Thursday, November 17, 2011

Best Burgers Around Town, 2nd edition

In a past blog I listed my top three favorite burger joints around Denver. Well...I believe it is time for an update--a much needed one due to the fact that my previous list is now definitely obsolete after trying some new places!

1) Park Burger is my new favorite burger joint in Denver! In my opinion, these burgers are what the Cherry Cricket burger use to be like....the texture, size, feel, and most importantly the taste is perfect! I ordered a 1/3 lb. cheddar park burger and was really impressed. I also tried a bite of my friend's bbq burger (ask for real bacon bits...mmm!) and was so in heaven! Seriously, great burgers! They also have sweet potato fries that you can order with the works (scallions, ranch and bacon bits!!).

2) H Burger Co. was recently voted in the top three burger joints by three separate area chefs, as you can read about here. And aside from great burgers they have THE BEST milkshake in all of Denver!!--the Nutella Marshmallow shake!! MMMM!!! (update: H Burger has closed)

3) "Five Guys Burgers and Fries"has excellent burgers! Thick, juicy and delicious! I also love their natural potato fries...I like to add malt vinegar to their fries for an even better taste!

4) The Cherry Cricket. This place used to be my all time favorite but I think they got too popular that they weren't as consistent at serving up perfect burgers EVERY time...BUT they still have great burgers! Juicy, cheesy, 1/3 pound("little cricket") burgers and terrific fries!

5) Hops Grill and Brewery (Littleton, CO) serves consistently great burgers and their excellent beer selection is sure to enhance your experience! They also have a nice outdoor patio overlooking a lake for a fun summer outing.(update: Hops has closed)

6) Ruby Tuesday's Prime Burger (8 oz., 100% prime USDA beef). I know this is a big chain restaurant but seriously their Prime Burger is so juicy and tender that I have to rank it in my top five!

7) City Grille. I've mentioned this place before; it is a unique take on the classic burger. Great taste and creative twist! Check 'em out!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Colorado Fall Foliage

This post is coming too late in the season but I am posting now for future reference (for myself and others). Below are a few links that list popular and scenic drives for viewing Colorado Fall foliage. So, for next year, I will be sure to check out these websites again!

This year I went to Kenosha Pass during the 3rd weekend in September and Maroon Bells area the 4th weekend. I was able to see all kinds of colors on the aspens...greens, yellows, oranges, and a few reddish hues. Beautiful!

I would definitely recommend these sites for the future:

 Channel 9 News annual foliage list. has several links and road trip ideas for leaf viewing.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife has some creative ideas on how to enjoy the fall colors.

(Original post: 10/6/11. Updated: 9/9/16)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bear Creek Lake Park

Bear Creek Lake Park has been my favorite stomping ground this summer. Located in Lakewood, just minutes from Morrison, this park has something for everyone! There are 15 miles of hiking trails, 3 lakes for boating, boat rentals (kayaks, paddle boats, etc.), an area for swimming, campground, horse stables, archery area, picnic spots, and nature programs. So, for a nice family fun day near the water or for a solo nature excursion; check out Bear Creek Lake Park.

*Note: There is an entry fee of $5/vehicle (cash only).

Afterwards, grab a drink or some grub in the cute town of Morrison. Or meander through red rock formations at Red Rocks Ampitheatre.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Beso de arte Bistro Latino

(photo from

Enjoy a "kiss" of culinary art at Beso, located in Morrison, Colorado. The ambiance alone is enough to make you forget the stress of the daily grind. Stone-built walls and soothing waterfalls help clear your mind and prepare your palet for some delicious and exquisite food! Whether you want to grab a bite to eat before catching a concert at Redrocks Ampitheatre (literally just around the corner), or you want to share a meal with a date or drinks with friends; this place is so adorable! You just gotta try it! Come on, you know you want to!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Avenue Hotel B & B

