Larry and Bev, our blogging friends from Tennessee, have been threatening to head to the Wild West for over a year now, and their long awaited visit finally became reality. Their 4,000 mile journey included a stop to the Denver area and I must say, it was a pleasure to finally meet “the breakfast king” in person, his lovely wife Bev and dogs Sweetie Pie and Coco. And just as I imagined, a fun, gracious and lovely bunch they were. We truly felt as if we had known them as close friends for years.
I couldn’t resist staging a photo in front of my favorite white-eyed cowboy sign just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. I commend Larry for being able to squint and smile at the same time in the harsh mountain morning sun.
But let’s start from the beginning. They arrived in Highlands Ranch from their RV park in West Denver about 1:00 in the afternoon. We enjoyed a short sight-seeing trip to nearby historic Highlands Ranch Mansion…
…followed by a quick foodie side trip to Savory Spice Shop where Larry and Bev stocked up on spices for themselves and their daughter. At about the same price as gold, Larry bought some truffled sea salt. The in store sampling tasted INcredible and I look forward to a blog post on how he uses it (hint..hint). We stopped next door at EVOO Olive Oil, a tasting bar where we all enjoyed an adventure in pairing olive oils with balsamic vinegars.
That evening at our house, we enjoyed a delicious bottle of North Georgia Chardonnay that Larry and Bev brought from a recent wine-tasting trip with Sam and Meakin (My Carolina Kitchen) followed by a dinner of chicken enchiladas with tomato cream sauce. Since I was too busy sipping, cooking and visiting to take photos, I swiped this one from Larry’s blog.
The next day we took separate cars for an overnight tip to Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. Traveling in tandem, we took the scenic route through Big Thompson Canyon. I bullied everyone into another quick stop at The Colorado Cherry Company for lots of browsing for jams, jellies, ciders and everything “cherry”.
Further up the canyon was a picnic lunch at Viestenz-Smith Park. Our table sat on a lush grassy area with the Big Thompson River on one side and a beautiful little pond behind us. And nestled deep within the canyon walls of the Big Thompson, it was certainly an oasis of scenery. We snacked on apples, cheese, crackers and salami while enjoying a picture perfect Colorado Fall day.
As we were leaving the park, I couldn’t resist taking this photo of Larry’s co-pilot Sweetie Pie. That’s how she rides.
Closer to Estes Park, our next stop was at the town of Glen Haven. All of two blocks long, it’s home to Glen Haven General Store. Established in 1920, it’s a very popular stop for homemade cinnamon rolls, gifts and antique atmosphere. Bev and I had to browse the Pony Track Trading Company next door. An ominously dark entrance shrouded in some sort of vine opened to a den full of turquoise jewelry, art and antiques.
Once settled at the cabin in Estes, we headed out for drive to view the fall colors and the mountain vistas in Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately, due to forest fires in Oregon and Montana, our vistas were smoky and hillsides full of golden Aspens were only captured in close up photos.
We encountered wildlife, big and small.
Back at the cabin, we set up camp on the deck for some wine…
The next morning after some more sightseeing in the park, we all stood in a parking lot overlooking this meadow. Just the day before, this same meadow unfolded the drama of two good sized elk herds with male bulls actively guarding the separation of the two harems. On this day the elk were no where in sight and we enjoyed a serene snapshot of this couple getting married.
I’m so sentimental and not very good with goodbyes. So without much fanfare, and a some heartfelt hugs, we said our goodbye’s, with us heading to Highlands Ranch and Larry and Bev back to the RV Park.
We had a great visit with our friends from Tennessee. Thank you Larry and Bev for including Highlands Ranch in your travel plans. For Larry’s version of the visit head over to his blog.
Posole and Friends…It’s What’s for Dinner.