Three Days in Boulder, Colorado
Here we are on the road again for a quick trip to Boulder, Colorado. We were in Boulder for a conference that my (still) working wife had for work. Its a group of Student Legal Service attorneys from around the country. However, all work and no play makes for a rather dull trip. So…I’ll just concentrate on the “Play” part.
After a 8 hour drive from Lincoln, we’re in the land of higher elevations. Boulder is roughly 500 feet higher than Denver…remember the ‘mile high’ city is at elevation 5280, right?…but the plateau that Boulder sits in is relatively flat with beautiful views of the mountains (they call them hills around here) as a backdrop to the city.
Boulder offers many varieties of activity, entertainment and culinary experiences that are a part of the laid-back atmosphere that Boulder has always been known for…before marijuana, cannabis, Mary Jane, weed, pot or what ever YOU call it) arrived…officially and legally. More on that later.
After settling into our room at the Millennium Harvest House hotel, we began to research where we would have dinner. Our search centered on French cuisine (it’s one of our favorites) and we were lucky to find Brasserie Ten Ten and a late dinner time that worked with our needs for a nap…We were not disappointed!
Brasserie Ten Ten at 1011 Walnut Street proved to be worthy of the 4 and 5 star ratings on Open Table. With a wide variety of we Americans would call typical French selections–Bouillabaisse, Steak Frites, Escargot, A L’oignon Gratinee (French Onion soup), Canard Confit (Duck..quack, quack)…well, you get the idea–we wished we could stay and eat all week just to sample everything on the menu…with exception of a few things…VERY French. The restaurant is a must if you make it to Boulder!
For Day 2’s fun, we took a hike!…through an area called Chautauqua which is on the southwest corner of Boulder at the foot of the Flatirons. The Flatiron Hills were named by early settler women who saw the resemblance between the natural formations of the rocks which dominate the horizon and the flatirons they used for ironing laundry. I didn’t quite see the resemblance but I wouldn’t argue that it must have been something they saw.
Our hiking trail (there were several to choose from in varying degrees of difficulty) was suggested by the ranger on duty as it would give us a taste of hiking in a higher elevation without the need for rescue…he also gave us great advice on drinking plenty of water before we started the hike and how much water we should be carrying. We did both and started our trek up the mountain,…err…hill. After multiple stops to hydrate, catch our breath and wait for our heart rates to subside, we completed the “little” hike in around 2 hours and gave both of us a feeling like we had substantially worn off our dinner from last night!
After working up an appetite, we returned to our hotel for a quick power nap, a shower and went to have dinner with some of Shelley’s conference colleagues at a very fine restaurant called Frasca Food and Wine at 1738 Pearl Street. Frasca specializes in Northern Italian cuisine and backs up the impeccably designed and prepared food and wine pairings with impeccable service. This was one of the best meals we have experienced in all of our travels and this includes this country, Italy, France, Spain and most recently Central Europe. Now, if that sounds expensive…you’re right. But well worth it for the memories we will have from the evening. Here’s a few images from our dinner:,
Our third day in Boulder was a little more laid back…no not that kind of laid back. After Shelley finished early with her conference responsibilities and I did some “laying down” from all the activities and eating, Shelley and I did some exploring around Pearl Street Mall. But first, we had a lite dinner at a restaurant called The Med Mediterranean Restaurant at 1002 Walnut Street which was across the street from Brasserie Ten Ten. It was the perfect spot for a casual and substantially less expensive dining experience. Known for its eclectic menu selections with a wide Mediterranean flair including Italian, Greek, Spanish and Morrocan dishes. Hungry for Paella?
After dinner, we walked along Pearl Mall and experienced an evening of music, performance artists and general people watching (with some ice cream) before heading back to our hotel on foot…got to get that 10K step quota in! Just a note on Pearl Street…it’s definitely an entertaining section of downtown where you can shop, dine, sit and gawk at people of all persuasions which makes for a very vibrant cultural experience. And I must add, although Colorado has legalized possession of recreational marijuana, we did not get exposed to as much as we thought we would. I don’t have an opinion on why or if that is normal for the area around Pearl Street, but it was definitely was not what I expected.
Our last day in Boulder (post conference) was spent by more exploration along the Boulder Creek path which runs for several miles out of the Flatiron Hills past our hotel. It is a relaxing, shaded and mildly strenuous walking and biking trail that gave an opportunity to talk and catch up from the activities of the week. Boulder is a city oriented to being physically fit which is evident in the obvious fit and trim locals you see everywhere.
For dinner, we went to an Italian restaurant called S’forno Trattoria Romana on Pearl Street in the same area as the other restaurants we visited. (Sorry, no photos but you can find many on their website.) The pasta and homemade Mozzarella were delicious and the atmosphere was casual and friendly. Good wine, too!! We would definitely return someday.
From Pearl Street, we, again, had a 30 minute stroll back to our hotel as we, again, had some calories to wear off. One thing about Boulder, even though the weather was warm, the humidity level seemed to be very low as you would expect in high plains areas. Walking and NOT sweating was definitely a nice change from our weather in Lincoln.
BTW, the day we leave, there is a concert in a near by park with a band called “Dead & Company”. Yes, that “Dead”…I think the atmosphere will change!
(I give credit to the photographer at The Boulder Daily Mirror for this great photo of a Dead-icated follower and patriot.)
Thanks for reading along!
Greg and Shelley