Now that we’ve been back a few days and I’m getting back into the swing of things, it’s time to write about our whirlwind trip. My major take away: Colorado is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. Despite arriving just after a snow storm, we dove right in to exploring! Our first stop, after coffee at the airport and picking up our SUV rental, was the Molly Brown House in downtown Denver. It was so snowy and cold, yet our tour group had at least 30 people – a testament to how compelling Molly Brown’s life was. This is one of Denver’s only house museums, and right from the bat we got the sense that folks in Colorado are passionate about protecting their history, a first impression that was reinforced at every stop on our trip. I left sufficiently inspired by this philanthropist, activist, feminist and independent lady. I would highly encourage anyone in the area to find out more about this site – we thoroughly enjoyed it.
We spent the rest of the snowy day in Boulder, and oh my, was it adorable. After an amazing BBQ lunch (thank you West End Tavern), we explored Pearl Street. I love cities with pedestrian malls and the deeper sense of interaction it gives people with their city – so I was so impressed with just how lively Boulder’s Pearl Street was, which makes sense considering this pedestrian mall has been a public institution since the 1970s. This is one aspect of Colorado cities that I really appreciated – how well traveled and well integrated into the city both Boulder’s Pearl St. and Denver’s 16th St Mall are. It turns out this was encouraged by legislation in 1970, when Colorado’s Governor John Love signed the Public Mall Act that allowed cities to shut down entire blocks of roads to construct pedestrian areas. Yet another reason in my book that this place would be an amazing place to live.
We wandered as long as we could stand the cold – it was only 30 degrees that day! – and drove to the Colorado Chautauqua. We got amazing views of the Flatirons covered in snow, and discovered that Colorado is very proud of its National Historic Landmarks! Quite a few of the buildings had NHL plaques, and this awesome site included plenty of interpretation. This is only Chautauqua west of the Mississippi River, and judging by how many cars were parked in front of its cabins, it’s still popular. As it should be, considering this was pretty much the most peaceful destination you could dream up.
The Colorado Chautauqua was founded in 1898 as a place to house summer lecture series for Texas schoolteachers, in a location that would offer cooler weather. It still operates today with lectures, concerts and films shown year round and 39 picturesque cabins at the foot of the Rocky Mountains available to rent. Cannot wait to stay here someday!