Monday, July 14, 2014

Garden of the Gods & Manitou Springs, CO

Our last stop in Colorado was at Garden of the Gods and the close-by town of Manitou Springs.

Garden of the Gods is full of beautiful red rock formations that developed throughout years of natural progression. The park is a registered Natural National Landmark and is super well-maintained, with wonderful paved walking paths throughout. I was thrilled with how much wildlife we saw during our quick walk around the park, and we had a fun time watching some rock climbers ascend up the peaks.

When we left the park, we drove over to Manitou Springs. The town is small and used to be most popular for its mineral springs, but today the main attraction seems to be the town's downtown area, a quirky spot for tourists to have a meal and browse through shops. However, wiki tells me that many of the town's springs are still functioning and the water is free, so it seems we missed out on that experience!

See more Colorado posts here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Boulder, CO

Looking back at our pictures from Boulder, I can't believe how few photos we took - Taras and I were both charmed by this college town (home to the University of Colorado Boulder).

The downtown area is the perfect size - not too big, not too small - with a lot of great shops and restaurants (and some great people watching). The vibe of the town seemed to be mountain cool + outdoorsy + hipster all rolled into one. It's a town where we could see ourselves happily spending a lot of time.

When we saw a Trident Cafe we had to go inside, since one of our favorite bookstores/cafes in Boston is of the same name. Once inside this shop, we realized the branding was the same! We asked one of the workers if there's any relationship between the two stores and we learned that they used to be under the same ownership (the Boulder location was the first) but now they are separate operations. Despite the two now being separate, it was fun to find a little slice of home out in Colorado!

After exploring downtown for a couple hours, we stopped at Brasserie Ten Ten for some early happy hour drinks and snacks to kill some time while we waited to meet up with friends.

Once our local friends were home from work, we met them at their apartment for the night. They treated us to wonderful home cooked meal (and lodging for the night!) and we had a lot of fun trading travel stories throughout the evening.

See more Colorado posts here.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Denver, CO

The four of us left Aspen and drove to Denver where we met up with another of mine and my sister-in-law's friends from college. Apparently we were too busy having fun to capture many photos, so sorry for the lack of pictures in this post!

Denver is such a rad city and I can see why it attracts so many people. There's a great restaurant scene, and the city is clean and approachable. Maybe my favorite thing about Denver, though, is its accessibility to almost any type of outdoor activity you can imagine. It's the best of both worlds: city and country.

While most of our time in Denver was spent exploring the restaurant scene, we did manage to squeeze in a trip to Red Rocks Amphitheatre - can you imagine seeing a concert there?!

Once Taras's brother and our sister-in-law headed back home, Taras and I drove over to Golden, CO to meet up with a couple friends of mine from grad school. It was so fun to catch up with them, to meet their daughter, and to get a glimpse at this cute western town. But maybe the best part was heading back into Denver with them and sharing an amazing meal at root down.

Big hugs to everyone who showed us such a good time in the Denver area!

See more Colorado posts here

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Aspen, CO

Oh, Aspen! We had such a wonderful time exploring this town! Taras's brother and our sister-in-law met up with us in Aspen. My sister-in-law and I (we also happen to be college besties) have a friend from college who lives in Aspen, so we stayed with him and his fiancee for a couple of days.

We arrived in downtown to meet up with our college friend (see his photography site here) and we did a round of shots for old time's sake. Then, we followed him to his house, where we spent the afternoon and evening catching up on life, playing some college-style beer drinking games (for good measure, you know), and enjoying our friends' view of the Colorado mountains.

The biggest surprise of this visit was when our friend let us know that we wouldn't be staying with him, but instead we'd be crashing at the mansion at the top of the hill! He and his fiancee got the gig of managing the property of a VIP who rarely visits this home of his (it's one of many). So, our friends' guests reap the benefits and get to stay in lush accommodations when they visit. :)

After a fun afternoon of catching up and after getting a good night's rest in fancy beds, we went for a hike the next morning at Maroon Bells. It was a beautiful day for a hike and I could hardly believe all the bright colors throughout the mountainside.

Later that night, we piled into a private room at Kenichi, where we indulged in sushi and sake. There might have been some shenanigans that followed...

We spent the next afternoon exploring downtown Aspen. I don't have many photos to show for it, but the downtown is lovely. There was a mac'n'cheese fest happening, so we grabbed our forks and tasted as many variations as we could manage! Then, we were on our way to Denver. 

See other Colorado posts here.

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