I recently enjoyed a visit to Manitou Springs, just west of Colorado Springs. My Mom was in town and I wanted to splurge on a nice bed and breakfast for the two of us. I came across Avenue Hotel Bed and Breakfast. We stayed for one night in the upper part of the Carriage House. The innkeepers were very friendly and have done a great job tending to the place. I was impressed with the fresh paint and trim work, cleanliness, and the fancy wallpaper inside the main house among other things. There is also a cool fireplace in the living room of the main house made of Manitou greenstone; a unique stone of the area.The Carriage House was furnished with everything that we needed and more. Very cute and quaint! I especially loved that the Avenue Hotel sits right on the main street so you can literally step out the door and explore Manitou's stores and restaurants. Gwen puts a lot of time and thought into each meal!
 So, if you are looking for a cute place to stay while exploring Manitou Springs, Garden of the Gods, Pike's Peak, Cog Railroad, Cave of the Winds or any of the other dozens of sites in the Colorado Springs area here's the place for you! And the breakfast.....decadent and scrumptious!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Eleven Mile State Park

I recently camped at Eleven Mile State Park. This was my first time visiting the park. It is very picturesque seeing such a huge lake set amidst the backdrop of snow-capped peaks! There are over 300 campsites and it is very ideal for fishing and boating. I really enjoyed being near the water and it definitely met my desire to find a wide open space! However, there were some rules that put a slight damper on the trip: no swimming, only 3.2% alcohol allowed (though I'm not sure how well this is followed), and there was currently a fire ban. So, definitely check ahead if you absolutely have to have the campfire experience! Despite these minor setbacks, I really enjoyed my time here...gorgeous sunsets!!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Colorado Waterfalls

Below is an abbreviated list of random waterfalls around Colorado. I tried to organize them according to their distance from Denver, starting with the closest. It may not be 100% accurate as far as distance but close enough I think.

1) Maxwell Falls
Located in Evergreen, one of the closest to Denver.

2) Boulder Falls
Obviously located just west of Boulder. Another quick stop along the road kind of adventure. Very short hike but very pretty and close to town.

3) Rainbow Falls
Located in Manitou Springs, just west of town. A very interesting short hike that is surrounded by colorful graffiti. Definitely a contrast of urban living versus natural water flow. This is a waterfall that is under a highway bridge.

4) Seven Falls
Located in Colorado Springs. This is a commercialized tourist attraction, as opposed to the others listed here that are free. Several falls. Pretty but "touristy."

5) Helen Hunt Falls
Located in Colorado Springs, the entrance is right next to Seven Falls but this site is FREE. This is a nice picnic spot.

6)Hanging Lake (probably THE most popular, and picturesque waterfall hike in Colorado!)
Located near Glenwood Springs. An ascending hike but SO worth it at the end!!

7) Agnes Vaille Falls
Located near Mt. Princeton and Buena Vista. A short and at times bumpy hike to a spectacular waterfall. Many campgrounds nearby.
 (Updated on 7/8/16: This trail is closed for now due to a fatal rockslide that occurred in 2013. Not sure if/when this will reopen. They have blocked the parking lot and posted no trespassing signs).

8) Zapata Falls
Located in between Crestone and the Sand Dunes National Park. A short hike and nice stop if you are in the area.

9) Rifle Falls
Located at Rifle Falls State Park near Rifle, CO. These you can actually hike to.

10) Treasure Falls
Located along Wolf Creek Pass down in southern Colorado near Pagosa Springs. This is more of a stop along the way kind of location but pretty.

11) Box Canyon Falls
Located in Ouray, CO. A really cool trail that meanders through some rock walls and waterfalls!

12) Bridal Veil Falls
Located near Telluride, CO. A very beautiful sight to behold! Not so much a hike...more of a remember-to-look-up when at the far end of town.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Mt. Evans

If you are looking for great scenery of the Rocky Mountains, excellent wildlife viewing, and an enjoyable drive then you must check out the road to Mt. Evans! It's one of those rare, get-away-from-it-all drives where the majesty of nature infuses the soul!

For details check out the Mt. Evans website.

