Starting to explore…..

It’s been awhile since I updated this blog.  Probably because I spend most of my time strapping on my walking boot, wrestling myself out of it and into a shoe to drive somewhere, putting it on again at destination, and repeat… alot. The velcro is losing its mojo.  Hopefully it will all be worth it.  Hope to be out of it by Thanksgiving.  That’s a lot of hope.

So moving is always an uphill climb and making your 14th run to Bed Bath and Beyond is a bit of a drag even without the boot challenge. I needed a diversion. In an effort to get to know Denver, I was curious about the brewery scene.  Asheville is overflowing with beer with a microbrewery for every mood.  I miss the Wedge, Catawba, Hi-Wire, Wicked Weed, etc.  A little research into Denver breweries left me overwhelmed.  Even I don’t have that many moods – check out the map on the Denver Brewery website:

Denver brewery guide

Okay so I will not be working my way through the Denver breweries – my liver would never survive.  Still we had to explore a bit and we started at the obvious place – the little microbrewery right by Zoe and Wallace’s doggie daycare.  Obvious cuz it was 5:30 on a Friday and I had to pick them up by 6:00.  Given the randomness of our selection, we wandered into Banded Oak Brewery with fairly low expectations.  Great surprise – it was fantastic!  Friday afternoon was the time to go – sweet combo playing outside and people streaming in from all sides. img_1172

The barrel-aged beer was excellent – I love a good IPA and their American IPA was awesome.  If I closed my eyes, I would have sworn it was Iron Rail.


Since choosing beer as your comfort food is bad for obvious reasons, I pivoted to another option – albeit one that is equally unkind to my waistline.  Donuts.  Not just any donuts – I felt all 12 of my blog followers were clamoring for info on Denver’s offerings in the craft donut arena (or is it artisanal donuts?).  Asheville has some pretty impressive offerings – led by my personal favorite, Hole Doughnuts.  Ok, they are everybody’s favorites – even crowned by Bon Appetit as Dessert of the Year.  It’s pretty high bar and I felt it my duty to see how Denver measured up.


First stop – Voodoo Donuts. With origins in Portland, Voodoo has a crazy vibe and a wide variety of donuts. You gotta love a spot started by a guy named Cat Daddy.


So far though, I have a new personal favorite – The Fractured Prune. Quite the name, huh?  What does that have to do with donuts?  Not much really.  Turns out Prune was Prunella, an elderly lady who kept fracturing bones while playing sports as she was “older and somewhat brittle”.  As I hobbled in with my Franken-boot, I felt an immediate affinity for the old Fractured Prune.  That and it smelled wonderful.  You pick your glaze and they make them to order.  It is a franchise though so not quite a local find.


But lots of bacon was involved so I feel sure the offspring will want to test it out.


A little more research led me to the horrifying realization that, while not as big as the brewery scene, the craft donut world in Denver is substantial.  Given my inability to walk, spin, play tennis or generally exercise other than sad YouTube videos for the injured, I seriously need to reconsider this path.  But not before I try Glazed and Confused, Habit Carbon and Omg Donuts.  I am doing it for you……. all 12 of you.

Some good news and some bad news…

We have been in Denver a month now.  After scouring a handful of neighborhoods and looking at a zillion houses (thank you, patient real estate person), we found a house!  It is in the Wash Park neighborhood, close to South Gaylord Street and its assortment of restaurants and shops and close to a huge beautiful park – you guessed it, Washington Park!

South end of Wash Park

So this is great news and a huge step toward making Denver feel like home.  All these great amenities in walking distance – just what we were hoping for in the big city!

Walking distance…..which brings me to the bad news.  Anyone who knows me well knows I have bad feet.  They just hurt – alot and for many reasons and I have just gotten used to it.  This time I ignored my most recent ouch so long that I found myself limping all the time with no idea how many months ago it all started. Thanks to some Denver friends, I found an orthopedist, bit the bullet and went in to see her. Turns out I have a stress fracture to a metatarsal and, yadayadayada, I am in a boot. This effectively stuck a fork in my transition plan.  The plan was to find multiple tennis clubs here in Denver and sign up for every drill and league I could until I found my Denver tennis people (still missing my Asheville tennis people so much!). This was going to expedite my transition and all would be great. This plan clearly is going to have to wait awhile and I am NOT known for my patience. Going anywhere is now a pain and walking the dogs is a downright bummer for all 3 of us.  Yes, I realize this is not really a tragedy and I am grateful for good medical care.  I am working on my attitude (“time to get off my pity pot” as my mom would say).  I find I work on my attitude best when out in nature so today I straOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERApped myself up and went to the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Wow.  So lovely.  The weather here has been very mild (at times actually hot) so the gardens, while not in full splendor, are still full of color and life.  It’s impossible to be less than happy when wandering such a beautiful place.

