Denver Vacation Day 3, Part 2: Into the Mountains

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After receiving the news that weather would cut our Denver vacation a day short – we strategized. What, we thought, did we HAVE to see in our short time left in Colorado? We had done the city, we had done the breweries – we needed more uniquely Colorado VIEWS! Stuff you can’t get in Iowa! So, we decided that Estes Park, Colorado would be our final destination. :)

First, lunch!

Our tour guide from the New Belgium Brewery recommended a lot of great little restaurants in the area, but if we wanted Asian, she said we had to go to LuLu Asian Bistro. Done!

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Lulu’s is an Asian fusion restaurant, serving Chinese, Japanese, Thai and other Asian cuisine.

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The inside was really cute.

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Dug, the exposed brick!

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After an hours drive and a whole brewery tour, we were STARVING!

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I gave the menu a mere glance before I decided what I wanted. I was craving it – and it was also recommended by our tour guide…

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The Sesame Chicken Bento Box came with a spicy, sesame and rice vinegar dressed salad. Light, with that signature toasted-sesame flavor.

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And some of the most flavorful wonton soup I’ve ever had. There were baby spinach leaves floating on top!

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Ahh – the main attraction! My bento box had:

  • Crispy Egg Roll (best one I’ve ever had, I don’t even usually like egg rolls!)
  • California Roll
  • Edamame
  • Steamed rice
  • Sesame chicken

OMG! I literally dove in. I was so hungry and the food looked SO good!

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The edamame was perfectly steamed with just a sprinkling of course salt.

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The California Roll was cool, flavorful and everything a good roll should be. :)

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But the STAR was clearly my Sesame Chicken!! Normally, I would advise someone to never order sesame chicken when eating at an Asian restaurant. The harsh truth is that most times the chicken breasts are thickly battered, fried and then doused in a sticky-sweet, sugary sauce…

Which is exactly what this was – and it was unbelievable! Crispy, yet light, big hunks of all white meat chicken, and that signature sweet sauce was melt in your mouth delish. Oooo I want some more of this right now!!

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Lulu’s met and exceeded our expectations – a must try if you are in the Ft. Collins area!

After lunch, and as mid-afternoon approached, we pulled out our atlas (every car should have one – they’re invaluable!) and rerouted ourselves to Estes Park, Colorado!

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Estes Park is a popular summer resort town, and is the eastern gateway to the Rocky Mountain National Park.

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Highway 34 took us from Ft. Collins to the tiny little town, through a two lane highway that twisted and turned its way through the rugged Rocky Mountains.

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The scenery was absolutely breathtaking!!

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Sheer cliffs and mountain sides thousands of feet high flanked us on either side the entire way there.

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It’s hard to comprehend just how tall these rock faces are from the pictures, but let me tell you, they were absolutely massive!

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Funnily enough, when we got home on Tuesday night, my favorite show – How the Earth Was Made – on the History Channel was all about the Rocky Mountains! Did you know that they are only half the height they used to be?

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And that someday they’ll be flat? Better enjoy ‘em while they last! ;)

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Driving through this canyon made us feel so small – in a really good way.

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Our timing couldn’t have been more perfect, either. As we rounded corner after corner, the sun would illuminate different peaks. Spectacular!

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Soon enough we reached our destination, and realized it was more about the journey. That winding, curving road nestled in between the beautiful mountainsides is what we had wanted to see on our last afternoon in Colorado. Something you can’t see just anywhere!

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By the time we made it to Estes Park, it was too dark for pictures, but not dark enough to appreciate how beautiful the tiny town is. We’ve vowed to spend more time exploring the area the next time we are back!

Next we headed south, through Boulder (which we also want to explore sometime!!) back to downtown Denver. We had to see Larimer Square all lit up before we left!

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Underneath the romantically draped lights that illuminated the entire street were horse and carriage rides. So quaint!

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Here’s Ben’s piano again!

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We also headed up the 16th Street Mall, to check it out at night.

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Simply gorgeous.

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If we had to leave early, we were making sure we left with no regrets. I think we did a pretty good job.

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Thanks to Colorado for a spectacular vacation – t’s really got it all! City, fun and outdoor action galore. Take your pick!

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So that’s my vacation recap! We had a great time, and are anxious to return someday. Until that time, I’ve got some last minute gift wrapping to take care of, and some Christmas baking to prepare for. I’m in charge of bring dessert tomorrow! 8O

Talk to you all soon!

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Comments

  1. Emily 12.24.2009

    Yay! Glad to hear you had a fabulous trip to CO! (Now I know where to eat when we’re in Ft. Collins again.) Glad you were able to make it home safely–were you flying or driving? Enjoy your Christmas!

  2. Amber 12.24.2009

    I’ve always wanted to visit Estes Park to see the hotel that The Shining was filmed at! Colorado IS gorgeous! Glad you two had a great trip and you’re home safe!

  3. Molly 12.24.2009

    I LOVE Estes Park. Colorado is incredible! :)
    That Asian Bistro looks awesome too…Im going to have to check that out when Im there next week! Glad you had a good trip, and I hope you don’t get snowed in again. Looks like things are really about ot get crazy with weather in the next 24 hours.
    Keep warm and happy christmas eve!

  4. Dawn Hutchins 12.24.2009

    Very pretty photos! Have a wonderful Christmas!

  5. lindsey 12.24.2009

    the picture of the piano up close is beautiful! it looks like a magazine photo :)

    your trip looks like so much fun, i hope you both had a blast!

    ♥ lindsey

  6. Lindsay 12.24.2009

    Hi, I am so glad to hear that you had a great trip to Colorado!! I think colorado is one of my favorite states and I would live there if I could!! Also, if you have time would you mind stopping by my blog and telling me what you think!!http://learningtocookeatandenjoydeliciousfood.wordpress.com/

  7. Jenni 12.25.2009

    Your photos look great, looks like you had an awesome time in Colorado. I was just wondering what camera do you have? Pics with my camera always turn out too bright inside and too dark outside but yours always look awesome… Did you use a tripod to take the photos at Larimer Square at night? Hope you had a great Christmas!

  8. Katie Lundstrom 12.25.2009

    Colorado is amazing! And coincidentally, I just read this article about great places to eat in Denver- maybe some ideas for next time?
    http://www.petergreenberg.com/2009/12/18/three-days-nine-meals-restaurants-of-denver-colorado/

  9. Katie 12.25.2009

    Beautiful pictures.. makes me miss Colorado!! Sounds like you had a great time, merry Christmas!

  10. Rachel 12.26.2009

    Your pictures are amazing Kristin! It looks like you two had a great time. I love Colorado!

  11. Erin 12.28.2009

    So glad you made it to Estes Park! There’s a great brewery there too, next time you’re there you should spend an afternoon walking around. It’s gorgeous!

  12. Julie 12.31.2009

    Boy all those places look so familiar…probably b/c I live in Denver haha! Hey! I was going to tell you, I noticed a while back that you started using bare minerals foundation. I think that stuff is awesome and for xmas I received the get started eyes kit and it’s awesome! You ought to try it if you are interested. It’s a great way to do natural looking eyes but makes them really bright and pretty. It’s great!
    Looks like your xmas was amazing! Happy New Year! :)

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