Thirty minutes from Denver, the city of Boulder – often referred to endearingly as the Peoples’ Republic of Boulder – has a personality of its own. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, nature lover, wine connoisseur, or historian, this city where the Rocky Mountains meet the Great Plains has much to offer.
Begin your day with breakfast at Lucile’s. Voted the best place for breakfast by the Boulder Daily Camera, Lucile’s is located downtown in a small Victorian house and offers a Creole menu. Your taste buds will be dancing in your mouth with offerings like the Cajun breakfast of red beans and meat, eggs, potatoes, and hollandaise sauce, or a Creole omelet with spicy sausage and Creole sauce. Finish breakfast with a cup of chicory coffee and a powdered sugar dusted beignet.
Continue your perfect day with a stroll along the Boulder Creek Path that runs through the heart of the city next to the creek for which it is named. Springtime brings a new energy to the creek with runoff from the melting mountain snow. If you’re here in the later summer months, you might see some inner tubers floating their way downstream.
The Boulder Creek will connect you to your next stop – lunch at the Dushanbe Teahouse. The teahouse was built between 1987 and 1990 to celebrate the sister city tie between Boulder and Dushanbe, Tajikistan. It’s worth taking time to explore the exterior before going inside. The gardens are abloom with many colorful flowers in beds and creeping up latticework trellises. The interior of the teahouse is a tribute to Dushanbe artisans. Almost everything has been hand-carved and painted, from the tables and stools to the ceilings and columns. The mosaics on the outside were crafted by Dushanbe artisans as well.
Throughout the spring and summer months, you’ll be able to visit the farmers’ market along 13th Street, which runs in front of the teahouse. Every Wednesday and Saturday from the beginning of May to the beginning of October, local farmers and artisans bring their goods and set up along the street and under the shade of the trees in the park.
Afterwards, head to Redstone Meadery. Make sure to be there for the afternoon tour of the distillery and stay for a tasting. Mead is wine that is made from honey as opposed to grapes and is often referred to as the drink of the gods, which is a fair evaluation in this author’s opinion.
Traditionally mead is made simply from water and honey, but Redstone infuses some with berry mashes for a lighter, fruitier flavor, and hops for a bubbly, beer flavor. They bottle their brews in resealable blue glass bottles. Support a local merchant and bring home a fantastic souvenir; traditional mead compliments many meals and is also great when sipped on its own.
Next, drive over to the Pearl Street Mall. Lined with independent boutique shops and restaurants, this pedestrian friendly section of downtown is the perfect place to wile away an afternoon. During the spring and summer months, you’ll be treated to a handful of different street performers. The unicycle man is always a crowd favorite. He juggles flaming batons while atop a 10 foot high unicycle. The zip code man has the amazing talent of being able to tell you your zip code based on providing him a town and state; he even manages to identify obscure cow towns in the Midwest. Of course, the balloon animal man is always a hit with the younger demographic. He’s fashioned everything from giraffes to bicycles for youngsters.
Head down to the west end of the Pearl Street Mall for dinner at Bacarro. Enjoy a lighter happy hour and cichetti, or a full dinner with very generous portions at this Venetian style tavern. Their pasta dishes are imaginative and run the gamut from rich and creamy porcini mushroom gnocchi to saffron fettuccini with lobster and crab in a lobster broth. Whenever possible, the chef tries to utilize organic ingredients that have been grown locally. Their rooftop is open and features live music on the weekends.
Finish your day with dessert from Glacier Homemade Ice Cream on “The Hill” of Boulder. Glacier is snuggled up against the foothills of the Rocky Mountains across from the University of Colorado and overlooks the campus. Boasting up to as many as 80 different kinds of ice cream and gelato – each flavor of Glacier Homemade Ice Cream and gelato is hand mixed with fresh ingredients. Their ice creams have earned Glacier the Boulder City Gold People’s Choice Award for the last five years in a row. A stronghold on The Hill, enjoy your ice cream on their patio and absorb the uniqueness of Boulder as the sun sets on your perfect day.
What and Where:
Lucile’s (2124 14th St; 303-442-474)
Dushanbe Teahouse (1770 13th St; 303-442-4993)
Boulder Farmers’ Market (13th Street 303-910-2236)
Redstone Meadery (4700 Pearl St, #2A; 720-406-1215)
Bacarro (921 Pearl St; 303-444-4888)
Glacier Homemade Ice Cream (1350 College Ave; 303-442-4400)