2020 was a heck of a year for us. Ben and I both are restaurant management, an “essential service”, and were mentally tanked from all of the daily and weekly changes to procedures early on in the year. Ben’s dad also was diagnosed with cancer. We looked for mental breaks wherever we possibly could.
In 2020, we snuck away for 3 days to the Space Coast for a rocket launch, 3 days to the mountains and 3 days to Disney. We felt confident in our abilities to do justice to a quick getaway after all of our practice the year before, so when it was time to plan an anniversary celebration, we didn’t hesitate at a chance to slip away somewhere!
All I wanted to do was play in the snow, we missed every snowflake in 2020, so when we found cheap tickets to Denver for the end of March, we quickly made our plans for a 3 day weekend. Having previously packed full some of our quick trips, we didn’t have an exact itinerary, but you know your planning girl had options already researched and ready to choose from! Our basic outline was:
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate a few days before flying, especially before going from sea level to the Mile High City!
- Fly to Denver, pick up rental car, drive to Golden, explore locally.
- Pick a fun activity during the day, go snow tubing at night
- Drive back to Denver and fly home.
We were thankful to be flying in a newer model airplane, even if we weren’t with our beloved Delta, it was neat to have phone/tablet holders with chargers built in. We definitely preferred American over United.
Safely landed in Denver, I wisely listened to what my body was craving after large amounts of water and Gatorade- a cup of coffee! It gave me that little kick to help adjust to elevation and we found a really cool shop right there at the airport. They have walls full of beans and don’t grind them until you order. Pretty easy to get your best cup, not something generic.
We headed out in search of lunch and found a butcher to bistro shop, Blackbelly, in Boulder Colorado. Local and sustainable is always a win for lunch!
After lunch, we had a little time to kill, so we drove above Golden to take in a few views. From the drive on lookout Mountain, you can see all of Golden laid out before you and even the Coors Brewery.
A beautiful stop to see mountains all around, it was worth going all the way to the top!
Going to Lookout Mountain and Buffalo Bill’s Grave was a beautiful little stop to kill time before check in. It was a beautiful drive with stunning views and hiking trails all up and down the mountain. Definitely worth a visit when in Golden, even if Buffalo Bill’s is a little touristy. Later that evening we checked in to our hotel, The Table Mountain Inn. A sweet place with excellent reviews (so many people said “clean” and that was important to us) and American Southwest Charm. After that, it was on to a yummy dinner. Cast Iron Tavern is an unassuming looking place in a shopping center, but it absolutely delivers once you step inside the doors. The menu features elevated comfort foods and local influences. They highlight local breweries and all delivered by friendly laid back staff. This is the best food we had experienced in Colorado over two trips.
We had so much fun in just a few hours, but we were ready to snuggle in our bed and get some rest. Our morning adventure was on deck and ready to blow us out of the water!
The Colorado Railroad museum is a delight for kids and kids at heart. Historic train rides, a working mechanic shop (we spent a while watching, no shame), exhibits based on rail history, model trains and trains you never expected to see in real life all there on display. We climbed in cars and engines, saw some neat preservations in the works and rode around on a beautiful train that reminded me of Little House on the Prairie (it was from the 1870’s). Best for families, historians and lovers of adventure.
Walking around this massive historical playground, we worked up an appetite and made our way to Roaming Buffalo BBQ. You may be in Colorado, but this place tastes like the South. Sure, it’s got its signature Colorado lamb BBQ (bravo to them for helping bring back a lost tradition) and Bison Green Chile sausages, but the love in the banana pudding and collard greens gives away their secret that someone from the south helps in the kitchen. We got a 3 meat plate and tasted everything, then got a second order of our favorites. It was so good, we didn’t even take a picture. If every in the area, we will definitely be going back.
Time for the main reason we came to Colorado, to play in the snow! The closest place to still definitely have snow when we were researching and booking tickets was Echo Mountain. We reserved snow tubing around the time of Sunset.
Echo Mountain is the first ski stop of you are coming from Golden or Southern Denver and headed to the Vail area. It has views of the Continental Divide and pretty decent slopes. Even if it doesn’t compare to it’s bigger sisters further in the mountains, it worked for us. I wouldn’t have wanted to go much higher in elevation than its 10K we were at anyway. We were not at all disappointed and had a blast, even if it was only for an hour.
Once our fun was done, it was time to make our way down the mountain by the light of the silvery moon. And in the morning, home again, from a whirlwind trip to Colorado.