Saturday, April 18, 2015

Daytrippin': Denver to Salida & Back Again

Daytrippin' to Salida
My sister came to town the week after Easter and she brought The Cousins with her. While planning our week of activities like the zoo, the museum and such--which should all be spread throughout a year, not a week, but what can you do? fight with your family some, that's what--someone mentioned the idea of going somewhere new. I seized this opportunity to share with my family an article in a recent Sunset Magazine in which Salida, Colorado, is mentioned as a worthwhile daytrip from Denver. I thought they'd blow off my idea {they usually do, I'm the baby of the family, after all}, but instead they were all gung ho. So yee haw. Up 285 we drove, into the mountains and through South Park. {Yes, the South Park.}
Daytrippin' to Salida
My Grandpa Erickson was an engineer for the Colorado Highway Dept., and he helped design and plan 285. So, basically, we own this road. I mean, pretty much.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Now, this is a 2.5 hour drive from Denver, and so you'll pass The Fort, the hogbacks, Tiny Town, the sledding hill, my grandparents old house, Pine, South Park, Jefferson, Fairplay, and a prison where inmates raise goats, until finally, eventually, you reach Salida. It's a pretty, and easy 2.5 hour drive. Just throw on a Tom Petty CD or something, buy some beef jerky, and you're good for the drive. Daytrippin' to Salida
You'll know you're in Salida, thanks to the giant "S" on Tenderfoot Mountain. {Just don't be fooled if your six-year-old tries to convince you it is really a giant 5.} This photo doesn't do Tenderfoot any justice. It was bigger than it looks, and I'll share more about that later...
Daytrippin' to Salida
On a Sunday in April, Salida was a quiet place. I've heard that it is quite booming during the hot season when everyone comes to inner tube down the Arkansas River or when Mumford & Sons visits for 2 day festivals. {Justin's brother and his wife are going in August! Jelly here. Todd and Rachel, I hope you're paying attention because I'm about to tell you where you'll be eating. Make reservations now.}
Daytrippin' to Salida
So, Sunset Magazine recommended The Fritz as a place to grab a bite. But we forgot to bring the magazine with us and couldn't remember what the name was. Thankfully, Justin's co-worker who has roots in Salida saved the day and confirmed: The Fritz indeed was a worthwhile stop. I'll say!
Daytrippin' to Salida

This was one of, if not the, best burgers I've ever had in my life. It was the speshal. Isn't that shpeshal? Grass fed beef, made to perfection, with something like "apple smoked cream cheese bacon mousse" as a topping. Also, truffle fries on the side. {You MUST with the truffle fries, you MUST!} And it was absolutely divine. My father ordered the same thing as me, and we agreed: even our burps throughout the rest of the day were like heaven. {We had beer! Also, Colorado makes one gassy #blamegreeley} The kids' mac and cheese was too good to be on the kids menu. Justin ordered some sort of sandwich with sweet potato fries and tried to act like he wasn't totally jealous of my burger {he helped me finish it}. Something is up with these photos but I'm too tired to fix it.
Daytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to Salida
So, if you find yourself in Salida {ahem, Todd and Rachel}, The Fritz gets our enthusiastic thumbs up. Also, the server/bartender was super great with our kids. Not that they were at all misbehaving--they were really good actually--but we'd entered this joint nervous about dining with 5 kids who'd just spend 2.5 hours in the car, so, you know. Look, some of the balloons the street clown forced us to tip him for popped as soon as we walked in and it put us adults on edge, but the guy working there put us at ease and served us beer. Everything came full circle.
Daytrippin' to Salida
I'm telling you...
Daytrippin' to Salida
What else to do in Salida on a beautiful, albeit windy, Sunday afternoon? Take selfies and shop.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Bring your camera, this town is ripe with photo opportunities, even if my kids aren't there.
Daytrippin' to Salida
I got my first real six string. Bought it at the Five & Dime. Played it 'til my fingers bled...
Daytrippin' to Salida
Obligatory spousal selfie!
Daytrippin' to Salida
A few shops were closed on the Sunday afternoon {sadly, including the little French bakery Sunset had also recommended} but many shops were still open. Salida has great shops. Creative shops, artsy shops, consignment, thrift, and the typical Colorado mountain town shops. They even have an antique mall!
Daytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to SalidaDaytrippin' to Salida
And vintage Pyrex in the windows!! I am sincerely considering selling our house and moving to Salida.
Daytrippin' to Salida
When you're done dragging the men with their dogs around from storefront to storefront to wait for you to finish browsing the shops, you can stop for a perk me up at the "Coffee". {That's all the sign says...and I can't remember what it was called.}
Daytrippin' to Salida
Pax is too little for The Coffee but he does get his butt carried around, so...
Daytrippin' to Salida
Photo-op! Too bad the youngest cousin was indisposed at the moment.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Eh. Throw him in there anyway! That's good.
Daytrippin' to Salida
We tried to convince the kids to get in the kayaks for this photo op, but they wouldn't. {losers}

