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Up, Up and Away!

January 27, 2012
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This past weekend I went to Denver.  I bought my ticket on Thursday night and left town Saturday morning; and was back at work in time for a meeting at 1:30 on Monday.  CRAZY.  By Monday night I was so tired I thought I was just going to fall over at the bus stop.  But it was so much fun! 

I’m guessing you all think that plane ticket cost me tons of money, and to that I would say WRONG!  See, my general philosophy when it comes to travel (besides the spending money I don’t have part) is to go where the deals take me.  Yes, I have a bucket list – a HUGE long list of places to go and things to see and do – but it is very rare that the trip I book is the trip at the top of my bucket list.  I really think people get way too stuck on picking a specific location and a specific date for travel.  It forces you to pay whatever the airlines want to charge at that point in time.  Yes, I’ll pay full price for a ticket here and there, but it really irks me to do it.  I am signed up for almost every travel website and weekly travel email there is – and that is how I decide where to go.  Whatever is the best deal. (Seriously, that’s how we ended up going to Kenya in September 2011… it was just a really good deal!)

Did I plan on going to Denver (again) at some point? Definitely.  I have a great friend from college who lives there and I absolutely love that town.  But I didn’t have a weekend in mind, so when I got an email from Delta with the weekly fare sale and Denver was cheap, I jumped at the chance to go.  Last Wednesday Delta’s weekly fare sale email had an $89 each way fare to Denver.  I have the Delta Skymiles AMEX credit card, and use that almost exclusively – and rack up as many miles as I can.  Since you can do a ‘pay with miles’ (10,000 miles for $100 off), my ticket to Denver was $100.

$100! 

Too cheap to say no. 

For those of you who haven’t been to Denver, there is a TON to do: 

Do you like the great outdoors?  Rocky Mountain National Park is just 2 hours from downtown Denver or Denver Airport.  I haven’t been there yet, but it is on the list.  I could stare at those mountains pretty much all day.  (In fact, my friend Anna made fun of me because the first few hours I was there this weekend I kept going, “Mountains!” everytime they’d come into view)  Denver and its surrounds (including the Boulder area) are well known for their open spaces, walking/jogging/hiking trails, and being an active population.  Plus, with over 300 days of sunshine a year, there is really no excuse for not getting outside.

If you’re a sports fan, Denver has all of the major sports teams, including one of my least favorite hockey teams, the Colorado Avalanche.  I was lucky enough to go to an Avs/Wild game at the PepsiCenter a few years ago – definitely worth checking out!  I would also love to get to a Rockies game.  I can only imagine how great the beer tastes on a sunny afternoon in that ballpark! 

And, my favorite thing about the greater Denver area: BEER.  Somehow, Denver has turned into a beer town.  For the big name beers, you’ve got the Coors plant in Golden and Anheuser-Busch plant in Fort Collins.  But the best beer can be found in the smaller breweries – New Belgium (well known beer: Fat Tire, located in Fort Collins), Left Hand (well known beer: Milk Stout or Sawtooth Ale, located in Longmont), and my new favorite Great Divide (located in downtown Denver).  These are just a couple, there are so many more breweries and brewpubs, it would take several trips for me to get to them all!

New Belgium starts you off with beer samples, and then you go on the tour.  Mid-tour you get more beer, and then at the end you go down a slide (for those who dare!).  This totally makes up for the drive up to Fort Collins (about 1.5-2 hours), and if you have the time and a sober driver, you can take in some of the other breweries while you’re up there!

My friend Anna and I went to Great Divide’s Tap Room on Sunday, and were so distracted by the beer and the pleasant company of the bartenders and other patrons that I completely forgot to do the tour.  Good beer will do that to you!  I can think of no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in this town.  Be sure to sample the seasonal brews, the Espresso Aged Yeti Stout is particularly amazing, as is the Claymore Scotch Ale. 

I also can’t forget to mention some of the great food there is in Denver – if you like Mexican food, you will be in heaven.  Be sure to eat local and give something you wouldn’t normally try a chance!  This past trip we ate at Hi Rise (Downtown Denver, maybe the best bacon I have eaten in ages), The Cheeky Monk (more beer! pretty good food too), and this fantastic Mexican place for breakfast that I can’t remember the name of.  BUT, I did venture out of my Minnesotan spice-adverse self and had some green chile on my eggs & hashbrowns.  Fantastic.

Denver is fantastic.  As always.  Some other time, I’ll have to tell you all how I tried to move there (and failed).

 

Seriously folks, you all deserve a weekend away.  Go to Denver.  Go to Miami.  GO SOMEWHERE!

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