It has been about three weeks since Kyle and I returned from our honeymoon in Colorado, so I figure it’s about time that I share some pictures. We had such an amazing time and we felt so fortunate to take a weeklong break, surrounded by beautiful scenery, after all the excitement leading up to the wedding. I forgot to pack my phone charger so I was actually almost completely unplugged for the first two days of our trip. It was absolute bliss! I learned that I definitely need to unplug more often. We spent time in Denver, Breckenridge, and Boulder during our six day trip. This post is a long one, for your long holiday weekend. I hope you enjoy these highlights from our action-packed week!
We flew into Denver on day one. Unfortunately due to some extremely frustrating flight delays (grrrr. . .), we were about four hours late getting to Denver that first day. After a long day of travel, we gave up on our plans for a romantic dinner and opted instead to check into our hotel and order in some pizza and beer while watching one of the Presidential debates. Not the most luxurious way to spend the first day of our honeymoon, but it was actually really nice to just decompress together.
The next morning we headed downtown to the 16th Street Mall, which is a long stretch of stores and restaurants right in the middle of Denver. We stopped into a few stores and did some people watching while having coffee and breakfast. From there we took a long walk to the Denver Bicycle Café, which is a combination bicycle repair shop and bar that serves espresso, coffee drinks, beer, and light fare. We enjoyed looking at all the vintage bikes around the shop and the espresso was excellent. I wish our bike shop at home had an espresso bar in it!
We also checked out Watercourse Foods for lunch. We were very impressed with the 100% vegetarian menu at Watercourse. There were also several vegan and gluten-free options available. It was so exciting to be presented with a several-page menu full of things we could eat. We are so used to going to restaurants and having just one or two vegetarian choices, so it is always a real treat to have a lot of options. I don’t have photos of our food because my phone was dead at the time and I hadn’t figured out our new camera yet (I know, I’m such a grandma sometimes when it comes to technology). That was a real shame because these plates were gorgeous. I had one of the best salads of my life, and Kyle had a Buffalo tempeh dish. I have a feeling we could have eaten every meal of the whole trip at Watercourse Foods and would have been happy.
In the afternoon, we strolled around the neighborhood a bit more, did some sightseeing and shopping, then spent a ridiculous amount of time at Great Divide. True story: we got a little turned around while trying to find the Great Divide tap room. We were just two blocks away and could not figure out how to get there when we picked up on the faint smell of mash in the air. We literally followed our noses to the brewery and tasted several beers when we got there. The bartenders were super friendly and helpful. They were also extremely entertaining the entire time, as they engaged in such shenanigans as playing one of my favorite games from childhood: “the floor is lava.”
We only spent the day in Denver to acclimate to altitude, so that evening we hit the road for a two hour drive to Breckenridge. We were a little sad to leave Denver because we had a lot of fun there in just under 24 hours. Kyle and I were not expecting much from Denver, so we were pleasantly surprised to find such great people and places there. We felt like we fit right in in the mile high city.
The main event was Breckenridge, where we stayed in a one bedroom condo for four nights. It was a much slower pace than Denver, which was very relaxing. We had sweet accommodations a few blocks from town, with a gorgeous view and many nice amenities like hot tub access, an adorable fireplace in the living room, and a full kitchen. Yes, I did cook dinner while on vacation. . . twice! We got a great deal on this trip because it was the off season: too cold for summer activities like kayaking and not cold enough for winter activities like skiing. Our goal was to do some hiking and cycling, so with a forecast of clear skies and temperatures in the fifties all week, we were excited to explore the town like locals during the seasonal lull in tourism.
One of my favorite places to eat in Breck was Amazing Grace Natural Eatery. We went here for breakfast on one day and lunch on another. They have a beautiful wood stove that heats up the whole café.
For breakfast on the first day, Kyle ordered a breakfast burrito.
I ordered “The Opus,” scrambled eggs with spinach and tomato on a homemade biscuit. The biscuit was out of this world amazing!
While flipping through the local daily newspaper, I discovered this.
Say what?! It turned out that the forecast had changed overnight, and Breckenridge was expecting snow the whole week. In a hurry to get our outdoor activities in before we got snowed in, Kyle and I found a bike rental shop and got advice on some local rides. We decided to bike from Breckenridge to Frisco, a 9-10 mile ride, have lunch in the tiny former mining town of Frisco, then bike back to Breckenridge. We lost 500 feet of elevation on the way down to Frisco, which meant our ride back was mostly uphill. Oh, and we were riding back into the wind as well. You better believe I had a huge bowl of soup for lunch to keep me warm for the return trip.
