Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Boulder Exploratory Trip

So Melissa and I decided to take a little trip to Boulder to explore the town together, and try to decide if we felt like it might be the place for us. Spoiler alert: the answer is yes!

Some highlights below...

Day 1 - Thu 6/16

We drove down to Southern Pines in the morning to drop Sydney off with my parents. Luckily they only live an hour away and Sydney absolutely loves her "Nama"!

Then off to the airport, and after only a 1 hour delay in Philly (thanks Southwest) we made it to Denver.

I picked a cheap hotel for that night at random from Expedia; and I have to say: sometimes saving $30 isn't worth it -- very sketchy part of town; got what sounded like a drug call on the phone... and then in the morning as we headed out we thought we might literally witness a murder. And yes, I know what the word "literally" means.

Day 2 - Fri 6/17

Spent the morning in downtown Denver wandering around 16th street and Confluence Park -- very cool. Hit the flagship REI (wow) and then the Denver Aquarium including their funky restaurant where you can watch the "teenage" fish that aren't quite ready for the main tanks while you eat seafood.

Being that it's an aquarium you feel like you should eat fish; but then you remember that you're in Denver... so it's clearly optional.

After that we headed to Lafayette (suburb of Boulder) to meet up with Maria Florencia, who was generous enough to offer to host us for the trip! That night Lafayette had a cool little outdoor art festival, and we all had ice cream and enjoyed some live music. Nice!

Day 3 - Sat 6/18

Saturday was all about Pearl Street -- a great pedestrian mall in the center of downtown Boulder. Always stuff going on; always great people-watching. Lunch with a friend, then more Pearl street and driving around checking out various parts of town.

Trying to live right in downtown Boulder is tough, unless you're $$ with the $$$ and some $$$$. House prices are all over the map, but you can easily pay $500,000 for a tiny 1960's house near Pearl street... or well over a million for a 4-bedroom in tip-top shape.

So if we decided to move here we'd have to choose between living in a tiny fixer-upper within walking distance of all kinds of cool stuff (which would rule!)... or living further out in a place that actually has room for a family. Or up in the mountains; where you can get some big lots and decent houses with absolutely amazing views -- but a 30-45 minute drive into town for anything (worse when it's snowy). Given that we have a baby and would probably be going into town quite often, we ruled out the mountain option. For now at least.

Day 4 - Sun 6/19

By now we were feeling pretty bullish about Boulder, so we thought "what the heck"... let's actually look at some houses. We had pretty much crossed off a couple of the suburbs already; so we focused on some places around Lafayette. That's about 20 minutes from downtown Boulder (by car -- but people bike it all the time!), and has a huge range of options, from ranches to 100-year old houses to brand-new construction.

We toured 9 houses and did a drive-by "no thanks!" on 3 more (quite an efficient realtor!)... and actually found one we quite like! Too soon to get excited about that house just yet, but at least we know that we should be able to find something in our price range that will suit us just fine.

One of the awesome things about that particular place is the backyard -- huge (for suburb standards), and it backs up to a horse ranch and some public trails... and you can even see a lake off in the distance (not in this photo, sorry). And we saw a wolf or a coyote there too... Very cool.

Oh, and the basement has been finished out as a complete in-law/nanny suite -- and by complete I mean bedroom, bath, laundry, kitchen, and study. Crazy, eh?

Day 5 - Mon 6/20

After a wake-up-we-have-15-minutes-to-grab-free-waffles!! kind of morning, we headed up to Chautauqua park (5 min from downtown Boulder) to do some hiking. We did the easy meadow hike, and then I somehow cajoled Melissa into giving the Great Arch trail a try -- 4 miles round trip and something like 1600 feet of elevation gain... but the views are totally worth it!

The pic on the right doesn't do it justice at all... was a great hike, despite another unusually bad (for Boulder) weather day... and at the top we hand fed a walnut to a super cute and obviously domesticated chipmunk.

An hour after taking the picture here, we were back on Pearl street sitting down for some tasty pizza and more people-watching.

Gotta love Boulder.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

New sand on volleyball courts!

After 10 years of rumors, the parks and rec department has put down new sand at Jaycee park -- and it is glorious!

Played for a few hours today, and not a scratch on me... the old sand is still around the fringes of the area, and whenever you would fetch the ball from that area it was kind of like "wow, we used to play on this???"

I suggest everyone take a minute to email the parks and rec department and say thanks... so they know these courts are important to us! (and pass this along to other Jaycee'ers to do the same...)

Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department

Email Address: 
2401 Wade Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27607

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Angel Bootcamp in Boston

I'm heading to Boston! Just a one-day trip on Tuesday 6/14... to attend an Angel Bootcamp event.

24 very busy folks are contributing a day of their time to put on this free event, and I feel lucky to have been able to snag an invite... was like the universe was telling me something about my current Boulder plans -- nice to know that The Force approves of what I'm doing!

Would have been great to make it into a 2-day trip and see friends there, but I gotta get back and get turned around to head to Boulder on the 16th.

Life refuses to be boring!