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Colorado
A few pointers.
1) Drink A Lot!!! you are at a much higher altitude  than your body is used to and there is usually 0% humidity, this means you can easily dehydrate! and visitors often do!
2) Use sunscreen! being that you are that much closer to the sun, you get sunburnt that much faster, and 0% humidity means that it feels cooler than it actually is out.
3) when going to/up the mountains bring sweatshirts and other warm clothes, even on a scorcher of a summer day it can be freezing and windy on top of a mountain.




Denver
There are three jewish areas which are part of denver they form a rough triangle roughly 20 minute drive from one another so they kind of feel like three seperate cities.
West side: is the yeshivish neighborhood, home to the Yeshiva, the Bais Yaakov, the Kollel, 60-80 families, the oldest shul in denver (over 120 years old and only one currently on the west side) the Bronco's stadium, and quite a few homeless people.Not much else noteworthy for the vacationer. There are no jewish stores there and the bulk of stores that do exist there are pawn shops and used car lots, Oh yeah and retail marijuana shops! Sloans lake is a beautiful lake half a block from most of the jewish neighborhood, roughly 3 miles around you can get some nice views of the mountains over the lake, but it isn't inside the eruv and certainly not worthy of a special trip.

SouthEast/Greenwood village: Is a relatively new part of Denver, something like 10-20 years old the community is largely a kiruv community in all stages of growth centered around the only shul Aish. There is also a decent group of Bnai Torah who live there as well. The SouthEast is an upscale waspy suburbia and the stores and citizens are generally more upscale as well.
They have a pretty good frozen Yogurt shop called Yogurt Yuphoria which is certified by the scroll k (the local and very reputable hechsher) but is mostly cholov stam. They do have some sorbet and sometimes pareve frozen yogurts that are labeled "dairy equipment" and are surprisingly good, you can also get some parve razzles and the like. They close at 930PM. Also the King Soopers nearby(a grocery chain which is part of the whole ralph's/kroger thing) has a small kosher meat section, kosher product section and almost entirely kosher fresh bakery (note most things are cholov stam!).They are open either to 12PM or are 24hrs.

East Side: is currently the largest and fastest growing part of Denver, here is where you will find almost all of the jewish/kosher amenities. The East side is a diverse crowd but the bulk of it is modern orthodox.
 
The Shuls:
EDOS (East Denver Orthodox Synogogue)is made up of an older crowd, very few young people, and is modern orthodox.
DAT (Denver Acadaemy of Torah) is a shul inside a school. Here is where the vast majority of the 20 and 30 somethings daven, it is a modern orthodox shul and is strongly zionist.
BMH-BJ (bais medrash hagodol-beth joseph) is technically an orthodox shul as it is part of the OU, but they don't have a mechitza and most of it's mispallelim drive to shul on shabbos. They do have a smaller minyan in a side room known as sharai simcha or "the mechitza minyan" which does have mechitza and it's mispallelim are local.
Bais Yisroel/Beit Uriel/TRI are three shuls housed in one building, Beit Uriel is the local Sephardic Shul, TRI is an old minyan for russian jews and Bais Yisroel is the yeshivish shul on the East side, they recently renovated and is gorgeous and spacious,with almost a intown feel.

The Restaurants:
ESKD (East Side Kosher Deli) http://www.eastsidekosherdeli.com/ is the only fleishig restaurant in town. It is located in the back of the only kosher store in town. In the store they have very nice meat and dairy departments. (although if you are just looking for a steak to grill you might to better off going to trader joes and getting one of their luscious teva's black angus kosher rib steaks). They also carry a full line of heimish products and wines, they are both a bit overpriced, but not crazy for this far out of town. They also have a full delicatessen/bakery in the store, their coldcuts are usually excellent. They close at 9PM.

Back to the restaurant (literally). They have a lunch menu which is significantly cheaper for many of the same things. Certain nights of the week they sell sushi which i haven't tried but hear is all right. The ambiance is not to great but the food is very good for the price (18-35 a main). I would suggest  the sesame chicken, steak fajita's, cowboy burger, and onion ring brick, they are all delicious. They have some wierd things that you may like or hate for instance a burger with pastrami jammed between two greasy Latkes etc. Read the menu carefully. Also their shwarma is not up to par.Wine by the glass is surprisingly cheap for upscale restaurant standards, but ask when it was opened. They don't get a lot of wine orders.

