The first flight I ever took in my life was to visit family and friends out in Colorado. Every year, I still find myself making the trek out west at least once a year to this majestic state and I’m still equally as captivated by it as my first visit. I could and I’m sure will post a few entries about this state in time to come, but to start, I wanted to share a few of my favorite spots I’ve visited over the years.
1. Glenwood Springs
A two hour drive from Denver, this has become one of my favorite spots for some R&R. We stayed at the Historic Hotel Colorado – located just across the street from the iconic hot springs. The Hotel Colorado has an incredible history dating back to visitors including Theodore Roosevelt, Al Capone, and Doc Holiday. According to legend, the teddy bear came into existence at Hotel Colorado. The story goes that Hotel Colorado maids presented Theodore Roosevelt with a stuffed bear pieced together with scraps of fine material to cheer him up after an unsuccessful day of hunting. Later, we he did bag a bear, his daughter Alice admired it and declared she’d call it Teddy.
Glenwood Hot Springs Pool is the largest hot springs pool in the world. We spent the morning soaking and relaxing in the pools taking in the view of the Rockies and deep blue Colorado skies. The town itself is full of historical buildings, coffee shops, brewpubs, and boutiques. We ate the Riviera Supper Club, a local hangout started in the 1940s that offered an impressive wine selection and happy hour menu.
2. Buena Vista
Located right next to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs, we decided to stop in Buena Vista for a quick bite on our drive back to Denver from Independence Pass. We ended up having dinner at Eddyline Brewery and had the best burgers I’ve ever had in my life. Not too far from Buena Vista is the town of Nathrop, where on a separate trip we went horseback riding. Buena Vista itself is pretty small, but if you’re making it out to the hot springs, I’d definitely encourage stopping to see this cute little town.
3. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs
Another relaxing hot springs spot, Mt. Princeton Hot Springs served as a great weekend getaway being only a short drive outside of Denver. Although we weren’t able to enjoy the actual hot springs when we were there due to high rainfall, spending some time relaxing by the pools, hot tubs, and taking in the sunset from our cabin made this one of my favorite spots in Colorado.
Boulder is just the coolest. Hands down. One of my favorite spots when I’m in town is the Kitchen Next Door. I don’t think there’s a better casual spot for farm-to-table cuisine and craft beer. And after all, isn’t that what Colorado is all about?
5. Estes Park
Estes Park, located in Rocky Mountain National Park, is a great place to start your Colorado adventure especially if it’s your first time visiting. Also, I may be a little bias since my sister had her wedding at a resort in Estes.
Apart from the obvious of being an incredible ski town, Breckenridge is a place where winter actually comes alive. We stopped for lunch on a drive home through the mountains when the Dew Tour was in town, and the energy was incredible. Grabbing a hot chocolate and staring out the window as the snow falls down over the mountains is something I wish I could do everyday.
7. South Park
South Park is a grassland flat along Highway 285. My first time horseback riding was in South Park at a ranch called American Safari Ranch. I fell in love with the paint horse, Cherokee, I was given to ride and I’m convinced my love affair began with the west at this moment. Although I wouldn’t consider this a “destination”, I would consider the stretch through South Park one of the most beautiful stretches I’ve ever driven through. If you have the option to drive here on the way back from the mountains, make sure to take it!