Southwest states are among the most open and least neurotic places you can find, but they also tend to be home to the least extroverted. As someone who can suffer from introversion, a place like Colorado is ideal.
Colorado has the highest elevation of any state, with more than 1,000 Rocky Mountain peaks over 10,000 feet high and 54 towering above 14,000-foot Pikes Peak. A quiet yet vibrant city among the Rocky Mountains is Denver – the mile high-city, one mile above sea level and offering shopping, rest and relaxation. The state’s capitol is convenient, affordable and sunny – and home to unique history.
Fly: The Denver International Airport aka DEN is one of my favorite arrivals. The circus tent appearance from the sky would be enough, but there’s also conspiracy theory allure surrounding it. The 18th-busiest airport in the world and sixth-busiest airport in the United States has 58.3 passengers traveling through each year. Thanks to the internet, many wonder if it’s a tolerable place to be during a layover or a post-apocalyptic hangout?
Explore: The original daughter of adventure Margaret “Maggie” Brown better known as the “Unsinkable Molly B.”, was an American socialite and philanthropist. Her claim to fame was exhorting the crew in Lifeboat No. 6 to return to the debris field of the 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic to look for survivors. Her house on Pennsylvania Street is a museum and enhances Denver’s appeal through her activism, philanthropy and passion.
The Molly Brown House Museum stands as an enduring symbol of the turn of the 20th century in Denver. In the 1880s the lucky few who made millions in the mountains, railroads or trade moved to this prestigious neighborhood. After the silver market crash the Browns purchased the house and when Margaret was traveling she would rent it to wealthy families. While they were on a world trip it became the governor’s mansion and she continued renting it until the declining neighborhood and Great Depression forced her to turn it into a boarding house. It eventually became a home for girls until citizens saved the house from demolition through a grassroots effort, in 1970.
Shop: Downtown and the surrounding neighborhoods offer an abundance of retail experiences, making Denver the shopping capital of the Rocky Mountain West. In a single afternoon it’s imperative to visit one of the best bookstores in the country, Tattered Cover. With three locations, it’s impossible to miss.
Relax: At the Aveda salon you get more than a menu of treatments. It’s here your technician will read your personality and your tarot cards. For an afternoon of pampering and entertainment, it’s a must.
Stay: The Kimpton hotel chain always gets a thumbs-up, and the stylish Monaco in Denver is no exception. The friendly staff makes up for tiny rooms; and even if they are cozy, it’s more of an incentive to hang-out in the plush lobby and enjoy happy hour.
“Forty Before 40” is a travel blog series about visiting 40 of the United States before turning the age of 40, in 2018. Additional information can be found here.