Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell said it pretty well. “Listen babe, ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low, ain’t no river wide enough baby. If you need me, call me, no matter where you are, no matter how far. Just call my name, you don’t have to worry, I’ll be there in a hurry.” There may not have been someone special I was singing for on my visits to Colorado, but driving through the mountains, I couldn’t help but belt it out.
Minus my singing, what a drive that was. Colorado is such a beautiful place! Driving just a few hours there, you drive through so many different terrains. I never anticipated that the mountains, from mile to mile, could differ so much. I have driven from Denver to Carbondale a few times, and each time I am in awe of the landscape around me. I have to admit, my favorite spot along the drive is outside of Glenwood Springs. The mountains (ain’t one high enough) become quite steep, the valley (ain’t one low enough) kind of engulfs you, and the river (ain’t one wide enough) winds beautifully along the scenic drive. It pretty much leaves you breathless.
I have yet to visit in the wintertime, but am sure it would be equally as beautiful. Although, maybe a little less fun to drive in! But, even in spring you get to see snow-capped mountains all around you. If you like nature and enjoying what this beautiful country of ours has to offer, I definitely recommend a visit to Colorado.
Now, what should you do when you are there, you ask? Well, let me suggest some things….
- Take a drive. Probably obvious from the above, but it is the best way to see the state. Be careful though! You are the mountains and the roads can get treacherous.
- Visit Vail! I loved it and am dreaming of going back to ski. Since I was there in the early fall, I got to enjoy the nature all around me. This included some un-natural nature…the shops! What can I say, Vail Village was to cute to resist. But, more importantly, I saw nature firsthand while hiking up Vail mountain.
- Now, I learned some things on this hike I probably should have known prior. So, I recommend doing your research, but here is what I found out…You shouldn’t hike alone. You should be aware of wild animals. (For some reason it never occurred to me that a mountain might have bears or mountain lions. Luckily I only saw a deer!) You should have lots of water. You should realize that the temperature will shift from the bottom (super hot) to the top (pretty chilly) of the mountain. You will be more out of breath than you think due to the altitude. You will feel so accomplished! While I maybe foolishly set off on a 3 hour hike up a 8,000+ foot mountain, alone, with one water bottle, I had no idea how proud of myself I would be! Maybe taking the adventure on alone made even more of an impact, but wow, the adrenaline rush it gave me was incredible. And my thighs got a weeks worth of workouts in one afternoon.
- I recommend staying at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort. It’s a lovely hotel that feels like a little German oasis. [All of Vail Village really feels that way.] They have a hot tub with awesome mountain backdrops, s’mores around the campfire each day, and are within walking distance to so many shops and restaurants.
- If you are in the mood for pizza, head to Blue Moose. After an intense hike, I was ready for some carbs. Blue Moose had gluten free pizza so I was sold. It did not disappoint.
- For those un-natural nature stops, aka the shops, I recommend Perch and Odd Molly. Both have very fashionable selections. Boutique stores like this are my favorite, since you always find unique items. I especially the loved the decor of Odd Molly. I wanted to move in!
- Soak in the nature, and well, just soak in the hot springs. One of the coolest memories I have is sitting in the natural hot springs at Iron Mountain Hot Springs, staring at the fire red mountain across the way, watching the trains pass, as it poured rain. It was just so neat! This place in particular has 16 small hot springs, all ranging in temperature, so it was fun to take my glass of wine and hop from one to the next. Here in Glenwood Springs, I recommend staying at the Courtyard Marriot, but would love to stay at The Hotel Colorado. It exuded old world charm and seemed so cozy and inviting.
- Get amused! At an amusement park that is.
- I passed one park, Glenwood Caverns, that was literally on top of the mountain. It seemed incredible. (Not enough time to stop sadly.) I can only imagine all of the adrenaline junkies in the world like to get their kicks here. I mean, can you imagine being on the swings ride as it stretches out over the mountain top?!
- In Denver I stumbled upon the abandoned Lakeside Amusement Park. I don’t know why, but an abandoned theme park has always been intriguing to me. I love looking at pictures of them, and seeing one up close and personal was pretty neat. This park put me in the shoes of Tom Hanks, in Big, as he stands on the boardwalk, staring at the fortune teller machine. This park was built in 1908, so definitely had the memories of a by-gone era all around.
- If you are in Denver and prefer a park that is actually still in operation, head to Elitch Gardens!
- Visit Boulder. You always hear about the hippie culture in Colorado, and Boulder is the perfect place to see that up close and personal. All hippies jokes aside, it is a pretty groovy place. Restaurants and shops galore, and street performers to entertain you as you stroll down Pearl Street. You will likely need some food during your visit, so I recommend either The Rio or West End. Both great options!
- Don’t get caught blushing at Red Rocks! Pun aside, I do recommend seeing a concert here, or going for a hike. It’s such a cool venue, which supposedly has amazing natural acoustics, and gets great performers to visit each year. If you can’t swing a concert while you are in town, they have some nice, short, hiking options, and then you can sit in the amphitheater after to relax. [Or run stairs if your heart desires. That’s what most people were doing!]
- Lastly, go back in the winter and ski! It’s on my list of things to do, and from everyone I know who lives there or visits, the skiing is top notch.
Signed with Style,