• Colorado Summer Learning Moment 2022

    September 5, 2022 | Trip Recaps
  • Please select a day or scroll down to read entire post
  • Day 1 • August 31, 2022

    Ariel photo of Denver Colorado skyline. Denver is located in the Western United States, in the South Platte River Valley on the western edge of the High Plains just east of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Its downtown district is immediately east of the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte River, approximately 12 mi (19 km) east of the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.

    Let’s do this! I’m off to Colorado, to visit two of its most well-known cities: Denver and Glenwood Springs. I left home at 6:30 AM and took Uber to Boston’s Logan International Airport. Checking my bag was super easy, and I hung out in the United club prior to my flight. The United club was comfortable, with a lot of seating, good coffee, light snacks, and the staff was super helpful. The flight to Denver was full, and we left on time, at 9:30 AM. I was in economy plus, which has a bit more leg room than regular economy My seat mate, Frank, was super helpful. He was flying home to Denver, after being in Boston for work. He shoed me how the in-flight entertainment system worked, and it was awesome to chat. The coffee on the plane was also perfect, as well as the caramel cookies. We landed into Denver at noon, and it was great to take the inter-airport train from concourse C to baggage claim. After getting my bag, I took the AT express bus to the Nine Mile station in Aurora, which is a suburb of Denver, where my friend Jess picked me up. She helped me check into the La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Denver Aurora Medical. The hotel has four floors, and the room was perfect for what it was. After settling in, I learned that there’s only the Florida Avenue train station in this neighborhood, no stores or anything. I took the Light Rail over to Noonan’s Sports Bar and Grill, which is also in Aurora. The chicken fingers and cheese curds were great, as well as the Colorado homemade beer. It was also great to meet some new people. However, walking there from the Iliff Light Rail station was difficult, because of the many curves in the sidewalk, as well as having to cross a road with ten lanes of traffic! However, thanks to the AIRA service, I was able to make it there no problem.

    After Noonan’s and more settling into the hotel, Jess and her roommate Christine picked me up and we went to Legends of Aurora Sports Bar and Grill for dinner, also in Aurora. Since they didn’t have the spinach calzone, the slice of spinach pizza was amazing, and it was actually cheaper and better than the original calzone! The Colorado beer was also great. By this time, after chatting, it’s about 10:00, and tomorrow will be full of more surprises, including meeting up with Lindsey, a classmate who I went to school with in Vermont, dinner at a Colorado steakhouse, and who knows what else!!

  • Day 2 • September 1, 2022

    Interior photo of the wooden décor of Wynkoop Brewing Company. Wynkoop is Colorado’s First Brewpub. For almost three decades they’ve been brewing handcrafted beer in their modest basement brewery underneath Denver’s largest pool hall.

    Today, after having coffee at the hotel and doing some work, at about 11:00 my friend from public school in Vermont, Lindsey, picked me up and we had lunch at the Wynkoop Brewing Company, one of Colorado’s original breweries, located in downtown Denver. The fish and chips and the homemade beer were great, and it was great to catch up from not having seen each other since 1995. Lindsey has three kids now, and they’re going camping for Labor Day weekend. After lunch, we wandered around Union Station, the central transportation hub in downtown Denver, as well as enjoyed one more drink at Terminal Bar, the bar in Union Station. I got back to the hotel at about 3:00 PM, relaxed, and took the light rail, pretty much to the same place where I was this afternoon, and enjoyed dinner at Denver Chophouse and Brewery. The staff was super helpful, and I had great wine, pesto risotto tots, filet mignon since Colorado is known for steak, and mashed potatoes, and it was totally worth it. While the Light Rail is effective, it’s definitely not as efficient as other public transportation systems. The lines run about every 15-30 minutes, and while it takes an hour to get from Aurora to downtown on the light rail, it only takes 20 minutes driving. After dinner, I went to the Ice House tavern, which is right up the road, for one more beer. It’s a dive bar and the people were great there as well. I took Uber back, and tomorrow Jess and I are off to Glenwood Springs, a popular area in Colorado, on Amtrak for a weekend of unlimited access to the pool, an amusement park, and other great surprises!!

  • Day 3 • September 2, 2022

    Exterior photo of the Glenwood Hot Springs pool. For over 130 years, visitors coming to Glenwood Hot Springs Resort have created a strong family tradition that spans generations. As one of the oldest, and most iconic tourist attractions in Colorado, their historic Glenwood Springs setting is centrally located between renowned Aspen and Vail, Colorado and provides an atmosphere to share in life’s special moments.

