Last year my Dad started talking about getting us all together in Vail in January, and we all knew we were in. Jeff ended up not being able to go due to obligations at work, so I headed off on my own to meet my Dad, his wife Stacy, and my brother, Alex.
My best friend Heather and her family life in Denver. The minute that my Dad brought up going to Vail, I knew I was adding at least one extra day to the trip to get to spend time together.
I flew in a day early to hang out with Heather, and was so excited for it that I wiling got up at 4am to head to the airport. (I am NOT a morning person, in any stretch of anyones imagination) While I’m not a fan of Frontier Airlines, thier early morning flight from CMH to DIA is pretty great, and they did get me to Denver an hour early, which didn’t suck. I was able to just sit, drink a cup of coffee, and people watch.
The found hour that I had was a dream. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed outside to wait for Heather. Breathing cold high desert air is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s at moments like those that make me miss the mountain West so much. I could live there again in a heart beat. (ha. I say that, and it’s very true. The thought of actually moving again, or in the next five years however, makes me physically cringe)
Everyone else that was at DIA that morning had to have thought I was crazy, it was COLD. I bundled up and was sitting outside enjoying the sun light and cold mountain air when Heather pulled up.
She picked me up and we were off.
Sunglasses on. Coffee in hand. In the same space as Heather. So wonderful. (Also, I’m always watching for good flights to Denver, because those times have been way too few and far between as of late)
As we drove away from the airport, I asked where we were having brunch, she named a place near where she’s at in Highlands Ranch. As we put in our name in for a table at Snooze we were told it was a 90 minute wait. NINETY MINUTES. I’m pretty sure the look on my face as I confirmed with Heather that this was in fact what we were meaning to do had to have been pretty comical.
She said yes that this was in fact what we meant to do, and that we’d get Starbucks and go for a drive, enjoy the sunshine, and be back to meet my friend Sarah in 90 minutes. I’m game.
We looped around Littleton and back talking about any and everything. The general hanging out that as adults, you don’t ever get to do any more, I’m mean really, driving around with the music on, the windows down, aimlessly, who has time for that in thier day to day life? It was soooooo sweet.
Sarah Haimes was in town at the same time, and met us at Snooze. We all sat down at the table with the same slightly dazed early Saturday morning sunglasses still on, coffee hasn’t quite kicked all the way in, clearing the cobwebs out kinda way.
Breakfast, AMAZING. Well worth the 90 minute wait (which even my Portland native self flinched at). SOOOO well worth the wait.
What brunch would be complete with out mimosas and bloody Mary’s right? That’s what we thought too. After brunch we checked back in with her family (Her husband and the two most adorable little gals you’ll ever meet), both took naps, then headed out to get groceries for dinner.
If you’ve never spent time in the high desert, you really need to make the time to do so. (Seriously, hit me up, and I can give you some recommendations) The flats that roll away from the mountains are so peaceful. The thin cold air in the winter feels so clean as you’re breathing it in, and I’m tellin’ ya, it’s invigorating and soul cleansing all at the same time.
The muted colors of the landscape at dusk, it’s unreal. Add in the glow of the headlight of the train that is running parallel to the road and I’m right back in the back of the van on a family road trips back to Montana and we’d pass the time by trying to count the number of cars on each train. Family road trips are one of the highlights of my childhood.
Again, with the chance to just drive and hang out, we went to the Tony’s Market furthest from thier house to get dinner groceries, and stopped at the liquor store (duh). Tony’s Market is a great high end market in Denver, super fresh selection, killer good pastry counter, and a butcher counter that’s to die for. Plus, thier staff has awesome ink.
That evening, once we got back from our grocery run, Heather and her husband Matt made steak fajita tacos for dinner. Oh man. Those two in the kitchen knock it out of the ball park, every. single. time.
The first night that Heather cooked for me was years ago, in Portland. She had told me that she was nervous about cooking for me, to which I’m sure I responded with a smart ass remark, because in all seriousness, I love it when other people cook for me. Other than an allergy to shell fish, there isn’t much that I don’t eat.
Except asparagus. I really REALLY don’t like asparagus.
That night Heather served grilled salmon (SO good) and asparagus. Which I got down, because there was no way in hell I was going to not eat what she was nervous about plating for me. (and I totally sold it.)
Jeff came over later, after whatever obligation he’d had earlier in the evening, and asked what we’d had. To which he responded “YOU ate asparagus, you HATE asparagus!”
The look of shock on Heathers face is amusing now, looking back, but at the time was not so good.
We got back from our grocery/liquor store trip, I put an old fashioned in everyone’s hand, and then Matt shooed us out of the kitchen.
After staying up waaaaaay too late drinking and talking and hanging out into the wee hours of the morning, we finally called it and slept fast. Later that Sunday morning we dragged ourselves out of bed and Matt made breakfast, turning the left overs from the night before into breakfast tacos. (again, yuuuuuummmm)
Too soon it was time to head back to the airport, and for me to catch the CME to Vail.