I am a very lucky person. Why, you ask? Because two people I love very much married one another and moved to a place that I've never been but always wanted to visit. Sam and Tyler moved to Denver last May, and in January I figured they'd surely have explored enough to have a visitor. Sure enough, visiting them was an adventure full of city views I wasn't used to, mountains I could have never fathomed, and bucket list items. Also beer-tasting. And food halls. And a giant German Shepherd.
I flew to Colorado via Frontier Airlines, and with as many complaints as I saw online, I was impressed. Though, being used to Asian airlines, the lack of space wasn't annoying. I guess it just made it more natural to chat with my seat buddies, who ended up giving me a million recommendations and gushing about their recent vacation in Nashville.
When I arrived in Denver, Sam met me at the airport (surprised me at baggage claim, actually!) and took me to her and Tyler's charming townhouse in Aurora. I met Mosby (scroll down for more cute pictures of this creature), and after being lazy for maybe a little bit too long, we headed to Avanti F&B for some of the most delicious sushi and local beer I've ever tasted. Bamboo Sushi, you will see me again.
In the morning, Sam and I slept in before dragging ourselves up to go to Black Eye Coffee for brunch. The Cap Hill location absolutely screamed Gatsby, something modern and lovely in every corner. Sam ordered the breakfast sandwich and I tried shakshuka for the first time and fell deeply in love. Think breakfast chili meets baked eggs.
After we left with our bellies full, Sam and I headed to Union Station where we poked around for a bit to waste time until her meeting. While she met, I walked over to visit the Artifact Uprising offices. AU is a printing company I've used for several years now, producing some of the highest quality work I've ever seen. It was so fun to chat with them about the importance of the tangible and to see the sleek offices they call home.
I meandered around the area and found myself back at Union Station, where I met Sam before heading back to her house for a break. That night we went to Denver Central Market for dinner, selecting a super fancy pizza to chow down on. The team who made our pizza accidentally left the walnuts on it, but after realizing, offered to make us a new pizza and gave us a choice of a drink, too. Thanks for taking care of us, Vero. Also, the goat cheese, arugula and fig pizza was to die for.
After dinner we headed to another food hall called The Source, where we tried a sours bar called Crooked Stave. I've only recently become a fan of sours, and being able to try several at a time was a fun experience. They're not everyone's glass of beer, but the atmosphere of the place was industrial and open and a few of the options were less tart than your average sour.
On the third day of my trip, Tyler had made it home from a trip to build fences out in rural Colorado, so we made a day of it and headed to Boulder. I'd been told by several to go check out the little town, and none of the views disappointed. This place is gorgeous. I met up with one of my favorite adventure and lifestyle bloggers, Erin, and we talked about everything from travel to doubt to faith to next steps.
Per Erin's recommendation, we headed to Avery Brewing to check out another brewery and grab some dinner. It seems to me (especially in Colorado) that breweries always have the best food and the vegetarian tacos I ordered didn't change that opinion.
The following day Tyler went to build another fence, so his sister–who lives in CO Springs, joined us for a trip to Fort Collins and Red Rocks Amphitheatre. I'd never really heard of Red Rocks until I began working at the Half and Half and began shipping and numbering prints with beautiful illustrations of the park. I swore one day I'd see it, for something musical or not. Seeing it just to see it only made me want to attend a show here that much more.
One of my favorite things from the entire trip was our visit to New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins. It was jam packed, but we were able to try so many different brews, including one (1554 Black Lager) that I haven't seen outside Colorado, and unfortunately made it to my top list. There were about 35 dogs hanging out, and with food trucks and dollar tasters, it was hard to leave.
Someone once said that Main Street, U.S.A. in Disney World is loosely based off the main drag in Fort Collins. I didn't get many pictures of it, but it's cuteness overwhelmed me. Even more overwhelming, might be the Asia vibe I got from the Jessup Farm Artisan Village. Little eating-drinking-shopping villages pop up all over the place in Thailand especially, and there are even some in Nashville now. We dropped in on a few of the shops and had our final cap to the evening at the Farmhouse, where I tried a delicious chai mule and we celebrated Tasha's birthday with a fancy way-too-small dessert.
Well, Colorado. You're the farthest west I've ever been, and you're the most mountainy I've ever seen. There's a lot of you I didn't get to, but you've whetted my appetite for mountains in the middle of the country instead of the little buddies we call the Blue Ridges. Hopefully I'll see you again soon...