I just returned from a quick, weekend trip north to Colorado, with my mom. Combining the desires to get out of town, visit family, check out some art, and maybe buy some legal pot, we took highway 285 instead of the quicker I-25 and wove our way from the high desert into the Rocky Mountains.  

  

We arrived in Denver just in time to check into our hotel before heading to meet my friend Brendan Picker at The Big Blue Bear. Picker is a Public Art Coordinator and, among other things, leads groups on public art walking tours through downtown Denver. For one hour, we were led by grates in the pavement that played interesting sounds, murals, statues, and other very cool pieces made to be enjoyed by the public, but frequently overlooked. For more info on these tours (and for info on artists) go to ArtsandVenues.com

   
 

The next morning, we left for Boulder and a stroll down memory lane. We drove by the Victorian house where my parents were married, barefoot, in the backyard and which they then proceeded to almost burn down while dipping beeswax candles in the dining room. Then, onto the falafel stand on the Pearl Street Mall and another driveby of the house where my sister was born and we grew corn in the backyard.

  
By Saturday, we were in Fort Collins and after buying some beautiful pieces from Made In Ceramics, at the French Nest Market, decided to see what all of the hoopla was about the shops now selling legalized, recreational marijuana. Well, it wasn’t as easy as we New Mexicans had been led to believe! After going to two shops which had either recently closed or only sold to those with a medical card, we finally ended up at what looked like any other college head shop. After checking our IDs, we were led into a back room behind a locked door and told to wait our turn. It all felt very illegal. Once it was our turn, two salesman were very helpful and suggested several types that might help with my ongoing insomnia. We’ll see! 

In the ten years since my grandmother passed, I’ve spent very little time in Colorado. A wedding here or weekend there. But it’s fun to remember that though it will always mean summertime, picking cherries, cool basements, rollerblading with my sister, frozen yogurt pie, baseball games, cousins, camping, high snowy peaks, smell of cut grass, nostalgia, and childhood to me, it is also a gorgeous, fun place just a few hours north, ready to be explored all over again.