Hey everyone! I know you’ve been patiently waiting for this Colorado post! 😉 Sorry it’s been a few weeks! Instead of doing both a trip recap blog post and then an informational blog post, I’m going to combine them. To be a bit less confusing, my personal trip recap is in italics. If you’re just here for the CO info, feel free to skip right on over the italics! 😉
One of my very best friends moved from Virginia (our home state) to Colorado the summer my daughter was born. I have dreamed of going to visit her, but thought it may be a bit costly. On a whim a few months ago, I searched flights and after finding out I could fly myself and daughter out there and back for under $350 I jumped on it!
We left on a Saturday morning and flew from Virginia to Newark. We didn’t have anyone next to us so my little one had her own seat. She threw up on descent so that wasn’t very pleasant, but she seemed to be feeling fine, so after a quick outfit change (for both of us) we were ready for flight number two. We had a delay leaving Newark which messed up some plans for Colorado, but I couldn’t complain because everyone (everyone!) was so helpful and friendly and my sweet girl was handling everything like a pro.
When we finally arrived in Denver, we got freshened up at Claudia’s house and then headed out to dinner at a place called Kaos. It had a super fun environment, great drinks, and amazing food, but unfortunately the wait was awful! And I don’t mean the wait for a table, I mean the wait for our food once we ordered. Maybe if we’d gotten appetizers or more drinks the wait would have been a little more tolerable, but it was pretty awful! If I’m being honest though, it was so yummy and fun that I would give it a second chance!
The next day, Sunday, we got up early, had breakfast at Whole Foods and went exploring-
Explore Red Rocks Park
You may have heard of Red Rocks Amphitheatre before and if you have, you’ve probably heard how awesome it is! Unfortunately I didn’t get to see a show there while in Colorado but just exploring the venue and the surrounding park area was amazing! If you followed me on social media I had a video rolling when we pulled up to the park. I was literally awestruck. The red rocks are so much bigger than I imagined they’d be! It is just simply stunning. Red Rocks Park has lots of hiking trails and nonstop beautiful sites. It will NOT disappoint!
Take your little one to Tiny Town
This place was adorable and I absolutely can not believe it’s been around for over 100 years! Tiny Town is exactly what it says, a tiny town. There are handcrafted buildings throughout and they have everything you’d see in a typical town – a library, barber shop, grocery store, homes, bank, and of course, a railroad! The Tiny Town railroad makes a little loop over a stream and through a bit of a wooded area. They did not skimp on that either – there’s even tiny houses built on the side of the “mountain.” My only reservation with this cute little place is that many of the buildings are in need of some serious TLC. Some of them were just in bad shape, I couldn’t be too upset though, Little Miss and I got in for only $5.00 (adult ticket price – $5.00, children under two – free).
Eat lunch at D’Deli
We arrived in Golden around lunchtime and relied on reviews to tell us where we should eat! D’Deli had amazing reviews, but when we turned the corner we saw that the line was almost the length of the block. We got in line and then talked about going elsewhere because of the wait. We ended up deciding to stay because the line was moving pretty quickly and because if the line was this long just for a sandwich, they must be as good as the reviews said! They were! I got an amazing Italian sub and I ordered a PB&J for my daughter. Her sandwich and chips came in the cute little bucket and pail set, that you can see in the picture above! We sat in the patio area out front and it was great!
Tour the Coors brewery
Let me start this by saying, I hate Coors beer. Interesting way to start a review of a brewery, eh? Honestly, I didn’t have any Coors beer on this trip and I didn’t tour the brewery! I wanted to include this part because I think it would be of interest to people traveling through Golden, but also because while we ate lunch, my friend told me all about the tour! She had gone a few months prior with family that was visiting. She said the tour was really informative and fun, there were lots of historical things to look at, and that the beer tasting was both interesting and yummy.
So here’s the catch with Coors. I live in Virginia. To my knowledge I have only ever had one Coors beer and I’m far from crazy about it. The neat thing about drinking Coors in Colorado is that they have a variety of different beers since this is where they are locally brewed! I would love to do this tour on my next trip to Colorado since it was so highly recommended by my friend!
When we got back to Denver we went to Washington (Wash) Park. It was gorgeous, but we weren’t there long because aside from the fact that Little Miss was exhausted, it started to storm. We stopped by the grocery store to pick up some dinner stuff and then hung out at Claudia’s the rest of the night.
