Travel Diary: Colorado Edition

Hi friends!
We recently ventured to beautiful Colorado with the hope of spending time exploring the woods & mountains, disconnect from the day-to-day, and find new inspirations for the fall season! So we packed up our cars, gathered a few of our closest friends and the eight of us braved the 8-10 hour drive from Omaha! Our drive was made a little longer because Louise and I INSISTED on stopping at a brunch place in Denver called Sassafras. What can we say…we LOVE brunch.

The drive actually wasn’t too bad. We did have to split our group between 2 cars. Ours was nicknamed car T-BAD, as that is all of our initials. Honestly, though, it’s hilarious and I loved it. We left at about 5 AM and spent the majority of the drive aggressively jamming out to a lot of Childish Gambino, early 2000’s rock/emo anthems, and laughing along to plenty of comedy podcasts. This is the main reason I was down for the road trip instead of flying, there’s just something so very bonding about the experience.

Hopefully, you enjoy our little travel diary below. It was a really fun and eventful vacation! Louise and I almost always come home from these types of vacations almost needing another vacation to recover from the main vacation! Was that too many “vacations” for one sentence? WHOOPS, I’ll just jump into it!


Our AirBnB

All photos are by our amazing Louise Jones

All photos are by our amazing Louise Jones

Just a few shots of the eclectic mountain decor

Just a few shots of the eclectic mountain decor

The STUNNING view from the back porch

The STUNNING view from the back porch

After our crazy 10 hour drive, and a pit stop for brunch in Denver, we settled into our Airbnb just outside of a small mountainside town called Nederland. We took an hour or two to decompress, unpack, and just generally settle into our space for the next four days. When we couldn’t put off our hunger any longer we headed into town for some groceries and what not to tide us over in between the weeks outings. For dinner that night we stopped into a local Nederland pizzeria called Crosscut. Louise and I both heard rave reviews from many family and friends, and boy did it not disappoint! We wish we’d had more time to go back, but there’s always too many places we want to eat when we travel!

Most of our time spent in our home away from home was spent in the mornings for coffee and breakfast, for those that woke up early enough(i.e. not myself….I’m a late sleeper ¯\_(ツ)_/¯,) or at night after a day full of shenanigans. Our cabin had a hot tub a few of us utilized in the evenings. It was a great spot to relax, and just look at the clearest sky full of stars we’d ever seen. Other than that we spent our time playing board games we brought with us, or watching The Shining. Some may think watching a scary movie in a secluded cabin in the mountains sounds like a terrible time…it honestly wasn’t as bad as it seems!


Boulder/The Flatirons

Our first full day was August 24th, and was our friend Joey’s birthday! We ate breakfast at the house while we roughly planned out the rest of our day trying to give Joey first pick at whatever we did. We ventured out for lunch at a place on his list called The Sink. It’s a famous spot in the college town of Boulder. It’s a very veryyyy interesting restaurant with quite the back story! The food was great, there was very thought-provoking murals, albeit a tad strange, and would definitely recommend it to anyone!

From there we split up. Half of our group went to explore Boulder and all it had to offer(mostly up and down Pearl St.) while the other half, including Louise and I, decided to try our hand at hiking up to the Royal Arch! It’s one of the three Flat Irons peaks down below. We’d only sort of researched this hike beforehand and let me tell you, we were not prepared! If you’ve read through our previous posts you know we’re no stranger to hiking, as we did plenty in our two weeks in Hawaii. This was so much more difficult in so many different ways. The altitude was the main culprit, but we took our time, drank as much water as we could, and by the end, we felt on top of the world. There are even some photos Louise took where you can see the curve of the Earth on the horizon! It truly was worth every brutal step to the peak.

After our 4 hour trek, yes…FOUR HOURS, we met back up with our friends for dinner. We walked around Pearl Street again, and a trip to the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop was a must after dinner! After we drove back through the winding mountain roads back to our cabin. We spent the rest of the night playing our favorite board games, eating an entire Costco sized bag of Hi-Chews, and getting way too paranoid when we couldn’t figure out why we lost our wifi connection. Let’s be honest here, being secluded on the side of a mountain sounds fun…until you have no way to contact the outside world. YIKES.

All three Flat Irons from our starting point! The peak on the left is where the Royal Arch is located.

All three Flat Irons from our starting point! The peak on the left is where the Royal Arch is located.