Brooklyn Pizza http://brooklynpizzadenver.com/ They have some really good pizza and some really out-of-the box toppings like fake pepperoni (which supposedly tastes legit), smoked lox and capers, mac and cheese, and chocolate and riccotto cheese, if you are into that type of thing.All the above are made to order so give yourself some extra time. Their fries are good and the calzones are beyond enormous (enough for two). At peak times there will be a wait and a dearth of seats.They close at 9 PM and are open late on Motzoi Shabbos.
Next door is a King Soopers with a pretty big kosher item section (3 small isles) a small fresh meat and dairy section and a fresh bakery that is kosher but mostly cholov stam. Across the side street is a liquor shop called the grapevine which has a pretty large selection of kosher wine at a fair price, they are open very late.

Rosenberg Kosher (formerly The Bagel Store) http://www.rosenbergskosher.com/ Note, open to the public on Fridays and holidays. makes solid bagels and challah, they also make amazing doughnuts but only sell them on fridays, and for some odd reason they get stale very very quickly, so enjoy them right away.

High Point Creamery: https://www.highpointcreamery.com/ Ice cream shop across the street from EDOS. Small batch ice cream shop with unique flavors.

Hotels:

Colorado
has enough amazing sites for one to visit one a day for several years and not run out. I have spoken to avid hikers and natralists who live in Denver for 20-30 years and gathered that they havn't hit all the popular spots yet and are constantly finding new places. Below you will find a long but limited list of popular trips, anyone will have different favorites, enjoy!


Day Trips from Denver

Children friendly short trips from Denver:

Tiny Town- a little boring, but nice stop for little kids. They charge $5 for adults and $3 for kids above 2. This is about 25 minutes from Denver, it is a miniature kid sized city! All this houses and stores are built with great detail and there are about 10 of them the kids can climb into and peer out the windows and such. It also has a child sized railroad that drives around the town for an additional 2$ a pop. When it gets boring there is a nice playground and picnic area.The whole town is set in a scenic locale in the foothills and has small creek meandering through it. I'd say it would be a nice 1-2 hour trip (not including traveling for 1-6 year olds)
St. Mary's Glacier(town of Alice): is about 50 minutes from Denver. It is a easy/moderate short hike (hour round trip) with a rewarding view on top. A great day trip idea for those who don't want to work too hard to see the views. The top has a really pretty clear lake fed from a glacier melt with a mountain view surrounding it. Really nice!!
Red Rocks: closest really scenic mountainy spot to denver. Beautiful red rock formation and kid friendly hiking trails, 25 minutes from Denver and nice for adults and slightly older kids as well (figure 3 years old and up)
Lariat Loop: scenic/historic 40 mile drive with stops all around golden and lakewood colorado. (most stops are western/cowboy themed)
Falcon Ridge short hike/amazing view
Buffalo Bill's Grave and museum - see @Yehuda's TR below
Coors factory tour-see @Yehuda's TR below
Roxbourough national park: A short half hour drive from Denver, this park has huge striking dramatic red stones (couple hundred feet high) the park is set in the middle of wild country and warns that bears and rattle snakes are very often seen, while the scenery is some of the best this close to Denver, the trails are a somewhat distant from the rocks (50-500 feet) and i wouldn't feel comfortable going off trail with all the rattlesnake warnings. This kinda puts a damper on the feel.
Lookout mountain-see @Yehuda's TR below

Boulder- 45 minutes north of Denver has quite a few family friendly trip options
Celestial Seasons tea factory tour: interesting and fun, with free tea sampling. Entering the "Mint room" is a highlight you won't soon forget, watching the fully automated factory whirl is remarkable and exciting. Avoid going on a Sunday because the factory floor is not on and you lose that experience. You can also purchase all their discontinued teas in their tea store.
Eben G. Fine Park: is a nice place to eat a lunch dip your feet in the river or just relax a bit, there is also another gorgeous park across the street but i can't remember the name.
Pearl Street: get a taste of the eccentric lifestyle of boulder, explore the stores and watch street performers. You are guaranteed to be amazed and amused by the eclectic locale!
Breweries: Colorado is home to dozens of microbreweries, of which quite a few are located in Boulder. Consider a short tour to see the less commercial side of beer brewing.One example is Avery brewery.
Eldorado Canyon: Is not in boulder but right near it. It is a beautiful site with a supposedly "stroller friendly" hiking trail. I took my double citymini up there and about halfway up had to hide it in a bush and continue with both kids on my shoulders, that being said it is a fairly easy stunning short trail which you could take a jogging stroller on if you were so inclined. There are often people crock climbing hundreds of feet in the air which makes for a fascinating watch.

