A few weeks ago we traveled to Denver, CO, for a a little winter vacation. We’d been talking about visiting one of my best friends in Denver for almost a year, and finally made it happen this month. We had a few things to celebrate: my birthday, Bryan’s defense, a big move to the MidWest (more on that later!). That’s right, I’m now married to Bryan Tucker, PhD!! I’m so extremely proud of his hard work over the last 4 1/2 years of graduate school and it has all finally paid off. He defended the week before our trip, so it was perfect timing to take a break and enjoy some mountain views.
We started our trip at the New Belgium Brewery for some day drinking and tour. We both had to acclimate a little to the altitude and dry weather, so we took it very slow the first day.
We went to Avanti for dinner which is “A collective eatery” with many food truck-style restaurants to choose from. Genius! We were exhausted from traveling all day so we crashed after dinner, ready to explore the next day.
Day 2 we headed to Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs to do some milder “hiking”. We enjoyed a picnic in the back of Emily’s car (couldn’t find a picnic table) before starting the trail. To see those massive red/orange rocks high up in this bright blue sky was beautiful to take in. We handled the altitude well with no issues and got some pretty stunning pictures. Avett (Emily’s furry friend) stole the show while meeting tons of new people and posing so well for all of our obsessive pictures.
Dinner that night was at The Squeaky Bean which was a more upscale farm to table restaurant. There was no food left on our plates! After dinner, we got drinks and ice cream at Union Station, the train station with restaurants, shopping, and hotel all in one location. If you go upstairs, there’s a less-known bar with beautiful decor and a more intimate setting.
Day 3 we made it out to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park where we reached our peak altitude for the trip. I finally got to see snow and it was absolutely gorgeous against the green trees and blue sky. We picnicked in the park right beside this rock slide-made waterfall; it was amazing to sit out in that 30/40 degree weather and actually still enjoy it. Those views are so breathtaking and I found myself overwhelmed by their size even in the distance. I couldn’t even begin to take pictures in some settings because a camera couldn’t capture enough.
That night we went to Steuben’s, which was my favorite dinner of the trip. It was a relaxed atmosphere with good cocktails and classic American dishes.
Breakfast on Day 4 was another highlight of the trip, and there’s no one better to brunch with than Emily. We speak the same love language of breakfast food. We found ourselves at the most charming Victorian house turned Louisiana-style restaurant, Sassafras. The menu boasted 9 choices of mimosas all served in cute mason jars. My mouth is literally watering right now as I reminisce over that jalapeño cheddar drop biscuit sandwich.
We had original plans to go back to the mountains that day, but our brunch coma left us highly unmotivated. After an easy afternoon, we took a very windy walk around Wash Park with Avett stealing the show again, enjoyed some beer and wings at Denver Beer Co., and eventually made our way to dinner: ramen at Bones. It’s safe to say the food on this trip did not disappoint!
Thank you Emily for being the best hostess! You planned everything just perfectly so there was flexibility but we didn’t have to make decisions, and I really appreciate that. It was the most relaxing week I’ve had in a really long time. You are the best!
We will definitely be returning to Colorado in the future!