I haven’t blogged in awhile. We went to Denver in early November and needless to say, this blog post is a bit overdue. Unfortunately, upon return from our trip, life, as my family knew it, changed. Unexpectedly, of course, like life has a way of doing. As a result, there has been little time for writing, and a lot of time for reflecting, just not on paper, or electronically, for that matter.
We left for Denver on November 4th, my Aunt’s 65th birthday. If I had known it would be her last birthday, I wouldn’t have boarded a plane and jetted off on a vacation that, at the time, I thought my husband and I deserved. I would have stayed home and made tacos for dinner. In her last days here with us, that’s simply all that she wanted. We put the taco dinner on hold, first due to work, then due to a doctor’s appointment, and finally, due to our much needed vacation. There would be plenty of time for tacos, we thought. But that’s just the thing about life, it doesn’t consider your plans and there was no time for tacos.
And so, here I am, with a probated will, a house to sell, and something called inheritance tax, yet all I can think about is how much I miss my aunt and how I should have made the tacos. Just why I had to learn this lesson the hard way, I’ll never know. But what I do know is that Aunt Bardie would have wanted me to keep writing and traveling and living. So, I dedicate this post to her and I promise to never put anything on hold again, no matter what.
So here goes…Denver, Colorado…
If you know my wedding photographer story, then you know one of the reasons why Denver was on our must see list. If you don’t know that story, ask Paul, he loves telling it. I considered including the story in this blog, but I get a certain kick out of hearing Paul tell it, and I didn’t know if it would produce the same sort of reaction once put into writing.
Another reason for taking a trip to Denver was simply for my husband to see the mountains. While he’s got a tremendous amount of international travel under his belt, he’d never been to western America. I thought that this was just plain ridiculous and made it a point to get him and his camera to the Rocky Mountains as soon as I possibly could.
And yet one more reason to go to Denver…Southwest Airlines, my absolute favorite airline. Southwest has really good deals to Denver with non-stop flights out of Philly. I’ve loved Southwest for a long time, even before they went all “bags fly free” on us and came up with those super cute commercials.
And so with the assistance of the amazing wedding photographer, Julie Harris, we found ourselves a beautiful, yet affordable hotel and, before we knew it, there we were, having dinner in the shadow of the snow capped Rocky Mountains. To think, only hours before I was sitting in the Philadelphia airport, eating a sloppy cheesesteak, while Paul sat shaking his head at me disapprovingly. (He doesn’t understand how I can eat before I fly. I don’t understand how you can’t eat before you fly.) If you are in Philly, you might as well eat a cheesesteak. When in Rome, you know?
We stayed at the Denver Marriot Convention Center. Since the famous Maine experience, I’ve become a little more critical of hotels, and I was a little worried about this place due to the attached words ‘convention center’. However, the hotel was beautiful and clean and the service was excellent. They even had an Enterprise Rent a Car in the hotel, which I must say did a fantastic job of delivering us a bright blue Ford Focus for our Rocky Mountain adventure. Keep reading for that story…
Our first day in Denver we took a long walk to check out the city. The weather was unusually warm for November and perfect for strolling around.
Due to the time difference, we were wide awake way before most of the natives so we started out early and did some exploring. And what did we find? Monas! This is where I developed a bit of an affection for Denver.
We just stumbled upon Mona’s while trying to find Julie Harris’ studio. Little did we know, Mona’s was only a few blocks away from our intended destination. Paul thought it looked like a place we would like and, without even taking a look at the menu, I agreed. I mean, look at the place will ya?
At Mona’s I had the BEST breakfast burrito I’ve ever had in my life. I’m not exaggerating either. Not only was it heaping with goodness on the inside, it was smothered in warm green chile sauce on the outside! If this was Denver, then I liked it!
Unfortunately, Julie wasn’t in town while we were, but we did get a chance to peek in the windows of her fabulous studio. We also ate dinner at the farm to table restaurant Duo, just next door.
Even though the Mets weren’t in town, we decided to tour the home of the Colorado Rockies. Have you ever been in a completely empty baseball stadium? It’s pretty fascinating!
We really enjoyed seeing all the ins and outs of the place, standing in the dugouts, and learning about the actual “mile high” seats.
They also took us in the visiting team’s locker room and just the simple fact that this is where the Mets get ready, put Paul right over the edge. It was like his baseball meter was on overload and he could hardly contain himself. It’s unfortunate that the 2011 Mets will play the Rockies in Colorado during the week when we’ll still be in school. We were totally planning on taking another trip to Denver for a Mets weekend. Maybe 2012?
We devoted our last full day in Colorado to checking out Rocky Mountain National Park and Boulder. Enterprise Rent a Car had our hot bright blue Focus ready early in the morning for our excursion through nature.
The drive was intriguing and the mountains got closer and closer with every mile until we were just tiny people with enormous mountains towering in front of us.
At this point, I was starting to think my husband would take off with his camera and I’d never see him again. But then I remembered, my husband is allergic to nature. Not literally, I mean he doesn’t get a rash or anything, like I would in most situations. No, it’s not like that at all. Too much time in nature and you will see Paul desperately looking for signs of civilization. It’s similar to when I take him to Howell Township, NJ. Too much country and he’s gotta get to the big city, like Tinton Falls, or Belmar. So, after the long drive from Denver and a few photo opportunities later, Paul was back in the Focus and ready to head to Boulder. Yea, the mountains were cool, but he’d had enough nature for the day. Gotta love him!
We got to Boulder just in time for lunch and walked down the streets of shops and restaurants.
Yes, Paul was back in civilization, and in no time was eating some nachos and watching football at one of the local hangouts. With the University of Colorado situated right in the middle of these streets, Boulder seemed like the ultimate college town. I bet its a fun place to be a college student.
We were back to Denver by dinner time. We got all dressed up to check out Larimer Square and find a good place for dinner.
And what did we find? Osteria Marco, a crowded Italian restaurant situated in what seemed like a wine cellar. I loved it! Paul and I have found that although we are very critical when it comes to good Italian food, we also can’t stay away from it for more than a few days at a time. We were skeptical that there would be good Italian food in Denver, but we thought we’d give it a try anyway. I mean, Paul had been without pizza for an entire weekend! You can only imagine what I was dealing with at this point. As soon as Paul saw margherita pizza on the menu, I knew this would be the place to eat for the evening. It was delicious. We even met a girl there whose parents own a summer home in Belmar, NJ! No matter how far you go, you can’t get out of Belmar!
So overall, what did we think of Denver? We thought it was pretty cool! We loved all of the old brick buildings, the fun restaurants, and the home of the Colorado Rockies! We hope to visit again someday when the Mets are in town.
Until then…keep doing what it is you love, but remember to always take time for the tacos…