Longer day trips from Denver

Mt. Evans: about an hour west of Denver.Then you begin the long drive up to the top a 14er (one of America's highest paved roads) the trip up is exhilerating and the switchbacks are steep with huge drops on either side, you pass two incredibly beautiful lakes en route and usually some mountain goats and big horn sheep. As you get higher it gets colder and it is not unusual for there to be a hailstorm or even snow in the middle of a 100 degree day in Denver, so bring a sweatshirt. The view from the top is astounding (unless you are unlucky enough to arrive on a foggy day on top).

Estes Park: is the city at the base of Rocky Mountain National park and is set by a large lake with great views and a plethora of local activities and interesting shops. It is an hour and half north of Denver
Rocky Mountain National Park: It is large enough to spend a few weeks exploring(more than 400 square miles!!), one can easily spend two days there, although there are no upscale hotels nearby. There are two main scenic drives, The view from Trail Ridge Road is arguably the the most beautiful astounding sight in Colorado and is not to be missed! Old Fall River Road is a harrowing winding one way dirt road that will constantly have you on the edge of your seat and affords you rawer less commercialized views of the park. You can take Old Fall River Road to the peak at the Alpine visitor center and take Trail Ridge Road back down the mountain. If you're looking for a hike geared for Intermediate/Advanced hikers, Flattop mountain is a great trail ~3 hours hike up, ~1.5 to get back down.
Peak to Peak Scenic Byway https://estes-park.com/peak-peak-scenic-byway

Colorado Springs area: - 1-1.25 hrs south of Denver
Garden of the G-ds: https://www.gardenofgods.com/ Is a mind bogglingly beautiful park with the same redstone rocks found in red rocks and roxborough, the important difference is that you are allowed to and encouraged to climb on the rock in the Garden of the gods, this makes the view personal and significantly more fun, you can spend hours exploring and not get bored! (tip: don't spend much time in the first official parking area, it is all paved but not accessible or nearly as much fun as some of the other spots in this park, park in one of the pull offs later in the park or especially at the balancing rock at the end and explore! You won't be disappointed!
US Air Force Academy: https://www.academyadmissions.com/visit-the-academy/self-guided-tours/visitor-center-information/
Cave of the Winds: https://caveofthewinds.com/
Pikes Peak: https://www.pikes-peak.com/ Amazing views at 14,115 FT. You can also bike down from the peak with various tour companies.
Royal Gorge Bride & Park: https://royalgorgebridge.com/
Royal Gorge Railroad: https://royalgorgeroute.com/
Manitou Springs: https://manitousprings.org/
Manitou Incline: http://www.manitouincline.com/
White water rafting on the Arkansas river (royal gorge or buena vista)
brainard lake
Kruner rock hike

Vail Area:

Vail:

Activities:
1. biking down from vail pass
2. Zip Lining
3. GONDOLA

Shul:
Chabad of Vail http://www.jewishvail.com/

Food:
Kosher Vail - Run by the Chabad of Vail NOTE:CLOSED FOR SUMMER 2018

Glenwood Springs:
1. Hanging Lake https://www.visitglenwood.com/things-to-do/hanging-lake/
2. Glenwood/Glenwood Caverns https://www.glenwoodcaverns.com/

To be continued...
If you have any questions or need any help please feel free to PM steeeveknowsbest and i'll get back to you ASAP

TRs
@Yehuda Summer 2014 (trip divided up by day into several posts, so keep reading!)

@Yehuda's Trips to Denver
Something Fishy's TR of Rocky mountain national park:
http://forums.dansdeals.com/index.php?topic=997.msg858474#msg858474

CGR

Post 859 is Friars500 one week itinerary for his group 
« Last edited by cgr on September 12, 2019, 02:32:59 PM »

Author Topic: Colorado Master Thread  (Read 129493 times)

Offline mek

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #360 on: July 17, 2014, 11:52:38 AM »
In order to get a sunstar you set the lens to the smallest aperture. Since the aperture was so small, I had to use a relatively slow shutter speed to let in enough light.

