Early Saturday morning, Louie and I packed up the car and headed west. Colorado bound! Here are some highlights.
Boulder is only about 6 hours from central Nebraska, which is funny when you think about how different the landscape is. You can also tell immediately upon crossing from Nebraska into Colorado–the roads get worse and the land is used for ranching instead of farming. Anyone who thinks Nebraska is desolate should take a drive through eastern Colorado sometime!
I wasn’t able to get a picture of either, but once in Colorado we saw both tumbleweeds and prairie dog towns. This east coast girl was greatly amused.
Due to fires in the southwest, we couldn’t see the mountains until about sunset that evening. But aren’t they lovely?
We stayed with friends from Penn State who now go to school in Boulder. Derek and Keirsten know all the good places to eat and drink. I ate everything you can’t find in central Nebraska. That included falafel. Twice.
The next day, Louie and I took a trip to Estes Park, a mountain vacation town where everyone around here takes honeymoons (except us). This is when I discovered that the Rockies are the most aptly-named mountain range ever.
Only about an hour separate Boulder and Estes Park, but they feel worlds apart. I had the odd sensation of being stranded while in Estes Park, perhaps because of the giant mountains encircling it. Life must certainly be different for the people living there–and ever more different for the people living in those houses clinging to mountain sides. I forgot to take pictures of downtown Estes Park, but here’s a verbal description of it: Imagine all of the t-shirt and fudge shops at the beach, plunked into an old west mountain town. There you go. Touristy, but fun. Also, no one explained that the official uniform was North Face fleeces and sneakers, so there I am in my cute little jacket and scarf. Preppy habits die hard.
The most famous place in Estes Park:
The Stanley Hotel! I think we’ll be watching The Shining this weekend…and possibly never sleeping again. I haven’t seen it.
The Stanley is a huge, turn-of-the century mountain hotel. I grew up in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania, so these are pretty familiar to me. None of them are haunted or were locations for classic movies, though!
F.O. Stanley owned an early automobile company and then moved to Estes Park to establish his hotel. Apparently, Stanley Steamer is in no way connected to Stanley Steemer, which seems like a pretty obvious copyright infringement to me and has a rather annoying commercial jingle. Maybe this is why Mr. Stanley’s ghost wanders the halls–he can’t get the jingle out of his head!
No trip to Colorado would be complete without sampling some beer. Derek took us to the Avery tasting room, which was lots of fun. (It looks like I drank a lot, but those are only a few ounces each.)
While Avery is a fairly large brewery, it was new to both Louie and I. We both loved Ellie’s Brown Ale and will be looking for it here in Nebraska!
But even better…we ate dinner at The Med. This might be one of our favorite places anywhere and an integral part of this trip. We ordered tapas, not shown here because we scarfed them down in approximately 2.5 seconds. (Thus defeating the point of tapas, I know.) The dish shown above was the best Chicken Marsala I’ve ever eaten on top of THE BEST mashed potatoes.
The next morning we woke up early (thanks, jet/car lag!) and headed back home. We remembered Memorial Day by listening to Mark O’Connor’s Americana Symphony. I can’t think of a more fitting memorial.
Then at home, it was time to celebrate, Nebraska style. This means grilled meat in the backyard. And…metal detecting?
Nebraska, we’ll miss you.
(In defense of my friends above, neither are from Nebraska. And sadly, they did not find backyard treasure.)
Thank you to Derek and Keirsten for a fun weekend and to Seth and Allison for a great way to end it! Happy summer, everyone!