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getting in touch with my inner colorado girl

If we’re friends I think you should move to Denver

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I am sure that I have made it pretty clear that I love living in Denver.  I currently am promoting a pro-Denver campaign with basically all of my best friends from Missouri.  I just don’t understand how people could not like living in the Mile High, and I want all of my favorite people to live there with me.  Anyway, a few of my friends from my internship in Atlanta don’t exactly have plans for after the end of their internships and naturally I have been trying to convince them to move to Denver.

In honor of my current Team Denver victims, I started looking through my summer pictures because I wanted to show off my Denver friends’ amazing culinary skills.  Forget Italian or French, I believe that good food is the universal language of love.  My friends are great cooks.  Me?  I bring the wine.  I did make some incredible french toast for a farmers’ market brunch once.  But I am not convinced that dipping bread in egg counts as cooking.  Back to the campaign though, as I was reviewing my pictures, I decided that I should probably throw in a few mountain pictures for good measure.  Then I decided that I should add in a few sentences about why I love Colorado.  This then turned into a full blown top ten list, and I decided it was time to take the Paula Denver Campaign to the next level.  Behold, the Top Ten Reasons Why All of My Friends Should Live in Denver:

10. All major professional sports. Denver is home to teams in all of the major professional sports!  The Rockies, Nuggets, Broncos, Avalanches, and Rapids.  Also if you’re into lacrosse, I hear we have a professional lacrosse team?  The great thing about all of these teams is that, possibly with the exception of the Broncos, tickets are easy to get for most of the games.  Denver is a relatively small market for these teams, and while, for example, if you live in Boston getting tickets to a Red Sox game is pretty impossible, getting tickets to a Rockies game is a breeze.

Coors Field with a view of the real Rockies in the background

9. Laid-back attitude. Something that I love about living in Denver is the laid-back attitude of most Coloradans.  This is definitely a qualitative feature, and I am not sure that I am going to be able to find any evidence to support this claim.  However, let me just say this, spandex is acceptable in almost any context in Denver.  I was going shopping for new boots last week with said friends in Atlanta and I could not find a pair.  The problem?  All of the boots I was looking at had heels.  I kept thinking, “I would never actually wear this in Denver.  It’s too dressy!”  Fashion choices aside, life in Denver is as casual as it’s clothing.  I used to complain about Denver traffic, but living in Atlanta has made me miss Denver traffic.  It’s a zen place.  Give me I-25 traffic any day please.  Do you love flannel shirts?  You’ll fit in.

Sunset at a Washington Park BBQ

8. Eco-friendliness. In Colorado, being eco-friendly is encouraged.  There are tons of bikers everywhere, Priuses are very common, and I always feel extremely guilty for forgetting to bring my grocery bags when I’m shopping.  One time I realized I had forgotten my grocery bags at home, so I turned around, grabbed my bags, and then returned to go shopping.  This may have actually hurt the ozone layer more, but still, I had nothing but the best of intentions!

7. Smart people. I saw this article on Yahoo! news the other day about how Denver is one of America’s smartest cities.  I’m not surprised.  Since living in Denver is obviously such a good life decision to make of course there are a lot of smart people living there.

6.  Mild weather. Denver weather is kind of amazing.  The funny thing is that very few people realize how amazing it is.  Whenever I tell people that I live in Denver I usually get a reaction like, “Wow, it must be cold and snowy.”  The truth?  Not really.  In the mountains, yes, it is cold and snowy.  In Denver?  Winter temperatures are usually in the mid-30s during the day, and when it snows, it always melts within a day or two.  You don’t even want to know how ridiculous and unnecessary one of the DU snow days was this past winter.  I think it had snowed two inches and completely turned into slush by the afternoon.  Also let’s discuss the lack of humidity.  It’s wonderful.

5. The perfect size. Denver is a great size.  Unlike Atlanta, it’s fairly accessible and easy to navigate.  The city is big enough to have a lot to offer, but not too big to be completely overwhelming.  Wikipedia tells me that the metropolitan area of Denver is about 2.5 million people.  Wikipedia tells me that Atlanta is about 5.4 million people, which is about 3 million too many in my book.  I like the convenience of living in a bigger city, but I think there comes a point when the size becomes burdensome.  Denver has not yet reached that point and is still a nice size.

4. Jefferson County Open Space. I really ridiculously love Jefferson Country Open Space, which is technically not in Denver but this is my list so I am counting it.  JCOS (as all the kids in the know call it) is a system of public land and trails in Jefferson County and home to some of my favorite running trails in the Denver metro area.  The closest trail is about 15 minutes away from the center of Denver and the furthest, in Evergreen, is about 45 minutes away.  All of the trails are free and offer awesome views of mountains, which I think is a huge advantage to living in Denver.  Even if you are not into trail running, JCOS is still a great place for mountain biking or hiking.  I don’t know if I can actually choose a favorite park, but White Ranch and Alderfer/Three Sisters come pretty close.

The view at White Ranch Park

3. Healthy, delicious eating. I seem to have stumbled into a group of friends in Denver that is fantastic for several reasons, notably including the random dinner parties and brunches that seem to occur on a regular basis.  Farmers’ market brunches, Italian night, Mediterranean night, and Christmas in July to name just a few of the great Colorado meals.  My friend Katie visited me over the summer and she was extremely impressed with how good and healthy the food was.  Katie was there for one of my friend’s birthdays, and we were going to a Rockies game.  What did our pre-baseball game fare consist of?  Veggies, fruit, homemade hummus and taziki, and pita chips.  On another occasion, my friend Christine’s mom was in town for a farmers’ market brunch, and she said something along the lines of, “You guys eat really well for graduate students!”

The French toast, served with praline whipped topping and agave maple syrup.  Please note the Korbel champagne.  Classy!

Going away party for Leah, the pineapple and mango salsa was a fave

Italian family dinner night

2. Four seasons of awesomeness. I think we already discussed the awesome weather, so now let’s discuss how this turns into year-round fun!  In the warmer months, Colorado is great for rafting, hiking, biking, and a multitude of other outdoor activities.  In the colder months, Colorado is great for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, and hockey games.  I don’t want to talk about the golden aspen trees that I am missing out on this fall, but they’re pretty spectacular as well.

Snowshoeing in the winter with Ashley, who is one of my primary Team Colorado targets!

1. Proximity to the Rocky Mountains. The mountains are so close!  First of all, the mountains are omnipresent in the Denver skyline.  Second, the mountains are not a far drive.  Rocky Mountain National Park?  An easy hour and 15 minute drive.   We’ve already discussed JCOS.  Skiing and snowboarding opportunities are also doable in a day.  And these distances are nominal, because really, it’s worth it.  Completely, totally worth it.

View from Mount Harvard at 14,420 feet

On the way to Black Lake in RMNP

Bear Lake in RMNP

Overall, my time in Atlanta has made me realize how much I comparatively like Denver.  And also how much I miss the mountains. Luckily I think some northern Georgia mountains are happening this weekend.  Luckily I am also moving back to Denver relatively soon.  In the meantime, friends who do not live in Colorado, think about Denver.  It’s definitely not a terrible place!

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Author: paulamahla

Typical Colorado girl that can't make up her mind. Trail running, hiking, climbing, camping, CrossFit, ultimate frisbee, and skiing? E, all of the above.

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