What a great trip to ring in year 25! I’ve never seen the Rocky Mountains, so that was a bucket list check-off! I also have never been to a town in the mountains. I could barely wrap my mind around being up 8,000 ft above sea level with nothing but mountain peaks surrounding us; it was so overwhelming but awe-inspiring! We spent two nights in Boulder, CO and two in Denver, CO. It was such a perfect extended Labor Day Weekend getaway with my favorite travel buddy (no, not Gunner; he had to stay at doggy daycare, but Nate is an excellent substitute ;D).
We don’t like spending a lot on hotel rooms because we don’t ever plan on being in the room much! So luxury is never a big factor, but our hotel choice really surprised us! We had a room at Millennium Harvest House Boulder and we were so happy with the quality and comfort. We had a cute balcony overlooking the courtyard and the mountains, along with a spacious room with a king bed. The staff was so nice and accommodating, I would definitely recommend it!
The thing with a mountain town is, anything outside is wonderful. So, this outdoor mall was such a great place to explore. There are so many patio restaurants, perfect for mid-day cocktails! They also have great local shops. I’ve been lusting over agate coasters for a year, but I had only been able to find them for around $75 for four. I just can’t justify that (unless I found them on sale of course, because when you buy something on sale you save money, right?). So, I’ve been waiting for a more affordable option and I found them here for $40 for six, yay! The sale-chaser is me rejoiced for days.
On our second night we had dinner at an amazing restaurant called Riff Urban Eatery. We had great cocktails, shared a cheese plate, and had the most delicious entrees. If you live in the Midwest you know what I’m talking about when I say I’m so sick of large portions at restaurants. I was wary when I ordered the ravioli but it sounded amazing. I was so happy when the plate arrived with only two, big, pillow-like raviolis. It. Was. Scrumptious. I told the waitressed how happy I was with the meal and we both raved about the ravioli for a few minutes, haha! Nate had a perfectly cooked salmon, an accurate portion as well. This restaurant knows food, and if you’re ever in Boulder, don’t hesitate to grab a patio table and enjoy!
Now, I’ve insinuated before that Nate and I aren’t huge outdoorsy people. We love the beauty of nature and being around it, but, not roughing it (we are not sorry). Regardless, we really wanted to venture into Rocky Mountain National Park and hike one of the trails. From here, it gets funny. First, we didn’t exactly think about how a 3,000 ft altitude difference would affect the temperature… well, it gets colder in the mountains, FYI. Nate wore shorts (lol) and I wore a tank top and just brought a light cardigan (lol again). To add to our hilarious unpreparedness, it was raining. In the mountains, the rain is very cold. Needless to say, we were cold.
Once we got to the trailhead (an hour and a half hour car ride from Boulder) we parked, looked at each other, and just started laughing hysterically. People around us were getting out of their cars with rain jackets, hiking boots, and cold weather gear. As you can see from the picture, we had none of that. Me, being the Positive Paige I am, wanted to give it a go. We obviously ditched our previous plan of hiking a 4 mile trail to Emerald Lake and went to the much closer one, Bear Lake. We didn’t stay long, but we took a little time to absorb the beauty around us, shivering all the while. The bright side is that the drive there and back was tremendously beautiful, so we couldn’t consider it a loss. We also stopped in Estes Park on the way back down to enjoy some local Elk burgers at Big Horn Restaurant and walk around the local shops. The scenery was stunning and I’ll never forget how alive it made me feel to stand on the edge of a lake in the mountains, surrounded by nature.
I hope you enjoyed my recap of our Boulder, CO stay. I’ll have a recap of our time in Denver on the blog soon!