Travel Theme: Night

Another great challenge from Ailsa at Where’s My Backpack? – what places do we like viewing at “night”?  I have to admit that night for me is best enjoyed in the summer, outdoors.  Here are some photos from a Rockies game (in better times!) and also the Independence Eve Celebration that has now become an annual tradition.  I love that I don’t have to go far to enjoy summer nights!

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Travel Theme: Art

Ailsa has given another challenge in Where’s My Backpack?, to post pictures of art while traveling.  Since this is a blog about things to do in Denver, I decided to use my “sight-seeing” from the city to show you some of the art.  Here are a few from the Botanical Gardens that I really enjoy…hope you do too!

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Travel Theme: Parks

When Ailsa (Where’s My Backpack?) posted her theme for the week, I immediately thought of my favorite park in Denver: Sloan’s Lake.  I have lived in the general vicinity for over 10 years and have watched the park grow in its offerings and improvements since.

Sloan’s Lake, legend has it, was made quite accidentally when homesteader Thomas F. Sloan was digging and hit an acquifer, flooding his land.  He changed his occupation from farmer/rancher to ice-maker, cutting blocks from the lake in winter and selling them in the summer.

The lake also became kn0wn as the place to get away from the city (Denver) and the current town of Edgewater, in fact, was a summer colony of sorts, and provided all types of entertainment.  There was an amusement park built on the lake, the first one west of the Mississippi, called Manhattan Beach.  This burned and was rebuilt as Luna Park, then closed again because of competition from Elitch Gardens and what is now Lakeside Amusement Park.

After spending some years in disrepair, the neighborhoods around Sloan’s Lake slowly began to improve, and of course improvements to the lake were made as well.  Today Sloan’s Lake is enjoyed by a diverse group of athletes (soccer, water sports, jogging, etc), picnickers, young families and young professionals.  The walking/jogging trail is much improved since I first moved to the area.  There are also two new and improved playgrounds, one on the south side and one on the northeast side, and numerous picnic areas.  There are a couple of festivals held here, the largest now being the Dragonboat Festival every July.  It has become a very big draw for the Pan-Asian community as well as others who want to try their luck at competing in the races.  The festival has become so popular that shuttles now run from Invesco Field to the park to free up neighborhood parking.

Here are some photos from my regular walks around the park, taken at various times of the day and year.  Almost any time is a good time to walk the park – I love the fact that I can find water and an oasis in the city!  Thanks, Ailsa, for the inspiration to post this…

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Close

This photo was taken at the Denver Zoo a couple of years ago, and is still one of my favorites! I hope you enjoy it too…

This baby giraffe captured my attention immediately – I had to get a close-up! ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Summer

Getting ready for summer at the Italian beaches. ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

 I was recently in a small seaside town on the Adriatic called Francavilla Al Mare.  It was fun to walk along the beach promenade every day and watch the residents preparing their storefronts, beaches and boats for the summer.  I really enjoy the ritual everyone goes through to ensure the best experience for their seaside guests!

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Flight Delays & Portuguese BBQ

Yessir, that title means I’m not in Denver anymore!  Just out on vacation, and thought I would have a little fun in varying the posts here…

So I was on my way to Italy (Milan) and got lucky enough to bump on a flight that was oversold.  Airlines being what they are these days they over-sell to be sure the flights are full.  Luckier for people like me who are flexible, I asked if they were over-sold and offered to get my name on the list.  Sure enough, they called and I got a hotel for the night, vouchers for meals (not a lot but hey!), and a travel voucher worth a good enough amount for me to delay my trip a day.  So, I was “stuck” in Newark for the night.

On the runway at Newark Airport, overlooking the Manhattan skyline. ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

This, for me, was not a problem.  I have family and friends in NJ and made the most of it: got to have dinner with a sister and niece, and next day was spent with one of my closest friends.  We went to “little Portugal” – best known as Ferry St. in Newark.

Ferry Street, aka Portugal Avenue ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

The smells on this street are to die for!  Bakeries, barbecues, restaurants filling the air with meat and garlic and….YUM!  So we ducked into a little place called…Ferry St. BBQ.  It was awesome – all the meats on an open pit in the kitchen, grilling away at least 2 dozen birds (chicken) and ribs.  My friend and I orderd a half platter of the combo, chicken and ribs, with saffron rice and french fries.  This platter came to the table with enough to feed a small army!  And it was delicious.  No bbq sauce, no “rub”; just plain, old-fashioned salt, pepper, garlic, and probably some olive oil.  We were stuffed.

Ferry St BBQ, Newark’s Little Portugal ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

It was enough that we needed to take a walk for a bit before dessert – yes, I was not leaving little Portugal without dessert!  We found a bakery that sold pastries, and I bought an apple turnover and my friend a custard/almond cup.  If you are ever stuck in Newark don’t be afraid to venture out to Ferry Street – you’ll be very glad you did!  Ferry St BBQ doesn’t have its own website, but check out the reviews from Yelp HERE.  Your mouth will be watering by the time you’ve read the first one!

Next adventure – Milano!

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Two American Favorites

A Mile High on the 3rd level at Coors Field ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

I was on my own last week, and decided to go to the Rockies baseball game.  Not far from home, I park across the highway after a short drive, then hike in to the ballpark.  This accomplishes a couple of things: a) I don’t have to pay the exorbitant parking fees downtown; b) I get a good workout, which I need after the hot dog, beer and snacks I usually have!  I was happy to stay the whole game too, as the Rockies ended up winning in the bottom of the ninth inning – thanks to Jason Giambi!

Jason Giambi

Jason Giambi (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 The views from the ballpark are great, seeing architecture mixed, old and new, single stories and high-rises, but everything fits.  LoDo (Lower Downtown) was not a pretty sight when I first came to Denver; in fact, it was a feared place to be in the downtown area.  Now though, there is life in the neighborhoods that have been recreated, shops and homes of every kind.  It’s great to see a downtown revitalized.  Read more about Denver’s LoDo HERE.

Looking west on Wazee ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

Looking east on 20th ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

After the game I was meeting a friend for ice cream, at a place in Arvada (west of Denver) called Scrumptious.  It is an old-fashioned, homemade ice cream shop and candy store.  And it lives up to its name every bit!  Walking in brought back fond memories of my great aunt and uncle who owned a soda shop/candy store in the Bronx many years ago.  All the old favorites are carried there too: PEZ, Brown Cow, Bonomo Turkish Taffy, Dots, and on and on and on (and there’s newer stuff too, like gummy bears and worms)!

The candy section at Scrumptious ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

I was in heaven.  I did reserve my sweet tooth though, for a purist’s ice cream choice: chocolate.  Not chocolate chip, not chocolate chip mint, not Rocky Road.  Just CHOCOLATE. On a sugar cone, please.  This chocolate did not disappoint. It was smooth, creamy, chocolate-y, without a hint of stuff that shouldn’t be in ice cream.  We sat out in front of the store, and enjoying catching up, people watching and dog watching.  Olde Town Arvada has enjoyed a resurgence as well.  Many years have been spent revitalizing the small Main Street area and feel.  Arvada was the first documented place gold was struck in Colorado – really!  You can read about the history of Arvada HERE.

Grandview Ave, Olde Town Arvada ~ photo by Debbie Sarcone

It’s great to find local businesses to patronize – do you have a favorite?

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