Last week, Michael and I took a trip out to Colorado to visit his family. That sounds a little nutty, especially if you know that when we’re in Dublin we live around the corner from Michael’s parents and his brother and his family, but when you’re the oldest of five kids, that leaves a bunch more kids for visiting! The rest of Michael’s siblings are spread around the United States in Denver, Chicago and Houston, so we made a point this summer to all meet in Denver for a little family reunion. It was the first time we were all in one place since last summer and who knows when our paths will all cross at once again. So, a Westy Colorado reunion!
We spent the bulk of the week in the suburbs of Denver, enjoying the local pool and hanging around with family, but we also spent an afternoon exploring downtown Denver, a whirlwind twenty-four hours in Colorado Springs, and a day in Boulder. I tried to squeeze it all into one post, but that got pretty unwieldy pretty quickly, so I’m going to break it into Denver, Colorado Springs, and Boulder separately. And today, Denver!
Our afternoon in downtown Denver was such fun, but it was very short. Coffee, wandering the streets, hopping on the free city bus in a downpour, and trying out the light rail. But since it was a short exploration trip, I thought I’d give you a little bonus of random family snaps from our time in the ‘burbs. I’m trying to get better at taking more photos, both with my big camera and with my phone, of just real life. I managed pretty well this week, but if my iPhone tells me one more time that it has no more storage space, it’s getting traded in for a newer model!
So without further ado, here’s a quick glimpse of Denver!
We mostly walked around the 16th Street Mall area and down toward the Performing Arts district. I can’t wait to go back, hopefully in the spring, for a more thorough look.
I was so struck by the architecture in downtown Denver. Giant skyscrapers right next to smaller, more intricate buildings and then a little street art for good measure.
The 16th Street Mall is pedestrian except for a public free bus that rolls up and down all day long. We had to hop on when it started to rain at the end of our adventure and it seems they come really frequently. Like if you miss one, you can see the next one down the block!
The Williams tower with its grand tower at the corner of 16th and Arapahoe made for a nice backdrop as we strolled. When it was completed in 1910 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi and it was part of a grand shopping department store called Daniels and Fisher. The shopping center is long gone, but the tower remains, overlooking 16th Street in both directions.
Michael does such a great job researching spots he knows I’ll enjoy for our adventures. He spent probably half an hour online and he had created a little afternoon itinerary for us. One stop was the Hotel Teatro, a boutique hotel in the Performing Arts district that has a cool lounge and restaurant. We were hoping to stop for a coffee, but it was closed for a private event. Loved their blue branded bicycles and those polka dots on the restaurant window!
Just around the corner, we had a peek into The Kitchen, which looks incredible inside and out. The patio is flanked by giant window boxes filled with strawberry plants and rainbow chard. Edible flower boxes! And the inside had these incredible chandeliers with glass baubles.
Finally, we stopped for a coffee at Little Owl Coffee in this really cool building called the Sugarcube on Blake Street. Such an incredibly modern building that houses office space and luxury condos. In the lobby, it has quarterly art exhibits and in the corner of one side is this sleek little coffee shop hidden by bright green shrubs.
These photos don’t quite do it justice, but The Little Owl is so slick. The whole back wall is marble and counters are giant slabs of wood. On the wall behind the coffee counter, the glasses sort of twinkle in the light. And the coffee was excellent. Just what we’re used to in Dublin.
I snapped this wall as a reminder to make sure to visit the Clyfford Still museum next time we’re in town! Clyfford Still was an abstract expressionist, from the era of de Kooning and Rothko and Pollock, and 95% of his works are based in the museum in Denver. I love that last line – And the art world was his enemy. So sassy!
And now, for the family portion of Denver! Sorry, fam, I usually give you a little more warning before I put you on the blog, but you’re all babes so you’ll have to get over it!
When we last saw baby Julius, he was only three months old, but already so chatty and squishy. He’s even more chatty and squishy a year later. Such chunky arms! After church on Sunday, my sister-in-law Summer made us mimosas and brunch! She’s a super star for putting up with so many of us taking over her house for the week!
Julius was obsessed with my sister-in-law Leah’s curling iron. He carried it around everywhere, trailing the cord behind it and telling it stories. Kid is a hoot.
We got some pool time with the squishy man! The boys all went to the Conor McGregor fight in Vegas before meeting us in Denver, so Julius is rocking the McGregor-esque man bun. It cracked everyone up so it stuck around for a few days.
He found a pretty comfortable seat resting on my legs in the water and playing with my toes, and then conked out in my lap for an afternoon nap. At which point, Michael told my mother-in-law, “She’s in her happy place.” Why yes, put a sleeping baby in my lap and let me read my dad’s latest book for an hour, I’m a happy camper!
And then, we had a family photo shoot! Wrangling thirteen people is not the easiest, but I happen to think the outtakes are hilarious.
This is my oldest nephew, Jalen. He’s the loveliest little 8-year-old you ever did meet.
Julius and Jalen’s dad Aaron, the middle kid in Michael’s family.
And the moms who produced my gorgeous baby niece and two nephews! Thanks, girls, for making me an aunt!
And, trying to get thirteen Westbrooks to pay attention at once! Check out party-time Eabha on the end there.
And we did it! Everyone over the age of two looking this direction! Wahoo!
And we’ll close it out with baby Julius waiting for everyone to join him for dinner!
Thanks for indulging our little Denver adventure. It was partly a research trip for me as I’m choosing which city the Delightful guidebook series will take on next. Denver is definitely on the list, so I’m already planning a return trip in the spring!