Colorado in the summer is a whole new world. If you've ever been out West or to a state similar to Colorado, you know how magical it is. As kids, we used to go to Breckenridge and some surrounding ski towns to spend our winter breaks. For my Mom's 50th birthday she wanted to explore Colorado so that is what we did! I can't take any props for the planning and execution of the trip, though, that was all my Dad (you rock, Dad)!
We flew into Colorado at 5 am... literally the earliest flight I have taken IN. MY. LIFE. The perks of a red-eye are that you have the rest of the day to explore the city you are visiting. We drove to The Ritz Carlton where we decided to stay. After we checked into our gorgeous hotel, we decided to keep the day relaxing and went to the Denver Botanic Gardens. We were rushed out due to the rain but it was still gorgeous.
The second day in Denver we decided to go to Red Rocks. Red Rocks is a gorgeous park with an amphitheater inside of the Red Rock! The family hiked around until we meet up with my friend, Jeff, who is in graduate school at the University of Colorado Boulder. It was blazing hot outside! We then took ourselves to a small neighboring town for some lunch and a duck festival. Listen to this y'all, this rubber duck festival launches tons and tons of ducks into a river and the first one to "cross the finish line" wins! If you decide to purchase a duck and your duck is the winner, you get a cash prize... how insane is that?! It was too bad that we didn't get to see the festival since it took place at an earlier time in the day.
The third day, August 5th, we went river rafting down the Colorado River. What we were expecting to be white water rafting was actually a slow and relaxing raft ride (which was totally ok with me)! I had never been before, but the rest of my family had gone in Utah. August 5th was also the same day that we were leaving Denver and heading glamping. We stopped in Breckenridge at a small restaurant called The Lost Cajun; a restaurant Mitch and I ate at when we went to Breckenridge a couple of summers before hand. HIGHLY reccomend. Later that day, we arrived at our glamping destination... literally camping in straight luxury! The tents didn't have AC but they had everything else under the sun to say the least. The views were incredible, the space and bathing areas were clean (which is so important to me and my family) and the food was deliscious.
On August 6th, we explored the city of Vail. After our excursion the day before we decided to keep it low key and take a little adventure around the town. None of us have ever actually visited the city so it was nice to take time to grab some dinner and see the small village for a change! Vail was around a 45 minute commute from our glamping sight, so we tried to make the best out of the time we had in the gorgeous (and boujee) city.
On August 7th, we went horse back riding! My Dad actually signed the family up for the advanced riding class which... let me tell ya, was a little scary at first! Chris is a very courageous person with almost no fear, so he took off with the other half of the group. Myself, my Mom and my Dad all went on a beginner course with our horses. If you've ever been horse back riding in the west, you know that the horses will probably go down a hill or a mountain at some point. That sh*t is scary y'all! We obviously made it back in one piece, and the views were gorgeous on the top, but the way down was one scary ride! We finished the night at an Italian restaurant in a city near by called Edwards. My parents both ordered oysters, which the restaurant was known for (but I am not a fan). We finished the night star gazing back at the camp since the 7th was our last night in our tents.
The 8th, our sixth day (also my 22nd birthday), was when we left our camp sight to make our way to Glenwood Springs. Before we left, we had our last breakfast at the camp sight; during breakie, my family gave me the first portion of my gift wrapped in a paper Walgreen bags (lol thanks family). I got a Polaroid camera and it's cute as heck! Glenwood Springs is an area in Colorado where they have the world's largest natural hot spring pool. I've been to one of the spa's before, when I visited with Mitch, but the rest of my family wanted to experience it for themselves. We arrived at The Colorado Hotel (would not recommend this hotel, it was old and completely falsely advertised) where we changed into our swimmies and headed to the first natural hot spring spa. This spa consisted of multiple smaller pools that ranged in heat. While we were soaking ourselves in the hot springs, my Dad came back with myself second gift (a freaking apple watch hello)! I am beyond grateful for these presents, the trip and being able to spend time with my family in Colorado! We ended our night at a local restaurant where I wore my (current) favorite dress by Free People. It was a perfect 22nd to say the least. I wouldn't spent it with anyone else (but add my dog, bestie and boyfriend to make it even better please)!
On the 7th day, we started off the morning in a different hot spring in Glenwood. This one was labeled as "the worlds largest natural pool". It was basically a massive pool that was filled with hot spring water and on the other side you had the option to go into a smaller and hotter pool. It was so fun experiencing the different hot springs with my family. The morning was relaxing and soon after lunch, we headed back to the hotel and packed up our things... my Dad decided to switch our hotels and we headed to Aspen a day early. We checked into the St. Regis in Aspen (GORGEOUS) and explored the city for the rest of the night. Aspen, similar to vail, is very high-end. The streets were adorned with designer boutiques and classy restaurants. I found a GOOP location among cute coffee shops; specifically this one we went too that had vegan spring rolls and a power chai + it was from Australia... I DIE. After exploring the city, we went back to the hotel to sip some cocktails around the outside fire pits. I ordered a French 75, a new favorite of mine, and soaked up the beauty of the surrounding area.
The 8th day, August 10th, we started our morning off with breakie at the St. Regis. I ordered an açaí bowl (duh) and a fresh pressed juice. We then decided to take a gondola up to the top of a near-by mountain to hike around for a bit. After our hike, and the glorious views we experienced, we ate some snacks at the peak of the mountains. It was around 1:00pm before we decided to make our way back to the hotel and head to our final destination in Denver. We took a longer road through the mountains from Aspen to Denver which was both breathe-taking as well as scary AF. The views, on the other hand, could not have been beat. I have to say as much as I wanted to cry form the height we were at, the top of the mountains, the valleys and the chilling air was all completely worth it... thanks for the driving Dad!
The 9th day, the same day as our flight, I suggested that our family visit The Garden of the Gods. It's considered a wonder of the world (quote me if i'm wrong) and my family had never been. Last time I was in Colorado, Mitch and I drove through the area but didn't get to see it on a sunny day. Thankfully my family and I were able to explore the area in its full glory, sunshine and all! We drove through the park and parked our car to explore inside the rock. If yogurt the chance to explore the area, I highly suggest actually walking around the area; It is actually breathtaking! Seeing those huge rocks while you're standing in-between them is unreal. Later that day, we all headed to Denver airport to catch our flights. I was a little sad to see my family go (i'm still homesick to say the least) but was happy to come back home to Mitch!