On Monday we woke up and left early once again because we had more big plans! The trip was already coming to an end with this being our last full day in Colorado-
Talk a walk along Dillon Lake
I mean I don’t think I even need to explain why this is a must! Look at the reflection of the mountain on the lake; so beautiful!
And Little Miss had lots of fun
skipping stones throwing rocks since she had so many options to choose from! Hehe! Seriously though, we sat here for close to an hour and just stared at all the beauty around us!
Breckenridge has tons of amazing shopping – from souvenirs to clothing, antiques to sporting gear. It was close to lunch while we were in Breckenridge so we only went in a couple stores, but it was the most beautiful little town! I could have walked around and shopped all day. Even though, honestly, most of that shopping would have been window shopping because Breckenridge does require you to have a pretty deep wallet or purse.
We didn’t get in any skiing in while we were there, but going up into “ski country” had me really wishing we had the time! The slopes are endless, the snow capped mountains are gorgeous, and the lodging we saw while we were out exploring was just beautiful!
Ride the Georgetown Loop Railroad
This train ride is definitely something that is on my bucket list! We had plans to do this, but then missed the last train the day we were there. I was kind of bummed because their website makes everything sound just wonderful and all the reviews I came across were great! They also have an option to explore a mine during the railroad trip which I also think would be really neat! There is so much history about the Gold Rush and mining in these parts of Colorado and it’s so interesting to learn about!
Watch for bighorn sheep from the Georgetown outlook
There are many places throughout Colorado that you could sneak a look at bighorn sheep but Georgetown is one of their favorite places in the state! It is said to have the largest indigenous herd and researchers have actually captured some and moved them to other parts of the state to build up the population in those areas! Okay, I refrain, kind of a nature nerd here. Anyway, there is a great lookout set up for bighorn sheep fans and it is filled with information (hence why I knew all those neat things!) It wasn’t great weather or a great time of the day when my friend and I traveled through, but we gave it a go! Hopefully we’ll have better luck next time!
We got caught in a hail storm on the way back which was kind of scary. Taught me a lot though because in our short stay there we saw sunshine, snow, hail, and rain. Apparently all pretty typical for a day (yes, I said “day”) in Colorado.
That night we made another quick grocery store trip and ate dinner at home with some of Claudia’s friends.
The following morning we took our time getting ready and packing and went to brunch at Sassafras. (Claudia works there so it was also nice getting to meet some of her coworkers). Their food was amazing! I had eggs benedict and a mimosa and both were perfect. From there we went to the airport where I won’t tell of all the excitement, but let me say between delays, lost luggage, vomit, being flagged for having explosives (which I didn’t, in case you were wondering), and overall just traveling with a tired toddler, our trip home was so chaotic that I felt like I was playing a part in a sitcom. We were safe and happy, over all though, so I had to shake my head and laugh. All in all, it was a great trip!
A few years ago John and I drove cross-country, from Virginia to California. Along the way we stopped in Denver for two days. We loved exploring the city, but I just had to explore those beautiful Rocky Mountains. Having heard great things about Estes Park that’s the mountain town we decided on:
Go exploring in Rocky Mountain National Park
This is one of my favorite pictures from our trip because I remember what I felt like it that exact moment. We were up so high and I was so excited and honestly kind of terrified! I remember looking to my right and seeing our height, but realizing that we truly were going straight up when I noticed we were heading directly towards a cloud!
I am trying to think of all these wonderful captions to explain why you should explore Rocky Mountain National Park, but hopefully these pictures are doing the work for me. It was absolutely breathtaking!
Take a picture at The Stanley (the hotel from the “The Shining”)
Honestly, I’ve never seen The Shining (and probably never will), but I am such a dork for stuff like this! I wanted to include this in this list though because I know I can’t be the only dork out there! Plus for those really daring folks, I thought you may be interested in staying there! (Nope, not me!)
Have dinner at The Rock Inn Mountain Tavern
What a view, huh? I remember calling my parents while we were there and saying, “You gotta see this awesome place where we’re eating dinner,” and took this picture on my cell phone real quick to text to them. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was really fun! I also thought the bar stools were pretty cool! 😉
That’s a wrap!!! Hope you enjoyed it! Happy Colorado planning!!! 🙂