Wednesday, March 30, 2011
If you are not afraid of heights and you have driven by the State Capitol Building, I am sure you have had the inkling to ascend to the top of the dome. Well Colorado Preservation Inc. made sure that could happen as part of this year’s conference, “Saving Places,” which brings in many devoted speakers and workshops to highlight why restoration is the golden key. The nonprofit provides assistance in historic preservation to Colorado communities.
The capitol building sets a great example of what more buildings should be like, could be and hopefully will be by obtaining sustainable certifications. Already considered a Leed Certified building, which is impressive considering these standards were set many years after the construction on the Capitol, this building uses natural light and many materials were sourced from Colorado, like the marble. The deep red coloration of the marble has never been found anywhere else in the world. Take a look at the marble and let your imagination escape to find some unusual designs…like George Washington. And the granite on the outside, also from Colorado!
It’s worth venturing inside to see the different murals, most of which paint a story and bring you a little closer to Colorado. There is also handcrafted stained class, and light fixtures that will make your eyes widen! You can also see the government at work! A trip by the House and Senate Chambers highlight where some of the makings of laws and actions start and also progress our history.
And of course you may wonder about what could be the most iconic part of the building, the Gold Dome, which equates to 200 ounces of Gold that were a gift from Colorado miners. It is the hopes of the Capitol administration that the dome will be restored. The fundraising effort hopes to raise the 8 million dollars to keep the Capitol going strong! There are 250 million people in Colorado, which means if everyone donated a little over $3.00 the capitol would be ready to be restored!
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
So you’ve been to a Broncos Game. Or a concert at Invesco. Maybe your high school prom was here. Then you’ve seen Invesco, well, you think you have. But if you want to line your toes up with the turf, the tour bus is waiting!
You will be taken to the press room, club level, locker rooms, keg rooms, field level and a few other areas sprinkled in along the way. And for those that came knocking for some trivia it’s handed right to you. Did you know that Invesco was built with just two more seats than the old Mile High Stadium? This one was finished with 76, 125 seats.
And what would this stadium be without the Rocky Mountain Thunder that Mile High was famous for igniting on game days? Fans stomped on the steel grounds to bring it on!
This stadium was built up with concrete, but you betchya there is steel placed on floorboards of some areas, that thunder still speaks. And the grass on the field isn’t all a la natural. There are 17 million strands of artificial stands sewn in to give the grass more traction.
So bring out the orange and blue, even if it’s not season. Call 720.258.3000 to schedule your tour. Tours start in the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame at Invesco, so plan a little time before or after to read up on the athletes inducted. It’s on!
Bonnets. Pill Boxes. Beret. Cartwheel. Turban. And oh ya. ..snooke. All types of hats. And there are derby hats, picture hats, straw hats and sombreros. The history of women’s hats is a long one, and one deserving enough to have an exhibit to trace the trends and history of hats at the Aurora History Museum.
How about decorating those hats? Ribbons, yarn, birds (real and artificial) flowers, sequins, jewels, fur. Anything to match your personality and taste. Hats could be flamboyant, or simple, either way they noted your class status.
How about how they were made? Bamboo, straw, yarn, cotton. To be a milliner required resourcefulness, creativity, imagination and pride. Milliners often completed a two-year apprenticeship and then opened their own shops.
There is a hat for every occasion, to keep warm, to celebrate a fancy event, or even flow with a hairstyle. Talented milliners surely would have no problem designing a hat to dress up Marge Simpson’s cool blue doo. And how about adding ruffles on the back of a bonnet to shade ladies necks. SPF through the roof!
There is a hat for every era, and the trends will continue to set the times. Hats off to an exhibit that brings light to history, and lucky for us that sport hats, there is more to come in this era of fashion!
