Colorado has become the place that my heart aches for. Once there, one easily forgets that back home, bills must be paid, duties performed, and chores done. For five glorious days, I left all that behind. We escaped from real life for a brief period, and immersed ourselves in a world of simplicity, mountains, and of course, coffee.
Something about “nothingness” appeals to me. Maybe it’s the potential. Maybe it’s the allure of endless possibilities. Colorado held this sort of feeling for me. The vast, open space invites the mind to dip its feet into imagination. And yet it is that very same emptiness that has a beauty all its own–like a long, endless road leading somewhere distant that we can’t yet see. Not knowing, not seeing, somehow fades away to the promise of something more.
We spent the first couple days exploring our chosen base at Estes Park: a quiet little town just outside of the Rocky Mountain National Park. One thing that struck me about the people in Colorado is that they are generally all extremely friendly and helpful. I felt less like a stranger intruding on their beautiful hometown, and more like a family member welcomed into the fold. It’s quite pleasant, and quite unlike what I’m used to as a Californian.
How lucky residents of Estes Park are, to be able to find themselves amidst trees and mountains a mere ten minutes away. The aura here left me with a rare, deep sense of peace.
Towards the end of our trip, we ventured into nearby Bounder. Boulder is undoubtedly one of the strangest places I have been. It’s all a bit New Age-y, a bit hippie, with its own quirky, unique feel. The bustling crowds provided a stark contrast to the quietness of Estes Park.
- The History Crags Lodge: The perfect retreat, with rustic decor and beautiful views.
- Stanley Hotel Tour: The “haunted” Stanley Hotel provided the inspiration for Stephen King’s The Shining. Although we did not take an official tour, visiting this historic hotel was a delightful addition to our trip.
- Lake Estes Bike Path: This is a gorgeous bike path, only 3.75 miles. We rented bikes from Estes Park Mountain Shop.
- Peak to Peak Scenic Drive: We only made it to Nederland, and probably would not recommend making the entire trip. The drive did lead us through some very beautiful views, but after the first few stops, everything starts looking oddly similar.
- Rocky Mountain National Park: Full of natural beauty and endless hiking trails, this one stop could have taken an entire trip by itself. I’d recommend stopping by one of the rangers’ stations for general tips and best to-go spots. This was by far my favorite part of the trip.
- Pearl Street Mall [Boulder]: The many unique and quirky shops that line this street give a small taste of Boulder life. I could spend an entire day in the bookstore alone.
Good Eats [we cooked most of the time we were there, but these are a couple notable restaurants we ate at]:
- Lucile’s: Hands down, the best place we went for brunch. Decorated like someone’s cozy house, this restaurant invites intimate conversations about life and love. Their unique Creole menu provides a mouth-watering twist to my favorite meal.
- The Buff Restaurant: Another brunch place! Here you’ll find your typical breakfast menu items, but done very well [they had the title for #1 brunch place in Boulder at the time of this writing]. They have huge portions [ah, the American life], so it might be a good idea to share.
Many people consider San Diego a paradise, and I know I have been lucky to grow up here. Even so, Colorado has a special place in my heart. Even six months later, it often tiptoes its way into remembrance, bringing with it all the tender memories that tug at the recesses of my soul, beckoning me to return.
I can’t wait to go back.