We have A LOT of trips coming up. All of them are in 2017, so earlier this summer, between booking flights for Hawaii in January and planning our itinerary through Germany next May I had a peek at the prices for flights out to Colorado over Labor Day. As regular 9-5ers, my husband Curtis and… View Article

Travel Diary: Longmont, Colorado

Location: Longmont, Colorado

We have A LOT of trips coming up. All of them are in 2017, so earlier this summer, between booking flights for Hawaii in January and planning our itinerary through Germany next May I had a peek at the prices for flights out to Colorado over Labor Day. As regular 9-5ers, my husband Curtis and I find that days off more than cost are the limiting factor on our travel experiences, so I always try to make use of long weekends as a way to garner more vacation days. Labor Day has always been a travel day for us–in the past that has included Washington and Oregon, Italy, and Germany.

Why Colorado, you ask? My mom recently moved to Longmont, and I was anxious to visit her. I figured there would be lots of things for us to see and do, including visiting one of our good friends who lives in Boulder. Looking back on our trip, Colorado ranks high on the list of my favorite places we’ve visited. I think the biggest reason for this is that something in me just loves mountains–the same way something there is that doesn’t love a wall. It’s innate.

Prepare yourself for a photo-heavy post. The picture below is the view from my mom’s balcony. I could get used to a view like that.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

· Day 1 ·

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

We got up early Saturday morning and caught a flight from Midway to Denver that landed just before noon. We rented a car–the rental agency hilariously gave the two of us a minivan–and made our way up to Longmont.

Our first stop, stomach rumbling, was Longs Peak Pub & Taphouse, which is one of the brewpubs for Mountain Sun Ales. Colorado is well known for their verdant microwbrewery scene, and I was anxious to dive right in. I generally go for samplers in any brewery as a way to sample as much as possible. I saw that Longs Peak had a six-beer flight and went for it. Halfway through ordering, the waiter informed me that the tasters were six ounces a piece.  I decided to stop at three, and I’m glad I did. Between the altitude and the alcohol percentage, I was feeling quite tipsy by the time we left. A six beer six-ounce-per sampler is a bit ridiculous, but maybe that’s Colorado for you.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Craig, my mom’s longterm boyfriend–I feel like I should call him her partner, they’ve been together for so long–used to be a park ranger. I love hearing his stories about the various parks he worked at in the past. This is his ranger hat on display in their condo.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
dress Old Navy (similar, previously featured here)
saddle bag StyleWe (c/o, previously featured here)
sunglasses Charming Charlie (c/o, similar, previously featured here)
sandals Charming Charlie (c/o, similar)
kimono (currently tucked away in my bag) Plato’s Closet (similar, previously featured here)

A bit tired, we hung around my mom’s condo for the afternoon watching college football. We went out for an early dinner after we took my mom’s dog, Phoebe, for a walk around Roosevelt Park, which is right next to her condo building. It was a nice park, complete with a big rose garden and about a trillion pikachus. I could’t believe it. After slaving to find just one in Chicago I caught three during my walks in Roosevelt Park.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

We had an early dinner at Samples World Bistro, where my mom, freshly home from a trip to Montreal, educated me on the merits of poutine. Seriously, poutine is amazing.

After our dinner we chatted around my mom’s condo’s gas fire-pit for a while and decided to hit the hay early.

· Day 2 ·

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

When planning our trip, I considered standard hotel options like the Best Western or the Comfort Inn in town. Curtis and I have had way too many shitty hotel experiences this summer with all the weddings we’ve attended–think kids screaming down the hall at 6 AM and rowdy upstairs neighbors–so we were anxious to try something else. Happily, for this trip I discovered Ellen’s Bed and Breakfast, which was located just a block and a half from my mom’s condo.

Ellen’s Bed & Breakfast was everything I could hope it would be. Run by an elderly couple about whom the adjective energetic would be an understatement, the bed and breakfast was a delightful set of rooms filled with paraphernalia from their world travels, a comfortably firm bed, and hot tub. Upon arriving we were greeted by Baldwin (a.k.a. Baldy) and their lively pair of sibling schnauzers.

