Throw off the bowlines!

We had the best weekend! Most of my friends were quite unhappy that March reverted back to winter after so many blissful weekends hinting at spring, but not I! Two feet of fluffy snow at Breckenridge. Pounding turn after turn after turn… until I paused breathless to regain some strength. Sunshine glinting off the powder-sugared evergreens. Now that’s what I call a Saturday in March!

After an incredible day on the slopes, we decided to use a Groupon I’d had forever and get some lunch in town. Little did I know what was in store.

The Lost Cajun is a tiny joint full of quirky Big-Easy-Meets-Breck character. We loved it from the moment we sat down at the knotty wood table.image

The meal started with a smiling waitress bringing out a paddle of 6 samples. Nice of them to help us westerners get educated on the difference between gumbo and etouffee and red beans before surveying the menu. After ooh-ing and ah-ing over each taste, we finally had to choose between each delectable dish. So tough!

You really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. My chicken & sausage gumbo was perfectly spiced so that recommended Abita IPA pairing was just what I needed to round out the meal.

And you simply must order the beignets. Trust me…imageMind. Blown.

This is all that was left after the we savored … every… last … beignet bite. image

We loved everything about that restaurant. I highly recommend it next time you’re in town.

On our way walking back through town, I got to thinking (as I do)… why The Lost Cajun gives me such warm fuzzies? It was just the spice of the gumbo, of course. Maybe I was still on a skiing high from all that powdery white stuff (not just the powdered sugar!). But no, there was more to it. Part of The Lost Cajun’s charm is its story about someone taking a risk to pursue a dream. To live adventurously. To not stop with good enough.

Apparently the founder, Griff, and his wife had always wanted to live in the Rockies. But they had a whole life down in Louisiana. Long story short, one day they decided to go for it. They picked all they had in the Big Easy and moved up to Summit County, Colorado. Of all things, they opened a Cajun restaurant! But wouldn’t ya know — people love an authentic, down-home Cajun dish at 9,000 ft just as much as they do at sea level!

To inspire us all to live just as boldly, I collected some of my favorite quotes about going for it. So… muse about a few of these… gather up your gumption… and go get after it!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” — Henry David Thoreau

“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” — Leonardo da Vinci

“If things seem under control, you are just not going fast enough.” — Mario Andretti

“Do not lose hold of your dreams or aspirations. For if you do, you may still exist but you have ceased to live.” — Henry David Thoreau

“It is never too late to be who you might have been.” — George Eliot

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” — Ambrose Redmoon

“Plunge boldly into the thick of life, and seize it where you will, it is always interesting.” — Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

 

The heart of Colorado

I have a confession: I’m falling in love.

Not with a person. I”m already happily married to my soul mate. But rather, with a place. Specifically, Colorado.

When we moved here about a year ago, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find. I had visited many times before, but those encounters were always too brief and necessarily shallow, like those casual conversations you had with that same someone at social events over the years. Since committing to Colorado, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this great state much, much better. And I’m officially in love.

Why tell you this now? Isn’t this whole blog a love song to the Centennial state? Well, yes, in some ways. And yet, a specific experience the other day makes this love worth proclaiming. You know how you can know someone quite well, feel deep affection for them, and yet — still — there are those moments when … click! click! click!… something shifts like a camera view clicking into focus, and you get to see them for who they really, truly are at their heart? Well, not too long ago…

One of those clicks clicked.

My husband’s law school class had decided to put together a spring social. Nothing too fancy, just pulling some strings and doing a little planning for the sake of enjoying life together. Someone happened to be in a band and could bring the entertainment. Another someone took care of getting some local brew. With brew came the offer to make burgers (veggie and cow style!) And someone had the brilliant idea that this social should be outside. They got what funds they could and then asked for voluntary donations. And…

Voila! Colorado at its finest.

Gazing at the monolithic backdrop of the Flatirons, we soaked in the sounds of Winchester Holiday while savoring homemade burgers and the requisite local brew (Odell’s 90 Shilling). A perfect paring! A group of people lounged on the grass at the Chautauqua Green as passers-by hesitated, and then with ever-increasing smiles, decided to join the fun. We mingled with friends and made new friends; everyone was part of the community that day.

The local band Winchester Holiday playing at Chautauqua Park
Winchester Holiday playing at Chautauqua

During one of the rare moments when the sun was shining (it was a partly cloudy day, but that didn’t scare anyone away. We Coloradoans don’t let weather get in the way of life),

I had a profound realization: this was the Colorado I loved.

A perfect symphony melding all five senses; people enjoying community and savoring being alive; the exquisite outdoors creating and enriching the possibilities of the event. I realized that the craft brew movement, the outdoor enthusiasts, the  music scene, the diverse and passionate people that choose to call this place home… all the things that make Colorado Colorado were the grander results of the very details of this very moment.

Now, as I recount how I love my home, I have begun to wonder: what do other Coloradoans love about this place? Fellow friend’s perspectives will assuredly only teach me more about my beloved state…

So, if you happen to live in, hail from, or dream of being in Colorado, please share your stories of our Centennial state…

Azure sky, sunkissed breeze, beckoning trail... need I say more?!
Azure sky, sunkissed breeze, beckoning trail… need I say more?!