Spring in Colorado
The family room
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Our family of nine people including our three grandkids is making a trip to Denver, Colorado to attend my wife’s niece’s wedding on Saturday. Getting off the plane, the kids are thrilled to ride on the long moving sidewalks and the train that takes travelers from the gates to the Terminal Building.
After collecting our bags, we take the bus to the Alamo car rental building to pick up the 15-passenger van we had reserved and head out of the airport toward Castle Rock, 30 minutes south of Denver. Other members of my wife’s family have also arrived and more are to come tomorrow and everyone stays in Denver-area hotels but due to the size of our family, we chose to rent a house in Castle Rock.
Castle Rock is a small suburb but it has everything that you need including several nice restaurants, a Walmart, movie theaters and a big outlet mall right on I-25.
Our rental home in Castle Rock
View from the deck
Dinner party for family and friends
Jessica Johnson and Christina
Everyone gathering in the kitchen
Jessica, Brian, Lee and Steve
Christina, Lee and Stephanie on the balcony
Friday, April 25, 2014
This is the day before the wedding and we have the whole day to do our own things so after breakfast, our family gets in the van and head north on I-25 then west on I-70 toward Vail. The weather is gorgeous. It is sunny and dry, and the temperature is in the mid 70’s. The winding highway takes us up, around, and down one mountain to another, providing us views of snow covered mountain slopes, towering pine trees, and waterfalls. We take our time driving the highway and enjoying the spectacular sights. It takes us about two hours to get to Vail.
Our niece, Vivian Nguyen, and her fiance, Aaron
Lee and her sister, Hoai Phuong
Our family at Vail Covered Bridge
Gore Creek in Vail, Colorado
Steve's family enjoying Vail
Our rental home is a three-level, four-bedroom home located not too far from the main north-south Interstate 25 and in a real quiet neighborhood. The house appears to be in great condition and has a large balcony that offers a tremendous view of Pikes Peak, a part of Rocky Mountains’ Front Range.
We drop our luggage then some of us head to a grocery store to buy foods and drinks for a party at our home tonight. Then my wife - and our chef - springs into action and prepares a huge spread of roasted pork, chicken, baked potato, steam vegetable, and salads. There are also plenty of beer and wine to go around.
Our guests, consisting of friends and relatives, and members of the wedding party, start arriving around 7:00 pm. We eat and drink, relax, talk about everyone’s plans for Denver and the wedding. Lee’s sister from California and her family come by and visit as well as Christina’s high school friend, Jessica Johnson, who is going to school in Denver, and my nephew from Houston, Brian Cung.
Julian ready to go to the wedding
Snow on the ground but it's in the 60's
Lancelot Restaurant in Vail
Italian lunch ...
.. at Vendetta Restaurant
Hanging around 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver
In front of the ice rink
Lionshead Village just a short distance from Vail Village
Early in the afternoon we grab a patio table at an Italian restaurant and under the warm Colorado sun, we enjoy a lunch of fried calamari, salad, chicken, burger and pizza.
We then take the shuttle bus to Lionshead Village which is a short distance west of Vail Village. Things are a little bit less fancy here than at Vail Village but Lionshead has all the amenities for the skiers including several lifts.
The group is a little tired when we go back to Castle Rock. We eat the dinner of warmed up leftovers from last night that still taste pretty good. Then some of us go to the Marriott South to meet up with family members who are staying at the hotel. We enjoy a few drinks then call it a night.
Steve, Jessica, Cameron and Colby
Saturday, April 26, 2014
Today is our niece’s wedding but the wedding doesn’t start until 5 pm so we are exploring Denver this morning. It is another beautiful today as it is clear, warm and sunny. Our day starts with good breakfast at Pho Duy Restaurant on S. Federal Street where my nephew, Brian, joins us. Pho Duy was voted # 1 pho restaurant in Denver in 2013 and it certainly doesn’t disappoint us.
After breakfast, we drive to downtown Denver, park our car, and explore the 16th Street Pedestrian Mall. The mall is a long, tree-lined street with wide sidewalks and restaurants and shops on both sides. Down the middle of the mall, buses run slowly and stop frequently to allow people to hop on and off at almost every cross street. We find this very convenient because you can walk as far as you want to down the mall and ride the bus back to your vehicle. Restaurants and shops here are the typical restaurants and shops you would find in any suburban mall. Around 2 pm, we drive back to Castle Rock to get ready for the wedding.
My wife’s niece, Jacque Nguyen, is marrying Scott Renner at a beautiful venue called Spruce Mountains in Larkspur, 15 minutes south of Castle Rock. I could write about their gorgeous and romantic wedding but since this blog is a travel blog, I would just focus on the traveling and hope you would view their wedding pictures and stories on their Facebook page, #MeettheRenners.
All in all, we have a fantastic trip and enjoy Colorado very much.
Until the next trip!
All the girls. L-R: Jessica, Stephanie, Lee, Cameron and Christina
Bo and Lee at the wedding venue, Spruce Mountains
Cungs Family in Castle Rock, Colorado. L-R: Bo, Lee, Christina, Stephanie, Julian, Cameron, Jessica, Colby, and Steve
We park at the Vail Village parking garage and wander around Vail Village. We take a lot of pictures at the Covered Bridge over the rushing water in Gore Creek below. Off season, Vail Village is quiet with just a few tourists like us milling around. But I can imagine how vibrant this place would be during the heights of the winter and summer season.
Everywhere I look, I see high-end and beautiful hotels, condos, restaurants, and gift shops mixed in with public arts and winding sidewalks. Attention has been paid to all the details you see here including the hanging flower baskets and the intricate public benches. This place is beautiful!