You could do this with any lens - the only thing your need is a small aperture setting. The number of aperture blades (found in the lens specs) is what determines what the star looks like. If your lens has an even number of blades, you'll have the same number of rays, but if the lens has an odd number of blades you'll have double the rays (physics is weird). The Tokina 11-16mm lens has 9 aperture blades, my sunstar has 18 rays.

ok thanks! Cant wait to try it out

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #361 on: August 12, 2014, 12:47:50 PM »
Haven't really written any TRs from my short trips to Denver, so I figure now's a good time to write one while I'm here once again.

My wife is from Denver, hence the several short trips here. Incredibly, she is a 6th-generation Denverite, hjer great great great something coming over in a covered wagon. So yeah, I've been to Denver a few times now since we were dating last summer, but when you come for Shabbos/Yom Tov, there isn't really a lot of time for sight-seeing.

We did take a day trip to Vail last summer and checked out the cute Vail Village, which is an area of little shops and restaurants. There is a Haagen Dazs there but not sure what the deal is kashrus-wise as the store itself doesn't have a hechsher but HD ice cream products are OU. We took a gondola ride up a mountain there and there were some beautiful views up there as well as a few summer activities to do.

Anyway, on to this trip!

Day One - Monday
As usual, we flew SW from NY. I forgot to add my wife as my Companion to the ticket when I booked it and when I went to checkin on Sunday, the day before we left, I realized I didn't have a confirmation code for her... because she had no ticket! I frantically worked with my FIL to find her a ticket and after trying a few options, 2 seats opened up on SW from LGA-DEN, so I cancelled the original EWR flight (that was cheap because I booked it before the summer) and jumped on those seats with my points. Unfortunately because of my mistake, it turned out to be our most expensive points trip yet costing 34.5K for the RT. As SW awards are based on the dollar value of the ticket, I don't think it was a "bad" value. We otherwise would have paid the equivalent in dollars if we didn't use the points. Lesson learned: add the companion right away, and of course, always book SW flights as early as you can.

We drove to my friend's house in Queens, parked in his driveway, and he graciously drove us to LGA - nice guy! I believe this was my first time flying out of LGA and I was not impressed at all. It definitely fits the picture of an airline stuck in the middle of NYC. It's narrow and old-styled and it was incredibly cramped at the gates. We had UA Club passes, but the UA lounge was before security! I don't understand that, as you don't know how long the security line will be so you don't know when to leave the lounge. Because of that concern, we went through security to the gate and sat there for 1.5 hours. :-/

Getting the ticket last minute meant late boarding, but even at B32, I was able to secure to seats next to each other on the plane b"h. I found out on the plane that the free hot cocoa on SW flights is Nestle and has an OU-D, so that was exciting! Flight was pretty uneventful (a good thing), we had more Jews on our flight than any DEN flight before, and finally we landed in DEN. DEN is interesting as the 3 terminals are only connected to each other via an underground train. As you taxi, you see 4 separate buildings - the 3 terminals and the main baggage claim/security building (whose roof is built to look like snow white-capped mountains but kinda looks like white tents) - with nothing connecting them other than the underground train. SW lands in terminal C, so you have to go downstairs and take the train past the other terminals on the way to baggage claim. Not too confusing once you know your way around. We picked up our bags as we saw a few boxes packed from Pomegranate sliding around the conveyor belt (would have been smart for those people to find out there's Kosher food in Denver before they left) and we were out!

My awesome FIL took his lunch break to come get us from DEN and drive us the 20-25 minutes to the east side Jewish community (the modern side of town; west side is the Yeshivish community and southeast is the Aish community). We surprised my BIL who didn't know we were coming to hang out with him before he goes off to Israel for the year. That's the 3rd time my trip to Denver was a surprise for someone. Guess we like surprising people.

We hung around my inlaws for a while, saw our wedding proofs for the first time, and shot around some ball in the backyard. When my MIL got home from work, we went out to the one fleishig restaurant, the East Side Kosher Deli. It's the only Kosher grocery in town and has a restaurant in the back. Not a fancy place, but I think it's pretty good food, although a bit expensive. I would say the food comes decently fast and the service is friendly although it always seems to be a busy night when we go, so the waiter/ress were kinda harried. I had the bourbon burger and really liked it.

