“We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” -Robert Louis Stevenson
Mountains. Weed. Coors Light. Skiing. Adventure. Those were some of my preconceived thoughts about Colorado before I headed on an adventure to the beautiful state. I may not have been wrong, but found myself admiring the splendor and the people of Colorado, as I traveled through Denver, Boulder, Vail, Beaver Creek, and the little towns in between. Here are some of my Top 10 observations from The Centennial State.
- Layers. Layers are essential when living or visiting Colorado. Coloradans (yes, I made sure I nailed this) know about the layer system. It is in their blood. They begin with a tee-shirt or tank and layer on shirts, sweaters, jackets, etc. Just as fast as they can add layers, they can take them off. In Denver, it went from a mild, rainy day to a hot sunny day in a matter of minutes. Boulder and the Mountains were no different. Sun, clouds, drizzle, sun. The locals don’t seem to notice how the weather changes rapidly, or they do and don’t mention it. They just add or subtract a layer and mosey on with their day.
- Microbreweries. I figured this one out a little late to the game, but, the land of Coors Light: Born in the Rockies, is home to the craft brewery hotbed of the United States. Every town and city boast a Brewery, a local craft beer that you must try, tastings, festivals…beer is everywhere! If you are a beer enthusiast, this state is for you!
- Backpacks. No need for a purse or tote out West. Men, women, children; everyone wears a backpack, filled with their daily needs. They’re durable, they can fit your layers, and they can double as a travel bag, baby bag, suitcase, briefcase, grocery bag – whatever is needed. I have never experienced such backpack envy until I got to Glenwood Springs. I was super excited with myself that I already used a backpack before I got to Colorado, or else I would feel like a total poser! Some awesome backpack companies, made locally in Colorado, are Topo Designs, Kifaru, MHM Gear, and MountainSmith. Your obsession will begin…NOW!
- Starbucks. As the North East is known for their “Dunks,” Colorado is seemingly obsessed with Starbucks. They are on every block, built into the high mountains of Vail, Beaver Creek (and yes, your signature drink will cost you more there), in Targets and grocery stores! Gorgeous views and terrific coffee – wow!
- Diet. “What are your eating preferences?” the waitress asked. “Umm, food,” I thought. There is a Vegan menu, Vegetarian menu, Gluten Free menu at the restaurants I hit up in Boulder. I was in a diner’s paradise! How thoughtful of the restaurants and what a great lifestyle, being able to go out and not worry that you will have to create your own meal to meet your dietary restrictions! By the way, wow, Boulder has some incredible restaurants!
Weed. Did you know pot is legal in CO? 😉 Beautiful shops, dedicated to the green plant, are in every town, city, and along the highway, welcoming locals and visitors to try edibles, lotions, pens, pipes, bongs – whatever may be their preference. As someone who suffers from chronic pain, I figured why the hell not, and checked out the scene. Verdict: THC helps the pain.
- Bicycles. It is quite evident people go to Colorado to be outside. Trails, mountains, rivers, canyons – there are endless resources for fun and adventure. Whether we are in the cities or up on Vail Mountain, bikes were everywhere! I loved getting on a cruiser and flying through Vail Village and the family had some intense Mountain Bike rides during the week. Seeing people bike commute to work in Denver and Boulder too, or just cruise around the city was fun too! And look how BEAUTIFUL those yellow bikes are 🙂
Water. Hydration is VERY important to Colorado.
At every old or present water fountain, there is an additional water bottle fill up station. (Seriously, how simple and easy – what an idea). I took advantage of this everywhere – my personal favorite station being at the swanky St. Julien in Boulder. We all know water is crucial for humans, but especially in higher altitude, it is needed to fight off altitude sickness and in order to be successful in whatever Colorado adventure one chooses. Storefronts even have water out for the citizen’s animals!!!
- Sky. The sky is huge; larger than life. It goes on for miles and is stunning. The puffy clouds that float by reminded me of my Lava Lamp from my Middle School days. The clouds, fat and bouncy, hang high and low in the blue sky, creating a moving visual worthy of distraction.
The sunbeams that come through are spiritual and at night, I saw some stars for the first time. Beautiful seems too small of a word to describe how open and vast the Colorado sky is.
- The people. Coloradans are the nicest people I have met when traveling. They don’t just smile or wave, they say “Hello,” and are genuinely interested in how are you, where are you from, how your days is, etc. They do not just ask to be pleasant. Maybe it is their amazing quality of life, not being in a hustle to get somewhere, the fresh Mountain Air, but they make the time to connect with you, welcome you, and learn about you. Thank you to all the new friends I met 🙂
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