Boulder, on paper, is just about everything we want in a hometown. Access to the great outdoors. Check. First class farmer’s markets. Check. Bookstores galore. Check. 300 days of sunshine a year. Check. Great beer. Cool arts scene. Euphoria-inducing (non-chain) restaurants. Check. Check. Check. It is the happiest city in America, for goodness sake.
Let me digress for a moment before we dive into our assessment of Boulder as a soulmate for us. I went on a date once with a guy who said he was a chef. In actuality, he demo’ed Food Network-brand blenders at grocery stores.
That’s kinda the same with Boulder. Great on paper, but in person, didn’t live up to our expectations. .
So, what’s our beef with Boulder?
We are progressive Democrats, through and through. We believe in the right to abortion. We believe civil liberties should be afforded to everyone. We believe in Universal Healthcare. So does everyone else in Boulder.
We drive a Subaru. So does everyone else in Boulder.
We have college degrees. So does everyone else in Boulder.
We are white. So is 85% of Boulder.
You see where we are going with this? Boulder is a bubble. It is as if First World Problems was a place. It seems too easy to sink into a place where our beliefs aren’t challenged and where engage only with people like us. We like diverse communities and like all that comes with it–the difficult questions about race, the challenging debates around taxes, and the movements that can spring up around social justice. We always knew that diversity was something we valued. Our date with Boulder and the prospect of living in Boulder proved that we aren’t willing to abandon that value.
Nevertheless, Boulder was a beautiful place to visit. We certainly enjoyed being tourists for a few days. We just needed to break up.
If you go…
We stayed at a lovely AirBnB on Pearl Street a few blocks from the Mall. It suited us just perfectly with a comfy bed, dark bedroom, and a spot where we could work during the day.
If you go, be sure to spend some time wandering around the Pearl Street Mall. The Pearl Street Mall is closed to vehicles and an open social hub. It has a variety of boutiques, restaurants with outdoor seating, and lots of people busking, playing music, and enjoying the scene. We even were lucky enough to walk by during a free weekly summertime concert on the Mall. We popped into the three-story Boulder Bookstore and marveled at all of the selection. I loved pouring over the selection of cookbooks at Peppercorn, a specialty kitchen-ware store, while sipping on a cup of complimentary chai tea. It is a 12,000 square foot store with every gadget and gizmo you may need for your kitchen. And all those cookbooks! I wish I could prove it to you with a picture, alas, I am horrible at remembering to take pictures and Cas wasn’t with me. In any case, my love for cookbooks is deep. If you ever want to get me a gift, a cookbook is a sure hit.
I went on the Celestial Seasonings tour, too. If you know me, you know my love of Sleepy Time tea, their best seller. So, you might love it just as much as me. My timing wasn’t perfect as I had to wait about 30 minutes for the next tour. I made the most of that time, though, and sampled several of the 100 teas they had on offer in the tasting room, many of which aren’t widely available. The tasting room is decorated with many of the original pieces of art that grace your Celestial Seasonings boxes. I also took a selfie with the Bear featured on my Sleepy Time tea, for good measure. The tour was lovely and filled with silly little quips and even sillier blue hairnets. The tour guide waxed nostalgic for the 1970’s, the decade when Celestial Seasonings was founded and, seemingly, at its most laid back. We also got to learn about the blendmaster, Charlie Baden, who signs your boxes of tea. He’s been at Celestial Seasonings since 1975 and the blendmaster since 1984. Remarkably, he tastes 120 cups of tea a day and apparently has vowed to never quit! We got to see where the tea is blended, bagged, boxed, and boxed again for shipment. We went into the Mint Room, the most famous part of the tour, where my sinuses felt instantly clearer than they ever have before. It was like walking into a cough drop. All in all, it was a delightful little tour!
On the same day, we continued with our tea-themed ventures and headed to the famous Boulder Dushanbe Teahouse. It was built by hand in Tajikistan and disassembled, shipped, and gifted to Boulder. It goes without saying that it was ornately beautiful with hand-carved cedar columns, hand-painted ceilings and life-size (ok, of a very small person) sculptures in a central fountain. And the tea. The tea was perfect. They are known for their chai, so that’s what I opted for. It was delicious, perfectly spiced and perfectly spicy. Cas went for the iced hibiscus and was also happy with his choice. I loved seeing all of the little girls and adult women who came in for the full high-tea service, too.
We also stopped in at Gelato Boy more times than I wish to admit. It was that good. The love story behind Gelato Boy is worth telling (since we went on a date with Boulder!). Once upon a time, Bryce went into a gelato shop in Italy and saw Giulia. He went back day in and day out with the hopes of seeing her again. He went in so many times that the staff called him…you’ll never guess…Gelato Boy. Cut to them falling in love, getting married, learning to make gelato, moving to Colorado and opening Gelato Boy.
As for the beer. Well, Upslope Brewery is our top pick. By far. The beer was excellent. The clientele friendly and engaging. I even got to draw the board for their new beer–The Douglas Fir Pale Ale–tapped the night we were there!
If we go again, which we’d happily do, we’d go on some adventurous hikes! This time around, Cas wasn’t feeling very well, so we did miss out on the hikes with epic views. I wish we had some recommendations on that front!