Our first breakfast was a real treat. We had a two-course breakfast consisting of cinnamon sugar broiled grapefruit–the only way I’ll make grapefruit from now on–and eggs Benedict. Ellen and Baldy wanted to know everything about us. They eagerly answered our questions about their world travels–they’ve lived in over 46 countries–and their lives in Colorado. They even showed us a short film Ellen stared in–ever the actress and dancer–which was delightful. In many ways, Ellen and Baldy were the highlight of our trip. I’m so glad we got to meet them. There’s something very inspiring about meeting such a successful couple, especially when you’re in a comparatively young relationship. I found the whole experience quite opportune.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
tank top Loft’s Lou and Grey (current version)

I think many bloggers might choose to depict this scene differently: perfectly dressed, handbag displayed, makeup impeccable. It’s important to me to be genuine. This is how I actually looked at the breakfast table. My husband took one photo at my behest, and then we ate.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

My mom decided to share with us how she spends her time in Colorado, so we spent the morning walking the 3.5 mile loop around McIntosh Lake. Usually my mom bikes this loop, but via walking we were able to chat, snap beautiful pictures, and take her bichon-maltese mix for a nice long stroll. We were still getting used to the altitude–I was surprised how much it affected us–so we were happy to go on a lighter hike.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
jacket Eddie Bauer (previously featured here)
leggings Target
sunglasses Charming Charlie (c/o, similar, previously featured here)
shoes Nike
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Seriously, this view.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Happy as a clam.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

After our morning walk, we hit Yaya, an orchard my mom had been dying to visit.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Fresh cinnamon sugar donuts have got to be among my top ten favorite foods. The donuts at Yaya did not disappoint–they were fresh, sweet, and super soft. And they paired excellently with their nice flavorful cider. I was very pleased.

Overall, though, I’m not sure Yaya was my favorite orchard. Not only did they have a sign supporting Trump in their parking area, they also didn’t seem to grow most of what they sold on location. Perhaps they had a large orchard and farm nearby, but none of their signs or information made it particularly clear. If I were in Longmont again, I might search out another location for cider, donuts, and fresh produce.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

There were so many pikachu in Longmont that Curtis actually caught one by my mom’s pool when he went to put on sunscreen.

We spent the afternoon relaxing by the pool in Colorado’s bright sunlight, slathering on 70 SPF to protect our midwestern complections.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
dress H&M (simlar, previously featured here)
saddle bag StyleWe (c/o, previously featured here)
sandals Charming Charlie (c/o, similar)
watch Jord (c/o, previously featured here)

Longmont’s best hidden gem has to be the Cheese Importers. Located in an old warehouse, the cheese importers has a cheese fridge that’s so large they provide jackets to those who need them. I was amazed. Their selection of cheese is outrageously enormous. And in addition to that, they had a lovely selection of French tableware, souvenirs, and general tchotchke. The also have a lovely menu of cocktails, cafe beverages, and pastries, which they serve in a lovely indoor bar setting, a cozy upstairs cafe, and an expansive and colorful patio.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

We selected several of our favorite cheeses from the walk-in fridge–a Dulces de Bourgogne, a Manchego, and a bleu–a wild boar summer sausage, ordered a few glasses of wine, and headed out to the patio, totally unaware that the apocalypse was upon us. Seriously, the moment we sat down one giant cloud decided to pour down rain on us. It was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve ever had. This cloud, large as it was, only obscured about half the sky. The other half was pure blue sky. Basically we sat in the sunshine looking at blue sky with a torrential downpour falling all around us. We tried to wait it out, convinced that the rain would stop at any second–like a shower turning off–but it never did. Eventually we sprinted inside and enjoyed our cheese and drinks in the well-decorated bar area.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

We relaxed at my mom’s condo after changing our rain soaked clothes, enjoyed another few glasses of wine and watched some home movies. For dinner we went to my mom’s favorite Mexican restaurant in town. I ordered the chicken molé–pretty much what I always order, because who can say no to chocolate chili sauce?–and found it a bit peanut butter heavy for my taste. After dinner, we went home to watch an episode of Star Trek–Curtis and I had divulged that we’re working our way through the original series–and then turned in relatively early. That night Curtis and I unwound in Ellen’s hot tub, and afterwards I slept like a baby.

· Day 3 ·

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

The next morning Baldy was off at a meeting, so we breakfasted with Ellen alone. She made us blueberry and pecan pancakes–divine–and regaled us with more stories of her dancing and acting days.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Knowing we were anxious to see more of Colorado’s beautiful scenery, but nervous about visiting the overcrowded parks, my mom and Craig decided to take us for a drive along Colorado’s Peak to Peak Highway. It was a beautiful drive, though I was sad that the one hike we stopped to do around Brainard Lake was so busy we couldn’t even get near the parking lot. Clearly, Labor Day weekend is not the time to do anything outdoorsy, or at least anything involving a park. Instead we made our own stops where things looked beautiful, including along this river that ran through the mountains.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
tank top Loft – Lou and Grey (current version)
leggings Target
sunglasses Charming Charlie (c/o, similar, previously featured here)
shoes Nike
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