After dinner, we stopped off at King Soopers, a supermarket that has a nice Kosher section. Better than the Kosher section, though, is that the entire bakery there is Kosher!

After King Soopers, we went Mincha/Maariv at EDOS - East Denver Orthodox Synagogue. The Shul is under renovation and so far it's coming out beautifully! Believe it or not, but there was actually a small DO at EDOS - MEIR613 was there! We knew from the Airport DO thread that we were both going to be in Denver at the same time, and it was impressive that he found me in Shul. He may have first thought I was Yehoshua ;) but after a minute, we figured it out and shmoozed for a bit.

That's all for day one!


Online TimT

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #362 on: August 12, 2014, 01:02:21 PM »
Only one pic for day one ? That's not like you :). Waiting for the rest. The last time I used LGA was after some airport incident & it looked like I was entering an army post.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #363 on: August 12, 2014, 01:18:12 PM »
Only one pic for day one ? That's not like you :). Waiting for the rest. The last time I used LGA was after some airport incident & it looked like I was entering an army post.
That pic is from last year. Read the post better :-p
We didn't do anything pic-worthy on day 1.
Was expecting a comment like "oh you have time to TR Denver and not Europe??" ;)

Online TimT

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #364 on: August 12, 2014, 01:25:55 PM »
That pic is from last year. Read the post better :-p
We didn't do anything pic-worthy on day 1.
Was expecting a comment like "oh you have time to TR Denver and not Europe??" ;)
You're the best when it comes to TR's.

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #365 on: August 12, 2014, 02:21:12 PM »
You're the best when it comes to TR's.
Awwww

Offline Ephraimh

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #366 on: August 12, 2014, 11:49:05 PM »

we went out to the one fleishig restaurant, the East Side Kosher Deli. It's the only Kosher grocery in town and has a restaurant in the back. Not a fancy place, but I think it's pretty good food, although a bit expensive. I would say the food comes decently fast and the service is friendly although it always seems to be a busy night when we go, so the waiter/ress were kinda harried. I had the bourbon burger and really liked it.
Stopped by that place on the way back from Vail before heading to the airport, must say their sushi was delicious! I just felt it during the entire flight... But I guess that was part of the deal.

Offline Am

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #367 on: August 14, 2014, 10:53:16 PM »
Are there any hotels in or near the frum neighborhood to stay for Shabbos?

Offline chani21

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #368 on: August 15, 2014, 12:16:12 AM »
Are there any hotels in or near the frum neighborhood to stay for Shabbos?

Yes, on the east side there are some.  There closest to the chabad and a little bit further for the other shuls.
Staybridge Suites - 303 321 5757
Homestead Village - 303 388 3880

Offline chani21

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #369 on: August 15, 2014, 12:16:42 AM »
Are there any hotels in or near the frum neighborhood to stay for Shabbos?
Btw, there are a few frum neighborhoods

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #370 on: August 15, 2014, 12:28:06 AM »
Yes, on the east side there are some.  There closest to the chabad and a little bit further for the other shuls.
Staybridge Suites - 303 321 5757
Homestead Village - 303 388 3880
How long of a walk to the chabad shul ?

Offline chani21

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #371 on: August 15, 2014, 01:21:21 AM »
How long of a walk to the chabad shul ?

Maybe 10 minutes or so, call them its called Bais Menachem, Rabbi Engel they would know best.

Offline myb821

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #372 on: August 15, 2014, 09:18:29 AM »
How long of a walk to the chabad shul ?
its also about a 30 maybe 40 minute walk to one of the other shuls GMIYF

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #373 on: August 15, 2014, 10:23:41 AM »
Day 2 - Tuesday

MEIR613 and his family as well my family tried to put together a late Shacharis Minyan, but alas, we could get 9 'yesses', so we settled for going back to EDOS for 6:45 Shacharis. :( After Shul we chilled at the house for a bit while getting ready to go on our 2 day trip to the mountains. We packed up the car and headed out a bit before noon. Rockies here we come!

