This year's Romance Writers of America® national conference was held in the Mile High City, Denver, Colorado. I'd been looking forward to the event as I had never visited Colorado and was eager to do a bit of exploring. I flew out the Saturday before conference and joined friends Kim Lowe of the SOS Aloha blog and Australian author Kandy Shepherd in Colorado Springs. We spent the next three days exploring all the beauty that city has to offer. Here are a few photos.
Exploring the Garden of the Gods was truly a spiritual experience. Nature's majesty is all around you among the ancient rocks that sit in the shadow of Pikes Peak.
The walk to Seven Falls offered another stunning display of rock formations and waterfalls.
I opted out of climbing to the Eagles Nest observation deck (taking the inner-mountain elevator instead) and was content to view the falls from the base. My fear of heights did not play well with those stairs. I was more than happy to anchor myself to the wall and take photos of others. ;-)
|Kandy & Kim|
Manitou Springs was a lovely western town with lots of quirky shops and a beautiful mansion/castle. The four-story Miramont Castle is open to the public and also features a history of firefighting museum, as well as authentic period furniture, and beautiful mountain views. The original owners were a French priest and his mother. While the mother's money built and furnished the castle, the priest's vow of poverty apparently didn't prevent him from enjoying it.
|Firefighter PJ, reporting for duty!|
An interesting side note: Kandy and I wandered into a jewelry story in Manitou Springs and while chatting with the owner, discovered that when he moved to town 42 years ago he lived in the castle. At that time, (before it became a museum) it was divided into apartments. Lucky him!
A trip to Colorado Springs isn't complete without a stop at the luxurious Broadmoor hotel and resort.
|Broadmoor Entrance Drive|
|Broadmoor - View from the terrace|
|The Golden Bee|
We lunched at the authentic Golden Bee English Pub. And when I say authentic, I mean it. This restaurant originally sat in England before it was dismantled, shipped across the ocean, and reconstructed at the Broadmoor. I kept expecting to hear English accents.
|Golden Bee Bar Area|
After lunch, we walked through the beautiful hotel. I could have happily spent the entire afternoon cozily tucked into one of the reading nooks in their library.
On our way back to our car we spotted this deer strolling down the boulevard in front of the hotel. Obviously, it was lunch time for her too as she found a lovely garden and was happily munching away until a groundskeeper arrived in a golf car to chase her away.
Of course, it goes without saying that if I'm traveling there's going to be food photos, right? We headed out one evening for dinner at an Italian restaurant but discovered when we arrived that there would be a 30 minute wait. They suggested we might want to wait upstairs at their sister wine bar. We trudged up the stairs and discovered not only a cozy cafe atmosphere but fabulous food and the best waiter ever. We cancelled our reservation downstairs and had a wonderful evening at Sopra Antipasto & Wine Bar where we savored these delicious offerings.
|Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes|
|Roasted Mushrooms & Gorgonzola|
|Chocolate Nutella Cannoli|
Our waiter very kindly had the chef make this dessert without the pastry shell so I could eat it!
|Kandy, PJ, Zack (Waiter & Sommelier Extraordinaire), Kim|
We capped off our stay in Colorado Springs with a visit to the Air Force Academy. One highlight of that visit was meeting these falcons and the cadets who are charged with their care.
The second highlight was the incredible Chapel. This architectural wonder has a stunning exterior and an interior that fills the soul with its spiritual beauty. I could have spent hours there.
|PJ, Kandy, Kim|
Tuesday afternoon, we loaded up our luggage and headed for Denver and the RWA conference which would be starting the next day. You never know who you'll run into in the lobby, elevators, and hallways of the conference hotel. The first author I saw was none other than Kat Martin. She graciously posed for a photo (taken by her husband) and I told her how much we Romance Dishers enjoy her books. I had just arrived and was not looking my best but what the hey. When Kat Martin offers a photo, you take it! :)
|PJ & Kat Martin|
Other first day sightings included:
|Harlequin Author Carrie Nichols & PJ|
|PJ & Theresa Romain|
|Christie Kelley, PJ & Donna MacMeans|
|Kristan Higgins & PJ|
Have you visited Colorado? If so, what were your favorite parts?
Did you go to the top of Pikes Peak?
Tell me the truth. Did you drool just a little when you saw that Chocolate Nutella dessert? ;-)
One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, July 27, 2018 will receive a book and swag from the conference. U.S. addresses only
I'm adding a bonus second giveaway to this post. A second person who leaves a comment before 11:00 PM July 27 will also receive a book and swag from the conference. U.S. addresses only.