Below are pictures from my recent trip to Mt. Evans.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mueller State Park

Tucked away in the Pike's Peak region of Colorado, this lovely Colorado State Park is a beautiful spot for picnicking, hiking, and camping. There are over 50 miles of trails leading through evergreen and aspen meadows. Plenty of wildlife (including black bears) to observe and photograph. I was impressed by the practical facilities (visitor center, vault toilets, laundry and showers),ranger-led talks, cleanliness, and beauty of this park.

There are also alot of places nearby for activities...such as Florissant Fossil Beds , Woodland Park, Pike National Forest, Manitou Springs, and Colorado Springs.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

My Favorite Colorado Towns...and Why

Well, I have revised my list of favorite Colorado towns and will also expound more on WHY these towns are my favorite.

**(I would ask for a drum roll here but that seems a bit pretentious for such a tiny blog as this.)

My Favorite Colorado Towns:

1) Telluride
This town sits perched amidst some of the most breathtaking mountain peaks in all of Colorado. I felt like I was in the bottom of a bowl looking up... The downtown area is cute, rustic, quaint, and caters to the wealthy but also can accommodate those on a budget. I picked this town as number one because of the ambiance of the town...the feel...the vistas...the western, rustic really seemed to epitomize the Colorado experience.

2) Ouray
Of course, since I picked Telluride for the number one spot then I had to pick Ouray for the number 2 spot...since they share the same mountainous backyard basically. Ouray also is surrounded by majestic peaks on all sides it seems...has a western, rustic charm...and offers several main attractions besides the views. For instance, there is Box Canyon, Ouray ice fields (in winter), and hot springs.Ouray is nicknamed "Colorado's Little Switzerland". When you drive in you will see why...There is something for everyone in this cozy hideaway.

3)Estes Park
You can't visit Colorado and not go to Estes Park. Its just the thing to do really. Estes Park is probably one of the most visited towns in Colorado, if not THE most popular tourist town in Colorado. Mostly in part because it is the main thoroughfare for Rocky Mountain National Park. There are a ton of places to stay, eat, and play in this nature-lover's paradise.

4)Steamboat Springs
This town has it all with a little less of the ritz that perhaps Telluride may have. Steamboat Springs offers fabulous skiing and snow activities during the winter. As well as, a myriad of activities during the other seasons....such as; hiking, biking, fishing, shopping, dining, sightseeing, etc. Steamboat, like most other towns in Colorado, is absolutely beautiful and charming. It is also home to my favorite hot springs in all of Colorado; Strawberry Hot Springs.

This little, cozy, artsy town is a precious gem. It is quite small but it is hugely popular among Colorado fans..especially among kayakers, campers, and artists. It sits upon Colorado's most popular area for rafting...the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. It is close to some of the best four-wheeling, hiking, and outdoorsy activities around. There is so much to do in and around this town if you do your research. There are 2 hot springs less than an hour away, one old ghost town, atleast one waterfall hike nearby, and obviously tons of open space to hike or go 4x4ing. The area between Salida and Buena Vista is my favorite place during the summer...I have written about this in other blog entries.

Breckenridge is a great summer and winter destination. The ski slopes are directly in this towns well as the breckenridge brewery. This town is quaint, cute, and makes a great day trip from Denver. There is a main strip of shops, restaurants, and a new historical museum that rests along a rushing river that winds through downtown.

7)Colorado Springs
This town is home to Garden of the Gods and several other popular attractions. There are alot of sites to see in this town...several waterfall destinations nearby, hiking and shopping. What else I enjoy about Colorado Springs is that two other cute cities are adjacent to it...Old Colorado City (which takes about 5 minutes to drive through but has several cute, rustic shops) and Manitou Springs (a VERY cute and tiny town...alot of excellent shopping and eating...kinda has a hippie feel at times).

8)Ft. Collins
A mountain college town that has an adorable downtown strip...the town has a cute, peaceful, old-school feel about it...It feels very relaxed. It is home to the popular New Belgium Brewery; voted one of the best companies to work for in the Unites States. It is also home to the Horsetooth Reservoir; a winding lake that lies beside a rock canyon. This western-feeling town is great for summer activities and shopping.

