A̶d̶v̶e̶n̶t̶u̶r̶e̶ Denver Is Out There: Part Deux

October 22, 2018

This trip was short, but I knew I wanted to pack in some adventures. So for my last 2 days in Denver, I made sure I jammed as many things in as I could, because who knows when I'd be back again (travel is much harder to coordinate when you have a baby)! The problem with Denver (& its surrounding cities) is that there is just so much to do, it's hard to narrow it down! 

The mountains were definitely on my list, but I started off the day with a tour of the Molly Brown Museum. Haven't heard of Molly Brown (where have you been!?)? You know the lady Kathy Bates played in Titanic? Yeah, that was a real person, and she was pretty fascinating! 

Aside from being a Titanic survivor, she was also a socialite, philanthropist, activist, suffragette, and world traveler (her house is filled with items from all over). This woman did it all, and it was very interesting to hear about all the things she did with her life. 

The tour began on the front porch, where we were greeted by our guide, dressed accurately to match the time period. She was incredibly knowledgeable on all things Margaret Brown and gave an extensive history of the house. The tour itself only lasts about 45 minutes and tickets are pretty cheap, so if you have an hour or so of time, I highly recommend it.

After the tour, I headed to Union Station in search of food. Union Station is the central transportation hub of Denver and is over 100 years old. It's undergone some serious renovation over the years and now boasts a hotel, several retailers, cafes, restaurants, and a train hall. It's pretty impressive from the moment you walk through the doors.

I could have easily posted up in the hall with a cup of coffee and a book, but I had mountains next on my agenda (because did you even really go to Colorado if you didn't see some mountains?).

We drove out to Estes Park, located about an hour and a half outside of Denver. Estes Park has your usual activities like shopping & dining, but there's also a certain (pretty famous) hotel here that I was really interested in visiting. I'll give you a hint: "Here's Johnny!"

Behold, the Stanley Hotel! It opened in 1909 and mostly catered to the wealthy elite at the turn of the century. It is said to be haunted and has a pretty famous rep now, thanks to Stephen King. The hotel was his inspiration for writing "The Shining" after he stayed there in the 1970s. In the novel, room 217 is featured prominently, as it was the room King stayed in during his night at the Stanley. For this reason, room 217 is the most requested room here (but that's gonna be a hard pass for me). 

We were just passing through, so I didn't  get to spend as much time here as I would have liked. Next time, I will definitely be putting the ghost tour on my list.

Ghosts aside, the hotel offers some epic panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and is located just 5 miles from the entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park (spoiler alert: that's where we're headed next).

It was a little chilly out, and we weren't planning on doing any hiking that day, so we took a scenic drive through parts of the park instead. There are plenty of places to pull over so you can take in the breathtaking beauty, and we got incredibly lucky by rolling up on a bunch of elk at their watering hole. Apparently, they're accustomed to seeing people and actually came pretty close to the group of onlookers congregating nearby. I stood a safe distance away and just marveled at all of the natural beauty surrounding me. The views here are literally postcard-perfect, and it was easily the highlight of my trip.

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere!

Rocky Mountain National Park is worth a whole day if you can, and there are plenty of little lodges and cabins dotting the roads leading up to the entrance of the park if you want to make a stay of it (which I will definitely be doing next time). Just be prepared for ever-changing weather: sun, snow, hail - you never know what this beautiful state might surprise you with.

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