40 Miles from Aspen

Aspen is definitely a popular destination for sighting celebrities and where the rich and famous live and play. It boasts of infamous restaurants, high-end shops, and great skiing. It wasn’t really about Aspen. We were there for the starting point of an adventure.

We started off from Glenwood Springs where we got on a bus with our bikes. A 30-minute bus ride that took us straight into downtown Aspen.

Lifesize bear made from thousands of nails.

We took some time walking around and looking at the shops and restaurants. We even bought some T-Shirts to commemorate our bike ride.

What’s this adventure? Well, from downtown Aspen, we planned to ride the bike trail 40 miles back to Glenwood Springs. That’s the reason we put our bikes on the bus. This trip had been done by our friends several times. So I had faith I could do it.

Ready or not we were on our way.

There were some interesting things to see along the bike trail.

Steel Bridge over the river.

We rode on the trail that ran parallel to the Colorado River. We stopped for a rest a few times. I sure needed it. The terrain was flat most of the way and made it for a fairly easy ride.

Waterfall down the side of the hill.

Bear signs everywhere. I was happy we didn’t see any real bears. Just the big naily one in Aspen.

Beautiful view of the Colorado River.
Goat labor

These goats were surrounded by an electric fence. They were put there to eat the shrub. I guess it’s cheaper than hiring people to do the landscaping.

4 hours later and we made it back to Glenwood Springs without incident. Not including the lunch stop before our last 10 miles home. That was the hardest part of the trip. Riding your bike in headwinds after already riding for 3+ hours. Ouch! It truly was an adventure.

Colorado and Friends 2018

Our travels are a highlight of our life experiences. My husband and I have fond memories of all the places we’ve traveled to. This year Colorado was a special time away. We were fortunate to be invited by our longtime and dearest friends to stay at their vacation home. It was a trip full of adventure and wonderful times of fellowship. Bill and Donna were the perfect hosts and knowledgeable guides for our fabulous week in Glenwood Springs.

A short train ride from Denver International airport to the Denver Union train station. I just love train stations with its history and nostalgia. We then hopped on another train to the Jefferson County Government Center where our friends parked their car. We drove a few miles north to the quaint town of Golden.

Golden Colorado-

Home of the School of Mines

Coors Brewery

Adolf Coors, founder of Coors Brewery

The town of Golden is a fun place to browse and spend a few hours. We saw the Coors brewery amidst beautiful landscape and the river rushing alongside. The landscape will take your breath away. And it did.

Glenwood Springs

We climbed up a trail to see the view of beautiful downton Glenwood Springs.

Hotel Colorado

Glenwood Springs is also famous for the Hotel Colorado. This is where President Theodore Roosevelt stayed when he visited. A tribute to the President and the Teddy bear that was named after him is cased in the hotel lobby.

My friend Donna actualy saw her great aunt’s name on the people who first stayed at the Hotel Coloradowhen it first opened in 1893.

It’s a great place to sit at the bar and look out at the beautiful landscape. They also make great margharitas.

The bike trails around Glenwood Springs is a good way to see the beautiful landscape.

Spending time in the jacuzzi was one of our highlights of the trip.

There were so many more places and activities we experienced during our stay in Colorado:

  • Air Force Academy Football game
  • 40 mile bike ride from Aspen
  • Grand Junction visit with family
  • The Monument drive
  • hike to Hanging Lake

Portland: The City for Coffee, Tea and Walking

 

 

Portland is a great place for a weekend getaway. We chose Portland because we enjoy a walkable city. The weather was comfortable with warm temps and sunny clear skies just perfect for walking.

We always make it a point when visiting a city to check if there’s a  Free Walking Tour.  Portland does have a free walking tour and we highly recommend it.  This tour is worth the 2 hours. Eric was our guide and we thoroughly enjoyed his humor and knowledge about all things Portland. He also recommended a few of his favorite restaurants and coffee shops. After our lunch at the Adler St. Food Cart Pod, we decided to check out the coffee shop he recommended.

 

He prefers coffee and I prefer tea

Spellas Caffee is a tiny cafe that could easily be missed if you didn’t know it was there. There are 2 cafe tables outside and a pretty small retail space inside. There’s only space enough for 2 -3 people inside. But don’t let the size deter you. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans permeated the cafe. I loved the beautiful chandelier creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. I felt I was in an Italian cafe. My husband is the coffee drinker in the family. He ordered his usual cafe mocha while I quickly noticed the gelato case. I decided to pass on the coffee and order a scoop of gelato. The barista suggested I order an affogato. Oh. Ok, but I went with it. I am so glad I took her suggestion.  The strong espresso combined with a scoop of gelato was a delicious combination. Instead of adding milk or cream to my coffee I had a scoop of luscious creamy vanilla gelato.  From now on it will be hard to drink coffee any other way.

affogato: an Italian dessert of vanilla ice cream over which espresso has been poured. The affogato can be sipped slowly or eaten with a spoon and is a great way to enjoy dessert, coffee, and an after-dinner drink all in one.  wikipedia

Spella Caffe owner, Mr. Spella has crafted the art of preparing espresso. He has spent his life acquiring techniques in bringing the best cup of espresso to his customers. The next time you’re in downtown Portland get the tastiest espresso and treat yourself to an affogato.

Spella Caffe -Downtown Portland OR

 

Sometimes the location isn’t everything

Yelp is a great app to search for anything I’m looking for. We searched for a tea shop and I was surprised there were several choices for tea shops. We decided on a tea shop just outside the downtown area.  We were lead to an obscure industrial area.  I was a little skeptical until we drove by and saw the outside of the shop. Don’t judge a shop by its location. I immediately loved the way the exterior looked with its brick walls and all the greenery surrounding it. It looked very English. I walked in and knew I was going to have a great cup of tea.

Steven Smith Storefront

Steven Smith’s Teamaker is a small and quaint tea shop.  The decor was simple with shelves neatly lined with a wide choice of teas. There were a few tables where people were enjoying a pot of tea and reading the newspaper. We sat down at the counter and looked over the menu to select our tea. Green, Black, Oolong in every variety you could imagine. All the teas blends have numbers and a name. I selected an imported tea, #47 called Bungalow. It’s a Darjeeling tea. The black full leaf tea is grown in the Himalayan mountains. The teamaker prepared my pot of tea and served it in a simple teapot with a large porcelain cup and a tea biscuit. It was a soothing and flavorful tea. I imagined I was in England somewhere having afternoon tea.

 

This tea shop has more than meets the eye

The building is a 100-year-old blacksmith shop. The founder, Steven Smith, was a native of Portland and a leading tea entrepreneur. They have a second location where they hold tours, classes, and events surrounding tea. I love that this shop sees tea as more than a beverage. It’s a culture.

My favorite part of traveling is finding local shops such as these in seemingly hidden places.

What obscure shop or place did you find on your travels?