I truly thought the word staycation was slang and made up by someone on instagram! It was actually added to the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary in 2009. However, people were using this word back in 1944 per a quote from the Cincinnati Enquirer on July 18, “Take a Stay-cation instead of a Va-cation, this year.” They say it might have originated as a wartime effort to save gasoline. Who knew it was coined that far back in time?! I am sure this concept has experienced a resurgence because of our dear friend the Coronavirus.
Sean and I recently experienced an awesome staycation, one I would like to repeat a few more times!
We had our office holiday dinner this weekend – yep – it’s February not December. We have it this time of year to minimize additional stress of over-committing during the holidays, and to prolong the post holiday blues as long as possible.
Since I was the head of the party planning committee (of 1), I picked a restaurant in downtown Denver. This was sort of strategic, in that ever since we moved to the burbs, I have been DYING to have a staycation in “the city”. The restaurant just happens to be next to the hotel I have been obsessing over for the past few years. Needless to say, I booked it for the night of our holiday dinner so we didn’t have to worry about drinking and driving. One thing to note, if you want to visit Denver in February – the hotels have some pretty good rates this time of year.
The hotel is called The Crawford Hotel and is located inside Union Station in downtown Denver. Union Station is the main railway station and central transportation hub in the city. There is a huge history behind this architecturaly beautiful building , but I don’t think I stepped foot in there until they turned it into an entertainment hub about 5 years ago. I love the energy of this part of downtown, though it can be a little dodgy with an interesting cast of characters milling around in the bathrooms and such.
The rooms were super nice with comfy beds – Yogi loved it. That’s all that really matters – his comfort – he is a little prince you know. Considering the hotel is actually IN Union Station (37k passengers every day), the rooms are pretty quiet. The only weird thing about them, you have to take 2 steps down to get to the door. I forgot about that and almost biffed it and chipped another tooth on the door knob.
After our fabulous team dinner at the Mercantile Dining and Provision, we
pooped (typo) popped in to the Cooper Lounge. An uber nice bar that overlooks the entire inside of Union Station. Patrons of the hotel can easily access the place as it’s on the 3rd level of the hotel. If you are not a hotel customer, you can call and make a reservation.
It’s hard for me to believe Denver has a bar this nice – it’s very ADULT and a place where it’s only fitting to drink fine wines, an old fashioned or your choice of martini’s. These photos were taken in the morning – I swear this is a happening place!
One downside to this place, the overnight parking is RIDICULOUS – 50 bucks. Sean, found an app called Spothero where you prepay for parking via the app. Once you pay, you will receive something similar to a bar code within the app. Once you arrive at your parking destination, the scanner at the garage reads the bar code and lifts the security bar. Both of us were skeptical and thought for sure we’d end up in some strange, darkly lit parking garage, but it is completely legit. We spent $7.00 and parked our cars in a really nice, non terrifying place. Kudos to Sean for being resourceful!
The next day – we slept in and headed out for breakfast at a trendy food hall called the Milk Market. This place is owned and operated by Frank Bonanno who owns some of the best restaurants in the city. Within this food hall you have your choice of chicken, burgers, Korean, pizza, Italian, etc. We settled on a double cheese-burger with a mimosa and a beer. Breakfast of champions! The Milk Market is only one option near by – there are several other places within a 5 minute walking distance from the hotel.
Added bonus, there were 3 pinball machines that were FREE. Granted, they were old school and not very exciting, but for us pinball addicts and self proclaimed nerds, it was heavenly.
After breakfast, Sean and I split up and went about our day. I took Yogi for a walk around Sloan’s Lake, about a 3 mile loop. This isn’t the most beautiful park in Denver, but the mountain views from the East side of the park are some of the best in town. Because of the lake, you can’t help but get a good reflection shot at the right time of day. It was a beautiful day and I did my best to keep him out of the mud!
All in all, the staycation was a success! This post is more about the IDEA of a staycation rather then providing recommendations on what to do in Denver. The Coronavirus is putting a damper on travel plans – that sucks for those of us with intrepid spirits. Find some things you’ve always wanted to do in your hometown – you may just find the silver lining!
We found a place we wanted to experience and made it happen. It felt good to be a tourist in our great city. It made us appreciate it even more.
…i choose this…