    Today, at about 6:30 AM, Jess and I took the light rail from my hotel in Aurora to Union Station, to catch Amtrak’s legendary California Zeffer train from Denver to Glenwood Springs. This train travels from Chicago to San Francisco, and is Amtrak’s longest cross country route. The train was completely sold out, and the train was a double decker train, similar to the Empire Builder that I rode from Chicago to Seattle in 2019. The train had sleepers, coach class, a café/observation car, and a dining car, which is for sleeper passengers only. The train was sold out, and I hung out on the upper level of the observation car for most of the five-hour trip. This level has seats that face the windows, as well as power outlets. While in the observation car, I met some other people who were also taking a weekend trip from Denver to Glenwood Springs. It was great to joke around, and we went downstairs to the café car and enjoyed drinks and lunch as well.

    We arrived into Glenwood Springs about an hour late, at about 2:45 PM, and made our way to the Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge, which is the main resort within the town of Glenwood Springs. It was only about a five-minute walk from the Amtrak station, making it super easy. Similar to Denver, it was also hot in Glenwood Springs, about 90 degrees. With the room, we got free breakfast, as well as access to the hot springs pool. After getting settled into our room, we went into town, and ate dinner at the Italian Underground restaurant. The pesto with chicken and the wine were great, and we both had the pesto with chicken. After dinner, we swam in the pool, which felt great. The main pool was mostly shallow, and the water was warm. Across from the main pool is a big hot tub, and it felt great to relax in there for a bit. These pools are outside, and they’re open even in the winter during ski season. Tomorrow, we’re off to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, which is on top of a mountain that you access via a gondola, and other great Glenwood Springs surprises!!

  • Day 4 • September 3, 2022

    Aerial photo of the gondolas at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. A mountain is ideal for many things – hiking, skiing, hang gliding, but it’s not the most logical location for a theme park. Yet, situated 7, 100 feet above sea level in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, is America’s only mountain-top theme park.

    Today, after having breakfast which consisted of an egg sandwich, home fries, and coffee, we made our way up the mountain to Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. I went on the Alpine coaster, which is a roller coaster where you sit in a sled and it’s one of the top ten unique roller coasters in the US, the defiance roller coaster, giant canyon swing, Glenwood Canyon Flyer, cliffhanger roller coaster, soaring eagle, and a few others. Compared to other amusement parks, the lines weren’t that long, and my favorite was the alpine coaster. We also went on two cave tours, where we went underground and learned about the history of the different caves and how they came to be on the mountain. After the park, we relaxed in the room, and that night, I went to the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub for dinner. The beer was great, as well as the homemade cheese curds and burger, which was actually buffalo meat. I also went to the Glenwood Springs Bar and the Doc Holliday Saloon for a few more drinks. The people in Glenwood Springs are laid back, and it was awesome to meet some new people. I returned to the resort at about midnight, and tomorrow we’re on the California Zeffer again, headed back to Denver for one more night!

  • Day 5 • September 4, 2022

    Today, before boarding Amtrak back to Denver, we had lunch where I ate dinner last night, at the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub. Similar to last night, the cheese curds were great, as well as the fish and chips and homemade beer. The train was an hour late, and like the train to Glenwood, it was almost sold out. I hung out in the observation car, and upon arrival into Denver, when we got off, I saw the same people who I met on the train on Friday. I got back to Aurora at about 9:40, and took Uber to the same bars that I went to on Wednesday night, Legends and Noonan’s. The kitchen at Legends closed at 10:00, and I got there at 9:58, and it was great that they were able to make a few slices of spinach pie, and the beers at both bars were great. Since it was Labor Day weekend, the bars were busy, and it was great to hang out after the train ride. I got back to the hotel at midnight, and tomorrow I head back to Boston on United Airlines!!

  • Day 6 • September 5, 2022

    Exterior photo of Denver International Airport. Denver International Airport (IATA: DEN, ICAO: KDEN, FAA LID: DEN), locally known as DIA, is an international airport in the Western United States, primarily serving metropolitan Denver, Colorado, as well as the greater Front Range Urban Corridor. At 33,531 acres (52.4 sq mi; 135.7 km2),[3][4] it is the largest airport in North America by land area and the second largest in the world, behind King Fahd International Airport.[5]

    Today, after checking out of the hotel, Jess and I went to Applebee’s for lunch in Aurora. The grilled chicken breast and mashed potatoes were great, as well as a Sam Adams. We took the A line, which is the commuter rail part of Denver’s public transportation system, to Denver International Airport. During the ride, I noticed that United had an earlier flight at 4:00 PM before my original flight at 5:20 PM, and upon arrival, they changed me to the 4:00 flight. The flight was full, and because of weight balancing issues, my flight actually left at 5:20 anyway, so the hour earlier didn’t matter. I got back to Boston at midnight. Overall, it was a great trip, and it will be great to visit Colorado again soon!!

  • 1 comment

    You are so brave! I enjoyed reading about you trip. Thanks for sharing.