Do you ever stop missing summer vacation? Four years out, and I’m still nostalgic. What began as lazy days at the pool and popsicle stands turned into long walks with friends, family BBQ’s and, in college, impromptu daytime pub crawls. The last few years, summer seems to have come and gone with barely a whisper. Sure, it was hot as heck. But it didn’t feel the same. Routines overshadowed spontaneity.
This year, I’m going to do summer differently. I’m going to acknowledge that it’s here and remember it when it’s gone. Like last night: I got home from night class (statistics, ouch) at 10:30 and told Aaron we were going out for drinks. So we walked down to our neighborhood bar, Ogden Street South, and enjoyed each other’s company on a gorgeous summer night. P.S. If you’re in Denver, you have to make it here sometime for Friday and Saturday night karaoke. It’s hysterical.
So for this week’s Five Things post, I’m going to highlight what I love about summers in Denver. I have a feeling the best is yet to come.
1. Half day Fridays. Okay, this isn’t specific to Denver but it’s specific to my job. I don’t know why more companies don’t do this? Maybe I’m naive, but my guess is that productivity tanks on Friday afternoons in the summer. Why not just boost office morale and give people that time to enjoy life outside their cubicle? Speaking of work, I’m also taking advantage of my proximity to the office (less than a mile) by walking at least a few times a week. The best part? NO HUMIDITY. So I’m not all hot and cranky when I get to the office, as tends to happen when I overheat.
2. An abundance of outdoor activities. Remember how skiing wasn’t really my thing? Well camping, hiking, biking, fishing, rafting, etc. ARE. Despite having to buy all new gear post-garage break-in, I’m so ready to take on the mountains. I’ve been traveling every weekend since May (and waiting for the snow to melt at higher altitudes), but the season is finally here. That is, when we’re actually allowed to light campsite fires again due to the devastating Black Forest Fire in Colorado Springs. Despite this, I may even climb my first 14er next week. There, I said it. So remind me to report back whether or not it actually happens!
3. Patios. While this is a universally appealing pastime, let me remind you about this no humidity thing. You see, I’m accustomed to getting immediately uncomfortable with sweat beading at my hairline or pooling underneath me while trying to enjoy a meal or drinks al fresco. And leaving with oversized mosquito bites that literally swell to the entire surface area of the affected appendage. My body HATES mosquitoes. But, rejoice! This mountain climate has allowed me to enjoy patios of all kinds – bar/restaurant, coffee shop, backyard – again.
4. Street festivals and Wash Park. Living in Chicago, my roommates and I went to a new festival practically every weekend. The most memorable was the one we couldn’t find. Spent the better part of an hour going back and forth on the Red Line, unable to locate the correct stop. So we abandoned ship and settled on….the Rock and Roll McDonald’s (don’t judge me, I was young). I’ve come a long way since then and am already looking forward to local festivals like the Blues & Brews on Old South Pearl. And then there’s Wash Park. Oh Wash Park, how I love you. A mere 10-minute walk from my house, this park is a magnet for 20 and 30-somethings in the summer. Volleyball nets, yard games and beer cans as far as the eye can see. Plus, it’s great for exercise with a 2.6 mile outer loop.
5. Food trucks and iced coffee. The food trucks are out in full force right now. They’re at the farmer’s market (see Hey PB&J truck below – which offers both savory and sweet options) and gathered twice a week at the centrally located Civic Center Eats. Our office often takes little field trips to the food trucks for lunch, like yesterday when I had my first experience with arepas. And I fell in love. And I found my next (avocado-laden) recipe idea for the blog. Then there’s the iced coffee. The iced mochas to be exact, for the people like me who don’t care all that much for coffee. I’ve found the best iced mocha in an unexpected place: a bagel shop. It’s deliciously creamy mixed with 2% milk, not at all bitter, and the folks there even take me seriously when I say: please, not too much chocolate syrup. Because there’s nothing worse than an iced mocha that’s more like a milkshake.
What do you love about summer in YOUR city?