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!

Advertisements
 

Digging Denver April 1, 2011

Spring break isn’t what it used to be.  Now, before you all start getting huffy with me, saying that I shouldn’t complain that I still get a spring break at all, just calm down.  I’m not complaining.  And yes, I do deserve it.  Unless you’re a teacher, you have no idea what I go through every day, how difficult my job can be and how hard I work to help ‘my 24 kids.’

On to what’s important.  I took an opportunity to visit Jonathan and the city I hope to soon call home over my spring break.  What I meant by spring break not being what it used to be is that it’s not all about getting hammered on a warm-weather cruise with my sorority sisters anymore.  This year it was more about adventuring in slightly chiller climates and doing some learning.  Sounds totally dorky, I know, but maybe that’s what happens as I grow up…the dorkiness level increases.

On one of the days I spent with Jonathan, we decided to take a trek up to Rocky Mountain National Park.  First of all, before we even got there, we spotted a Bald Eagle over a lake.  Initially, I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me, but then when I realized as it swooped down above the car that I was incredibly lucky to have seen a Bald Eagle in real life.  It was incredible, they are so majestic and powerful!

Once we entered park boundaries, we ventured up to what was supposed to be a serene lake,  but came to find that at the end of March in the mountains, it can still be well below freezing with several feet of snow on the ground.  So, after seeing it, we went back to where it was warmer and sunny 🙂  It’s very romantic being in the mountains with someone you love.  I’m sure it sounds super corny, but something about the silence and beauty around you really makes you want to be close to your honey.  And the little things in nature can make really interesting views from certain angles!

I also was lucky enough to realize that the Real Life Pirates exhibit that I had never been able to visit at the Field Museum in Chicago had traveled its way to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. So I did some solo adventuring to see the exhibit amongst the masses of kids and their parents also on spring break.  I learned: buried treasure, walking the plank, and treasure maps are all pirate myths, that an 8 year old boy was the youngest pirate in documented history, and that most pirates were caught once they reached land because they didn’t make it more than a few miles without getting drunk at the local pub or gambling away all of their stolen ‘booty.’

I can’t wait to go back next weekend.  Especially because Jonathan and I already have a little trip planned with our friends Jeff and Krista to do some more exploring and learning at the Denver Zoo.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 
%d bloggers like this: