Asheville to Denver in Under 72 Hours.
About two months ago Andrew and I decided we needed one more small adventure before the end of 2018, so of course the question was posed as to where? Knowing that Frontier Airlines flies from Asheville to a handful of cities on the cheap we did a little perusing. Of the half dozen cities available, Denver was easily number one on both Andrew and my lists of places to visit; however flights from AVL don’t begin traveling to Denver until February of 2019. With a bit further research we discovered that Greenville, SC is already making the Frontier trek to Denver regularly, and perfectly cycles for a weekend getaway. For us, traveling from Greenville is almost a better option, because we can leave Divot (our dog) at my ever so generous in-laws and also get a ride to the airport. For those who may not have a Greenville hook up, even an hour and 10 minute drive is not bad to catch a flight from Asheville especially when the ticket is less than $120 round trip. That’s right, we spent under $250 for the both of us to travel back and forth.
We left South Carolina on Friday afternoon and with the time change arrived in Denver at about 5:30pm. We scooped up a rental car from Hertz and were walking into our Airbnb by just after 7pm. For us, where we stayed in Denver was all about the neighborhoods we had two areas on the top of our list (LoDo and Five Points) and found this little, duplex Airbnb in Five Points and thought it would be perfect. Our first night in town was pretty low key, we had dinner at a local spot, The Meadowlark, which served up one of the best burgers I’ve ever had and called it a pretty early night to prepare for the next day’s wanderings.
With the time change we were up and early at about 6am and headed to Rosenberg’s Bagels right away. Located within Five Points made it an easy two block walk from our Airbnb. We both opted for hefty bagel sandwiches which were delicious but what I would really write home about are there traditional Rainbow Cookies - I would stop back maybe for just one of these! From breakfast we headed a little way across town to mosey around the Denver Art Museum. Lucky for us we were hitting it on the first Saturday of the month which made admission free for us both. They have an amazing Dior exhibit from now until March, that I’m sorry we missed but was already sold out for the day. As we were hitting early afternoon we made our way to historic Union Station. Fully decked out for the holidays Union Station is just beautiful to see in its’ own right, but it’s also loaded with restaurants, shops, cocktail bars and coffee shops so you could really spend a large portion of your day there! We didn’t actually spend too much time in the station because there was a holiday flea market happening on the property and it was jam packed. So, we opted to mosey across the street to Italian coffee shop Amante to relax for a bit and enjoy a delicious latte and some biscotti. The perfect mid afternoon treat!
After our caffeine fix we spent some time getting lost in the stacks at the Tattered Cover Book Store. With a cozy atmosphere and an interesting blend of new releases and used books mixed together you can really spend hours scouring for your next great book to cozy up with! From there we drove over to check out the REI Denver Flagship Store (we were traveling with small carry ons so weren’t really looking to shop but if you’re into that sort of things it’s a beautiful and massive REI located inside an old train station), before heading back to our neck of the woods in Five Points. Andrew and I figured it was probably time to put some more food in our bodies so we stopped into Denver Central Market for a bite to eat and a cocktail at Curio. It’s an open market food co-op similar to Grand Central Market in LA just a bit smaller, with a wide variety of options to grab a bite and open forum seating. For the remainder of our evening we spent some time exploring the brewery options of Five Points and equally voting that Our Mutual Friend, was our favorite with their deliciously refreshing Small Hold, a petite hoppy saison. After a couple of beers and the time change sinking in we opted to order some pizzas and head back to our Airbnb to relax and eat dinner. Our original plan was to get ramen at Uncle, however the wait was a minimum of 2 hours and being tired we just didn’t think it was worth it, maybe next time. We picked up take out from Five Points Pizza; which doesn’t have much in the realm of curb appeal, it’s a take out only joint that had only one guy making all the pizzas. It was a little bit of a wait but boy, was it delicious. As Youngstown natives we’re always looking for a good pie, and next time we’re in Denver I can bet you we’d order out from there again! It was a whirlwind of a day and I’m not going to lie, we were both falling asleep on the couch by 9pm.
The next full day of our trip had us destined for Colorado Springs to spend a little time outdoors. Once again we were up before the sun, so opted to grab a coffee to go and start our drive South. We arrived at Garden of the Gods just after sunrise, since temperatures were in the teens we had almost the whole park to ourselves, aside from some fierce fitness folks on their morning jogs, and got to see the sun start to rise over the beautiful, red rocks. Admission to Garden of the Gods is free, except for if you’re climbing then there are permit fees to be able to climb in the park, and you can choose to park and roam around at your own leisure. We had breakfast at Denver Biscuit Company, which is similar to our very own Biscuit Head, but admittedly had the best and biggest ooey gooey biscuit cinnamon roll I’ve ever eaten in my life. In our opinion downtown Colorado Springs left something to be desired so after briefly wandering down main street we opted to find ourselves in nature again and did a little easy hiking at Red Rocks Open Space. Before checking into our resort for the night we stopped by the Ivywild School for some snacks and a beer at Bristol Brewing Company. The Ivywild School is literally an old elementary school that has been converted into another co-op type space. Bristol Brewing houses most of the building but there is also other restaurants, a cocktail bar, coffee shop and ax throwing spot. The old gymnasium actually functions as a concert venue, which could be cool to check out if someone you’re into is rolling through town at the same time as you.
After a chilly and tiring day, I think the highlight of Colorado Springs was checking into our beautiful suite at the Garden of the Gods Collection. Welcomed with wine and cheese, our cozy room for the night was equipped with a dreamy fireplace and breathtaking views of Garden of the Gods. I can honestly say that once we made it to our room, Andrew and I didn’t want to leave except for a visit to one of the resort’s jacuzzis, before ordering some delicious room service and curling up in bed to watch a movie all evening.
Overall, anywhere I get to travel with Andrew is fun, we have a good time no matter what because we just enjoy spending time with each other, but if I find myself out the way again (which I probably will because flights are so affordable) I would definitely want to spend some time in smaller areas, and Boulder, and definitely get to explore the Rockies.
If you’ve been to Denver or Colorado Springs I would love to hear about your travels below, and friends from Asheville I would love to know where your places to travel to from Asheville are! You know I’m already itching for our next getaway!