Denver Botanic Gardens

Denver is a fantastic place to visit in the fall. The weather was in the mid to low sixties the entire visit and the sky was mostly a beautiful light blue. The wind was lively at times, causing leaves to swirl through the air and pile up along the city streets.

In fact, within an hour of our arrival I had learned the true merit of the phrase “hold onto your hat” as I held tightly to my hat and scarf while we scurried down the street. However, the wind calmed and left us with perfect weather for outdoor fun most of the time.

We ended our vacation on a gorgeous day at the Denver Botanic Gardens, stopping here for a few hours before my friend dropped me at the airport and began her drive home. The 23-acre property is located in the Cheesman Park neighborhood and was the perfect ending to our trip.

They have been busy winterizing the grounds and preparing for their Christmas lights event but there was still plenty to see and trails to walk. The property is nicely accessible to all with sidewalks that provide ease of use for strollers, wheelchairs and anyone with balance issues. However, there are also non-paved trails that meander hither and yon through wooded areas and past water features as well.

There are a lot of Asian influences that provide calm and quiet.

An indoor tropical space features a treehouse style observation deck and a large selection of mature plants.

They also have some nice art including this Dale Chihuly piece. It’s similar to others I have seen in the collections at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus and the Phipps Conservatory and Gardens in Pittsburgh.

We walked several miles here but I know we didn’t see everything. What I wouldn’t give to go back for their Blossoms of Light exhibit this year.

Here’s one last picture. I was obsessed with this scene and envious of the people who live in this apartment building. What a view they must have from up there!

Want to visit Denver Botanic Gardens or learn more? Click here to visit their website!

Denver Mural

Denver has a vibrant arts scene and is teeming with murals. Some are elaborate, amazing works of art that are easily viewed from afar while others are tucked away in alleys and other right spaces. I mostly just enjoyed them from the car window but snapped a few pictures.

Here’s one I especially liked.

The colors really popped against the glass and steel buildings and the grey morning sky.

Public art, especially the well done kind, is one of my favorite things to look for when I travel.

Davie’s Chuck Wagon Diner

As we approached Davie’s Chuck Wagon Diner, I reminded Johnna that I wanted to eat there for the atmosphere and offered to buy her lunch if our breakfast was terrible.

Honestly, I really just wanted to see the sign and figured it was worth the visit if the food was at all decent. There was no need to worry as the quality of the food and service surpassed even the fabulous atmosphere of this 1957 era diner.

It’s a prefab diner, manufactured in New Jersey and shipped by train to its home here on Denver’s Colfax Ave. Weighing in at 46 tons, transporting these old diners and placing them on their foundations was no small task.

Look at that sign.

Tabletop juke boxes, gorgeous tile work and a counter full of regulars make for great atmosphere. The menu features your traditional diner fare and our waitress was amazing. We hardly waited five minutes before she returned with our steaming hot breakfast plates. I had a veggie omelette, hash browns and sourdough toast and it was all delicious.

Check out these horse tiles.

And the pink tile ladies room.

And the regulars at the counter!

Davie’s Chuck Wagon Diner is well worth a visit if you enjoy diners and vintage okaces. Find the location, hours and menu at their website by clicking here!

Western Adventure, Year Four

For the last four years, my friend Johnna and I have met somewhere within driving distance of her Wyoming home for a girl’s trip. I look forward to it because it provides much needed time with my friend and because we go places I wouldn’t likely visit on my own.

We met in Denver last week, each of us with a wish list of things to do. We accomplished almost everything we hoped for and a couple of extra things too.

On this trip, we stumbled into some great places to eat and shopped a good bit because it got dark so early. We visited the Colorado State House, Molly Brown House, Stanley Hotel, Botanic Gardens and the Garden of the Gods.

We wandered far and wide, sometimes aimlessly and often with purpose. It was magnificent. All of it.

Denver weather was mostly pleasant at a moderate upper sixties with beautiful blue skies most of the time. Of course, the wind was so strong for a couple of days that it would knock you over and that only worsened during our drive up to Estes Park. The wind was so bad I told Johnna that if you tied a helium balloon to a small child they would float away.