Monday, March 28, 2011
Breckenridge is the oldest Colorado town west of the Continental Divide. I laced up my boots
with this in mind, and knew a trip down Main St. would turn up some history as
rich as the gold that was panned here in the 1800’s. Victorian-style buildings line
the main street with what are now bustling businesses. But one house sits up off
of Main St. and has an especially sweet tale to tell. It was the home of Barney
Ford, an escaped slave who became the first African American business owner in
late Victorian Breckenridge. Barney worked hard for civil rights, served as director
of the Underground Railroad, and used his hard working hands to open up many
From barber shops, to restaurants and hotels, it seems Mr. Barney Ford didn’t let
any doors shut on him. Not all of his business ventures boomed, but his true grit
allowed him to learn from his downfalls.
The museum does not house Barney Ford’s original artifacts and furniture, though
you still get a feeling for the time period from the restoration of the home. There is
one postcard that belonged to Barney Ford, and also two wood paneled front doors
in the exhibit room that are believed to be his from a restaurant on 1514 Blake St.
in Denver, which is now “India House Restaurant”. The building is now one story
higher, but structurally has remained the same. There is a plaque honoring Barney
Ford, and it is on the National Register. The doors were recovered by Robin
Theobald and donated to the Barney Ford House museum in Breckenridge. As you
walk through this old Victorian home you will be reminded of the strong work ethic,
spirit, and determination of Barney Ford that needs to be kept alive.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
If something as delicious as Rudi’s organic bakery is sponsoring a run, that only makes one pick up that pace to get to the finish line! The Boulder Spring offers three distances at the Boulder Reservoir, a half marathon, 10 mile and 10 kilometer. And you bet you people are ready to get their running wheels racing because this is the first major distance held in Colorado for the year.
And a big draw for runners is the post race party! The Boulder Beer Garden is of course there to quench your thirst, along with many sponsors bringing out the energy drinks, energy bars and Rudi’s goodies! And for those who are especially environmentally conscious there is every type of recycling and composting, so party the day away. Energetic environment, organized race and FlatIrons in the background…just another iron the the fire of why this race will surely keep the number of runners turning.
Next time you crumple up a piece of paper to shoot into the trash can let your imagination fly as high as the paper airplanes most of us made in grade school. The uses of paper can stretch as far as making a complete outfit AND accessories. Paper art can be worn.
The 7th annual paper fashion made sure the three levels of the old city hall building were jam-packed to see the works of designers across the board. 60 models punched out personality dressed entirely in paper as they took on the runway. Every trick in the book was illustrated, each design as unique as the next. Heck, after the show, I am sure it is possible for these pros to make their own book on paper clothing.
Xpedx donated the paper. And don’t just think of your typical printer paper here. The palette ranged from poster boards, stationery, newspaper, rice paper, metallic, glitter, wrapping paper…and on and on!
And the stunning art comes with a cause. Proceeds benefited the Downtown Aurora Visual Arts Program. This organization brings on the after school art programs for at risk youth teens. Because if art is something you appreciate you know it can help the community connect, and bring self-esteem up for those who need it.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I have taken many flights around the world, but never one that landed a surprise as pleasant or smooth as the Flights Wine Café in Morrison, Colorado. No turbulence in the air here, I felt like I was traveling first class.
Choosing from over 80 wines is not as easy as choosing from the basic sodas and juices on a Frontier flight. But the staff here will graciously find your taste and recommend something that will have your taste buds soaring.
And if wine is not on your palette, you can expand your wings and choose one of the many beers featured from around the world. Without checking your bags you can get a little taste of the hops from Spain, Canada, Mexico, Belgium and the United Kingdom in your frost brewed pint glass.
You won’t be left with a small bag of planter’s peanuts or pretzels on this excursion, but the café has something even better in store. Fresh flatbreads, Paninis, crostinis, and different cheeses and breads are all part of the “Light Eats” menu.
Early check in is not necessary, and keep your seat belt unfastened. You can sit on the patio, by a fireplace or seat yourself in the garden! Or choose seating in the warm atmosphere inside of the 1870’s cottage.
