Thursday, September 20, 2018

5 Things You Should Do in Denver

I've been lucky enough to visit Denver several times over the last few years. There's always somewhere new to visit, to see or to eat, each time I'm there. The city is growing at breakneck speed - as evidenced by it's traffic and the cranes all over the city - and you won't run out of things to do whether you're there for a short visit or a longer one. Here are five things I think you'll enjoy doing on a visit to The Mile High City.

Wander around RiNo
The River North Arts District was originally an industrial area but has now become one of the hippest hoods in Denver. Located just north of downtown, RiNo is home to breweries, bars, art galleries, restaurants and boutiques. 
We visited Stem Ciders (my favorite), Boozhall RiNo, C Squared Ciders and enjoyed dinner at Park Burger. 

Get some Ice Cream at Little Man
I'm sure there are plenty of places to get ice cream in Denver but the most talked about is Little Man Ice Cream. Serving ice cream and novelties out of an iconic 28 foot tall milk can, Little Man makes all their waffle cones by hand right on site. Serving such unique flavors as Earl Grey Tea & Cookies and Creme Fraiche, (I had the incredible Salted Oreo while others in my party had Mexican Chocolate and Raspberry Love) they also carry vegan ice cream, ice cream sandwiches and sundaes. And for every scoop of ice cream purchased, Little Man matches that scoop with a scoop of rice, beans, or other essentials to a community in need around the world. Just be prepared to stand in line if you go at a peak time - or maybe anytime. No need to worry though. The line moves quickly and it's well worth it.

Visit Union Station
Denver's Union Station - located downtown - is an 100 year old recently refurbished landmark (est. 1881) that is not only a transportation center but also houses restaurants, bars and a hotel. The hub of the station is the Great Hall where you can get ice cream, burgers, brunch or a meal from award winning chefs. You can also grab a beer at Terminal Bar or a prohibition era cocktail at The Cooper Lounge. If you need to spend the night you can park your suitcase at The Crawford Hotel, one of the top 11 business hotels in the world. Yep, the world. And, of course, it is a station so you can catch the light rail, buses or an Amtrak train right outside on the tracks - with connections to the airport and beyond.This place is just too cool. 

Go on a Street Art walk
Back in the day, street art was considered a destructive and counter-establishment way of spreading a message. Now it's worth being explored, photographed and celebrated. Denver is no stranger to the street art phenomenon. In fact, "1% of any capital construction project over 1 million dollars must go towards public art". Pretty amazing, huh? 
The above mentioned RiNo neighborhood has a good amount of street art, as does the incredibly long Colfax Avenue. Obviously, the Arts District on Santa Fe has quite a few murals also. For more info on where to find street art in Denver visit this article Denver Street Art

Drink Craft Beer
There are more than 1oo brewpubs, breweries and tap rooms in the Denver metro area. That's a lot of choices if you want to go have an ale.There are 35 breweries alone on the Denver Beer Trail. Since Mr. UR and my son are avid fans of beer - and craft breweries - I've visited  a few of those 100. Some of the ones I've been to include: Wynkoop, Alpine Dog, Vine Street Pub and Brewery, Bull and Bush, and Coors Brewing Company in Golden. This visit we visited Jagged Mountain in downtown Denver, and Avery and Oskar Blues in Boulder. The point being that you can certainly get your fill of beer. So if you're a fan, you might want to check out some of those 35 places to grab a pint.

So go have a wander, eat some delicious ice cream, grab a beer, view some art, visit a cool old train station or all of the above. You can do them all in Denver.

How about you? Have you been to Denver? What hav e you enjoyed doing there?

Linking up with: 
Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global!
Sharon's Souvenirs at Sharon R Wagner!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Day Trippin the North Carolina Coast

Sometimes travel isn't just about the grand European trips or the African Safari getaways. Sometimes it's just about a change of scenery and not making your bed - the same old bed - everyday. I think it does everyone's mind good to have a change of scenery. And that's where your day trips or weekend getaways come in. We spent a day driving and ferrying the North Carolina coast for a fun day trip getaway - and it was a wonderful change of scenery.

Carolina Beach We began in Carolina Beach, North Carolina, a town on the Atlantic Coast of the Tarheel State. Carolina Beach has one of the last vintage boardwalks in the country and you can rent a surrey bike to pedal the family down the boardwalk. Or head to the famous Britt donuts - prepare to stand in line - for the homemade, hand glazed donuts. We chose to visit the Tiki Bar at Ocean Grill for a sunny day visit to watch the waves and have a beverage. The Tiki Bar is on the remnants of Center Pier which was destroyed by Hurricane Fran in 1996 and has been named one of the best beach bars in the US.( I went with the Chavo Habanero & Mango cider - which, though it doesn't sound it, was surprisingly tasty)

Fort Fisher State Historic Site Next we drove south through the town of Kure Beach and made our way to the Fort Fisher Historic Site. Fort Fisher was a Confederate Fort during the American Civil War. It's a National Historic Landmark and a State Historic Site located where the coast and the Cape Fear River meet. This fort was instrumental in keeping the port city of Wilmington safe until it fell to the Union in 1865. Today only 10% of the fort remains but you can visit the Visitor Center to learn more about it. You can also visit the wide beaches here, walk amongst the live oaks and see some of the state's only remaining coquina outcrop - mounds of clumped shells - in front of the seawall by the fort. 

Southport We caught the ferry at Fort Fisher to take us the 45 minute ride down the river to Southport. At Southport - a delightful river town where movies like Safe Haven were filmed - we drove the town and then stopped at the Old American Fish Company ( which was the restaurant Katie worked at in the movie) for Happy Hour. Perched where the Cape Fear River meets the Intracoastal Waterway, the Old American Fish Company is in a fantastic spot to watch the sunset. And that's just what we did. 

Provision Company Dinner was next door at Provision Company. One of the most unique places to eat in Southport, you order at the cashier and then pick our your drinks on the honor system. Once you've ordered, you head through the screen door to the patio on the Intracoastal Waterway. We enjoyed our dinner with sunset and water views - and it was the perfect end to a day on the North Carolina Coast.
How about you? Have you been to Fort Fisher? Or Southport? Do you enjoy a good day trip?

As I'm hitting publish on this post, the ginormous Hurricane Florence is bearing down on this part of the North Carolina coast - and South Carolina, also. We are in the middle of prepping for the storm at our house. Please keep this area in your prayers and send some good mojo their way, too. It seems they're going to need it. And once the storm has passed and clean-up finished,which is far down the road,  consider a trip to the North Carolina and South Carolina coasts - one of the best remedies to help a storm stricken area is to bring in tourism dollars. You may also donate to the American Red Cross monetarily here:
or always give of your time if available.

Linking up with: Wednesday Around the World at Communal Global, The Weekend Wanderlust Weekend Travel Blog PartyThe Weekly Postcard at Travel Notes and Beyond and Sharon's Souvenirs!