Sunday, May 10, 2015

Colorado Vacation- July 2014

It's time for another travel recap! 

Last summer, Kaydin and I traveled to Boulder, Colorado, to see Tim while he was there for his Master's program. Our time was short but we saw a lot, ate some great food, got a little hiking in and had a great time! So glad to be heading back to Boulder again in just a few days, this time for Blend 2015!

On Saturday July 19th (my birthday!!) Kaydin and I headed to the airport super early to catch our direct flight that got us into Denver before 8am. Tim picked us up and we headed to find a place to eat. After reading great reviews of Sam's No. 3, that's where we ended up.

I choose the corned beef hash benedict. Something I don't usually order but it was pretty good!


After breakfast we strolled around the Larimar Square area for awhile and made a quick stop at Starbucks to cash in my free birthday drink of choice. 

Next up, we headed west to Red Rocks for some site seeing and hiking. I had seen the area and amphitheater in pictures over the years and we so excited to finally see it in person. 

The area is absolutely gorgeous! We spent a couple hours here just wandering around and taking pictures.

I wished we lived closer to this! What a great venue to exercise in and do yoga. And then of course the concerts that are always held here. Jealous!

Next on the agenda was heading to our whitewater rafting trip. We headed through the mountainous winding roads to the Clear Creek Rafting Company. We of course opted for something mild having Kaydin with us and this was a great option. Not so amateur that it was boring, still some rapids to go through but nothing dangerous or scary for a child. And plus, this venue offers a free photo CD of your trip on the water. Now I just need to locate that CD to actually upload and save the photos. ;)

After our white water adventure, we headed to our final destination of the day, Boulder. Tim had been staying on campus at the University of Colorado in the dorms for his two week stay. He showed us his temporary home and then we headed to the hotel we booked for the night. With only a twin bed and other suitemates close by, we opted for a hotel for Saturday night. Sunday and Monday night I had the pleasure of seeing Laura's home while Tim stayed on campus for his classes. 

Anyway, after showering and getting ready, Tim showed us around some of the city and we found a place to eat.

We settled on Cantina Laredo, a nice restaurant offering modern Mexican food. And delicious homemade guac! This restaurant was fun! Our food was awesome, service impeccable and prices very reasonable. 

The next morning we wandered Pearl Street while waiting for a table to open at Snooze, a popular breakfast place right on Pearl Street. From what I read and witnessed, this place is always busy with a lonnng wait. I can see why though. With locally sourced ingredients, a green and sustainable philosophy and really great food, this is a restaurant I can really get behind. Like I said, the wait was long, but we spent that time wandering the art festival that was going on and popping in and out of shops along the street. 

When it was time to eat, I stuck with the pancakes that they are so well-known for. And went with a variety pack! The top one pictured above was their special cake of the day, a savory choice. And maybe my favorite of the three. I can't remember all the deets but it was a cornmeal pancake topped with green chili, I wanna say maybe shredded corned beef (or some type of crisp shredded meat) and was so delicious. I really hope I have the opportunity to check out Snooze again on my next trip.

After our time on Pearl Street we headed out of town to see some more of the mountainous area. We opted to head north to Estes Park. I had been there in high school for our senior trip and I don't think too much had changed (at least in the downtown shopping area). We didn't have a lot of time to do too much here because of the backed up traffic so we chose one thing to spend our time on...

Inching our way up the mountain in a gondola with the Estes Park Aerial Tramway. The views were gorgeous, the weather was pretty good and the chipmunks were all around. 

At the top of the mountain you can buy peanuts to feed the chipmunks. We got pretty dang close to some of them. Kaydin loved spending her time trying to coax them near. I had fun just exploring the trails and rocks at the top.

Once we got back to Boulder it was already evening. We said goodbye to Timmy, took his vehicle and headed Laura's way. She took us to a cute little pizza shop, iPie, in Broomfield. 

And when we were done with our dinner, she took us to an even cuter (and soooo delicious!!) ice cream shop in Louisville, Sweet Cow.

In the morning, Kaydin and I headed out on a walk in a little nature preserve that was located just behind Laura's home. Kaydin was entertained by the dozens and dozens of prairie dogs that greeted us along our way.

After a shower, a drive back to Boulder and a quick lunch at Pei Wei we headed out of town to the west this time hoping to hike Boulder Falls while Tim was in class for the day. When we got to the little trailhead on the side of the road, it had been closed due to some falling rocks. Disappointing, but we were still able see lots of great sites and spend some time just enjoying nature. We drove, stopped for pics, hiked around, drove some more and on and on. 

After hours, we got back into Boulder and I had to try pretty hard to convince Kaydin to hike some more at Chautauqua. I was so interested in seeing it though since I knew that's was Blend 2015 would be held. Once again it was so beautiful, just gorgeous views. We didn't hike very far, we were both so tired and so hot. It was mid-90's that day with lots and lots of sun all day long, but I'm glad I at least saw it. The flatirons are so pretty! 

Once we were hiked-out and sick of the sun we set up shop at Starbucks right across from campus with a frap, some iced green tea and lots of ice water to wait til Tim was done with class so we could shower and head out to dinner.

We chose another Boulder favorite, one that had been featured on Diners, Drive-in's, and Dives, The Sink. They are known for their burgers and that's exactly what we all ordered. After such a strenuous day I was happy for a big, filling meal. This place is no frills, good food, and eclectic decor with signatures and autographs of all who've visited filling the walls.

Tuesday morning left Kaydin and I with a free agenda to meet Lauren for some coffee and iced tea, do some shopping at the 29th Street shopping area, get Timmy's vehicle back to him, rent a car to drive to Denver and catch our flight in the later afternoon. 

A quick but great vacation and I can't wait to do again! Tim knew I would love Boulder and he was right. It's a great city focusing on clean eats, green initiatives and a place I could easily call home if I didn't love Des Moines so much! :) I'm just glad I am returning in a few short days!

Have you ever been to Boulder?