Salida sits in Colorado's banana belt, the Arkansas River Valley, surrounded by three glorious mountain ranges. So, naturally, we wanted a room with a view. Justin texted his co-worker, who responded {thank God, because our cell phone coverage was quite shoddy up there} and told us to head up Tenderfoot, up the Spiral somethingorother that climbs up the--let's be real here, Coloradans--the foothill.

He even gave us directions to get to the road that took us up there. You know, for a photo op. Or rather, in my case, a flipping heart attack as our SUV climbed the narrow road up the...did I say foothill? What I really meant was treacherous mountain. I'm serious, this dashed my hopes of driving up Pikes Peak this summer. At least not sober.
Daytrippin' to Salida
I mean, it was gawahgeeous up thereh, honeh, but the sharp steep drop off the side of the insanely narrow {I might be exaggerating just a tad, I do have a touch of the anxiety} road was enough to make me cling on to my babies and scream at everyone to stay away from the edges. I wasn't always this way...and Justin made sure to remind me of that. {"In high school, before you had kids, you would have been all about this. Now you're plastering yourself to the side of the mountain in fear."} Something about heights anymore...between my anxiety and my anxiety. I felt very disoriented up there, like the world was tilty.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Truly, it was a beautiful view. Quite worth it. {Thanks, Scott!}
Daytrippin' to Salida
I somehow survived. I thought going down would be easier than going up. but instead...no.
Daytrippin' to Salida
Here is the obligatory good-daughter photo I took of my parents and their dog. I was yelling at them as I took the photo, worried their stupid dog would jump up on them and...goodbye world!
Daytrippin' to Salida
But it was truly beautiful. Worth every moment of sheer panic.
Daytrippin' to Salida
What a perfect day trip! Thank you Sunset Magazine, for helping me convince my family to listen to me {for once} and head somewhere new. {Next, I've really got to get to Telluride. What kind of native Coloradan hasn't even been to Telluride?} I'll go back to Salida for sure. We headed back to Denver that evening before bedtime, but our rebellious children...
Daytrippin' to Salida
They were spent.
Daytrippin' to Salida

Cheers,
Heather

P.S. More photos here. I know, this post was kind of light on the pictures, that's so unlike me, you probably feel robbed, so you might want to see another million more.

2 comments:

  1. I am always dying to go somewhere new and different in my area. But I live in Oregon and truth be told, I'm not really an Oregon type of gal. Colorado, Arizona, Montana....these are the place that I would love to live. A little more rustic than my neck of the woods. Alas I will have to visit through your blog. So tell Justin you have a new job as my personal Daytripper :-) And also let him know that he really should have ordered that burger!

    Erica

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been to Oregon. I loved it. We visited some seaside town that was just adorable. We should do a vacation home swap! And I thought Oregon was rustic, but you say no? You'd know better than I! But I do adore the Pacific Northwest, Justin and I went to college in Tacoma.

      Hopefully I'll be able to share more daytrips with you this summer! Thanks, Erica! ;-)

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