I don’t know about you, but when there is the opportunity to take a long weekend away, I am all for it. We steal away to the mountains for a day or two or sometimes even catch a cheap flight somewhere new. But, it can feel hectic and even like you need a break from your break when you get back. Am I right? And you know us around here: We love a good adventure! But, sometimes, it’s nice to get out and explore what’s right in your own backyard.
This was one of those weekends. The kids had a four day weekend over President’s Day and we typically avoid skiing on these holiday weekends because it can be so crowded. Since we live close to the mountains, we have the luxury of skiing when everyone else isn’t! Snow Happy daddy decided to take Friday off, too, so we had three blissful and much needed family days.
We eased into our weekend getting a few things done at home while the kids enjoyed their favorite – unstructured time with friends outside, bouncing from house to house and back again. One of the reasons we love where we live so much is we live in this throw-back neighborhood where our kids can play outside and roam the neighborhood in search of someone to play with.
I hadn’t really planned anything for the long weekend so at the last minute, we decided to head up to Boulder (our old stomping grounds) for the Celestial Seasonings tea factory tour. We lived 15 minutes away for nearly 10 years and never went! What a neat place!
The first thing you’ll notice when you step out of your car is the incredible smell of the tea…not overpowering, but intoxicating. With your senses on edge, head to the Tour Center and get a time slot. You can’t book your tour in advance so for your planners out there be aware. For those of us (me) who like to fly by the seat of their pants, it’s perfect. But, I would recommend going earlier in the day so you’re not left hanging with no space left in the last tour.
I am speaking from experience here…since we are not planners and left the house with minutes to spare to even arrive before the last tour went out, we experienced this first hand. Oops. I guess maybe a little advanced planning never hurt anyone. But, if you’re like me, I think of all these things to do and then when it comes time, I’m totally stumped as to where we should go. Who’s with me here? I need to start keeping a list.
Nevertheless, we really enjoyed the tasting room where you can sample an extensive variety of teas, both hot and iced. The Tasting Room includes history about the company, which got it’s start in Boulder. There is also a beautiful private collection of tea pots. In addition to the tour and tasting, there is also a Tea Shop where you can purchase from their wide-range of teas and other products. It is a great place to stop in for some gifts if you have someone hard to shop for.
In spite of missing the official tour, we were able to peak into the factory via a window from the shop. The kids really enjoyed seeing the massive bags of tea and other ingredients and hearing Snow Happy daddy explain what everything was, all the way down to the “taste master” who tries every batch for quality control.
By this time, we were getting to hangry, so our initial (very last minute) plans which included a trip to a pinball arcade in Lyons were diverted directly to dinner on Boulder’s iconic Pearl Street. It was SO hard to make a decision about where to eat. And, if you’ve followed me long enough, you know we are all about the food. We really love dining.
We landed on Riff’s Urban Fare, and luckily, (showing up on Valentine’s Day with no reservation because…plans) there were four seats at the bar. Our previous experiences there have been nothing short of fabulous and this was no exception. We started with brussel sprouts in brown butter with toasted hazelnuts and crispy onions. As for cocktails, I can highly recommend both the Rye Me a River and Riffarita. All their cocktails and food are made with every attention to detail and incredibly fresh ingredients and presentation.
The Snow Happy kiddos went with the Ahi Poke Tuna Salad and Colorado Burger. I sampled both (of course) and they were delicious. I opted for the Hawaiian Ono fish, which was incredibly fresh and well-prepared. Snow Happy Daddy had the venison medallions, which were tender and seared to perfection. Since Valentine’s Day wouldn’t be complete without a sweet treat, we ended our dinner with a root beer float for the kids and one incredibly decadent chocolate truffle for me.
Day two of our staycation involved the gym and a day of major early spring cleaning. Our Snow Happy kiddos decided it was time to rearrange their rooms. It’s amazing what kids (and us adults, too) are willing to do when there is no time pressure running from activity to activity, school, and homework. That evening, Snow Happy daddy and son headed to Colorado Spring to watch the Avalanche play the LA Kings in the Stadium Series hockey game! They had a blast watch hockey outside, as it was intended, at the Airforce Academy football stadium.
While they were on their adventure, Snow Happy daughter and I spent some quality time together getting our nails done, eating homemade nachos on the couch (eating on the couch is the biggest treat for them) and doing a double feature. We wrapped up our night reading bed time story after bed time story since “it wouldn’t be fair if my brother got to stay up way later than me”. Which ended in her falling asleep 10 minutes into the first book. Kids. It’s such a treat to have this one-on-one time with each kiddo. It doesn’t require monumental life-changing experiences, but the time together matters.
Day three was another day at home enjoying the beautiful weather outside and more spring cleaning. Since Snow Happy daddy is still recovering from his ACL surgery, we’ve had to find new ways to spend time together since our go-to is typically something active and outside. So, we made our way to our favorite pool in Golden for some swimming!
Monday, it was back to work for our Snow Happy daddy and, for me, meal-prepping for the week. But it wouldn’t be a staycation without one last hurrah, this time in the form of an Avalanche game! Indoors. We had a blast cheering them on from the nose-bleed section. It made for a late school night, but it was well worth the time together.
It was hard rolling back into the week, sending everyone back to school, eyeing the to-do list for the week and thinking about the crunch of kid activities, homework and all the other things. But, these moments define the years. This time to connect as a family is priceless and we all needed it.
We live in a complex world, a world where we can be and do anything we want, but sometimes (oftentimes) the price is high. When you have the time take it, and when you don’t you have to make it. While we love a good adventure on the slopes or seeing new places, what we love more is being together. It makes us Snow Happy! How do you like to find joy in your own backyard? We’d love to hear from you.