of that place and I want a lemon custard donut now!  The atmosphere, the service, the food, it was all incredible.

jelly

We had a brief terrifying moment where a wasp the length of my wrist landed on me, but after Jon valiantly swiped him away we were off to Golden, CO the home of Coor’s Brewery!  I can’t lie.  I didn’t have high expectations for this place.  Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a huge beer drinker.  However it was a really cool tour and I can’t argue with the 3 free beers offered at the end.

coors

We made our way back to Sarah & Jon’s and soon it was time for dinner.  We were joined by our friend Stan and we all made our way over to Steuben’s.  They serve American classics and I really enjoyed the retro décor in there.  We hung out at a place called Ace afterwards that has ping pong tables you can rent (!) but the wait was super long and we were all a bit tired so we went home to rest up for the next day.

Day 3:

We ate a mini breakfast at the apartment and then headed out to Idaho Springs, CO to explore the little town and have a day at the Indian Hot Springs for Dave’s birthday.  The town was super cute and we explored some of the shops and then ate lunch at Tommy Knocker.  We hurried on over to the spa for our Jacuzzi reservation at 1 and got changed.  It was a nice setup, they had private hot tubs along the bottom of the mountain and we were assigned to the Zuni Bear tub.

idaho

We relaxed for about an hour and then made our way to the mud room where you basically apply mud to your body and then sit and wait for it to dry.  If it sounds boring you’d be wrong…it was highly entertaining watching everyone dry up and look like a weirdo.  We washed up, checked out the cave bath’s down under the building (creepy, but cool?) and then headed home to prepare for Dave’s birthday dinner at the Denver Chop House.  More friends joined us for dinner and we had a great time catching up and spending time together.

girls boys

It was the weekend to celebrate Halloween, and even though none of us dressed up we went out after dinner and enjoyed some dancing and people watching at Punchbowl.

Day 4:

We all slept in after out splendid night out and pulled ourselves out of bed for brunch at Syrup.  After we were all happily full (my pancakes had sausage patties inside them!) we decided to go on a hike to work off all the food and drinks!  Sarah researched a brand new State Park that opened earlier in the year called Staunton Park.  We headed over and proceeded to take in a lot of beautiful scenes.

nature

  The only downer is the lake the trail goes by is currently under construction so you don’t get to see a beautiful lake, but the rest made up for it!  We made our way back to Denver.  Stopped for an awesome Chinese dinner (we were all pleasantly surprised how good the food was) and had a beer at the Copper Kettle nearby.  We capped off the night with a movie- Dave put in a birthday request for Bad Grandpa.  It was okay but I really only laughed once or twice. ..

Day 5:

The last day we snuck in another breakfast at Syrup, but this time in downtown Denver, ran over to Great Divide so Dave could sample a beer from their tap room and then it was off to the airport to go home.  It’s always sad to say goodbye to our friends, but luckily we already know the next time we’ll see them.  That makes it a little easier and we were delighted to get to spend a few days with them in their town.  Thanks for all the hospitality!

 

 
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