Things to do in Denver "before" you die.

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May 10th 2010
Published: May 12th 2010
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Come west to ColoradoCome west to ColoradoCome west to Colorado

Enjoy the colorful rock and earth
Well…the title is a play on words for those not familiar with the movie starring Andy Garcia, but hey, how can you not work with a title like that?

“I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” -Robert Louis Stevenson

This quote fits us like finely tailored clothing. Every other month or so we find ourselves on the move, exploring places, see new things and meeting new people. The cool part is that now we plan our little adventures in advance. After all, anticipation is part of the fun, no?

When most people think of traveling to place in the continental U.S., the familiar destinations pop up: LA, New York City, San Francisco, Las Vegas (although most don’t talk about everything that goes on in Sin City).

Want a not-so-well known travel gem? That’s the Mile High City, Denver. Only spending a few days here is a tremendous injustice, but we’ve only got a few days. We had some frequent flyer miles to burn, so off we went, to the hidden gem that is the city of Denver.

Ever tried to cash in frequent
Castles of ColoradoCastles of ColoradoCastles of Colorado

The Castle Marne Bed & Breakfast is awesome!
flyer miles? Well for starters, you can’t always get what you want as the Stones would tell you. We flew from our abode in Pittsburgh south some 800 miles to Atlanta and then to Denver from there. Oh well, what can you do except turn off all electronic devices, hope that there aren’t many screaming, incredibly poorly behaved children kicking the back of your seat, wrap the cozy travel pillow around your neck and take as many naps as possible? After all, aren’t those airline magazines stunningly boring? And where would I put that giant world map they advertise in the Sky Mall magazine?

The next thing you know, you’re on approach to Denver, which is located at the foothills of the majestic Rocky Mountains and the pilot comes on to inform you that there are some pretty nasty winds swirling and that the landing could be bumpy. This was a classic understatement as the wings shimmied, the plane rocked back and forth and then BAM! We hit the runway hard, bounced a bit and then cruised to the gate. The gent next to MJ who appeared to be in the Air Force observed that the plane was
Stain Glass WindowStain Glass WindowStain Glass Window

At the Castle Marne Bed and Breakfast.
listing to the left somewhat and that perhaps a strut had been damaged on impact with the concrete runway.

We’ve always believed in the adage that a good landing is one you walk away from, so off we went, first to the tram, then the shuttle bus, and finally to the “mystery selection” from the car rental company. This is a fairly entertaining process as you reserve online for a good price and the company tells you they will choose the vehicle, which at minimum will be a mid-sized car or better. What this really means is that for the price they will unload one of the “excess” vehicles they have for this special rate. The friendly representative at the car rental counter tells us to go out to the lot and choose from the selection provided. The next thing you know we are in a green Dodge Caravan headed for uptown Denver and the comfort of the Castle Marne, a bed and breakfast inn in an older neighborhood just east of downtown Denver.

Since we arrived on Cinco de Mayo we thought we should have dinner in a Mexican Restaurant. Certainly a city that hosts the largest Cinco de Mayo festival in the U.S. would contain a great Mexican restaurant. But how to know which one to pick? This is easily solved by placing our behinds on a barstool in the LoDo district of Denver. LoDo stands for “lower downtown.” Lower downtown must have too many syllables for the hip crowd, so it’s called the LoDo district. Re-gentrified to find new ways to take lots of money from folks who used to spend it at malls. So all you have to do is sit, have a beer, and chat up the barmaid at Scruffy Murphy’s on Larimer Street, who gladly tells you where to go to find authentic cuisine. For the record, Colorado has more microbreweries per capita than any other state. We landed at Corzon’s. The food was wonderful and made our taste buds dance!! Add this restaurant to your list. This is some real Mexican food. The price was right the entrees were $7 and $8.

But back to the digs we selected to rest our weary bodies. We splurged on this trip and decided to stay at the Castle Marne which is rather spectacular Capitol Hill residence that came to life in 1889.
Cinco de Mayo FestivalCinco de Mayo FestivalCinco de Mayo Festival

Lots of fun and dancing.
The owners have shared with us the history of the castle and talked with us about the changes in Denver since MJ lived here 32 years ago. We love to stay in B&B’s because we enjoy talking with new people and hearing their stories.

We met Alice, Alameda and Rachel who were friends in LA in the early 70’s. They ended up living in different directions- Columbia, Missouri, Toronto and here in Denver. It was fun listening to them reminisce and get caught up because they had not seen each other in the past 15 years. Alameda is a world traveler like many of you who blog on this website. She lives in Paris six months a year and Toronto six months a year. You would have loved listening to her stories of Vienna and her travels around the world. Rachel who is now 83 and looks in her 60’s kept teasing her friends and telling us that she told them not to come visit. They ignored her and were having a grand time. Listening to them talk is the stuff that ends up in book that Oprah would rave about, put it on the list, and watch it
Fun at the FestivalFun at the FestivalFun at the Festival

Happy Cinco de Mayo
sell a million copies and end up on the NY Times best seller list.

