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.

Robinson Grand Theater

It’s been a fixture in downtown Clarksburg, West Virginia since 1913. Although the original Robinson Grand Theater looked a little different – it stood more than seventy feet off the sidewalk and had a covered walkway leading to the front door.

It was built as a vaudeville house and was part of the Keith-Albee Vaudeville circuit. Entertainers like Edgar Bergen with Charlie appeared here as did Jack Benny and Amos and Andy.

The theater was enlarged and remodeled in 1927, becoming just the thirteenth theater in the country to install equipment for showing “talkies.” Now the theater could seat 1,500 people and the design sounds both elaborate and impressive.

Sadly, most of that was lost when a fire broke out and destroyed the stage and most of the house but left the facade intact. Owner Claude Robinson promised the community he would rebuild the state’s most modern theater and he did. It reopened to great fanfare just seven months later on Christmas Eve 1939.

While they maintained the 1927 facade that was soared by fire, the 1939 version of the interior is what remains today.

The theater continued to operate well into the eighties, showing modern classics like Star Wars and Jaws. It changed hands, underwent another remodeling, hosted events and remained a community gathering place for some time before decline eventually led to closure.

The theater was acquired by the city in 2014 and the city undertook a massive project to renovate, restore and honor the integrity of this incredible Art Deco community landmark. The city viewed it not only as an opportunity to bring the arts to the citizens of their rural area but also as a means for encouraging economic development.

Today, you can host your own event here or attend events like movies, concerts and plays. I have seen pictures of the interior and visited the exterior on a quiet Sunday morning. It all looks magnificent.

The details on the sign and marquee remind me of an elaborate crown fit for a queen and the entire building brightens up the downtown.

Plan to attend an event here and get more info about the theater by visiting their website.