I had never biked more than 10 miles in a day before, so logging 20 miles on our first day at high altitude was quite an accomplishment for me. Most of the ride was breathtakingly beautiful. I am sure that the diminished oxygen content of the air at 10,000 feet and my exercise-induced asthma were also contributing factors. Seriously, breathtaking. Some parts of the ride were extremely difficult for me, but I was determined to finish. The bike path was the nicest I had ever ridden, and even though the ride was a bit of an endurance test, I would do it again if I had the chance. I can’t put into words the feeling you get while biking a winding path over rolling hills in the majestic Rocky Mountains, with the crisp breeze in your face and the smell of snow in the air.
As we biked back into town, the wind smacked into us and made my cheeks sting. When we arrived at the bike rental shop, the snow started softly coming down and it did not let up for a few days. When we woke up in Breckenridge for the first time, we looked out the window and saw the town covered in white.
We decided it was unsafe to attempt hiking Mohawk Lake in the snow and ice, so we hung out in town instead.
One of the highlights was our private tour of the original Breckenridge Brewery, which I will explain in further detail in a separate post.
One of the vegetarian friendly places in Breckenridge is Lucha Cantina, which has delicious burritos and great happy hour specials. The prices are really reasonable and most of the dishes can be made vegetarian. I particularly enjoyed trying their four different homemade salsas.
One of our dear friends bought us a couples massage at one of the spas in Breckenridge, which we thought was one of the coolest wedding gifts ever! After playing around in the snow all day and enjoying a few Breckenridge Brewery beers, we headed over to Ambika for a therapeutic couples massage. I wonder if the masseuses could tell we were just a little tipsy. . . It was a very relaxing experience.
Another one of our favorite places in Breckenridge was Clint’s Bakery and Coffee House. This place has some awesome breakfast food, including a parmesan pepper bagel that will knock your socks off. One of the house specialties is a steel cut oatmeal with granola and dried fruit that was once featured in Bon Appetit magazine. The whole place smells like cinnamon, and there is always something baking. The coffee is pretty good too. It comes from a roaster in nearby Vail. This place seemed like the most popular coffee shop for locals but they were friendly to us out-of-towners too.
On our third day in Breckenridge, we decided to drive to Boulder to visit Avery Brewing Company and check out the town which we had heard so many great things about. Hiking was still out of the question, as the snow was still falling and we didn’t want to become lost hikers out in the wilderness. Boulder supposedly draws a lot of active people and outdoor enthusiasts. We had also heard that it was pretty vegetarian friendly.
We were shocked at how many different beers Avery had on tap. We ordered ten different beer samples and still had not tried everything on the menu. I had to order the Lizzie Lee’s Riverside Ale; how could I not order a “wedding ale” on my honeymoon?
After Avery, we headed downtown to Mountain Sun (another brewpub!) for tempeh reubens and some more local beer. We explored the downtown area for a few hours and visited some great stores. I was getting used to having the mountains on the horizon and I realized in Boulder that it would be really weird to return to Richmond, where everything is flat, in just a few days.
We wished we had had more time in Boulder because we really wanted to check out the Celestial Seasonings tour that we couldn’t fit in, rent a tandem bicycle from Bikesmith, and do some hiking near the flatirons. The snow was beautiful and persistent. While I was disappointed that it prevented us from doing some of the more active parts of our trip, I think the unexpected snowfall helped us get the rest we needed after a few very busy months. The winter wonderland was pretty magical, and the roads were maintained so well while we were there that we did not feel trapped at all. We were really free to explore and wander without a plan, which is pretty foreign to me, but it was exactly the break I needed.
We are looking forward to visiting Colorado again in the future. For our first trip to the state and just 4 full days to work with, I think we did and saw a lot of the things on our list. On the drive back to the Denver airport on our last day, we even had time to stop at the Red Rocks Amphitheatre for a little while.
Colorado was absolutely gorgeous and of course after visiting, Kyle has decided that he wants to move there. I say “of course” because he also felt that way about Charlottesville, Asheville, and New York City after we spent time in each place. I would like to think that, while we have visited some amazing places, it’s not just the towns that he wants to revisit, but the experiences. I think the nostalgia has something to do with being in good company, if you know what I mean. I am thankful for the opportunity to begin our marriage with such a beautiful and inspiring trip, and I am excited for all of the adventures we have yet to embark on together.