9)Grand Lake
This secluded mountain town is basically the backdoor of Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park would be considered the front door...of course depending on where you are coming from...but Grand Lake is typically the less popular entrance...but don't take that to mean that it is not full during the summer...because it definitely gets filled up!). Grand Lake is great for summer kayaking, hiking around Rocky Mountain National Park or surrounding area, boating, fishing, shopping, etc. A beautiful drive along the way as well. Also, the Hot Sulphur Springs in Grandby is not far either.

This would be a great town to live in if you preferred the southwest part of Colorado. Durango feels like a family town surrounded my mountains...kinda spread out...yet not too big. It has a historical, western type of downtown section...very cute. Alot to see and do. It also is part home to the Durango-Silverton Railroad. Also, Mesa Verde National Park is not too far from Durango.
(I did not include Aspen in this list because it felt too posh for my style. But I'd say it is an interesting place to drive through if you have never been there.)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flatirons Vista Trailhead

Great views. Great space. Great trails. Great hike. (Great for hiking, biking, or walking your dog).

Oskar Blues

I have been hearing about Oskar Blues for several months now. So, I finally went to check it out. I highly recommend this incredibly tasty place which serves a "cajun, creole and southern-style menu". Oskar Blues is also known for its unique Colorado style canned beer.

There are several venues as you can explore on their website. I enjoyed the ambiance, blues music, and food at the Oskar Blues Grill and Brew in Longmont, CO. I had a delicious dish of shrimp and grits...mmmmm...even better than the one's I've had down South!

So, if you get a hankering for some down home cooking, beer, and you know where to go!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Cliff Dwellings; Manitou Springs

I finally got a chance to check out the Cliff Dwellings Museum in Manitou Springs, CO.

Unfortunately, I was under the impression that this was an authentic Anasazi heritage site. However, the Ancestral Puebloans did not live in this exact spot (as far as we know). People merely took a part a section of ruins from the Mesa Verde region and transported them to the Manitou Springs site for tourist purposes. On one hand, if you can't make it to Mesa is cool to see what the ancient ruins looked like in person....however, after learning that this region was not an actual Ancestral Puebloan site....I am a bit disgruntled. And after visiting Mesa Verde....this tourist attraction just doesn't compare to the REAL authentic place and sites. But...if it encourages interest in Native American history and the lives of the ancestral Puebloans....then....some good perhaps can come of this site.

For more information check out the Manitou Springs Cliff Dwellings website.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Finally got to see an Eagle!

I was so excited to get this shot of a bald eagle recently!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Denver Bike Share

Have you ever wanted to just take a bike ride around Denver? Well, now you can without even having to bring your own bike. Denver's new bike share allows you to essentially rent a bike for minutes or hours at a time. There are several stations set up near downtown. You can start at the art museum and then ride to the 16th street mall and back...or wherever else you want to go.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dinosaur Ridge

I recently visited Dinosaur Ridge, located in Morrison, Colorado. The site is comprised of a visitor center, exhibit hall located off of C-470. Further up from the visitor center is a paved road that you can hike or bike along that has interesting geology and fossils along the road. They say you can "see 80 million years worth of geology in a mile" hike up on the ridge. The very first stegosaurus fossils were found here at Dinosaur Ridge. At one point, Colorado was ocean front property as the Western Interior Seaway covered the middle of present day America. Due to such conditions, various footprints and fossils remain of ancient dinosaurs, plants, and insects. There are signs that interpret the landscape and point out where to look for fossils. This site really opened my eyes to the natural history surrounding us. My favorite stops along the ridge are the dinosaur "track" site and the "bulges" site. You can literally see the REAL footprints of dinosaurs!! And at the bulges site you can see the impact of an actual dinosaur footprint; how it left real bulges in the topography of the landscape. As you meandor along the ridge viewing the sites, follow the path as it meanders through the rock ledge and leads you to where you are literally across the street from the Red Rocks Ampitheatre. This is a 2.75 roundtrip hike for anyone who enjoys geology and natural history. There are $4 dollar per person bus tours of the ridge if you would like a tour guide. So, get out and come walk where the dinosaurs walked!!