Our drive from St. Louis to Denver was long, accompanied by two pit stops (in Hays, Kansas and Burlington, Colorado) before finishing our trek to The Mile High City on New Year's Eve. Hays was a tiny town, but we ate some delicious meals while there. Gella's Diner & Lb. Brewing Company was a fantastic little gem featuring local beers and comfort food that served as the perfect addition to our time on the road. Michael ordered fish and chips while I devoured a bowl of green bean, potato, and dumpling soup. We had such a positive experience that we came back for lunch the next day before driving to Colorado. We spent the next night in Burlington and refueled with Thai food and lots of sleep before heading to Denver.
I was amazed by Colorado's beauty. As soon as the mountains began to approach in the distance, I squealed with excitement. Growing up in Virginia, I've seen my fair share of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but the Rockies took my breath away. They're just so big! Pictures don't do them justice.
After checking into The Residence Inn Denver Downtown, we drove out to Red Rocks Amphitheatre. How amazing is it that you can drive twenty minutes outside of a major city right into a gorgeous, scenic rock structure? Red Rocks Park was stunning. The mountains in the backdrop were blanketed with patches of snow which clashed beautifully with the rust colored structures. We walked around for half an hour before driving through the park and photographing a few scenic overlooks.
Since our arrival in Denver coincided with New Year's Eve, Michael and I left the park early because it was closing for a special event. We detoured for dinner at Alehouse at Amato's and were thrilled with the menu selection. We started off with flatbread, which was tantalizingly topped with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, and blackberry balsamic reduction. After scarfing down a juicy lamb burger loaded with cucumbers, tzatziki, lettuce, tomato, and red onion, we dressed in our twenties best and attended a Great Gatsby themed White Rose Gala downtown. Our evening was filled with live music, flappers, photo booth snapshots, and trying to figure out the jigsaw puzzle of buying drinks. We decided to head out and take some photos of the Denver skyline shortly after the ball dropped. I'm pretty sure my hands experienced the first stages of hypothermia while snapping away at 2am. I'll definitely be wearing gloves next time. Colorado is a cold (but beautiful!) state. I would love to return to Denver for a longer stay.