This weekend (Presidents’ Day weekend) Bryce and I flew to Colorado for a couple of days to visit his brother, sister-in-law and meet their first child, a beautiful 5-month old baby girl. I’d never been to Colorado, but it’s a place that had always been on my list. I didn’t really know what to expect, and while the landscape was a bit different than what I’d imagined, it was beautiful and captivating all the same.
I found the culture to be very similar to Portland or Bend in terms of being very active and brimming with craft breweries. We were staying with Bryce’s family in Longmont, CO which is just north of Boulder. The landscape of these towns is very flat and wide open, dotted with ranches, but Boulder itself backs right up to the Flatirons and Rocky Mountains, offering a beautiful backdrop. While our trip was more family-oriented than touristy, I thought I’d share with you what we did while we were there, at least so I can have a little travel diary to read again one day. I didn’t even take my actual camera out once, so it’s all iPhone photos today – and I didn’t even take that many photos on my phone either! In the future, we’ll try to visit for more than a couple days, so we can rent a car and explore more.
We flew into Denver direct from PDX late Friday night and immediately went to bed. The next morning we woke up, caught up with the family and ate breakfast. We went for a walk around a park near their house, and I was able to see some of the landscape for the first time. From the park you can see out to Longs Peak which is the tallest peak in Boulder County and Rocky Mountain National Park. It was the only one we could see with a dusting of snow, which helped it stand out.
We drove into Longmont, Colorado and had lunch at Cheese Importers, (photos above & below) an incredible French bakery and shop. I could have spent hours there looking through all the Francophile goodies and choosing cheeses from their huge chilled cheese room. Definitely worth stopping in if you’re in the area. After, we headed to Wibby Brewing. We’d gotten some of their beer as a Christmas gift this year, and the brewery itself didn’t disappoint. (If you’re from Portland, the vibe is similar to Ecliptic on Fremont, though I liked Wibby’s beer more.)
We spent the rest of the evening at home with a steak dinner and discussing wedding plans & ideas.
On Sunday, we started with a big french toast & bacon breakfast at the house, then packed up to drive into downtown Boulder. We walked around and peeked into a few shops, including Topo Designs (below). I loved the pedestrian-only area of downtown, a feature Portland is sorely missing. After that we drove over to Avery Brewing, a super popular Boulder brewery – for good reason. I’d never seen a brewery with so many beers offered at once (there must have been 25). It was actually pretty sunny and warm out, so we enjoyed wings, fries, dessert and beer out on the patio.
We also checked out CyclHOPS, close to their house, which is a combination bike shop and Mexican cantina, with tons of beer on top. Only in Colorado, right? I could see this doing well in Portland too. That night we made calzones for dinner and had more wedding talk (I mean, of course.)
On our final day, Bryce’s sister-in-law had to work, so it was just his brother, us and the baby. We went for a long morning walk around McIntosh Lake in Longmont. This was easily the most beautiful day we had there with spotless blue skies and weather in the 60s. It was so hard to leave, and return to the grey and rain of Portland.
From the walk we could see out to the Flatirons and straight to Longs Peak (below). Around the backside of the lake, we walked past a small cattle ranch, which I of course loved. I have a deep, true love of cows, and can’t wait to one day have some land and a cow of my own. They’re the cutest animals.
After our walk, we drove around Boulder before Bryce’s brother dropped us off at the bus station to head back to DIA. We planned to drive up Flagstaff which apparently has beautiful views out over the town and across the mountains. Unfortunately with road construction, we couldn’t make it up. Instead we got a driving tour of the CU Boulder campus, and a few other areas of town. Boulder is such a pretty and quaint town, and I’d love to go back and spend more time there.
We finally hopped on the bus out to DIA, and said goodbye to the beautiful blue Colorado skies. The best part about our flight was that it was before the sun set, so we were able to see the Rocky Mountains as we flew over them. There’s nothing like the view from above.
We had such an amazing time in Colorado, visiting with family and seeing new places (Bryce had been before, but we went to different spots than he’d previously been). I’m already plotting a way to go back…