This May I visited Colorado on a business trip and squeezed in some personal adventures after hours.  To recap, Part 1 included a hot air balloon ride, which was AMAZING and highly recommended if you’ve never been on one!

Here I’ll share Part 2 of my trip which included a few of my favorite things: savoring a cold beer at local craft brewery Avery Brewing Co. , hiking Boulder’s scenic Chautauqua Park twice (the first time in 90 degree weather AND later in the week when it SNOWED!), touring the tea factory at the Celestial Seasonings Headquarters in Boulder, and visiting with the local felines at Cat Company, Denver’s first cat cafe.

The more I explored the more I realized that Colorado has SO much to see and experience and that I was only seeing the tip of the iceberg!  A return trip is definitely in order. 🙂

Have you been to Boulder or Colorado?  If so, i’d love to know what were your favorite places to explore?

Bacon-wrapped dates, Brewery, Beer at Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO

Colorado is home to nearly 230 craft breweries!  After work a coworker and I took a trip to Avery Brewing Co. where we enjoyed a cold beverage and got a peek at their bottling facility.

Bacon-wrapped dates, Brewery, Beer at Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO

Bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo and goat cheese?  Yes please!

Bacon-wrapped dates, Brewery, Beer at Avery Brewery in Boulder, CO

Chautauqua Park on a 90 degree day. Colorado has a dry heat with very low humidity so it’s a very different 90 degrees than in Virginia!

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

Most of the homes’ exterior colors coordinated or mimicked the surrounding outdoors. Imagine houses painted in browns, greens, and dark oranges to match the outdoors.

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

I’m such a sucker for wildflowers! 🙂

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, StreamsColorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, StreamsColorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

From ginormous boulders to gentle streams, a hike along one of Chautauqua’s trails did not disappoint!

Colorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, StreamsColorado mountains, Chautauqua Park, Hiking, Pink and Yellow flowers, Streams

During my visit most of my time was spent here at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP). Can you imagine having this as your view everyday?!

Signs of springtime were everywhere including this sweet momma robin diligently guarding her nest filled with pale blue eggs!

Robins nest, blue eggs, Boulder, CORobins nest, blue eggs, Boulder, CO

And then this happened. Snow.  In May.  The funny thing was that the Colorado folks weren’t phased by it.  Living by the mountains means the weather can be wonky at times so snow in May after a 90 degree week isn’t that odd.  Reminded me of home and the precocious weather we can get in Hampton Roads. HA! 🙂

Chautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on Mountains

I wanted to get a better view of the mountains and the city covered in snow so I decided to drive up the side of the mountain.  Along the way up I came across this interesting log cabin HalfWay House which had an even more interesting warning about the local wildlife (YIKES!).

Chautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on MountainsChautauqua Park, Boulder, CO, Snow on Mountains

After all that cold weather I needed a hot cup of tea.  To the Celestial Seasonings factory for tea tastings and a tour of their factory!

Tea tasting, Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, CO

If you’re a fan of tea or want to experience a unique tour of an automated tea factory (for free!), a visit to Celestial Seasonings is worth the time!

Tea tasting, Celestial Seasonings, Boulder, CO

I ended my trip with a visit to Denver’s first cat cafe!  At this cafe you pay a small fee to hangout with kitties who are up for adoption and looking for furever homes. The kitties come from local shelters and rescue agencies and is a great place to enjoy a beverage, free wifi, and get in a few snuggles from the super friendly locals.  😉  For my cat people in Hampton Roads interested in getting in a few snuggles of their own while supporting the local cat adoption agencies, a cat cafe called Catnip Cat Cafe JUST opened up in Norfolk!  You’re welcome. 🙂

Cat Cafe, Denver, CO

Cat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, CO

Cat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, COCat Cafe, Denver, CO

 

Thanks for the adventures, Colorado!  Until we meet again! 🙂

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  • Dianna - Wonderful pictures of your trip, Amber! Amazing to think of snow following 90-degree days.
    But, I must admit, my favorite part of your post is the cat café. Only problem is, I’d want to take ALL of them home!
    Thanks for sharing memories of your trip. And no, I can’t imagine working somewhere with that view.ReplyCancel

I love to travel.  New destinations mean unique landscapes, food, cultural experiences, and people! I recently spent 10 days in Colorado on a business trip. While on business travel I try my best to squeeze in time to explore and experience as much as I can after work hours and Boulder was no exception!

I’d been to Boulder previously for work 8 years ago, but was too afraid to venture out on my own after work. This time would be different. I’d learned years ago that if I waited to travel until I had someone to go with me, that i’d miss out on a whole lot. And I was done missing out!

While in Boulder, I knew I wanted to schedule a hot air balloon ride. What better place for it than with the Colorado foothills in the background and the beautiful green landscape below for miles and miles?  I was sold! I’d arrived in Boulder early on a Saturday morning for my first-ever hot air balloon flight and the rest was history!

If you’re ever in Boulder and are looking for a must-do experience, I highly recommend a hot air balloon ride! Shout-out to Fair Winds, Inc., an amazing customer-focused company that kept us entertained and spoiled us with goodies at the end of our flight!

We started the morning super early…hello 6:15am! This was the basket we (about 8 of us total) rode in during our flight.  Cutest license plate ever for a hot air balloon company, right?! Our balloon was the last one to be inflated so we got to watch as the other balloons were inflated and launched. There were three other balloons on the field at the same time as ours!It took about 15 minutes to fully inflate each balloon. I might be a bit biased, but our balloon was the prettiest! She was the balloon of many colors!

I wasn’t excited.  Nope. None. Not at all. Ha!Once she was inflated it was time to climb aboard! Within minutes of the balloon being inflated we were off! 

It was surprising to me just how quiet, peaceful, and calm it was up so high. Also, check out that view!!
Goodbye launch site, hello Boulder for as far as the eye can see!!Every now and then our pilot Jeff would break the quiet and add a bit of heat to our balloon from the gas tanks onboard!Again, check out that view!! We managed to stay up for about an hour and 15 minutes with this view. It was spectacular!It was then time to find an open field and land, which we did with just a few bumps! The team from Fair Winds met us on the ground where they packed up the balloon and drove us back to our launch site where we were showered with goodies and said our thank you’s and goodbyes! Fair Winds Hot Air Balloon Ride in Boulder, CO, Amber L. Richards Photography, LLC

If you could drop everything and fly/drive/sail to the travel destination of your dreams, where would it be & what would you do while there?  

 

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Moms: They loved us from the start, persevering through sleepless nights and cheering us on during our first steps. They’re our proudest cheerleader and #1 fan. I’m thinking we can all agree that there’s is nothing quite like the love and support of a mom.

 

In honor of Mother’s Day, I teamed up with Shannon Walker, beauty consultant extraordinaire and small business owner with Younique Make-up, to honor moms with a make-over and mini photo shoot.  Despite getting rained out (hello April showers!), we persevered and had a blast, photographing three groups of gorgeous (inside and out!) moms and daughters just in time for the azaleas to bloom.

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the beautiful mamas out there!  You are SO very appreciated and loved!

PS-Interested in learning more about Younique’s mission to help women and their beauty products?  Check out Shannon and her website or send her an email (Shannonsbeautybox@yahoo.com) to set up your personalized beauty consultation! I can’t recommend her enough!

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