When millennials hike…

When millennials hike…

We make sure we get some quality content ;)

We make sure we get some quality content ;)

Our view of the middle peak.

Our view of the middle peak.

This is the photo you can see the curve of the Earth.

This is the photo you can see the curve of the Earth.

Royal Arch with Louise, myself, and friends for scale.

Royal Arch with Louise, myself, and friends for scale.


Bob Ross Day!

Day 2 was a pretty relaxing day. We all split up with different plans. Majority of our friends ventured into Denver to go through a full Coors Brewery Tour that would take up a good portion of the day. Louise, myself, and our friend David decided to venture down to the little town just down the road from our cabin. Nederland is the cutest little town, and we had a great time walking through all of their shops. My favorite spots were Blue Owl Books & Coffeehouse, a gem and crystal shop, and the apothecary! We got a little bit of a late start, due to my tendency to oversleep, so we didn’t have a chance to check out every shop, sadly.

The three of us then killed time in Boulder again, while the rest of our group killed time in Denver, for our Bob Ross painting class to start. More on that in a minute, I promise! I think the guys went to Shake Shack and wandered around Denver, but we decided to check out the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art and the Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. I didn’t get any photos in the museum, but the teahouse was STUNNING. The food and teas were delicious, and honestly the three of us could not stop talking about how beautiful the place was. Turns out every piece of the teahouse was shipped over from Tajikistan!

Now, for the main event of the day, BOB ROSS! We met up just outside of Denver around 5PM for our painting class at our instructors home. She’s a certified Bob Ross Instructor, which is apparently a thing, and now Louise and I have a career fallback! She had 3 dogs that watched us as we painted our happy little trees and mountains, and she was also the sweetest instructor. By the end we all had our own mini-scapes to take home with us. We of course had to take a picture with Bob and our paintings. Let us know in the comments which one you think is best! Dinner, hot tub, and stargazing ended out our night back at the cabin!

Loved this cute little coffeehouse! ^

Loved this cute little coffeehouse! ^

All 8 of us and our paintings! Let us know in the comments which one you think is the best!

All 8 of us and our paintings! Let us know in the comments which one you think is the best!


Estes Park

On our last full day we had planned on spending time in Estes Park and at the Rocky Mountain National Park. We decided on lunch at a BBQ spot, and after going to the wrong place and a quick but amazing run in with some elk we made it to our destination! After lunch our plans quickly changed! Louise had spotted a ski lift looking contraption on our way into town, and while at lunch had discovered there was a coffee shop at the top that gave you peanuts to feed chipmunks. Safe to say she was SOLD. Now, I’m not much of a heights person, however I’m also not one to miss out on fun experiences due to fear. So we split up again, and four of us went to the top of a mountain to have the time of our lives feeding chunky little chipmunks while the other four explored Estes and started on their fantasy football drafts.

While we were in the lift down we discovered that we were within walking distance of The Stanley Hotel. Which I personally didn’t realize was a big deal until it was explained to me that it was the hotel that Stephen King stayed in and it inspired his book The Shining. That makes sense, considering I’d never seen the movie. While a few of the guys were working on their fantasy football at a Starbucks we walked up to The Stanley, took a million pictures, wandered around everywhere we could, and visited the gift shop. We decided if we ever came back we’d have to save enough money to stay in one of the haunted rooms.

This night was much more chill since it was our last night. We all just picked up dinners to take back to the cabin. We spent one last night in the hot tub, and ended our night with a viewing of The Shining. Once everyone heard I’d never seen it the decision was made! The next morning, by the time I woke up, it was just the T-BAD car crew, so we did a quick Leo & Wren photoshoot around the cabin and then went on our way!

View #1 right off the ski lift

View #1 right off the ski lift

View #2!

View #2!

The view of Estes Park on our way back down.

The view of Estes Park on our way back down.

Cute chonky boy grabbing a peanut

Cute chonky boy grabbing a peanut

Chonky boy chompin away!

Chonky boy chompin away!

The majestic Stanley Hotel.

The majestic Stanley Hotel.

I hope you liked this kind of travel diary style post! It was a lot of fun to write. We definitely want to return to Colorado, so let us know below what your favorite places are! We welcome any and all suggestions.

Thanks for being a part of this adventure,
Ashli

Leo & WrenComment