Our first stop was Coors Factory in Golden, CO about 25 minutes from Denver (and on the way to the mountains). Surprisingly, my FIL had never been here, but my wife had been - about 6 times in her life lol. First off, Coors is free! You grab your audio guide and begin with a history of the Adolf Coors and his brewery. Next you begin the tour of the factory, which is actually a still-working factory! That means that when you look down through the glass, you see real beer brewing and workers working. The guide takes you through the steps of the brewing process and halfway through the tour, you get your first sample of beer, a choice between Coors Banquet (original) and Coors Light, both of which are from batches that have never left the factory. I went for Banquet here and the fresh beer was a million times better than beer from a store. I'm not a big drinker, especially beer because of the taste, but this was really good, probably due to the freshness. You continue through the factory, listening to the audio guide and seeing actual cans going through conveyor belts and being packed into boxes. Much cooler than Hershey's Factory where it's all fake. After the tour, you end up in bar where you can have up to 3 samples of beer, this time in much larger glasses. :) They probably had about 8 beers on tap, but we just went for the ones we knew to be Kosher. I know, "all non-flavored beer is Kosher" but with the recent CRC list knocking off so many drinks that everyone always thought was Kosher, we wanted to play it safe here. I tried Coors Light, Blue Moon (think the original flavor), and George Killian's Irish Red. All were good and clearly had different flavors, but the easy-to-drink Blue Moon was probably my favorite. Off we went to the gift shop to pick up our shot glass!

Having recently gone to the Jameson Factory in Dublin (wish I could link that but we all know how slow I am with TRs), I wanted to compare the 2 experiences. I wouldn't say one was better than the other, but here are some things I noticed. Coors was free and Jameson was about $15 a person. Coors was in the real factory, Jameson was in the same complex as the factory, but was just a "show" put up for tour purposes - although it wasn't set up to pretend to be a real tour like Hershey's; it's clearly not trying to fake it. Coors had a better gift shop and more free alcohol :) Jameson only gave a choice between 1 shot or a glass of Jameson mixed with ginger ale. So far, things look like I'm favoring Coors, but there was one huge thing going to Jameson - a live tour guide. The guide had a super strong Irish accent and really, really brought you into the way whisky is made. (To my surprise, a lot of the steps are similar to how beer is made.) Listening to Coors' audio guide was nice, but the factory process was explained so much better at Jameson.

Anyway, both were fun (not that anyone asked for a comparison) and here are some pics from Coors!

Outside the factory:


Cool display of barrels with the different varieties:


Copper kettles brewing beer:


Old school:


The awesomeness of Colorado; always having the mountains in the background when taking a picture:


After Coors, we basically crossed the street to ascend Lookout Mountain headings towards Buffalo Bill's Grave and Museum for a real Colorado experience. The views as we were driving up the curving road were gorgeous.


The city of Golden, from above:


View from the Buffalo Bill's:

When we got to Buffalo Bill's, we ate our sandwich lunch at the picnic tables outside. After lunch we went in - entrance fees were $5 for adults and $1 for kids (not sure what age was a kid).
Buffalo Bill's (back entrance which we winded up walking in from):

Let me explain who Buffalo Bill was. Buffalo was a cowboy. A real, Colorado cowboy. He took his skills and turned them into a Wild West Show. Lasso tricks, gun tricks, horses - he even got Indians to join his show. The place had a very authentic Colorado feel to it. Even though BB's story is cool, I wasn't too interested in reading all the exhibits, rather I enjoyed looking at all the things they had on display, like guns, buffalo taxidermy, cowboy clothing, and Indian headgear. They also had a section where you could try on cowboy clothing and get on a fake horse. The place wasn't very big but it was cute/fun to go through. When you leave, you head around back and follow the path to see his grave. He wanted to be buried up the mountain and that's what he got, along with his wife next to him.
Buffalo Bill's grave:


Next, we headed back down Lookout Mountain and got on the highway to head for Vail! Unlike last year, we were actually spending the night in Vail. It is common for people to rent out condos when they go up there (as opposed to a hotel room) and so we stayed Montaneros. One employee had a shirt that said Wyndham in small letters, so I guess it was affiliated with Wyndham, but otherwise it seemed to just be a standalone hotel/resort. Not sure how much they paid for it, sorry, but it was awesome. 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, a full kitchen, a porch with a grill and a large dining room/living room. Some pics:





We brought our own grill with us and my FIL started the BBQ. We ate dinner, made smores (YUUUUM!!!) and then watched Inside Man. Most of us fell asleep before it was over and that was Day 2!