You won’t be letdown---the café is owned by a husband and wife team. Marcia is an interior decorator and Donn is a photographer. With each of their unique tastes they will make sure your travel voucher is stamped with: first class!
Friday, March 25, 2011
Yeehaw and Giddy up! When you walk into a bar and see a mechanical bull you may start to size it up! Mechanical bulls were invented as a means for professional bull riders to train, however after being owned by a machine, I can’t imagine a real animal.
The operator helped me saddle up, and assured me that not if I fell, but when I fell, I would land on air, so just to go with it. I visualized a graceful landing as I got bucked through the air, however, it did not go down quite that way, but still well worth the ride. Ride on!
Once I was down for the count, I could feel my heart racing, caught my breath and made it my goal to get everyone to saddle up. I would however, suggest that it’s not a bad idea to give a wink wink to the operator so he will stop the bull instead of you getting bucked off it. Whatever it takes to saddle up!
The only thing amusement parts are missing nowadays is to bring back the mechanical bulls! Can you imagine if you won a teddy bear bull for riding for more than a minute, or if that machine spit out tickets to head to the prize shop?! I would be in line again right now, ready to be owned once again.
With so many fabulous restaurants streamlining the Denver scene, it’s necessary to stand out. And even harder to without being “cliché.” I could open a 50’s diner, put in a checkered floor, bar stools and a soda fountain. But come on, there has already been too many done too well. So it is possible to reinvent the diner experience, like the owners of “Interstate.” Bringing you a whole new experience.
A roadside diner, from the 1950’s that has been restored and you feel good being there. PBR’s served in tall boy cans, snack foods like deviled eggs and mac ‘n cheese…or maybe you are needing a little more, so you order the Pulled Pork Sandwich with onion rings. And you wont spend over 10 bucks.
And their mantra is all about comfort, for the food, the amount of $ you cash in, and the atmosphere.
Sitting at the table, I doodled on the paper table cloth with the colorful bunch of crowns, and believed I found my spot.
So I would suggest getting of the Interstate, to one that will churn your wheels as you see the creativity inside.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
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There is an especially unique treasure in the Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls and Toys. And one that is especially necessary to mention at a time when Japan is buried in havoc.
The museum if filled with dolls but if I could sit down and have an afternoon tea with one, I would choose Miss Yokohama “Hamoko.” She is a Japanese Friendship doll, which all started in the late 1920’s to ease tension between America and Japan. This was the time after the immigration act of 1924, which allowed no East Asians to immigrate to the United States.
An American missionary had the idea to send thousands of blue-eyed dolls to Japan, to bring good will back to the countries. Japan was so inspired that they returned 58 dolls in silk kimonos.
Each sate received a doll as a gift, and Denver received Miss Yokohama, created in Yokohama Japan. The doll was donated to the Denver Museum Public Library and was set out for children came to play with. She was tucked away at some point, and rediscovered and brought to the museum in ’96.
From pictures you notice a crack on her face, which was repaired once when the doll was sent back to Japan in the 80’s, but the crack has resurfaced because of our dry climate. This doll may not be in the most pristine condition but does not make it any less of a treasure.
Out of the 58 dolls, the locations of 45 are known. During WWII when the U.S. and Japan were in battle, many of the dolls were tucked away. The search for the remaining dolls is on…each a treasure as a great as the next one.
The Denver Museum of Miniatures, Dolls, and Toys is much more than what the title implies. It’s a museum that really allows you to reminisce on what is a treasure to most, and that’s childhood. A time when responsibilities were slim and the goal of everyday was to have fun. No deadlines, no pressure, no filled inboxes...and a walk through this museum will resurface those feelings.
There are exhibits that will bring a spark to everyone, whether you grew up playing with an actual wooden dollhouse, cabbage patch kids or train sets. The craftsmanship and detail on the dollhouses is seriously astounding. I took a trip through one dollhouse starting first at the welcome rug, to the mouse on the floor, to an open book, and saw the clock was set. Maybe it was bedtime.
