Wednesday, June 13, 2012

planning a birthday adventure.

i love holidays, no matter the day or occasion. birthdays, however, have always been a bit troublesome. growing up, my birthday treat was a trip to tulsa for back-to-school shopping. i love shopping and tulsa in general; i always have. back-to-school shopping, though, is more a necessity than a treat, and with three siblings, my birthday treat always felt more like a, well, necessary back-to-school shopping trip for the four of us.

because i'm a bit of a planner and because i want to enjoy my birthday in its entirety, i've started meticulously planning birthday adventures for myself. sometimes they include shopping and occasionally they include tulsa, but they never resemble the back-to-school shopping days of old. my birthday has become a great excuse to get away, and shane appreciates that he isn't expected to plan some elaborate surprise.

this year, we're contemplating a road trip to colorado. i've somehow never been to this neighboring state, and a birthday adventure isn't really adventurous if you're not trying something new.

we haven't yet mapped our route or decided which particular cities we want to visit, but i'm currently compiling a list of things to see and do.

one of the things i'm most excited about is potentially visiting the stanley hotel in estes park. first of all, it's called the stanley hotel. that's pretty cool, right? i'm thinking a tour is in order, and if we're really brave, we may even stay a night there. the hotel is where stephen king's the shining was filmed, and it's said to be haunted by at least seven different ghosts. supposedly, while filming dumb and dumber, jim carrey was scheduled to stay at the stanley hotel but after checking in quickly decided to stay elsewhere. maybe the ghosts, much like myself, weren't impressed with his ridiculous facial contortions and expressions.

have you been to colorado? what else should we add to our list of colorado attractions to consider visiting? 


  1. Colorado in the summer is so fun!! The Barker fam went to Estes Park last summer, and it was a blast. It's super close to the RMNP - we spent a couple of days there doing different hikes. The one we took up to a huge waterfall was awesome. There are neat shops there too.

    A couple of years ago we went to Breckenridge, which is another favorite. It's really quaint and lots of cool shops. We hiked on the McCullough Gulch hike. We didn't get all the way to the end (plan ahead and take food and water, it's a long one!) but we made it up to the waterfalls and felt like we were on top of the mountain. They have a great pizza place (Fatty's) there - we went twice in a week.

    We've been to Denver a couple of times. Recently, went to the zoo which was great. Also went to Red Rocks Amphitheater, just to see it. They do have a great art museum as well, if you're in to that.

    When we were kids, we went to Telluride, Durango, Silverton on a day trip - they were quaint towns. I don't remember much, except getting to be sheriffs in a gun fight!

    Garden of the Gods is awesome, as well as the Royal Gorge. You can't go wrong with Colorado - you'll just have to pick what area you want to be in - there is so much stuff everywhere!

  2. Here are some things that we are doing with our kids in July.

    COG RAILWAY up pikes peak, and in the town of manitou where this railway begins they have 12 carbonated natural springs with all of them having a different taste I guess. I can't wait to find that out.
    ELITCH GARDENS (amusement park) IN DENVER
    HAMMONDS CANDY FACTORY TOUR (old school candy factory, they twist the candy canes and cut and package them all by hand)
    CAVE OF THE WINDS (we are doing a lantern tour that is 1.5hrs long so this seems to be really cool)

  3. amazing suggestions! thank you both so much!

  4. We went to Estes Park for our honeymoon! Definitely go to the Rocky Mountain National Park! And see if there are any good shows at the Red Rock Amphitheater! Zack surprised me with tickets to see Hot, Hot Heat and Snow Patrol while we were there....SO AMAZING! I've been begging to go back since this year is our 5th year anniversary!

  5. Manitou Springs is a neat little town with cool shops and a pretty sweet old school arcade with skee-ball but I will warn you, the water tastes like pee... Try at least one, but take a little sip. :)

    All of the suggestions so far will be a lot of fun for your first time in Colorado. If you get tired of the super touristy shops full of Rocky Mountain snow globes, moccasins, hand-made Colorado Shaped leather wallets and assorted Native American artwork I would check out Boulder. It is a college town and has some cool shopping that is fun and a little less kitschy. The Pearl Street Mall is awesome, great shops outside with street performers. The Flat Irons in Boulder are also incredibly beautiful and a nice little hike if you want to.

    Wherever you end up going and whatever you end up doing you are bound to have a great time. I didn't make my first trip to CO until my Freshman year of college, but I have been back at least once every year since! It is a beautiful state with something truly magical about it. Have fun and bring good music for the drive through Western Kansas/Eastern Colorado. :)

    -Matt Hastings