Weekend Things: Family Time in Estes Park

This weekend was just so so good.  When it comes to vacationing, I find I always have my sights set on far off locations and forget about the places, like Estes Park, that are only a few hours drive away, in our very own state.  And I always forget just how refreshing and re-energizing that fresh mountain air and time spent with loved ones can be!

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We stopped in Lyons to grab a beer at Oskar Blues Grill & Brew and look, I thought I didn’t like Oskar Blues beers, but then I had the Nooice Saison and loved it so much.  So I guess I don’t know who I am or what I like 🙂  They have an old school video game arcade that Joey and Adam were pretty into but my childhood mainly consisted of Mario Party on Nintendo 64 so I guess the nostalgia was kind of lost on me.

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Once in Estes (we saw three elk on our way!), we checked into our BEAUTIFUL condo, maybe locked ourselves out within three minutes of being there — four adults should be smarter than this, right? — made a very important beer run then had dinner at Tavern 1929, because when the lodge you’re staying at has its own restaurant and 18 microbrews, you obviously make a reservation.  We all dubbed Joey’s elk chops the best dish of the night and considered ordering dessert but then decided to retire to our condo for some hot tub/puzzle/sad sad Rockies game time.

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Saturday morning waffles for all!  Remember how I mentioned Joey made a bunch of buttermilk waffles last weekend?  Purposely, because we froze the extras then packed them up and just popped them in the toaster for everyone on Saturday morning.  I’d never tried this re-toast and revive method but they were great!  Plus, drinking coffee outside in the crisp mountain air is MY FAVORITE.  And I never pass up a coffee-mug-with-the-mountains-in-the-background picture 🙂

At 10, we made our way into town for the event of the weekend: The Scandinavian Midsummer Festival!  I didn’t even know A) Joey’s family had Scandinavian roots or B) that those painted horses are called Dala Horses and are a Swedish thing!  We totally had one of those in our house, growing up.  In all seriousness, the weather was beautiful, the festival was packed and it was cool to see all the Scandinavian culture.  We had lunch, made a stop at the taffy store and grabbed ice cream in town before heading back to our condo to rest up before dinner.

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We had a bit of a dinner party at our place later on.  Everyone came over with food and Joey and I cooked salmon with a recipe we’d never used at a size we’d never cooked but it all went swimmingly (sorry, had to make a fish pun) and this beet salad always impresses.  And I learned what potato bologna was and even got to try it for myself.  Had many Swedish learning experiences this weekend, guys!

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Okay, all I have are food photos from the beginning and the end of Sunday, but in between was a bunch of good stuff, like a quick and painless drive back from Estes, lunch at BriDer, couch lounging, garden surveying (my parents watered for us while we were gone and I love them for it ♥), running (amen for a quick weekend cool off in Denver), kombucha brewing and dinner cooking.  It felt like there were 10 extra hours in the day and I was not mad about it!  Joey made garlic scape pesto with scapes from the farmers’ market and, get this, chard from our garden.  Yes!  It was so good and we used it in some pasta for dinner and all was right in the world.  Except the Rockies… WHAT HAVE WE DONE TO DESERVE SUCH PAIN??

Please tell me what you did this weekend, I’d love to hear!

Cabin Weekend Things

We turn left and find ourselves in a quiet valley, a herd of cows grazing on one side, a sparking stream on the other, and a blazing blue sky above it all.  We pull out two chairs, cheers our beers, pull out our books and settle into relaxation mode.  We fire up the grill, throw on some burgers, turn the radio to the Rockies game, dump the puzzle pieces out onto the table.  We wake to a chill in the air, boil water for coffee, flip the pancakes then settle into our chairs on the porch, to take in breakfast and the fresh air of a morning in the mountains.

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We read for hours, break for a walk to the stream, talk about how “we should learn to fish!” before trekking back up the hill and remembering how steep it is.  We find a bench three-quarters of the way up, a new addition that our lungs greatly appreciate as we sit, look out onto the valley and catch our breath.  The afternoon is a blur of sunshine, page turning, napping, puzzle pieces and our “Cabin Jams” playlist.  Happy Hour hits and we pull out the makings of a cheeseboard (roughing it, what’s that??), crack open a bomber to share and, prompted by the book I’m reading, ask ourselves “if you had amnesia and couldn’t remember the last 10 years of your life, what would you most surprised about?”  “I’M MARRIED?!”

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We finish the puzzle while dinner cooks — charred shishitos, sriracha mayo, grilled steak — I make Joey read a chapter of his book outloud to me, even though I have no idea who these characters are or what’s happened in the first half of the book.  We pull out the deck of cards for Uno — I get destroyed 300-25 or something ridiculous like that — then move on to an epic game of Jenga that I was pretty sure would last forever.  It’s THIRTY-THREE stories later when I cause the whole thing to fall and I’m the loser AGAIN.  We end the night with blueberry galette and a toasty fire.  I realize I’m 400 pages into the book I was worried about finishing in three weeks.

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It’s another chilly morning, but the coffee is strong, the pancakes are even better the second time around and I’m feeling rested, re-energized and so so happy.  We pack up and hit the road to head home but I’m determined to take this relaxed version of myself back into “real life.”  This has been another weekend at the cabin, a time I look forward to all year, moments I treasure forever and such an amazing way to celebrate the end of another summer.

Tell me, what did you do this weekend?!