Custard, dogs, and socks...
Before we get started today, let me bring up a very important travel tip I’ve not yet mentioned: DRINK WATER IN DENVER. Altitude can really, really get to some people, and the best defense is a wet offense. Get those eight glasses in and you should be fine. My trick? Buy a package of inexpensive bangle bracelets and stick eight on your left hand at the beginning of the day. As you drink each of the glasses of water, slip a bracelet onto your right hand. Easy, effective, and accessorizing!
The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th Street
Denver, CO 80202
You simply can’t visit Denver without seeing the Brown Palace Hotel. Ellyngton’s is the breakfast venue within this historical landmark (you can actually book a historic tour of the hotel if you’re into that sort of thing!). I like to do breakfast at spiffy spots like these because you get all the glitz of a posh hotel without having to mortgage the house (one must prioritize one’s travel cash for yarn, of course). And it’s such an elegant start to the day. By going on Saturday, you skip the power broker crowd as well as sidestepping the Sunday Brunch crush. As with Beatrice and Woodsley, there is a spectacular high tea that might warrant you adapting your schedule.
Once breakfast has been accomplished, scoot on over to the eastern side of town where, nestled in the Lowry Town Center shopping center, you find our third yarn store of the tour:
The Modern Ewe
200 Quebec St. Bldg. 500 Unit 101
Denver, CO 80230
http://www.modernewe.com (although at presstime the website was still under construction)
If IKEA opened a yarn store, it might look like this contemporary, clean lined establishment. The young owner Dana Juncker has a graphic design degree (with a business minor, mind you), and it shows. I admire a woman who wrote a business plan for a yarn shop her freshman year in college and followed through upon graduation. The spot is modern to be sure, with bright colors, clean lines, and a wide range of customers skewing slightly young for obvious reasons. Adding to the friendly atmosphere are Chloe and Cuzco, the frisky pair of dogs who serve as the store’s lovable mascots.
Beginner projects are a store specialty, to which I can attest because Dana spent an hour with me to show me a very particular cast on to my knit-along socks. How can you not love someone willing to spend so much time with a complete stranger just to show off a cool cast on? The Modern Ewe has just launched its own Couture Collection line of eco-friendly yarn, and oh yes, there is much coolness to be had there.
Projects to keep an eye out for:
In addition to being a sucker for a good pun, I was fascinated by the cozylon fiber featured in “Ewetopian”, which is a technologically advanced fiber incorporating natural charcoal for deodorization, humidity and temperature control, and several other amazing functions. Ideal for socks, washcloths, and other things that regularly get wet. Who knew yarn could multi-task? I don’t see how anyone can pass up trying this. The washcloth is an outstanding choice for young’uns or first-timers, too.
This will be our Knit-Along, and my introduction to the mythical “Magic Loop” sock knitting method. It was a very cool process. Dana let me pick my sock yarn (I chose Schoppel Wolle Zauberbal for amazing socks that start out black at the toes and end up white by the tops) and she chose the corresponding needles. Then I made a small swatch and she plugged my shoe size, yarn, needles, and guage into SockWizard software, which spit out my own personalized sock pattern. Talk about VIP treatment! More on how that all turned out as the Knit-Along goes live, which may take a while as these are size 0 needles! Should you choose this as your project, make sure you give yourself enough time to be walked through “Suzie’s Cast On.” Ingenious!
The Modern Ewe has a bit of a specialty in personalized knitting, so let Dana help you choose a selection of several yarns from the Modern Ewe Couture line to create a one of a kind scarf perfectly suited to your taste. I think this would make a good novice knitter project, too--especially if you want to get a little snazzy yarn in there to make yourself a holiday adornment.
Gadget of choice:
Excellent for circs as well as straights, these won’t pop off your needles inviting disaster.
Indulge in a little retail therapy by visiting the many shops located around you in Lowry Town Center. I found this to be a nice collection of unique botiques and familiar names.
By the time you’re done here...and my visit lasted almost three hours...it’s time for a little refreshment. The Lowry Town Center shopping center has several places to grab a bite, but you know me, I’ve got to do desert first. In that case, I recommend:
Fergie’s Frozen Custard
200 Quebec St,
I had a taste of several yummy flavors, settling on something with bananas and chocolate I believe, but the super-friendly staff was as much fun as the frozen custard. You can get actual food here, but why would you? As a woman pushing fifty, I need to keep my calcium intake up here.
If you have a four-legged darling in your life, make sure you stop in Chewy’s Bonetique right next door. We can’t keep all the fun to ourselves now can we?
Now that we’ve accomplished sugar and yarn, it’s time for the next major food group: coffee. For that, follow Dana’s recommendation and drive west down Colfax Avenue to:
Hooked on Colfax
3215 E Colfax Ave
3103 E. Colfax (at St. Paul)
Denver, CO 80206
Here’s another recommended cupcake joint. And it has a cereal bar! Readers of my book MY SO-CALLED LOVE LIFE may be especially fond of this establishment for that reason alone! The Shoppe is open until 2:00am on weekends, and while I admit to a fair amount of curiosity as to the nature of the wee-hour crowd, I didn’t personally investigate. If you do, by all means report back!
If you need a good way to burn off those calories, I’ve got the perfect inspiration on tap. We’re in the mountains, after all, so this is the ideal city to indulge our outdoorish tendencies (if I had any--which doubt I do) with our next stop:
REI Flagship Store
1416 Platte Street,
Denver, CO 80202
Even if Motel 6 is your idea of roughing it, how can you not like an establishment that lists itself as “a complete outdoor resource, a historic landmark and an award-winning architectural accomplishment”? The website gives the store’s GPS coordinates! And, if you’re so inclined, you can conquer “The Pinnacle,” one of the tallest freestanding climbing walls in the area. (PS, you will see no photos of me doing this, ever).
Duly exercised--even if it was only your credit card that got a workout, travel a little farther northwest to our dinner destination for tonight:
1600 W 33rd Ave
Denver, CO 80211
A funky, artsy place that’s the perfect compliment to the tone of our day. The carrot red curry soup is a local fave, and although the place is known for its brunch, it also has a happy hour/sandwhich/burger vibe that has enough sophistication to lure any taste. As a big fan of sweet potato fries, this place it tops on my list. The decor is as clever as they come, and if its warm enough for the big doors to be open, all the better to watch the sun set over another fiber-fab day in the Mile High City.