Mile High City 1: Denver, Colorado 420 Festival

 

I last visited Denver, Colorado forty-five years ago while driving cross country and spent two days with relatives who showed us the city.  In 1972, Denver was primarily a distribution center with miles of nondescript warehouses that provided the Rocky Mountain Empire or area with goods and services.  There were no major league sports teams and a short walking area with a few hip shops and restaurants on Larimer Street may have been the main downtown attraction.

Incorporated Denver in 2017 has a population of 663,091.  The city plus the six counties it sprawls across totals 3,075,701 and is one of the fastest growing urban areas in the United States.

 

A key reason for very recent growth may be the legalization of marijuana – Amendment 64 passed in 2012 with legalization occurring two years later.  The reference to April 20 or 420 is misleading as the real history of that date is murky and apparently the date has become a pot smoking festival.

My son Sasha and I attended the 420 Festival April 19 – 23, 2017 to investigate the changes that have taken place in Denver and Boulder and that influenced legalization in Oregon, Washington State, Maine, and other states.  Our planes landed and we headed straight to the Medicine Man emporium to examine the merchandise and variety of pot products. 

We stayed at one of the 420 friendly hotels, the Quality Inn 48th Avenue, in Globeville which is centrally located.  Upon checking in, a vaporizer is provided for use in nonsmoking rooms.  If supply runs low, no problem; Fox Cannabis is just two blocks west on 48th Avenue.

These stores are competitive in price, quality, and ingenuity.  A consumer confronts a variety of exotic strains, a range of quantities, choices of bud, shake, liquids, concentrates, tinctures, waxes, hashes and paraphernalia.   Similar to any retail establishment, sales or price mark downs are common to get consumers to try new forms or sell slower moving product.

I feel sorry for the late singer John Denver that he never lived to see the coming of Rocky Mountain High Colorado. God bless his soul.

Coors Field is considered by Major League Baseball as a model park because of the neighborhood expanding all around the stadium – apartments, condos, restaurants and attractions are part of the “fan experience”.  The Atlanta Braves recent move to Cobb County and the building of The Battery mixed use facility around SunTrust Park is modeled after Coors Field because the fan experience is crucial to baseball’s continuing popularity and even relevance with young people who favor fast moving video games. 

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Denver with its many colleges is a magnet to young people seeking a good education in an interesting and attractive city and state.  The University of Denver and the Colorado University Auraria Campus and other institutes of higher learning contribute to growth as many students from out of state opt to stay after graduation. 

Cherry Creek runs throughout Denver and the multi-use trails are widely used by its citizens of whom many love vigorous exercise; biking and hiking in the mountains, or other forms of athletic participation.

The Cherry Creek area of town is probably the wealthiest neighborhood and is virtually a second downtown.  The area is a mix of upscale retail shops, high rise commercial and residential buildings and leafy tree lined streets with substantial homes.

One of the joys of living in Denver is the view of the Rocky Mountains to the West.  We were nicely surprised that a nearby range still had mountains covered with snow. 

The Red Rocks performing arts venue overlooking a beautiful valley is built into an extraordinary geological formation and provides an exceptional concert experience. 

 If one heads east towards Aurora and the airport, we recommend a visit to the Aurora Reservoir for recreational activities such as boating, swimming or relaxing on the beach.

The people of Denver engage in a wide range of sports including golf.  Pictured below is

a driving range that is part of the city’s municipal golf course.

  

Denver has hundreds of good restaurant but my son and I, hot dog lovers, recommend Billy’s Gourmet Hot Dogs as perhaps the best frankfurter we have ever eaten. 

Sash and I desired ice cream, Googled nearest location, discovered Little Man Ice Cream, and made it there fifteen minutes before closing.  Our effort was foiled; the line outside Little Man’s stretched the length of a block, at least a hundred people.  We gave up but suggest that one make a beehive to Little Man when in Denver.  

Billy’s and Little Man are simply two randomly selected Denver treats of which there are too many to list and describe.  Go and discover for yourself.