A Private Tour...The Colorado State Capital Building

Not everyone who tours the Colorado State Capital building is given a PRIVATE tour...but we have "friends in high places"...MILE HIGH places, that is!

Hubby's sister Patricia is an official tour guide at the capital...

So she pulled out her official badge to give us inside access, and she gave us our own private tour!

I wish I could remember all the details she pointed out to us...but it felt like we were drinking water from a fire hose as we tried to absorb all the information in such a short time!  

This beautiful framed tapestry was stitched by 3,500 women throughout the state.  It was created in three pieces, and then joined together when completed.  It depicts the roles women have played in the settling of the state of Colorado.

The architecture is amazing, and the detail work is breathtaking on many levels.  Most of the building materials used were native to Colorado.  The white marble on the floor from near Aspen, and the Rose Onyx on the walls from Beulah, Colorado.  The Rose Onyx is found no where else in the world! (Unfortunately there was not enough onyx to finish the building project, so the builders used pink marble from Italy to complete the less visible back stairways.)

The Governor's Office...And yes...that's a HORSE statue!
And it turns out there is only ONE ROOM in the building that is air-conditioned...The Governor's office!  (And even though the temperature outside that day was almost 100 degrees, the entire interior of the building was amazingly cool.)

The views from the portico of the building...
That's the Denver City and County Building in the distance.  

What a beautiful view...and those mountains make quite a statement in the background!

The House Chamber is under renovation at this time...

Check out the "picture" said to resemble Alfred Hitchcock in the swirls of the Rose Onyx marble wall.  (There are said to be 140 figures and pictures in the marble walls of the building!)

So thanks to Patricia for our amazing, private tour.  It truly was the icing on our Mile High cake!

The Kitchen Next Door Community Pub, Union Station, Denver

Union Station boasts several choices to dine, and we picked an eclectic pub called The Kitchen Next Door for our lunch.

Since the temp outside was about 95 degrees, we opted to eat inside.

As we usually do, hubby and I decided to split a sandwich...and Patricia ordered a Cuban sandwich for all of us to share.

And since we all shared the meal, our universal opinion was that the sandwiches were not what we had hoped for.

The coleslaw was very bland, and both sandwiches were quite flavorless. so the atmosphere was definitely the best part of the meal.

After our rather disappointing meal, we headed outside and were surprised to see a rack of towels to be used after a dip in the fountain nearby!  What a thoughtful touch provided by the restaurant.  (If only they put as much thought into their food preparation!)

The outdoor dining options must be very popular when the temp wasn't hovering near 100 degrees!

So after a short walk, we boarded a free shuttle bus to transport us to our final destination...

The Colorado State Capital building...
We were about to have our very own private tour!

The Light Rail To Union Station...Downtown Denver

Hubby's Sis Patricia treated us to a day in downtown Denver, and our method of transportation was as smooth as silk.  

We simply drove to a nearby parking lot where we left her car, and we boarded the Light Rail RTD.

Train tickets are purchased from a vending machine next to the rail station.  The trains run often, and they are clean and efficient.  

We passed Sports Authority Field and The Pepsi Center on our way downtown...

And we even passed a huge roller coaster I would have NO intention of riding...I'm a real sissy in amusement parks!

Soon we found ourselves within eyesight of the beautifully refurbished and completely restored Union Station in downtown Denver.

The Denver area is filled with alternative transportation methods, and bikes are welcome on most of them...

Union Station is an Art Deco dream...completely restored to it's former glory...

If only these walls could talk...

The building speaks to a time when train travel was a glamorous adventure...

 And after exploring the beautiful interior, we headed into one of the restaurants within the station to enjoy lunch.

But that's a story for another day!

Bye Bye Vegas...Hello Denver!

Our VERY early flight from Vegas required a 4 a.m. wake up call...and after I pried my eyes open, I had to admit it is a beautiful time of the day.

The mountains were gorgeous...and a sunrise is always spectacular...although I'm rarely awake to see one!

The Vegas airport was already crowded...even before dawn.  And the line for security was daunting, but we got through without a hitch.

After take-off, the Las Vegas Strip looked like a set of kid's building blocks from the air...

We touched down in Salt Lake City for a change of planes...Then back in the air...And it wasn't long before the terrain told us we were close to Denver.

It seems as if Denver's huge airport was literally built in the middle of nowhere, and after landing we took a 35-40 minute shuttle ride to Arvada.  (This is the best way to get to and from the airport if you are in Denver or one of the suburbs close by.)

Who knew Arvada, Colorado is best known for growing CELERY??  (I love the things we learn in our travels!)

Hubby's sis Patricia picked us up at the shuttle stop, and in just a few minutes we were back at her lovely home in Lakewood.  And after a quick shower and some lunch it was time to RELAX.

And later that day...

We "girls" enjoyed our own form of relaxation!

And how did my Hubby relax that afternoon?

He looked around his sister's house for a project.  And he found a great one!

This cute little chair converts to a ladder...and he created a pattern to build one for me!  (I AM vertically challenged, you know!)

Never a dull moment in OUR lives...And that's just the way we like it!

The Golden Nugget Hotel, Las Vegas

The Golden Nugget is an iconic anchor in downtown Las Vegas....and it's the perfect location if you want to avoid the miles of walking between hotels and casinos on the Vegas Strip.  (Remember...the temp was over one hundred degrees every day during our stay.)

The Golden Nugget is located in the heart of Fremont Street.

Check it out!

Our spacious, non-smoking room was located on the 21st floor in the Carson Tower.

We were surprised at how quiet our room was, since Las Vegas is NOT known for it's low key atmosphere.  But the entire 21st floor was a peaceful place to get a good night's sleep.  And we REALLY appreciated the non-smoking room, since it seems ALL public areas in Vegas allow smoking.  That was a big disappointment, coming from the Midwest where smoking is no longer the norm...Thank Heaven!

And be sure to check out all of the restaurant chains and hotels that are under the Landry's corporate umbrella. If you purchase a Landry's Select Club card, the perks begin to add up immediately, no matter where you travel or what restaurant or hotel you visit.  (Our friends signed up as soon as we told them about the program, and they already earned lots of perks during our stay in Vegas.) It's a GREAT program, and we have used ours in many locations, and it can even be used for upgrades at the Golden Nugget properties around the country.

Here are the details:

But do you want to know the VERY BEST part of our trip to Las Vegas?

Reconnecting with these great friends!!!

So forget the casinos and the slot machines...WE HIT THE JACKPOT the minute we met up with them!!!