A Mile High Visit: Denver in a Week

My sister and best friend M, and my brother in law, C, had my family’s first grandson this past December. They live in Denver, so I was getting daily photo updates and frequent FaceTime sessions, but I couldn’t wait to meet little Louie in person. So when my mom told me our lovely neighbors had flyer miles that were about to expire, I jumped at the opportunity to head to the mountains. After nearly missing my flight and running through the terminal to score the last standby spot on the plane, M was waiting at DIA to scoop me up with our newest family member snoozing adorably in back.

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First Hellos

After a quick nap we were ready to get some grub. M, having been taking care of a newborn for the past six weeks, was excited to head out of the house with an extra set of hands to help her with Louie. We met up with one of M’s good friends, A, and her one year old baby girl at True Food Kitchen, a healthy lunch spot in Cherry Creek North.

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The place was packed! But the food was awesome and fresh and the babies were very well behaved. After ordering a fresh pressed juice to-go after our meal, we headed back home to rest before dinner.

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Cuddle Puddle with Louie and Ruby

For my first dinner in town M and I decided on Trillium, located in an up-and-coming-but-still-kind-of-sketchy part of Downtown Denver.

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M, looking beautiful as usual, ordered scallops over beet risotto.

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Gorgeous sister!

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I, of course, ordered the steak.

MEAT

MEAT

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Also, not seen, was our steaming plate of mussels and delicious cheese plate. The service was great, if not a little overly talkative…Overall we enjoyed the atmosphere, sipping ginger beers and giving M a well deserved break from being a new mom.

The next day, Saturday, my brother-in-law, C, headed up to Crested Butte for a ski weekend, so M and I hung out with Louie and Ruby, got them dressed, and went out on the town.

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He just falls asleep, regardless of where he’s at.

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Ruby, Rooster, Ruben, Rooby Dooby

We headed to City Park to meet M’s friend and take a long walk around the gorgeous area. M staged this shot to send to my mom, with the caption “Grace the new mom.” …yikes.

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a glimpse into the future, perhaps?

As it is hard for anyone to handle both an energetic dog and a newborn baby (albeit a VERY well-behaved one), we decided to drop Ruby at home at stop by the Lowry Beer Garden for Fish N’ Chips and Soft Serve. The beer garden is awesome; its in an old airplane hangar. It was super nice, sunny and 60, so we sat on the picnic tables outside and soaked up the sun; something I haven’t done in quite some time, with Chicago having one of the worst winters in history. The atmosphere is relaxed and fun; a great place to bring a group of friends for trivia or a round of bags.

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The next day I met up with one of my best friends, C, who was my lifesaver when I briefly lived in Denver. C lives in Boulder, so she was nice enough to scoop me up to head to the Highlands for brunch at Linger; a new hot spot located in the old Olinger Mortuary.

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After getting pretty lost (thanks for nothing, Siri) and finding parking, we headed into the packed space. We were starving so we chose to sit at the bar upstairs, rather than wait for a table on the sprawling ground level. Linger is lofty and cozy at the same time with leather  booths and stools in warm shades and huge windows overlooking the city.

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The decor definitely plays with the space’s grim former purpose; water is served in old iodine bottles and mimosas are brought to tables in huge bubbling test tubes. Starving, C and I were eager to order from the solid spread of brunch selections.

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My beautiful mountain friend!

C went with a classic BLT, where I couldn’t help but drool at the sound of Adobo Pork Benedict. I was not disappointed…

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Perfectly poached…

After catching up and making plans for our next visit, C dropped me back home so I could hang out with M and Louie before meeting up with ANOTHER friend from school, Hoagie. Colorado is one of those places people flock to, and I really understand why. While it was -25 and grey in Chicago, it was 60 and sunny in Denver. I didn’t realize how much I missed the sunshine until I got a big mountain dose to shake me out of the winter blues.

Hoagie, one of my best friends from the dorms, had just recently moved to Denver so we went exploring for a cool spot to sit and hang out. We ended up at The P.S. Lounge, a dive on Colfax, where the bartender gave me a rose and I fed the jukebox all of my singles. It was great to catch up and reconnect in a new city and talk about the crazy past and the scary future.

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Modern gentleman.

As it was a last minute trip, I still had some work to do from M’s on Monday, so Hoagie and I called it an early night with promises to visit again soon.

I cannot imagine being a full-time working woman and a new mom. As a test of my new baby-whispering skills, M left Louie and I posted up in her bed (which is where I worked from, most of the time) while she headed to a dentist appointment. I have a newfound respect for moms, as I was pretty useless while trying to work and watch Lou at the same time…and he was pretty much asleep the whole time (because he’s an angel.)

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Solid set up.

I managed to be productive for a while, until Louie’s nap proved too tempting and M returned to this…

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zzzzz…

After checking in for my Tuesday morning flight, I got the notification that all flights into O’hare were cancelled due to the endless Polar Vortex swirling around most of the country. So, after telling my team at work I was stranded, I booked the first available flight out of DIA to O’hare…on Thursday. So, I spent a few bonus days working while hanging out with M and Louie, helping M and C cook healthy dinners, and crying from the cuteness of my darling newborn nephew. When it was finally time to pack up and head home, I was not the happiest camper.

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Sad Death Metal

This was a really hard trip to return from. The sun and the family and the friends make Denver such a wonderful place in my life. Luckily I know the mountains, as well as some of the people I love most, will still be there next time I need to be thawed out from Chicago’s frozen winter blues. Denver, I’ll be back soon.

Stay Gold,

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Aunt Graceisgold 🙂

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