We ended our drive near Lyons and lunched at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse, which was very good. I ordered a classic–baby back ribs, collard greens, and coleslaw. The ribs were tender and flavorful, the greens spot on, but the coleslaw far too vinegary.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Curtis ordered the reuben. I think the fact that he finished it speaks for how much he enjoyed it.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Teddy Roosevelt stopped in Longmont along his Whistle Stop Tour and they haven’t forgotten. There are two large statues of old Teddy in town, and this one is right next to my mom’s condo.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

That morning I had asked Ellen where were should go to dinner and without hesitation she recommended the Dushanbe Teahouse. Trusting her advice, I insisted we go there.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
dress Orchid Lane (previously featured here)
heels Zara (similar, previously featured here)

Let me lead with this: The Dushanbe Tea House is beautiful and serves amazing food and drinks. If you have the opportunity, go there. Immediately. And now on to the more detailed review.

Boulder, like many cities, has a sister city. Their sister is Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan. Almost 20 years ago the mayor of Dushanbe commissioned the teahouse. It was built by 40 artisans and shipped, much like the Statue of Liberty, to Boulder in pieces which they then constructed. To say it’s beautiful is an understatement. It’s stunning–every inch of it is meticulously carved or painted. I took many pictures of its dark interior and nighttime exterior, but they did it no justice. Google has far better photos of it than I do.

I decided to wear what felt like a decidedly appropriate outfit for the evening–a kaftan dress from one of my favorite fair trade boutiques. I think I made a good choice–someone from another table actually stopped to compliment me on how fitting my outfit was for the setting. I was chuffed. For better pictures of this outfit, see the full outfit post here. Curtis took several shaky-handed pictures of it outside the restaurant, but due to the low light this was the best picture he snapped.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

The Teahouse has an impressive menu of tea alone–in fact, their menu inspired me to get back into loose-leaf tea. If it were at all feasible, I would definitely have high tea there regularly. They also have a delightful dinner menu, which focuses on pan-Asian fare. I ordered an Indian dish with house-made naan, though I have to say my favorite thing they served was bread fresh from the oven with tea infused olive oil. Probably the majority of my calories from this meal came from that–it was so good I couldn’t stop myself from going back for more.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Curtis ordered lamb skewers which were incredibly delicious.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

· Day 4 ·

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

We were sad to leave Ellen and Baldy the next morning. They served us a simple yogurt and granola parfait for breakfast with local Palisade peaches and almond croissants from the nearby Dutch bakery. We ate more than we should have. Or maybe just the right amount.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

Above, Ellen and Baldy. Below, their adorable–if loud–schnauzers.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

My mom had to go back to work on Tuesday, so we met up with our friend Jon who lives in Boulder. Jon is a coffee aficionado, so the first place he took us was Ozo, his favorite cafe in the city. I’m glad he did–the Americano I had was decidedly the best I’ve ever had. It’s almost a good thing there isn’t an Ozo in Chicago. I would spend way too much money and time there.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
jacket Eddie Bauer (previously featured here)
tank top Loft – Lou and Grey (current version)
leggings Target
sunglasses Charming Charlie (c/o, similar, previously featured here)
saddle bag StyleWe (c/o, previously featured here)
watch Jord (c/o, previously featured here)
shoes Nike
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

After coffee, Jon recommended that we do some real hiking around the Flat Irons. He sent us off to Chautauqua Park. After a quick slather of sunscreen we headed out and decided to make it as far up the path to the first Flat Iron as we could before we had to turn back to make our lunch date. The whole hike was gorgeous and well trafficked–I can see why everyone in Colorado is so healthy. With trails like that to hike, I’d be outdoors constantly. We even encountered a group of trail workers along the way. They were doing some sort of trail work that involved pick axes. The whole thing felt endearingly Colorado. I’m not ashamed to admit that Rocky Mountain High was playing through my head the whole time.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

After our hike, we met back up with Jon to tour Boulder’s breweries. He took us to his favorite first: Avery Brewing. It was fantastic. I had a delicious local beet salad for lunch, and every sampler I ordered was fantastic. They had two heavily spiced pumpkin beers already on the menu–we sampled both–and they offered tours back into their production area.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion bloglongmont colorado travel diary fashion blog
longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

After a few more brewery stops we rushed off to our flight home. I’m feeling anxious to return to Colorado for some more serious hiking and brewery touring.

longmont colorado travel diary fashion blog

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