Monday, October 12, 2009

East Meets West

An important fact about me is, I was born in New Jersey. At a very young age, my parents transplanted me to the mid-west and moved me around from Arizona to Wyoming and I eventually found my own way in Colorado. My family members have since dispersed, some staying in Wyoming and some moving back to where the majority of our clan is in New Jersey.

Recently, a group of fast-talking Jersey fam decided to take a trip out to visit CO and WY. For four days, the Front Range was taken over by the fabulous fashionista's of my east-coast kin. We kicked off the long weekend with lunch on Thursday at the Rio in downtown Fort Collins. Never a fan of the food, I guided my visitors their for one purpose: Margaritas. We imbibed mid-day on the tangy, sweet famous margs and snacked on their traditional mexican fare.

Post margaritas, we stopped at the excellent Starry Night cafe for a cup of joe and made our way to the shops of downtown FC. We spent most of the afternoon trying on sweaters, gushing over leather boots and chatting, chatting, chatting. We visited one of my favorite shops, Kansas City Kitty, where I purchased one of their amazing self-labeled sweaters. The store is a unique collection of fantastic brands, fun accessories and their own clothing label.

We then headed over to the famous New Belgium Brewery and took a tour of the facility while sampling the best of their microbrews. As always, their seasonal brew was delicious and unique offering the sharp tastes of extra hops! We stopped for another quick micro at Odell's Brewing Company and made our way up the scenic Highway 287 to Laramie, WY.

Once in Laramie, we made the rounds to all my favorite watering holes and eateries including 3rd Street - famous for great bartenders and very strong pours, Altitude's, Jeffrey's, Sweet Melissa's and the Buck. Friday morning came and went and before we knew it we were in Cheyenne, WY at Sanford's Grub & Pub with a group of about 40 people enjoying their hamburgers, ribs and for the non-meat-eaters, salads.

Saturday morning brought us up to Estes Park, CO where we drove to the top of the Continental Divide via Trail Ridge Road. Up there in the very thin, very cold air we took pictures of the glaciers and rocky landscape, looked for elk and took in the breath taking views only the Rocky Mountains can offer. We made our way back downtown to the village of Estes Park and enjoyed an incredible assortment of cheese, meats and wines at my favorite local restaurant, Cheese. Their eclectic assortment of cheeses and inexpensive yet delicious wine list make Cheese one of the must-visit places in Estes Park.

Saturday evening we all made our way back to Fort Collins and had a wonderful family dinner at Choice City Deli downtown. The menu, as always, was interesting and full of unique meats from Buffalo to Beef to Ostrich. My favorite item: Turkey Rueben!

The family headed out of town the next morning and caught flights back to the East Coast. It was a whirlwind couple of days with lots of yummy restaurants, gorgeous site seeing and great company!

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