The Denver Diaries

First Day in Denver

I can honestly say that this is one of the most beautiful places I have been fortunate enough to visit in the U.S. My brother Josh moved out to Denver about a year ago and this was the first chance I had to go out and visit him. I am not going to lie, when he first moved I was really sad. I was so used to having him on the East Coast, being able to go to his football games every other weekend and at least being within driving distance. But after visiting for 4 days (with a mini trip to Vail), I can totally see why he moved.

Thursday was a long day… I went into work early, left to go to the dentist to get 3 cavities filled, went back to work, then left early to drive to the airport. After 2 hours on a plane, a 1-hour layover, and 2 more hours on another plane, I finally landed in Denver. I met my grandma and sister who were coming in from Baltimore and Josh took us to our hotel. Needless to say, I was exhausted!

Friday morning we had breakfast at the hotel (I love a good, free breakfast). Let me just say, if you are a hotel that doesn’t have complimentary breakfast, you are doing it wrong! We went for a walk around Washington Park and the beautiful gardens there. It was overcast, but that didn’t stop anyone from coming out to enjoy the morning. I got the vibe that Denver is such an active town –there were a ton of people out walking their dogs and babies, running, playing tennis, doing yoga, biking, etc. I had to ask myself if anyone there even had to go into work on a Friday?!

Here’s the family (minus Erin):

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and the little (taller) siblings: Haley, Josh and myself

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We then had to stop at Starbucks of course… just to see if it was any different from the ones on the East Coast… (they aren’t). The one we went to in Cherry Creek Shopping Center was really cool though… I got some fun interior design ideas from there –very cozy with rustic decor.

Josh’s girlfriend Erin had to work Friday, so we met her for lunch at Cherry Cricket after Starbucks. If you are ever out in Denver and have the chance to go there I recommend the Turkey Reuben sandwich or cricket burger… YUM! (Most of what we did out there revolved around food, but that was quite okay with me)! After lunch we went back to Josh and Erin’s apartment to spend some quality family time. Right next to his apartment was “The Herbal Cure” –definitely different seeing those shops out there! It was raining a little so we stayed inside and played a “friendly” game of cards. Note to self: Josh is competitive, don’t be his card partner unless you are prepared to stress yourself out.

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Once Erin got off work we walked over to this cute little bistro, Kaos for dinner. It was a beautiful, quaint pizzeria with outdoor seating in these lush, over the top gardens. All of the ingredients they served in their food were natural, and their Margherita pizza? YES PLEASE! So delicious! I made sure to try some of their local brews as well.

Off to Vail!

The next morning we got up early and started our trek to Vail, Colorado in the Rocky Mountains. The drive wasn’t bad –a little less than two hours, and lots of beautiful sights to see along the way.

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We stayed right outside of Vail Village in the fabulous Ritz Carlton. It was a little chilly, slightly rainy and overcast but that didn’t stop us from taking the gondola up to the top of the Rocky Mountains. Visibility wasn’t great but the views were still breathtaking! Of course we all had to stop and take pictures! We then took a 2.5 mile hike across the mountain and back before finally getting some lunch.

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We ate at Garfinkel’s Sports Bar (or Garf’s as most call it) in Lionshead Village. Located right at the bottom of the mountain and ski slopes, the sun finally came out and we were able to catch some rays. I loved the small mountain town feeling of the restaurant -I even felt somewhat like a local!

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Once the sun came out and it warmed up, we were able to spend the rest of the day by the pool. After taking showers and getting ready, we headed out to explore Vail Village a little more. We were being total tourists -stopping every few feet for a photo op. And the sunset –oh my goodness, beautiful! We then HAD to do some souvenir shopping (I got a cute t-shirt) as if I needed any more clothes! If you ever visit check out Charlie’s T-shirts. Next we headed to dinner at Bully Ranch which I LOVED! It definitely had a mountain ranch feel with a rustic, country vibe. The decor was over the top with wood beam ceilings and antler chandeliers. My recommendations: Chicken Pot Pie or Buffalo Burger = delicious! Back at the condo we watched Women’s Volleyball in the Olympics and then called it a night. See below for our pictures from Saturday night:

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Back to Denver

Sunday morning we packed everything up and headed back to Denver. I really did not want to leave Vail (of course it was warm and sunny when we left)! I would love to head back in the winter when I would be able to snowboard the mountain.

We stopped by the Farmer’s Market on our way back. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I went to the Farmer’s Market, but I was quickly reminded how much I loved sampling all of the local products and fresh produce. Or course the first thing I did was look up Charlotte’s Farmer Market on my phone (I have plans to go this Sunday).

We were able to walk back to Josh and Erin’s apartment and stopped at The Duffeyroll Cafe to get some iced tea and cinnamon rolls. What an amazing recommendation… they had a variety of different cinnamon rolls (my weakness), it was so hard to not bring a frozen “Bake at Home Pan” back with me!

Back at the apartment, we watched more of the olympics and made some sandwiches and quesadillas for lunch. For dinner, we headed over to Erin’s Mom’s house a little bit early for some more pool time. (P.S. how cute is Erin’s nephew?!)

I was introduced to Spike Ball, which is such a fun game! It would be way too hard to explain, but take my word –you have to try it. I can’t wait to get a kit for myself! I think it would be so much fun to play at the beach. It keeps you moving/active and it can get pretty darn competitive (or maybe that’s just because of the people I was playing with). For dinner we had grilled chicken, corn salad, seasoned potatoes and watermelon arugula salad. EVERYTHING was so delicious, I am so thankful that Erin’s mom invited us all over. It was great to get to meet most of her family as well. She is one of seven so there were a ton of people for us to meet, but it was fun getting to know them over family dinner.

Before heading back to the hotel, we figured that we might as well make one more ice cream stop at Pinkberry. Although it’s a frozen yogurt place, it was still delicious and I was able to select from tons of fresh toppings.

Next came the dreaded Monday Morning and it was time for us to head out to the airport. The time difference kind of messed me up -I was traveling from 8:00 AM until 7:30 PM. (I did have a layover though). Overall, it was a fun-filled trip with lots of family and fun. Josh and Erin were amazing hosts and I can’t wait to go back out there and visit again!

Check out the rest of my photos here:

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More to come on my Denver outfit details!

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