Last year was a pretty good travel year, looking back on it (we won’t count either January or February of 2017, when the only traveling I did was to the cancer center in Dallas. Or the year before that.) Chile in March, Park City, Utah, in April, St. Martin in May, San Francisco in June, Colorado in August, Seattle and London in October, San Francisco again in November. I’m pretty sure that those places and experiences were what got me through. We all grieve in our own way, you know.
Mourning someone is an awful thing to get through. I know this well. Not to make light of it, but so are Augusts in Atlanta. Heavy, oppressive, interminable. Unrelenting heat and sun can feel as bad as unrelenting gray chilliness, at least in my viewpoint. For me, either extreme is a recipe for a serious case of the blues. Combine that with missing my mom and, well, look out. And so, last August, my wise husband decided that we would escape the southern humidity for the crisp coolness of Colorado, an excellent decision as I see it.
We landed in Denver and rented a car and headed immediately towards Boulder, where we had a hotel room reserved. I must confess that this wasn’t the best planned trip for us. We seem to travel in two different ways. There are the trips that I plan out for a year in advance, obsessively combing through VRBO’s website, comparing who has the best value for number of bedrooms and bathrooms, location, etc., until finally committing to one and paying for it at least 6 months in advance. And then, there are the trips where I am very, very thankful for unlimited data as I book a hotel once we’ve landed… or in this case, once we’re driving down the road towards our destination while not even really knowing what our destination was. Not for the faint of heart, this particular method, but there have been occasions when I’ve gotten some amazing last minute deals! This trip, however, was not one of those occasions. We ended up in a somewhat crummy place for a not so great price. But, since it was located very close to downtown Boulder, I’d still say it was worth it. Because Boulder is an incredible little city.
We spent 2 days here, pretending to be locals. We walked everywhere that we could and even did the bike share thing one day, and loved every minute of it. My husband and son enjoyed exploring the hiking trails up near NCAR, while I preferred to explore the downtown area with its charming collection of quirky shops and restaurants. On one of our evenings there, and oh my goodness evenings in the summer in Colorado are amazing, we walked from our hotel along this trail that leads along a small river and discovered a tea house that had been brought over from Uzbekistan. The toughest decision we had that night was whether we should sit inside in the beautifully hand-painted dining room or outside along the creek… We chose the creek- we don’t get that sort of weather out of doors in Atlanta in August EVER, so we figured we’d better enjoy it while we could. Right next to the restaurant, a group of people was forming that turned out to be outdoor tango lessons or a tango club or something, which looked like tremendous fun to me but did require some skill that I do not, as of yet, possess. However, across the street, at a bandshell in a city park, there was a group onstage playing dance music while the bandshell lit itself in a progression of changing colors, and there was quite a crowd there enjoying it. The collection of people here was extraordinary: a handful of professor-types, probably from the university, dancing alongside the serious hippy sorts that you see out west, complete with light-up hula hoops, which are apparently de rigeur at outdoor dance venues. There was even a guy in an American flag unitard, a brave fashion choice if ever there was one. And clearly, no skill was required other than an ability just to let go and have fun.
Which we did- we joined in and danced right along with them. And had a blast.
After begrudgingly leaving Boulder, we drove to Colorado Springs and spent two days there. After Boulder, it felt curiously buttoned up. It’s possible that this is just my perception of it, since I used to travel there somewhat often for business back when I was in the military. It just feels so, well, Air Force-y to me. Again, maybe just my perception, but moving past that, it’s a gorgeous place. Garden of the Gods is a must-see. As is the Broadmoor, where we ate lunch one day; we don’t typically travel luxuriously, but someday, without kids, I will stay here. And of course, of course, we had to drive up Pike’s Peak.
And then we spent a few days in Denver, which is an incredible city in its own right. As someone with a masters’ in Historic Preservation, I absolutely love what they’ve done in LoDo. Let me restate that: I would love what they’ve done in LoDo WITHOUT a degree in Historic Preservation- who wouldn’t? It’s just fabulous, and a terrific place to again enjoy the humidity-free evenings of Colorado.
Refreshed and cooled down and relaxed, we headed back to the steam bath known as Atlanta in time for the kids to start the new school year.
I do love Atlanta, but thank God for air conditioning.