Our very close friends and also family member were getting married in Grand Lake, CO in September of 2013. Of course why not make a vacation of it? I had only been to Colorado one other time when Christian and I were just dating in a winter to go skiing. Since this was the fall, I didn't know what to expect from the weather but it was gorgeous and not too cold at all. We arrived in the afternoon, grabbed our rental car & headed towards Grand Lake. While driving through, we decided to stop at Applejack Wine & Spirits to stock up for the weekend. It had lots of great choices and we were of course excited to get some beers that we can not get in Ohio or Kentucky. After spending almost an hour shopping, we hit the road again since they were having their rehearsal dinner that night. If you've ever seen the movie Sleeper, you see the house from it from the freeway. Think my siblings & I watched that a thousand times while we were kids.
The drive through the mountains is absolutely beautiful. It was a perfect day & didn't take more than two hours to get to Grand Lake. The bride & groom rented a ginormous house on the lake that had at least six bedrooms & we rented another house right down the road that had about the same amount of rooms with more friends and family.
They had decided to have the rehearsal dinner at the house so my husband & his cousin did all of the cooking and I helped clean up. Since we were so busy, we really didn't get to meet everyone or do much else so I'm glad that we had more time for that later on. Dinner was freaking awesome since they are such great cooks too!
The next morning was the wedding day & it was even more beautiful than the day before; perfect. The got married at The Grand Lake Lodge. The guys hung out with the groom & us girls hung out with the bride. Eventually we all made it up to Nuptial Knoll and boy was it a long, unsteady walk down to where they got married but the view made it worth it! I don't know how the maid of honor made it down in her heels & the bride wore converse, loved it! The had their ceremony & we made it back up the hill to the lodge for the reception.
The drinks were flowing and there was so much food. It was a great party and a beautiful night. We were so happy to be a part of their special say.
The next morning while everyone was sleeping in & shaking off the night before, Christian and I went for a little hike in Rocky Mountain National Park.
Once everyone got moving we met at the Tonahutu/ North Inlet Trailheads. Going on a hike with a couple people is normally fine but going with fifteen mostly hungover people made it that much more interesting. Another beautiful place in Colorado that I would love to go back to.
The next morning most of the guests were heading home and we continued our vacation on our own. We took the scenic and kind of crazy long way to Gunnison with having to turn around a few times because of ending up on the wrong trails. We had rented only a Chevy Equinox, so it did not too well when we ended up on what were pretty much dirt bike or as a serious gnarly trail as one of the dirt bikers we passed said.
We eventually made it to Gunnison barley by dark and found a local hotel. It was so late that most restaurants were done serving but Palisades Restaurant was and they still had a good selection for being that late on a Sunday night. The next day we figured we could cut through the pass to get the Breckenridge. This turned into another idea that didn't work out so well. There was a lot of snow the night before, it wasn't a highly traveled pass & only snowmobiles had been on part of it. We were not going to risk it in the Chevy so we took another scenic way and arrived to Breckenridge late that afternoon.
We loved Breckenridge. This was my second time there and I am looking forward to many more times. Unfortunately I barely took any pictures for the little time that we were there. That night we were set up through my company to go to the Breckenridge Brewery & Pub, what a wonderful experience. They had so many great beers there & the food had a great selection too & was very good. For a Monday night, it was completely packed. They had such a great atmosphere and the staff was great and friendly.
The next day we got up & started to head back to Denver. South Park was kind of on the way so we had to drive through. I loved that they had the sign so we had to have our picture taken in it. We then headed to Red Rock's Park & Amphitheater. Be prepared to do some walking, especially if you are not adjusted to the elevation change yet. It was a fun place to hike around and had some great views of Denver.
We made it back to Denver and went to Osteria Marco in downtown that night. Please excuse the pictures as we did not want to be using a flash in the restaurant. Everything was very delicious.
The next day I had arranged through my work some more brewery tours. My husband's other cousin lives in Denver, so he came along with us so we could hang out. Our first stop was Oskar Blues. It was 10AM, so it was a bit early to have beers. We got a tour of the brewery with a beer and then had lunch at their restaurant just down the street. Again, they had pretty good food with a nice selection.
Our next stop was Left Hand Brewing in Longmont.Unfortunately the terrible floods had just come through a couple weeks before so we saw a lot of the aftermath of the terrible destruction it created. There were several places we were not able to visit due to the roads being washed away or different routes that we needed to take for the same reason. Below is the St Vrain Creek that obviously flooded & took out the sidewalk around it. The flood litterally came to the back door or the brewery but never made it in. Unfortunately thousands of others were not so lucky.
We were set up for a brewery tour and then hung out in the brew pub for a while. This was another place that had such a great atmosphere and the staff was so friendly and of course, great beers. If you are in Longmont, I would definitely recommend to visit Left Hand. Our last stop of the day was Avery. Their brew pub was a little smaller & pretty congested but did have some good beers to check out.
The next morning we met back up with some of the guests that were still out there and/or lived in Colorado to check out some more of the state. We drove through the mountains and saw some more beautiful scenery. It was crazy how nice it was at the bottom and how it was freezing and snowing at the top.