There are several cities with wonderful botanical gardens, but we believe that the Denver Botanic Garden is one of the best. Between the tropical flowers, rotating art displays, and special events, there is always something interesting to see at the garden. We especially enjoyed the variety of colorful orchids that we saw during our visit there. It is a great way to spend a summer afternoon, walking the flower lined paths and seeing the gardens dedicated to different regions around the world. The Denver Botanic Garden will often create displays on the 16th Street Mall in downtown Denver to allow shoppers to see some of the wonderful flowers that can be found in the gardens. If you are planning a trip to Denver, we’d definitely recommend that you consider adding the Botanic Gardens to your itinerary.
We’ve been doing some remodeling on our home and by Friday we were completely exhausted by the noise, dust, and clutter, so we decided to get away for a night. We made reservations for Saturday night at the Brown Palace Hotel and Spa, which is a beautiful hotel in downtown Denver that we’ve stayed at several times in the past. The Brown Palace has been open since 1892 and was built by Henry Brown and despite the similarity in names, Margaret Brown, also known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown, was not related to him. She did, however, stay at the hotel only a week after the Titanic disaster and the hotel rooms are adorned with a picture of her signature on the Titanic manifest. The hotel does high tea in the atrium courtyard in the afternoons and has a very popular brunch on Sunday’s.
We got to Denver in time to check in to our room early and head to the 16th Street Mall for some lunch. We knew where we wanted to go and that was to Katie Mullen’s, which is an Irish pub that has excellent varieties of beer and wine as well as authentic Irish cuisine. We enjoyed an order of Katie’s spuds, which are large potato chips topped with corned beef, sauerkraut, thousand island dressing, and melted Swiss cheese. After having a sandwich, we were off to the Denver Botanic Gardens to leisurely stroll amongst the incredible variety of plants, flowers, and orchids. It was definitely worth the visit, but it was ninety-eight degrees out, so after a couple of hours wandering through the various pathways and hot houses, we were ready for something cold to drink.
After a quick stop at the hotel, we were back to the 16th Street Mall and to The Kitchen, which is a seafood restaurant that we go to whenever we’re in Denver. They have a wonderful community hour, their version of a happy hour, where they have small bites and seafood bar items on special along with their drinks. Their oysters are always fresh, which can’t always be said of places in Colorado, so we were quick to decide on a dozen oysters to go with our wine. After another glass or two of wine, some marinated olives, and roasted nuts, we headed back towards our hotel. Still a little hungry, we stopped again at Katie Mullen’s to share a bowl of Irish Stew. We don’t normally go to the same place twice on a single visit, but partially because they were close to the hotel, and mostly because we just love a good Irish pub, we decided to do that this time.
We had heard that there were a couple of new speakeasies in Denver, so we asked several bartenders where they were and which one we should go to and were told about Green Russell in LODO (Lower Downtown). After changing to go out, we headed over to Russell’s Smokehouse, the somewhat secret location of the Green Russell. As we approached the hostess stand, we were asked if we were there for the steakhouse and when we told them that we were there for the Green Russell, we were taken through what looked like a service door to a kitchen or storage room. Once through the door we were in a dimly lit cellar with tables and a large bar in the middle. Stone walls and a 1920’s theme made the ambiance complete, but it is the drinks and the bartenders that are the attraction. We asked for the “Bartender’s Choice”, where you selected a type of alcohol and what style of drink you liked and they surprise you with a concoction that they create. Besides the awesome drinks, the bartenders chop ice blocks to make the large round ice cubes and there is a constant whir of shakers shaking and bottles pouring, very fun to watch.
The next day, we weren’t up too early, not surprisingly, so we were back off to the 16th Street Mall to get some lunch. When we got to the mall, it had seemingly transformed overnight as on specific Sunday’s, Meet in the Street takes over the 16th Street Mall. There are games, musicians, rock climbing walls, paddle surfing, and even parts of the street have been covered with grass for people to sit and relax. The buses that usually traverse the mall taking people back and forth aren’t running and it is well worth visiting to enjoy a community gathering and walk and see everything there is to see. We stopped at Earl’s for lunch, which like most restaurants on the mall, has outdoor seating and opens its large windows so that you can people watch and feel like your part of the outdoor activities. After eating breakfast for lunch, we walked the mall for a while before heading back to the hotel to pick up our car and head back home.
It might have been a last-minute decision to get away for a night, but it was thoroughly worth it. Sure, we were back home to house that was still partially under construction, but we were relaxed and reinvigorated. Sometimes the mind and body just needs a break from the every day routines and an unplanned getaway is the perfect way to do it.