On the first weekend of November my son Arlo and I “jetted” off to Denver on a 4 day trip! We were traveling as guests of Sun Country Airlines as a part of their Explorer program. They asked us to help them show off the Mile High destination city!
Last spring Sun County announced their Hometown Lakes Project. They renamed and redecorated over 20 planes as a way for the local airline to pay homage to their home state, Minnesota and its 10,000+ lakes! Each plane is named after a well known Minnesotan lake and has custom artwork in the interior created by Mark Herman.
Arlo and I were excited to see that we were riding the plane named after Lake Harriet on our way out to Denver. That is the lake closest to our home - and it is connected to Lake Calhoun. Arlo’s middle name is Calhoun after the beloved lake that his family loves to run and walk.
When we arrived in Denver - we were greeted with balmy beautiful weather.
We took a long walk through the city & were surprised to see that the fall colors were still prevalent. Doesn’t matter what city or state we are in - Arlo’s top priority is always playing football in a park!
We ended our long walk with pizza at Marco’s Coal Fired Pizzeria (which I would definitely recommend) and headed back to our hotel to get some rest. We stayed in the lovely Magnolia Hotel located in the heart of Denver. The staff was especially charming with Arlo and made him feel like a very special little guest.
The next morning we took our time and grabbed some coffee and hot chocolates to go...
Merely one hour later the skyscrapers of downtown Denver were a distant memory and we were up in the mountains breathing in that magical mountain air!
Lucky for us - Loveland Ski Hill had opened for the season earlier that week. They had two chairs open and plenty of terrain that was just right for Arlo and I!
If you are ever contemplating skiing out west with young kids - Loveland is a great destination to consider. It is smaller than the more well-known resorts like Aspen, Breck and Vail.. which is great for families that like to cruise the greens and blues and save money on lift tickets!
It is also one of the closest hills to downtown Denver.
It was a perfect fit for Arlo and I! Fabulous weather that day as well!
Arlo was SO proud to say that he skied in "real mountains!"
That night we relaxed back at our hotel in downtown Denver.I had my favorite meal of the trip at the Magnolia restaurant Harry’s. Pumpkin ravioli in brown butter sauce topped with pecans and scallops. What a great end to a memorable day!
Arlo and I spent the next few days exploring.
We enjoyed the street art in Denver..
A day trip up to Boulder..
The Chautauqua Park in Boulder provided a stunning backdrop for some more football tossing.
It also was a great place to hike!
We saw Elk and ate pizza in Estes Park, Colorado. Poppy's Pizza and Grill lives up to the hype! Delicious!
We drove up the mountains a little further and came upon a snowstorm in Rocky Mountain National Park!
Overall we had a wonderful time! Besides the day of skiing most of our time in Denver was unplanned... I think we ended up doing a lot more activities spontaneously than we would have if we had planned everything out.
For example, when we were in Boulder I asked Arlo if he'd prefer to walk down Pearl Street to shop and eat or see more mountains. His feet were tired from football and a big hike so he chose to ride in the car and see the mountains. Off we went on an adventure to Estes and Rocky Mountain National Park. That's a lot in one day!
However the car ride to Estes (only about 30 minutes) provided some nice downtime after a long hike in the sun in Boulder.
It all worked out so great! After a nice rest in the car & some lunch - he was recharged!
It seems that we tend to cover a lot more ground and feel that great sense of adventure on days when we are spontaneous and free of expectations!
My favorite part of Denver is the proximity to a wide range of adventures! Art museums, shopping, fine dining, skiing, a college town and a national park all within an hour or two of the city!
This was a special experience for my youngest son and me that we will remember for a long time. I've already got some of these photos hanging on our walls. So happy to have Sun Country as our hometown airline!
Makes for a magical trip! A big thank you to Sun Country for sponsoring this trip!