Happy, happy birthday to me! Today I celebrated my 22nd birthday by waking up in our cute AirBnB just outside of Denver! Our first expedition of the day was at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs was a few hours south of our AirBnb, so we decided to set off first thing in the morning (after breakfast of course, because who do you think we are). As soon as we exited the metro area of Denver, the weather took a turn for the worse. It started sleeting, and icing while we were on the highway with semi trucks going 75+ mph. It was hella spooky, but we made it to Garden of the Gods (all in one piece!) right as the sun began to emerge. And man oh man, was it a beautiful site! We spent most of the morning climbing around on the rocks and photographing the surrounding area before heading back to one of the many breweries in Denver.
We decided to go to the Great Divide Brewery. It sort of seemed like it was in a sketchy location because there was a lot of road construction happening on the road outside the brewery. However, the inside of the building was super nice and had a great aesthetic for a beer joint. We hit up the taco truck outside before ordering a round of grapefruit beers and settled in for a rather enjoyable birthday lunch.
The final stop on our Colorado journey was at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Denver. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a huge art buff (and I’m actually studying art history in college – say whaaaat?). They had a small exhibit which featured Mexican artists throughout the museum.
We were exhausted once we finally returned to the Airbnb, so we simply ordered takeout sushi and ate dinner whilst watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix.
Honestly, I had the coolest birthday weekend, and I can’t wait to see the many adventures that 22 brings.
Minus the huge amount of snow and wind in Rocky Mountain National Park, the weather was nearly perfect in Denver, especially for late November. In order to take advantage of this, we decided to head to the Denver Botanical Garden on Monday morning. Even for late fall, the garden was spectacular. The tropical conservatory and the Japanese garden were definitely my two favorite sub gardens. The tropical conservatory was obviously indoors, so it wasn’t effected by the upcoming winter in the ways that the outdoor gardens were. They had a wide array of flowers and trees in the indoor space. Unbeknownst to many, we discuss a wide variety of gardens in many art history courses. One of my favorite garden types is the Japanese garden.
We definitely worked up an appetite wandering around all of the paths at the botanical garden, so we headed to Denver Central Market for lunch. There were around 10 spectate vendors in the interior space of the market. They served everything from artisanal chocolates and pastries, to BBQ and Italian cuisine. The interior of the building was decorated with hispter eclecticism. Stainless steel countertops, fashionable lighting, and neon signs stole the show. I decided to get the lemon ravioli at Vero, the Italian joint. In no way was my meal traditional Italian cuisine, but it was so good!
To burn off all of our lunch calories, we headed to the Museum of Science and Nature. Before we even saw the museum, we knew it was going to be crowded! We barley found a parking spot, and nearly ran over several small families who decided that darting across a busy street was a good idea. That being said, I am a museum person, meaning that I could spend my entire life going in and out of museums and be perfectly content. The Science and Nature museum had a wide array of exhibits from astronomy to dinosaurs and the human body. My favorite was Exhibition Health. Basically, when you entered the exhibit you got a little card which was your identification and you swiped it at each station. There were a bunch of different stations that measured your heart rate, your cardiovascular health, your height, and your arm span. But, the show stopper was the Genetics of Taste Lab. We participated in their study, where they are researching savory and sour flavors. The lab gave us each 5 different samples of liquid flavors which were either flavorless, sweet, sour, or savory. We marked how each sample tasted on a program. Most of my samples were flavorless or tasted a lot like beef, which was a wild ride for a 5 year vegetarian.
The sun was setting over Denver as we left the museum, so we walked along a nearby pond to admire the sunset on the mountains before heading to dinner at Tacos, Tequila, Whiskey. Since we went on Monday, it was happy hour and we splurged on guac and some really great margs as well as some of the most tasty tacos ever.
Wanna read more about my Colorado adventure? Check out these posts!
Thanksgiving break could not come soon enough to satisfy my heart. This semester has truly been a whirlwind for me. Earlier this semester I was initiated into Delta Phi Epsilon. Not only did I join DPhiE this semester, but I also served as the Vice President for my service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. Couple my social activities with my upper level classes, and my photography business, you can see why I have been counting down the days until Thanksgiving break.
Two of my friends and I decided to make the twelve hour trek from Missouri to Denver on the first Saturday of our break. We stayed in an AirBnB outside of Denver, in Aurora. The AirBnB mimicked the visual aesthetic that we expected of Colorado. It was oh so rustic, with a cute little loft for a living room.
Our first full day in the Centennial State was Sunday. I was lucky enough to wake up with the sunrise thanks to the skylight in the AirBnB (and snap several photos) before we headed out of Denver and into Estes Park.
Estes is a tiny little town at the base of Rocky Mountain National Park. Before heading into the park we got breakfast at Mountain Home Cafe. The cafe is a rustic joint that shares a shopping mall with a Safeway (throwback to the time that I lived in Oregon, and Safeway’s were on most corners). I ordered the Arizona hash browns. Living in Missouri, I’m way too accustomed to ‘spicy’ food consisting of an entree flavored with a lot of black pepper, and maybe if you’re lucky a splash of red pepper flakes. Thankfully, the hash browns were the perfect amount of spice, and flavor.
After breakfast we finally headed up into the mountains! This wasn’t my first time visiting the mountains, but it was the first time that I have visited in the snowy season. We do get some snow in the dead of winter in Missouri, but never never that much! We saw a bunch of people sledding, and a few people skiing within the park.
Once we had enough of the frigid temperates up in the Rockies, we headed back down into Boulder to get lunch at Happa, where I seriously had the best vegetarian sushi of my life. After lunch we did some window shopping on Pearl Street before heading to Eldorado Canyon State Park to watch the sunset.
Thankfully the park was mostly empty, and we had the beautiful sandstone cliffs mostly to ourselves. Anna and Garren spent a bunch of time climbing the cliffs while I prefer to keep photographed the beautiful scenery. Right as the sun disappeared from the sky for the evening, the sky turned a beautiful color. It was purple, pink, and blue all at the same time, and was swirled with gorgeous gold colored clouds. Never have I ever seen such a beautiful sunset!
Read more of my Colorado experience here and here!
about the blog
Writing about all things travel, vegan, and sustainable living. You’ll find me drinking chai tea lattes, and admiring succulents from afar. Outside of The Color Gold, I’m a college student studying art history at a small liberal arts college in the Midwest.