I came home with a phone full of pictures and a ton of memories to share with you. I’ll follow my usual pattern, sharing some in the next few days and then start weaving them in with other stories from other places over the next several weeks.

I can’t wait to show you some of this stuff and I’m hoping you enjoy the armchair journey as well. Come back tomorrow. We will visit my favorite new diner!

Headed Home

Waiting for a flight provides ample opportunity to relax. I like to people watch and scroll social media while I decompress. Plus, when I’m leaving on an adventure, it gives me a chance to plan for the next few days and to get excited about the trip ahead.

Coming home, the airport wait helps with the transition back to reality. That’s because, at some point, I shift from not wanting my adventure to end to just wanting to be home.

I spent the last few days in Denver with my Western Adventure Pal Johnna. The flight out was ideal. We arrived early, no one sat next to me, I had plenty of leg room and everything went smooth as could be.

Coming home was terrible. First we were delayed while crews retrieved debris from the runway. Evidently, the plane ahead of us lost pieces of a tire on take off.

I really hope they didn’t need that tire.

It was hot on the plane and it was full. Plus, our descent and landing were rocky at best. We won’t even talk about how the shuttle bus line was ridiculous and things just didn’t go well.

I’ll be glad to sleep in my own bed tonight and to see my Scout who I’m told was a little angel while I was away.

Look for some stories from Denver soon.

Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave

My Denver adventure last year included a stop at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave. It’s on Lookout Mountain near Golden and just a few miles off I-70 west of Denver.

It’s not a large museum but they have packed in a lot of stuff and I learned some things. There was even a nice little exhibit about Annie Oakley who was from Ohio.

Buffalo Bill Cody was a character. A Pony Express rider by fifteen, he went on to do many, many things. He served the Union during the Civil War and was a civilian Army Scout during the Indian Wars. He was even awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. His work as a skilled Buffalo hunter gained him the nickname Buffalo Bill.

He quickly became a legendary figure of the American west.

So it should come as no surprise that he founded Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1883, touring the country with his large company of performers and animals.

The man toured with hundreds of horses, men, women and actual live buffalos. Transporting the set, props and this crew was no small accomplishment. A 52 car train was used to haul it all.

The above image shows the 1883 cast of his show. You can buy this picture in the museum gift shop.

There are so many interesting things about this guy that I don’t even know where to begin.

The thing I like best about him is that he was a champion of women. Given that his life spanned from 1846 to 1917, this is remarkable. His ideas toward equal pay and women’s suffrage were quite shocking to many.

He was quoted saying “If a woman can do the same work that a man can do and do it just as well, she should have the same pay.”

Given that in 2020, women made .81 for every dollar earned by a man, Buffalo Bill was a man ahead of his time.

He also believed in the fair treatment of the American Indian and other ethnic and racial groups – another idea that was unpopular with our government and civilians alike. He had participated in more than a dozen fights against the Indians but believed they deserved fair treatment.

His Wild West show cross crossed the country for years and even went to Europe. The museum has a book that lists all the cities and dates the show performed. I learned they were in my own area many times, including small towns like Chillicothe, Circleville, Jackson, Hillsboro, Ironton and Marietta as well as Ohio’s larger cities.

Buffalo Bill died in 1917 while visiting his sister in Denver. His family said that he always wanted to be buried on Lookout Mountain. He died in January so he wasn’t actually buried until June when thousands of mourners came for an open casket viewing. Yes, rather gruesome, I know.

There was a contingency that believed he should be buried in Cody, Wyoming, the town that he founded. At one point the Cody chapter of the American Legion allegedly offered a reward for the return of his body to their town.

The museum is well done. There’s a gift shop on site as well. It smells of tourist trap but they do have some good stuff packed in there including a cafe where you can grab a meal or snack. From here you can follow a paved path up a hill to visit his grave.

They encourage photography, have clean restrooms, picnic tables and an observation deck to enjoy the view from Lookout Mountain which is 7,375 feet tall.

It’s well worth the $5 price of admission. Want to learn more about Buffalo Bill or plan a visit? Visit them online.