Day 149 of the Nowhere To Be Project was a “getting there” day. Living in the mountains is great except when it’s time to get to the airport. We rely on a shuttle service, Colorado Mountain Express, to transport us on the two-plus hour trek to the airport. Today’s shuttle was jam-packed and smelled of wet dog due to the fact that everyone (and their luggage) had gotten soaked on the first rainy day we’ve had in Vail this summer. The good news is we’re heading to London. The bad news is the rain is following us from Vail to Denver so we may end up with delays. Oh well, just an opportunity for an extended pre-flight happy hour, I guess!
On Day 124 of the Nowhere To Be Project we headed up to Leadville. Leadville is about 45 minutes by car from Vail and is a couple thousand feet higher in elevation. Leadville, a city that was once rich in silver, was founded in the late 1800s. At its peak, Leadville rivaled Denver for the most populous city in Colorado.
Leadville’s current claims to fame are largely based in folklore of the past. For instance, Doc Holliday had some raucous times there before heading on to Glenwood Springs. The historic Tabor Opera House, Delaware Hotel and Silver Dollar Saloon are rumored to be haunted. I inquired with the front desk clerk at the hotel (still in operation) and was told rather brusquely that “ghosts aren’t real”.
Whether they are real or not, ghosts might be the only inhabitants that could still find some sparkle in Leadville. Sadly, it is one of those places that you pass through on the way to somewhere else. The views on the way up and down are well worth the ride (making the local railroad and bike trails popular with tourists), but I would be hard-pressed to recommend it as a destination in and of itself.
Day 23 of the Nowhere To Be Project was spent at the Born Hotel in Denver. This newish hotel is part of the Kimpton brand and is conveniently located in Denver’s trendy LoDo neighborhood adjacent to Union Station. I frequent Kimpton hotels mainly because of their pet-friendly approach to hospitality. They are always my first choice when traveling with my dog, George Bailey. He absolutely adores their offerings of canine-centric amenities. Another member of the Kimpton brand, Hotel Monaco, was my staple in Denver. As much as I like the Monaco, the Born Hotel will now be my first choice in Denver and should be yours as well (even if you’re traveling sans pooch).
The vibe at the hotel is what I would describe as trendy western with lots of warm wood, exposed concrete and clean lines. The service is exceptional. From the moment I entered the valet area yesterday to the moment I left today, every staff member I encountered went above and beyond in terms of service. I was graciously offered early check in and late check out and was upgraded to a top floor room with floor to ceiling windows offering a lovely view of the city. The room was spotless, quiet and wonderfully comfortable. While everything from shopping to dining is mere steps away, I definitely would consider taking advantage of the free bicycles or even the hotel’s Tesla for zipping around town.
One of my favorite perks when staying at a Kimpton property is the wine hour. My pupper also loves this part of our stays as he gets to meet the other pooches who are guests of the hotel. The Kimpton wine hours are usually held in the lobby area and typically include several complimentary beverage and hors d’oeuvre options. I was thrilled to learn last evening that Kimpton selects and serves only wines that give back to charity! I mean, who wouldn’t want to drink in the name of charity?
From top to bottom, this stay exceeded my expectations. It was so hard to check out because we simply did not want to leave the comfort and warmth of this beautiful hotel. Let me put it this way, my dog and I will most certainly be born again.
The highlight of Day 22 of the Nowhere To Be Project was the art of Edgar Degas. I visited the Denver Art Museum especially to view this new temporary exhibit. I have always been drawn to his work, those of the ballerinas in particular. Midway through the exhibit I was stopped in my tracks by two words used to describe Degas’ work: Obsession & Openness.
On the face of it, a rigid dichotomy exists between obsession and openness. How could these things be appropriate in the description of the work of a master? With further contemplation, I determined that the ability to convey these two extremes through the work is the precise reason for Degas’ mastery. To be so obsessed with his art, the subjects and the expression, yet open in his depiction, interpretation and presentation. I might describe it as a delicate balance of command and sensitivity. If only we could all find this balance in life, work and relationships. Sadly, too much of one or not enough of the other reigns supreme for most.