Sunday, April 29, 2012

From Buck Snort to Boulder

Colorado: just the name brings forth visions of snow-capped mountains, scenic trails winding through green meadows, clean air, healthy living, happy easy-going people (how can one not be happy in this heavenly land?), and just maybe John Denver, granola, Birkenstock sandals, and lots of breweries showcasing Colorado beer. But wait! It's no longer the 20th century, we're over a decade into the 21st, and Colorado has not been left behind. Matter of fact, once again, Coloradoans are far ahead of the gang when it comes to life in 2012. Breweries, yes they're still there, but that's so 1990's. Wineries? Got 'em, but so 2000. Now it's distilleries, particularly gin. Homes are tucked into faraway canyons, with people possibly commuting to cities like Denver, but more likely working remotely from their house, enjoying their view.

I haven't been to Colorado in a very long time. Work brought me to Boulder this past week, and I had a chance to take a few extra days to spend with one of my close college girlfriends, Diana. She landed in Colorado after college and never left. Diana is a distributor for body care products made by a number of businesses, and specializes in those that are mostly sold at health-food and holistic care stores. She knows Colorado and was the perfect host--not only did I have my pick of shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, and the like while visiting, but she is also an expert in herbalistic healing and an extremely creative cook, specializing in "mood" meals--foods that, when combined, evoke a particular mood, whether it be relaxing, energetic, or some other needed energy. She ran into friends practically everywhere we went; she knew the best places to hole up for a glass of wine or a cup of tea. She led us on great morning walks or to places to just sit and relax by a creek. To top it off, during the six days I was there (two plus a half-day visiting Evergreen, Di's home; and four days in Boulder), Colorado was experiencing an unusual heat wave. Temperatures were in the 80's; lilacs and tulips were in full bloom, trees were leafed out, and it was a very summer-like spring.

This blog entry will mostly be a photo journey; as they say, pictures say a thousand words. Captions will tell the story. Enjoy!!!

We first had to stop at Boulder's largest Whole Foods Market for
Di's work and to pick up a few tidbits for the weekend.

Ah, Whole Foods--even the carrots are displayed beautifully.
To say nothing of the gelato bar.

Leaving Boulder for Evergreen, Di's home.
Deer (and elk) roam near Di's house every evening.

House Beautiful.
I can't tell you how much I loved this painting Di just picked up
from getting framed. The gold and maroon aspen leaves popped
from the white aspen trees and blue sky. Little did I know...

...that this was a Di creation! (Diana Marie) Di, you rock!!!
Dinner that first day included a drive up a winding canyon
 to the Buck Snort Saloon, a mountain bar with a mountain bar scene.

With dollar bills tacked everywhere, the Midnight Flyers played a diverse mix
of Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band. I think they mixed it up some with a
Traffic and a Rolling Stones song interspersed in there somewhere. They were pretty
dang great, and it was a good stop for my first night in Colorado.
The next morning, a walk around the town's lake and a visit to
the Lake House, a public facility where an Earth Day festival
was drawing hundreds of people.

Shopping Evergreen on my first full day; a visit to
Creekside Cellars winery was in order.

Their Viognier was especially tasty. What you can't see due to the lighting
is a creek bubbling behind us. Ah. Life is good.
A birthday get-together for a friend of Di's brought us to the Little
Bear Saloon in downtown Evergreen for a quick happy hour (the wine, above,
was for lunch, silly!)

Take note of this name: Austin Young. He and his band, No Difference,
were playing at the Little Bear for an afternoon fest. Sixteen years old
and possibly the best blues guitarist I've heard live in years. Seriously amazing.
I heard folks say he's the "next Stevie Ray Vaughan" but to tell you the truth?
I think he's better!
Home for dinner: a "relaxing" mood meal of bison tenderloin in a
pomegranate marinade, green salad with thyme vinaigrette,
and chamomile risotto. With our Viognier and just a bit of Vouvray on the side.

Sunday's morning hike in a park that brought us to an old homestead with a view.

