An Orangery Metaphor

The Denver Botanic Garden uses an orangery to weather tender plants through the winter. Here you’ll find small orange trees, succulents and all manner of plants in a type of greenhouse. Some things look strong and healthy while others look half dead.

The common thread is that they will all pull through the winter and be moved back outside to thrive on more friendly days next year.

I have a bad cold that I’m desperately trying to prevent from becoming a sinus infection. It started on Thanksgiving and I just feel cruddy. I also got my Covid booster on Saturday and had some minor side effects from that on Sunday morning. In other words, I’m cruddy and tired and feel half dead like some of those plants.

Luckily, it is just a cold and I’ve been able to rest and drink lots of fluids and eat fresh citrus for the last few days. Things will be better soon if I continue to focus on self care.

This is something we humans aren’t very good at doing sometimes. Yet there’s no replacement for rest and genuine self care when we are under the weather. Society teaches us to buck up, to power through and to fake it till you make it. If you are unwell, that is garbage advice.

Rest. Hydrate. Nourish your body.

This is how you bounce back better than ever. You owe yourself that. Your body and mind deserve that much. Remember that the next time you’re tempted to ignore your body’s pleas for help.

Rocky Mountain Views

Conditions weren’t great when we attempted our Rocky Mountain hike but I grabbed a few photos to share. Those photos weren’t very colorful so I tinted them just a bit and like the effect.

I really liked this view.

The stream with all those rocks was beautiful. While we didn’t spend a lot of quality time in the mountains, we certainly enjoyed the experience anyway.

A Day In Estes Park

Denver weather was windy but otherwise ideal during our visit. So it was quite a shock to leave the mid sixties of the city for the gusty, cold of Estes Park.

This town of less than 6,000 residents was once home to Arapaho Indians. Today it’s home to dozens of small businesses and is a destination for outdoorsy types looking for some R&R or for excitement in the Rocky Mountain National Park.

Winter sports are a big deal here as is the Stanley Hotel. This stately old hotel overlooking the town inspired Stephen King to write his bestselling book The Shining.

We visited the Stanley and then headed up the mountain to sightsee. We actually planned to hike some but the wind was so strong it would knock you over. When we arrived in Estes Park the temperature was 36 degrees but felt 19. It was significantly colder when we set foot on a trail and it started to snow.

You can’t tell from this picture but, trust me, it was frigid.

We were layered up but it was simply too windy to be enjoyable. We drove some but the roads started to turn slick so we did the only logical thing to do. We headed back to town, got lunch and shopped! Yes, we are weak of body but strong of shopping spirit.

It was a grand day.

Christmas Fun In Chillicothe

Downtown Chillicothe hosted a holiday open house this weekend. I met a friend for lunch yesterday and we browsed a few shops.

We even met Father Christmas who turned out to be an old friend of mine. His name is Gary and his wife Pam is an artist who has painted a few of the murals I’ve mentioned here.

Chillicothe is experiencing quite the renaissance as there have been several interesting shops and restaurants popping up in the downtown area over the last few years. Friends who live there don’t seem especially impressed but I think it’s exciting to see so many speciality shops that you don’t find just anywhere.

There are a couple of trendy boutiques for women’s clothing and some good antique stores. What’s more impressive to me is that they have a fantastic independent bookstore, a record store and a bike shop. These kinds of specialty stores are becoming hard to find and it’s rare to find them all in one smallish town. There’s even a place that sells stained glass supplies and offers classes. I interviewed the owner once for a work project and was delighted to learn how busy they are.

In the mix you’ll find a store that sells military miniatures, a cute bakery and a candy store. The Majestic Theater, which I have written about a couple of times, is in the neighborhood and is again hosting performances.

Yoctangee Park provides green space and renovations are underway at a few buildings.

We had a good lunch at Fire and Stone Pizzeria. It’s rare for me to be impressed by a restaurant salad but this one was really good and their house ranch was delicious.

I also picked up a couple of books at Wheatberry Bookstore including this nice volume of holiday stories by Truman Capote. I intend to jump into this book momentarily.

Plus I saw my friend who I see approximately once every 12.5 years so that was nice too!

Chillicothe has much history as the city was the first and third Capitol of Ohio and has rich Native American history as well. Plus, they sometimes hold events like this Christmas open house, the ghost walk I have written about here and other fun activities. If you’re looking for a day trip in southern Ohio, this may be a good choice for you.

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!

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!