Offline @Yehuda

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Re: Colorado Master Thread
« Reply #374 on: August 15, 2014, 07:11:53 PM »
Day 3 - Wednesday

We found out that Chabad of Vail was only 5 minutes from our condo and was having a Shacharis Minyan! It was even at 8AM - a real pleasure compared to 6:45 EDOS! You can check out their website to see their Minyan Maker - a calendar of Minyanim that you can add yourself to and see a running count of how many people signed up for those Minyanim to see if there will be 10 or not - great idea! The Shul is basically a conference room/shopfront in the lobby of a different condo complex and probably had about 50 people for Shacharis! We were really surprised/impressed.

After Shacharis, we went back to our place, ate breakfast, packed up and finished watching Inside Man. We then checked out and decided to walk around the area before heading off for the day. As opposed to last year when we visited Vail Village, this year we were sleeping in Lionshead (the "village" next to VV) so we just walked around this area. The town is gorgeous and movie-esque. Take a look:




Hummingbirds!






Lionshead is where you'd go for a gondola ride (not a la Venice) up the mountain for skiing in the winter:


After walking around/shopping for a bit, we got in the car and headed for Piney River Ranch horseback riding! The GPS has it at 10 minutes away because within 10 minutes from Vail you'll get to the... dirt road (!) where the GPS thinks it is. We called up the ranch and found out you have to go on that road for about 12 miles which is about 45 minutes. How does that make sense? We quickly found out. Going up a narrow, dirt road climbing up a mountain right at the edge is quite an experience. We couldn't go much faster than 20MPH for safety purposes (in a minivan) and it was a crazy bumpy ride. There are very few signs assuring you that you're going in the right direction, but after crossing a muddy/swampy patch, we found a sign that told us we were just another 2 miles away. LOL Thank G-d we made it there fine, and the one benefit of this trip was the breathtaking views we had as we climbed...


We pulled over and got out once we saw this view:




Besides for horseback riding, Piney River Ranch has a beautiful lake to go boating and fishing in (you could even see moose at the other side of the lake) and there are hiking trails and camping options.
Cabin at the ranch:


My favorite picture of the trip so far. Seeing this view of the lake and surrounding mountains really did it for me in terms of beholding Colorado's beauty and seeing G-d's beauty in this world. I have a simple iPhone 5, but I hope you can enjoy it nonetheless:


I don't know how much horseback riding was (inlaws paid :)), but it was my first time and a lot of fun! We chose the 1 hour option and went out to the stable. Out guide, Ty, was mamash a real cowboy. (I don't use mamash lightly.) He had the full garb, but not just for show, it was all used and broken in. He lives in the mountains, and besides for this job, he also leads packs of mule and repairs 100-mile stretches of fence on horseback. A great personality. He taught us how to ride for a little while and then the hour ride began. There were 2 other people besides our family on the tour, and we followed a trail up and down the mountains, spotting some deer on the way. 1 hour was perfect as your thighs really begin to get sore, and it would have gotten boring if we continued on as the horses were just walking - there wasn't any sort of crazy galloping action (which was probably a good thing). As cliche/cheesy as this sounds, I'll say it anyway... I really tried to take a moment while riding (I was in the back of the pack) through the thick Aspen-filled forest to just look around me and take in G-d's wonder, something much harder to do in NYC (even though tall skyscrapers are, of course, the work of G-d through man). It was really powerful. Okay enough on that and onto the story! We finished the tour and went to the car to eat a late sandwich lunch. The place officially doesn't allow you to bring in your own food (they have a restaurant) so we ate in the car and then drove back down the mountain. Funny how things feel much faster/less scary on the way back always once you know really how far/rough it is you have to go. We got down the mountain and drove the 1.5-2 hours back to Denver.

We went to Mincha/Maariv at EDOS and when we got back we had pizza from Brooklyn Pizza for dinner. Brooklyn Pizza is the only dairy Kosher place in Denver, and my opinion of it is different every time I have it. I imagine that's because they must be switching their recipe because I don't think it always tastes the same. The first time I had it, I could barely eat it. But this time, it was fine except that I think they use a weird sauce. I added some spices to it to give it more flavor. Anyway, Denverites like it, but they don't really have what to compare to. ;) (The store itself is nice and modern, but we didn't go in on this trip.)

... and that's day 3!