After some errands and shopping, we had an afternoon
of crochet lessons for Di and some homemade dandelion wine
and dandelion wine jelly and cream cheese on crackers.

Visiting Di's friend John, who is lucky enough to live
next to open public land; an afternoon hike was in order
before dinner.

Climbing up to a view---

Gnarled trees at the top, a product of living with the wind.
After enjoying the view, it was time to head back for what else,
more food!!!

Another Di masterpiece: Pomagranate margaritas, Swai fish with a
balsamic reduction sauce and capers topped with diced tomatoes;
broccoli salad with coriander ginger dressing; and crab enchiladas.
I have to split up the food pictures with something, so:
more wildlife sightings: elk in Evergreen...

...and fox with a mouse.
Back to food: Breakfast Monday morning. Leftover crab enchiladas
with an egg over-easy; smoked bacon; and greens with feta cheese.
Breakfast was a big one, as it was time to head back to Boulder--road trip! 
One of our first stops on the way to Boulder: Red Rocks Amphitheater.
I could only imagine enjoying a concert here; amazing!

Red Rocks is not only used for concerts; it's your basic outdoor gym.
Every day, dozens jog up and down the aisles, do push-ups
on the seats, and trot up and down the steps. It's a nice view, for sure.
And then...Boulder. The three "flat iron" rocks are the city's
backdrop. Here, we're hiking in Chataqua Park before heading for...
you guessed it, more shopping and food.

Shopping along Pearl Street; tulips are blooming and you
can find pretty much anything you want.
Afternoon tea at the Dushanbe Tea House. The building and its
interior decor were given to Boulder by its sister city, Dushanbe,
in Tajikitstan. Reflecting Persian influences, the tea house is an inviting
place to enjoy and taste some of their dozens of teas.

Over 40 artisans created this structure and its interior in Tajikistan,
where it was then disassembled, brought to Boulder, and re-assembled.
This statue is one of seven of the "Fountain of Seven Beauties."

To go with my Orange Blossom Mojito Green Tea, I had this
delicious salad with beets, roasted potatoes, egg, and a caper dressing.
Di had a lovely spinach salad and a White Peach Tea Wine Cooler. 

Wherever I go, I seek out yarn and bead shops. At "Shuttles,
Spindles, and Skeins," I learned how to spin yarn by one of the country's
foremost spinners, Maggie Casey, co-owner of this wonderful
yarn shop. With spindle, roving (pre-spun wool), and an instructional
book and DVD, I walked out of there with a new hobby and something
to remember Boulder by for a long time to come.

Alas, work beckoned. I had to bid "adieu" to Di, and settle into the
Hotel Boulderado, a historic hotel built in 1909. Simply stunning, the lobby
boasts ceramic tile floors, detailed and deeply polished wood bannisters
and staircases, and...

...its famous leaded glass ceiling, making the Boulderado perhaps one of the
loveliest hotels I've had the pleasure of visiting.

Even the elevator is the original Otis two-door
type; you need to find the elevator operator if you want to use it.
I spent three nights at the Hotel Boulderado, with my days taken up with a training workshop. Evenings were spent with my work group, and we enjoyed balmy nights and outdoor patios for dinner. I walked back and forth between our office and my hotel, a one-mile stroll through a historic neighborhood with well-kept bungalow houses.

Colorado was amazing--its beauty is just one reason to go there, but there's so much more. It's a vibrant place, full of people who are totally themselves and who appreciate--and take care of--their surroundings and their environment, for the benefit of all who live there. Go visit sometime, and say hi to my dear friend Diana, who was THE highlight, and the epitome of all things the state has to offer. Thank you, Di, for making Colorado a place I want to return to--soon!!!


  1. Nice trip Sue! You know that Di reps for Wyndmere Naturals, the finest essential oil products available? All the more reason to cherish your friendship! Rick

  2. Where can I sign up for such an amazing adventure? It sounds like a perfect combination of scenery, adventure and FOOD! So excited to visit Colorado with Trach and my awesome gal pals in November!!