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Trip Report Long weekend in Boulder

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Just returned from a wonderful weekend in Boulder, Colorado

We arrived late on a Friday, went for a swim in the very nice indoor lap pool (it was too deep for my DD but my DS loved playing in the pool and large hot tub). We ate dinner at the hotel restaurant (Jill's). It was surprisingly good (excellent table-side Caesar salad and spicy Bolognese). Our only disappointment of the weekend was that we had planned to eat dinner at The Kitchen. We had called earlier in the month and they said they did not take reservations (only for parties of 5 and more) but not to worry, we would have no problems coming in. When we arrived at 7:00 it was a one hour wait. Well, with two little kids at the end of a travel day that is a bit long to be patient. Had I known, I would have made a reservation for the next night when our party actually did number 5, or come earlier that first night. (Boulder is very busy on weekend nights, apparently: there were long waits at every restaurant we passed on the way to The Kitchen.) Anyway, dinner at Jill's worked out great and our happy little family was very satisfied. Maybe next time we eat at The Kitchen (it looked really good).

On Saturday morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel (the kids loved the mini chocolate chip pancakes) and then we packed a picnic (with sandwiches and scones from a local bakery, Spruce Confections, and additional supplies from corner store Lolita's - both very good). We took the kids up to Rocky Mountain National Park to see snow (and it did snow on us) and elk (right near the road - really cool). The Fall River visitors center was terrific - my DD enjoyed trying on the period clothing. We enjoyed a short hike in the snow to see a winter creek running down a boulder rockfall from the Lake Lawn flood of 1976. Very lovely and easy for the kids to manage. As we drove around the park, we saw three different herds of elk, several grazing in the melting snow near the road. Also, it was free week - no entrance fees.

In the afternoon, we met up with a friend who was also in town for the weekend. She and I went to the Duschanbe Tea House - which was really lovely and enjoyed a nice chat and tea. We didn't order food as it did not look all that great. We then met back up with my husband and kids for some catching up. Dinner was early at the Black Cat - a chef owned restaurant that really impressed us. The food was terrific (Scottish salmon with quinoa for me). They were great with the kids - no kids menu but they helped us pull together plates they both liked with great flexibility in the kitchen. My DD tried Gnocchi for the first time and loved it. Desserts were awesome (pot de creme was a big pleaser).

On Sunday, we started the day at Jill's again (more chocolate chip pancakes). We enjoyed a .75 mile walk along Boulder creek to a playground. It had a very nice play structure with lots of climbing opportunities and swings. We then walked back for a little more than 1.5 miles round trip which was a great way to get the kids outside and give us time to talk. My friend and I then ditched the hubby and kids and went shopping. We had a very limited time on Pearl Street but enjoyed Peppercorn (could have spent an hour there looking at all the lovely home and kitchen supplies) and Penzey's spice store. The pedestrian shopping area was very active with lots of clothing shops (national and local), ice-cream (Ben and Jerry's) and coffee shops (Trident and Ozo were recommended to us). A quick swim back at the hotel with my DS and then off to lunch. We had an excellent brewpub lunch at Walnut Brewery (yummy ballpark style pretzels, Kobe cheeseburger, and Walnut Brewery stout). Wonderful place - highly recommend. It was also the recommendation of the hotel staff.

A couple of logistics details: We flew into Denver, the drive to Boulder on the E-470 toll road was uneventful - about 45 minutes. We stayed at the St. Julien (around $250 per night, plus parking, taxes etc). We paid an extra $50 for late check-out (most places offer for free if available, but we enjoyed the extra time so worth it), and it seemed as if there were multiple little charges for just about every extra but free wifi throughout hotel. Room was nice, upscale bathroom, very comfortable beds but only one chair in the room which bugged my DH. Fitness facility was small but very well provisioned - it more than met our needs. The concierge was very helpful and the staff seemed very knowledgeable about Boulder and the region. Lovely lobby/main lounge with friday happy hour (ours had a nice Celtic band). We rented a giant Infinity SUV from Hertz for $186 for the three day trip (an excellent deal, I think one of the days was a free promotion). We flew Frontier with an upgrade for $10 each to the Classic plus section (totally worth it for the extra leg room, and the $6 TV fee was waived).