It makes you wonder what the parents dreamed about in their perfectly knit beds and embroidered pillows, and what children giggled about in their bedrooms with toys scattered about.
Most people think of dollhouses in the Victorian Era, and as gorgeous as they are, the southwest style dollhouses are just as incredible. You will notice handmade clay pots, turquoise and silver artifacts and woven rugs. You soon learn about the lifestyle, fashion, art history and culture.
The museum is housed in what seems like an old dollhouse itself in the Pearce-McAllister Cottage. The house was built in 1889 and is an example of Dutch-Colonial architecture. Inside are 10,000 items dating from 1680 to today. And beyond dollhouses you will find Japanese dolls, giant teddy bears, antique dolls and an array of miniatures.
For now, the most recent, yet historical objects are the teddy ruxpins, tickle me elmos and Barbie and Kens. Sooner than we can imagine these will be more historic than recent and a new generation of toys that are still on the inventing wheel will be brought in.
It’s museums like this that do more than teach you about history, they show you what parts of our history “made” history. And of course will inspire memories.
I felt like I was back in New York...just like that. This time I wasn't un-crumpling my city map and clinging onto every stranger asking for directions. The sounds of the subway weren't dominating the background and I was not bumping shoulders with people on the cramped sidewalks. As crazy mad as the Big Apple can be you start to miss the hectic style that comes with it...and the NYP without the D, which is New York Pizza. Wide, thin, and foldable.
It is something to miss, which is exactly what two brothers David and Jason Parry realized after moving to Colorado. So good for us, they opened up Parry's Pizza. Order hand tossed pizzas and choose from a list of ingredients, or try a suggested recipe. There are also salads, calzones, pastas and sandwiches.
New York Style Pizza is a type you can really eat on the go…but if you are at Parry’s you may find you’ll stay awhile… and may even have trouble deciding where to sit, so many options! All the tables have a unique knack. Under the glass surface different memorabilia is placed. Do you sit at the monopoly table, the or the one decorated with playbills, or the table displaying sports memorabilia? And there will be more than one table that will strike your fancy…So looks like you will have to order in again, at Parry’s Pizza! And oh ya…the walls are pretty flashy…decked out with Syracuse and New York Yankee memorabilia. A true New York Experience.
*Idea- the Englewood location is right across from the Wildlife Experience…pizza and a movie can be so much more unique with a new joint, and a fantastic film!
Friday, March 18, 2011
Denver’s turn out for Saint Patty’s is always top notch. The parade had streets filled, kids scrambling for candy, or reaching for the floats on top of their parent’s shoulders. And parents get just as into the party… sporting all things green…goofy glasses and hats, nail polish, or how about the guy that had shamrock contacts.
We may not get the workday off, presents, or expect to have our families together, but people jump up and down for Saint Patty’s. And not just because it’s the one-day that you may get to pinch your boss but it’s an excuse to have some fun. It can be picking out your outfit, meeting some friends for a mug of green beer, eating Irish food or jamming to some Irish bands. And most of spirit of the city brings out a community, and people can yahoos in the streets all they want…and people on the other side will yahoo right back.
But you ask someone why Saint Patrick’s Day is important to the Irish, and why we celebrate so hard? Hopefully they get as far as knowing Patrick is a Saint! And he is the most important patron saint of Ireland. Ring Ring, we have the basics covered.
He was bourn in Britain in the fourth century. At the age of 16 he was kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland. During that time legend says he was told by God to escape slavery and go to the coast. When he did, he returned to Britain to join the Church and studied to be a priest. After de died he was held in high regard by the Irish Church and even dedicated three days in March for celebrations.
And would you look at that, they are still going STRONG! In 1991 Congress ruled March to be Irish Heritage month. And here we are now in the
Denver goes big, although we don’t die the Platte River Green the way Chicago dies their river green, but we know how to do it here in Denver! With any luck of the Irish we will see you out there next year…I’ll be the one with the shamrock contacts this time.