Denver Botanic Gardens


Field trip


I will leave you this time with a poem familiar to most gardeners and some late autumn shots from the gardens.




This town turns orange on Sundays

One of the things that excited us about moving to Denver was the opportunity to attend pro sporting events.  The Rockies are winding down a less than stellar season so we decided to postpone baseball until the spring.  But the Broncos – well, we love football.  I feel badly that I love football, but there it is.  As violent and dangerous as it is for the players, I was conditioned from an early age to build weekends around the game: Fridays spent watching first my brother and then my sons play high school football – Saturdays fully devoted to College GameDay and the half dozen college teams we are fanatical about  – and more recently Sundays as a brief flirtation with Fantasy Football a few years back did its job and hooked me on the NFL.  So it’s not surprising that I dug up some tickets for us online for the first Broncos game we could go to.  Usually I balk at the cost of NFL tickets which I find truly horrifying, but I lucked into some good tickets at a (relatively) reasonable price, and last Sunday we found ourselves at Sports Authority Field at Mile High to watch the Broncos play the Falcons.  (I admit some confusion on my part since Sports Authority is now bankrupt, but its name is still on the stadium so yep, that’s weird.)

First of all, we arrived via Uber which was a complete win. What an unusual experience to arrive at the entrance gate after a smooth ride and a short walk through smiling tailgating fans.  Usually we stumble up to big events, testy and frazzled from sitting in the sort of traffic you’d expect in a hurricane Broncos gameevacuation and winded from an 8 mile hike from a “premium parking lot” in the next county.  Not so this time – a dedicated Uber dropoff spot at the stadium was clutch.

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The stadium quickly filled up with orange-clad Broncos fans and a very small smattering of Falcons fans.  Hopes were high and the faithful loud as we were entertained by parachuters, a flyover and an introduction to what seemed to be professional Superfans wandering the stands. Great stadium, great atmosphere!


img_1198 Alas, it was not the Broncos’ day.  In fact, the poor backup quarterback struggled mightily and the heralded Bronco defense looked pretty suspect over the middle.  And to top it off, the coach was taken to the hospital after the game for serious migraines.  I fear we might not be allowed to attend another Broncos game since we were clearly not good luck.  But they are still 4-1 and hopefully will rebound this Thursday against the Chargers in San Diego.

After the game, we decided to walk downtown to try out one of Denver’s famous breweries.  This may not have been a good idea or, at the very least, our route wasn’t well chosen.  We were oddly alone for a lot of the walk except for a few pedicabs.  We may or may not have witnessed an illegal exchange of contraband.  Suffice it to say, we won’t be walking that way again.  As we walked past Union Station (which is spectacular and deserves a post all of its own), the mood was noticeably quiet allwynkoop through downtown Denver as dreams of an undefeated season faded away. We ended the day with a delicious pint at Denver’s first brewpub, Wynkoop Brewing Company.  (And then we Ubered home.)



City Dogs

By far the biggest adjustment in our move has been living with 2 dogs in an apartment. The last time I lived in an apartment was my first year of law school at lovely Duke Manor, renown only for the incredibly cheap rent and corresponding level of amenities.

We areDaily Routine in a really nice corporate apartment while we search for a more permanent dwelling, but the level of finish hasn’t softened the culture shock to both the dogs and us.  No longer able to just open the door and let them in and out at will, now we must become somewhat presentable to the world (me), leash up (them), march to the elevator (all of us), descend 7 floors and then go outside  for some variation of a walk (length totally dependent on the weather and my caffeine intake).  This happens about 5 times a day.

Cherry Creek Trail For a good walk, we get on Cherry Creek Trail right across the street. Cherry Creek Trail is an awesome 40 mile long bike/walking trail through Denver (Denver boasts over 85 miles of paved trails).

