Colorado Favorites

Travel does so much for one’s soul.  It truly fulfills it in a way that nothing else can.  However, it also brings that terrible pain of not wanting to leave the destination that you have just deemed splendid in every way.  I always get this ache at the end of visiting a new place, but I feel that Colorado was especially hard to leave.  It was that perfect.  

As always, we tried to squeeze as much as we could into a limited amount of time.  I’ve listed our favorite things that we experienced in Denver, Boulder, and Estes Park.  Prepare your travel senses for some major wanderlust.

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DENVER

Illegal Pete’s
This restaurant encompassed everything that you think of when you dream of Colorado food – huge burritos, green chili, great beer.  This Colorado-based restaurant is similar in it’s ordering style to Chipotle, but it’s hard to compare the two.  I order a smothered beef burrito and it was quite tasty!  I’ve been told by native Colorado residents that this restaurant has a cult following so you know it must be good!

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Great Divide Brewing
For as big of a name Great Divide is, the brewery was surprisingly quaint and still held a local feel.  There were many great beer options, but I chose Nadia Kali (Untappd 3.50) and the Samurai (3.50).  While you’re on that side of town, take advantage of the Denver wall art photo op around the corner.

Wynkoop Brewing
Wynkoop was more of a restaurant than a brewery but the beer was delicious.  I tasted many but settled on Patty’s Chile Beer (4.0).  I’m a sucker for beers with some heat and this one definitely did not disappoint.  We also ordered their pretzel bites with beer cheese – YUM!

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Coors Field for a Denver’s Rockie’s Game

Being from north Florida, we don’t have a lot of Major League Baseball happening around us so this was a nice treat!  Tickets start at $10, which is especially reasonable.  Even though the Rockies lost by a landslide, we had a great time cheering them on!

 

Boulder

FATE Brewing
We’ve been to 75+ breweries and this one definitely earns a place on our favorites list!  As soon as we sat down at the bar and started talking with the bartender, we felt like we were family!  Is there really any better feeling?  Although they served food, we stuck with just beer since we already had a brunch reservation.  I chose to do a flight because everything sounded great!  I had the Pinot Noir Uror (4.00), Dark Mexican Lager (2.50), Parcae (3.50), and Norns Roggenbier (4.00).  My favorite was the Pinor Noir Uror (the pink one)!

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Chautauqua Park
There are many hiking trails that you can take once getting to Chautauqua Park.  We had intentions of hiking the Flatirons, but we took a wrong turn and ended up on a different trail – OOPS!  Either way, we had a great time and the views were breathtaking!  On a side note, as Floridians, we had a rough start because we were not used to the drastic elevation.  Bring lots of water and a protein bar, and don’t be ashamed to find a good rock to sit on for a few minutes as you catch your breath.

Flagstaff House Restaurant
I honestly cannot say enough about this restaurant.  From start to finish, this experience pleased our senses in such special ways.  To start off, Flagstaff House is a glass building – walls and ceiling – that is perfectly placed on the side of a mountain.  The views are stunning!  We’ve experienced many fine dining restaurants, in which the waitstaff is usually stuffy and you’re pressured as a young couple to prove that you should be there.  This was not like that at all.  The waitstaff was incredibly pleasant, humorous, and easy to talk with.  Our waitress led us in the right direction with starting off with the Country style duck pate, duck liver mousse, and prosciutto di parma.  We were hooked and quite obsessed.  For dinner, I chose the pan roasted filet mignon with a gratin of yukon gold & sweet potatoes and a sauce of Cabernet Sauvignon.  In between courses, our waitress brought out canapes and palette cleansers.  We finished off our meal with a trio of sorbets – so tasty!  Additionally, our sommelier was incredibly personable and knowledgeable.  He led us in the perfect direction of what we should pair our meal with.  We could not have been more pleased!

The Kitchen Boulder
Yaaassss.  Everyone needs a little bit of The Kitchen in their lives.  We started off our brunch with some booze and 4 of their homemade pastries: apple fritters, cannoli, canele, and chocolate croissant.  We arrived too late for their scone special, strawberry brie, but our waiter so kindly got a hold of one and placed it into our to-go box.  So kind!  I had the lemon ricotta pancakes and my husband had the barbacoa tostada – both absolutely wonderful!  We loved the community-based vibe at this restaurant!

Avery Brewing
Huge, innovative, beautiful.  That’s Avery!  The beer was fabulous and the facility made us stand back in awe.  We especially loved that you could take a self-lead tour around the facility and sit back in an adirondack chair as you watched the brewing process.  I had the Liliko’i Kepolo and rated it a perfect 5.00 – it was that good!!

Blackbelly
This restaurant had a very neat concept.  You could sit at the chef’s counter and watch them prepare food.  The restaurant is shared with the company’s butcher market, which adds a nice feel as you taste their meats.  We started off with the bone marrow appetizer and it was buttery and perfect.  After finishing it, they challenged us to do the bone marrow shot, which is where they fill it with Bourbon and you take the shot luge-style.  I opted to let my husband have his moment of glory by letting him be the sole shot-taker.  He said he wasn’t sure if it was the grossest thing he’s ever tasted or the most delicious.  I would certainly say it’s worth the try!  As for the rest of our food there, it wasn’t extremely notable, which was disappointing.  However, I would definitely go back and make a tapas lunch out of it by ordering many of their tasty apps.

 

Estes Park

Rocky Mountain National Park
THIS IS A MUST!!  We were taken aback in awe as we ventured through the mountains and I would highly recommend it to anyone making a trip to Colorado.  We rented a Jeep Wrangler which made the experience even better.  We ventured to many ridges and took the time to park and hike around.  Our favorite area of the park (and the whole trip, for that matter), was Bear Lake.  Even in May, there was still snow on the ground and the lake was still frozen.  As a Floridian, this is especially exciting, but I think to anyone it would be equally as stunning.  The trails around the lake were a blast and there were many places to explore.  I would recommend spending the majority of your day at Rocky Mountain National Park – there is so much to do!  I would also suggest stopping by the visitor’s center in Estes Park.  They will point you in the right direction, give you helpful information about the trails, and they’ll let you know which routes are open (many were still closed for us due to snow).

Oskar Blues & Left Hand Brewing
These are both great breweries that are not far off the route from Boulder to Estes Park.

 

Talk about a fun-filled, adventurous trip!  If you have any suggestions of things to do in Colorado, please let me know in the comments below!  I’m sure we’ll be back in the near future! 🙂

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Happy travels!

Maegan

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