We spent the next few days just taking in the city and its surrounding communities. The weather cooperated and most days were sunny and just a little cool.

For you music lovers Red Rocks Amphitheatre, located just outside the city of Denver is one of the masterpieces of the world for seeing and listening to a concert. The acoustics are amazing. Since the 1940’s this natural rock formation has been for public concerts and events. On the day we visited Red Rocks Amphitheatre we went to enjoy the view. We also watched many young men and women running the stairs to get into shape. Several were in training for marathons and an Iron Man competition. This is the place to come if you want to see if you are in good shape!

We also dined at the Marrakech restaurant on Blake Street in the LODO district. The food and atmosphere were very authentic. We were shocked that the place didn’t have more customers as the cuisine was delightful.

This adventure was made complete when Dave was able to hook up with one of his old college buddies, Dale Moss. He moved to Fort Collins some 14 years ago and has made his mark with a great niche business, the Harlem Ambassadors. Check them out at their website to get a glimpse of an offering that will provide great family entertainment send a positive message as well. Reconnecting with old friends is one of those priceless moments in life.

We bid adieu the following morning, but reflect upon a nice voyage out west to one of the unique and great cities of America.

And now for some information about the state that only you hard core readers have even the most remote interest in:

Historical tidbits; Colorado has inspired many composers and lyricists. Perhaps the best known story is that of Katharine Lee Bates drafting her most famous poem "America the Beautiful" at the summit of Pike's Peak during the summer of 1893. After revising the poem in 1904 and again in 1913, it was set to the tune "Materna" composed by Samuel A. Ward. Of course neither the poem nor the resulting beloved patriotic-song is just about Colorado, rather they are a tribute to the whole country. However
Denver Capitol BuildingDenver Capitol BuildingDenver Capitol Building

The riches of the gold dome
the "purple mountain majesties" that started it all are Colorado's own.

Climate: Nothing is more misunderstood than Denver’s climate. Located just east of a high mountain barrier and a long distance from any moisture source, Denver has a mild, dry and arid climate, The city receives only about 15 inches (20 cm) of precipitation a year ( similar to LA), and records 300 days of sunshine a year- more annual hours of sun than San Diego or Miami Beach. Take that you sun seekers!! Winters are mild with an average daily high of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, 7 degrees Celsius in February. Golf courses remain open year around. Who knew??

Denver is known as the “thinnest” city in America and Colorado is tied as the “thinnest” state with Hawaii. The active lifestyle in Denver, the great weather, the abundance of recreational opportunities and the high education level are credited for this fact. Looks like these folks get out and make it happen!

For you nature lovers—The mountainous area of Colorado is six times the size of Switzerland, containing 9,600 miles (15,449km) of fishing streams, 2850 lakes and more than 1,00 peaks 2 miles (3218km) high. Take that you
City SunsetCity SunsetCity Sunset

Not a great photo but the colors are wonderful!!!

.Does Colorado and Denver have it all? Nope….but they have quite a bit to offer!
If you want to discover America, Colorado must be on the list.

Additional photos below
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Red Rocks AmpitheatreRed Rocks Ampitheatre
Red Rocks Ampitheatre

You must attend a concert here.
Denver City ViewDenver City View
Denver City View

From Red Rocks
Corazon Mexican CafeCorazon Mexican Cafe
Corazon Mexican Cafe

Amazing food-- dinner was worth the trip to Denver
Scruffy Murphy'sScruffy Murphy's
Scruffy Murphy's

Sipping a few brews while deciding what to do in Denver.
Stairway to heavenStairway to heaven
Stairway to heaven

a beautiful bed & breakfast
Castle Marne BreakfastCastle Marne Breakfast
Castle Marne Breakfast

Fabulous every morning.
Hapa Sushi BarHapa Sushi Bar
Hapa Sushi Bar

yummy calamari
College buddiesCollege buddies
College buddies

Reunions are fun!
Dinner at MarrakeshDinner at Marrakesh
Dinner at Marrakesh

Located on Blake Street
Never grow upNever grow up
Never grow up

Halloween or Cinco de Mayo

12th May 2010

Goin crazy
Always interesting guys! I am going crazy on one little thing. Living in Colorado MJ. Was that before nursing school? I was thinking you went there after...but as I'm waking went there before we met didnt you? Keep those blogs coming1 Love
13th May 2010

Great article!
Fantastic article -- glad you had a good time in the Mile High City. If anyone reading is interested in visiting, is a great resource, with info, deals, events, feature articles and more. Thanks! Come back soon.
4th December 2010

I was just there in October and your blog reminded me of why I enjoyed it so much! Thanks for a great story.

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