After nearly 5 months on the road we finally had our first visitors! My parents swung by Denver for a long weekend and we walked, ate, and drank our way through the city. Since Matt and I had only been in Colorado for three weeks at that point, we were doing a lot of exploring of our own.
We started the weekend off with a visit to The Health Center for some lollipops before heading to the Five Points Jazz Festival. The festival was held in the Five Points neighborhood, which was a prominent performance location for many Jazz greats including Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, and Nat King Cole. The music was great, but Jan’s favorite part was probably the dancing woman in a crop top. We downed some bratwurst and pulled pork, washed it down with beer and a hurricane, and called it a morning. That officially checked off everything Ralph wanted to do during his time here and it was only 11am!
The weather was amazing (it is Colorado, after all), so after a brief nap poolside, we walked miles around the city. Our first stop was at Great Divide for a couple of flights and a brewery tour. The winners were the Titan IPA, Old Ruffian (a barleywine), and the Chocolate Oak Aged Yeti (an imperial stout). The brewery was impressively large; their tank farm is outdoors and you can see if driving or walking by. We walked by Coors Field on our way to dinner, but unfortunately there wasn’t a game that weekend 😦 Dinner was at Park and Co. where the burgers were nice, but the Brussels sprouts were lacking.
We ventured up to Boulder on Sunday for some hiking and general exploring. Boulder is a quick 40 minute (30 mile) drive from Denver, and very worth the trip. We headed to Settler’s Park to hike the Red Rocks trail; a 2 mile loop that meanders up to some red rocks which are perfect for scrambling and offer some spectacular views. The trail starts out through a valley before climbing up to the rocks. Matt, Jan, and I did some scrambling while Ralph and Snickers hung back and served as our photography crew.
The 2 mile loop was a great intro, but Mount Salinas had us wanting more. Luckily everyone was game, so we began the climb. Despite what Ralph and Jan say, we weren’t actually trying to kill them with the hike…altitude just really takes a toll. This trail was very busy and we passed (or rather were passed) by many people going up and down. The views from the top were well worth the climb, and I think that Ralph may have found his new favorite spot. After the hike, we stopped for some lunch and beers at Twisted Pine Brewery (I hear they have a Ghost Face Killah beer made with ghost chiles that will melt your face off) before wandering around Pearl Street.
The rest of the trip was much more low-key since Matt and I both had to work, but we still managed to squeeze in some fun. Jan and Ralph hit up the zoo, which we’ll have to add to our list of things to do before we leave. We walked to Cheesman Park – one of our favorite places to walk/run, ate tacos at Dos Santos, and gorged ourselves on desserts at D Bar. Seriously, if you like sweets, you should definitely try this place out. We split the prix fixe and the chocolate cake got 8 thumbs up. We couldn’t end the trip without some beer, so we walked down to Colfax and got some suds at Lost Highway Brewing. They’ve got some really neat 32 oz. “crowlers” (cans) that they’ll fill up for you to go. The bartender also made us a chocolate banana brew that was a mix of the Longest, Wickedest Wit and Fourth Estate (a Belgian chocolate stout). The Fourth Estate was like drinking chocolate, but all the beers we had were equally tasty.
Before we sent them off, we sent Ralph and Jan to Voodoo Donuts. Since they didn’t make it out to visit us – and the original shop – in Portland this was the next best thing. We didn’t get anything crazy, but the apple fritter, glazed, and custard filled hit the spot.
Thanks again for visiting us, parents! We really enjoyed having you in town.