I’ve learned it is also called the Denver Bike Highway and walking it with dogs can be dicey.  Some cyclists are ambling along enjoying the day – but given the speed of most, the majority must be late to work or responding to some emergency.  (I need a louder “on your left” or more bike bells, people.) We walked it last Saturday to the Farmers Market in the parking lot of Cherry Creek Mall.  Who knew there was such as thing as breakfast pierogis?

img_1139    Cherry Creek Trail

Another adjustment has been the addition of doggie daycare to our lives.  A day spent romping with other dogs under the supervision of folks who clearly love them is the perfect antidote to the confines of apartment dwelling.  Having said that, Zoe was somewhat resistant the morning of her first day.  I used to think it was cute when she whined/cried, but now I just feel guilt.  Thankfully she loves it now.

Zoe at doggie daycare
First Day at Doggie Daycare

I’ll leave you with some photos taken this morning after a storm came through last night.  It’s still not really cold here so just rain in Denver, but the mountains tell a different story – getting closer to ski time!

First Snow

First Snow!

The Dreaded Cross Country Drive

First order of business – the 21 hour drive from Asheville to Denver …. with 2 dogs. A short introduction to the dogs since they will undoubtably be the stars of this blog.  


The elder statesman (Dog #1) is Wallace, a 10 year old Scottish Terrier with a split personality. He is either Mr. Social or Grumpy Old Man.  His mood largely depends on how exhausted he is by a 5 year old Mini-Labradoodle named Zoe (Dog #2).


  She is a sweetheart, so easy-going that we’ve never heard her growl, but often high energy.  My plan to make her into a therapy dog was derailed by my complete failure as a trainer so she is now just a one-person therapy dog (for me).  

Our first day was our shortest drive, just to Nashville.  Good choice to keep it short – once the dogs figured out we weren’t going for a hike, they went nuts.  And we were klutzy at best with our rest stops – juggling leashes, water bowls and desperate commands of “Do your business!”  We limped into Nashville late afternoon, unconvinced we were capable of converting 2 spoiled yard dogs into car travelers, much less into the apartment dwellers as they were gonna have to be for the first few months in Denver.

We started the second day with a romp at a dog park in Nashville and then plowed our way through parts of Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri before ending the day at another dog park in Topeka, Kansas.  Yes, I have now become a bit of a dog park aficionado – expert at the double doors, chatting with folks while I try to explain why Zoe only wants to play with them, not their dogs, and hypercritical of the owners who don’t clean up after their dogs.  Thank you Google Maps for helping me locate dog parks across 6 states.  

Thankfully the dogs ended up getting the hang of car travel –

One sleeping for miles on end……And the other constantly surveying the countryside.


I am not gonna lie – it is not a beautiful drive overall from Nashville to Denver, although parts were truly lovely.  Kansas was a surprise.  For weeks I had been making bad jokes about we were going to see Kansas from one end to the other whether we wanted to or not.  And as it turns out, Kansas was my favorite part of the trip (although the last part was a whole lot of prairie for a whole lot of miles).  Then finally there it was – Denver!  A huge city on the edge of the plains with a beautiful backdrop of mountains.  Ready or not, here we come!



Moving to Denver

Life certainly can be unpredictable.  Just a few weeks ago, I would have thought Asheville, North Carolina would be my home forever more.  Not so fast on the “forever more.”  Due to a series of unanticipated events, my husband and I are moving to Denver.  It’s a good move, a happy move – but a large part of my heart will remain in Asheville.  In fact I plan to be back regularly so this blog should actually be about moving to Denver, but clinging to Asheville.  It’s all good – I love mountains and now will have time in both the Rockies and the Southern Appalachians.  This blog will cover everything from hiking with our two crazy dogs to my obsession with restaurants, coffee shops, and bookstores to visiting mountain towns and ski slopes to adjusting to life in Mountain Time Zone (hurrah for college football starting at 10:00 am on Saturdays!) to exploring the Front Range.  For those of you who, like me, didn’t know – Denver is in an area called the Front Range.  As far I can tell, the Front Range is the area where the Great Plains meet the Rockies.  All sounds very western, huh?

For now, I’ll end with a photo I took last fall while hiking off the Blue Ridge Parkway.  Goodbye to Asheville! (heavy sigh)

Blue Ridge Mountains