Sunday, July 5, 2009

Flights of fancy

Normally, Mrs. Hall prizes her mushroomy pallor, gleaned from hours spent in front of a 14" monitor, ("On you it looks good." Mr. Hall soothes...) but of late she has been sporting a brighter hue, more along the lines of the tomato family. Intense sunshine and high altitude will do that do a soul, she mused, as they mushed on through the American Southwest.
The locals will tell you the best place for breakfast is Snooze's, by the ball park, and that's just where they headed, early Thursday morning. Any place worth its while has a wait, but it was a brief one, just long enough to read the reviews and tantalize the senses, watching all the goodies go by. Erick recommended the early morning mimosas, a suggestion readily agreed on by all but Mr. Hall, who opted for their notoriously spicy bloody mary. (Quite an eye-opener!) The breakfast menu was lush, and several thousand calories later, they rolled out into the fresh morning air and decided to walk off some of the fare downtown.
When you say "Denver" to someone like Mrs. Hall, who has been an Easterner for longer than she would like to admit, images of the old West and Molly Brown spring to mind. So it was a lovely surprize to see such a youthful, clean and invitingly artistic environment present in that urban space. Every detail of the city seemed decorated, from the concrete embankments sporting western reliefs to the contempory ironwork surrounding the many balconies overlooking the shopping district. Actually, Master Erick said, invoking Molly Brown is quite apropos, because no visit to Denver would be complete without a stop at the famous Brown Palace. Inside the beautiful lobby that morning, workers were struggling with a garrison size American flag they were hanging in the atrium of the lobby. Even the employees at the front desk were enthralled as they raised it up over eight floors high. The Halls contented themselves with playing hide and seek, back and forth within the glamourous environs of the mezzanine and the Winston bar.
There's a lot to see downtown, and Erick had suggested the art museum with its collection of psychedelic 70s art on display currently, but what had really intrigued the Halls was seeing what remained of the old Lowry AFB and the museum there, so off they went.
A few of the old office buildings and hangers remain on the grounds of the old Lowry base, but most of the area surrounding it has been given over to new modern condos and apartments, turning the former government facility into trendy housing just east of the city. One of those hangers bore the legend "Wings Over the Rockies" and turned out to contain a surprizingly large and entertaining museum. From engaging historical exhibits, such as early aviation radio equipment and attire, to the fanciful- including a huge mockup of an X-wing fighter from Star Wars, the museum did not disappoint. The volunteers, mostly made up of Air Force veterans, were eager and knowledgable; some of them even helping place a small child into a miniature version of a Corsair and pushing him around the hanger, much to everyone's delight!
Of course, all this fun makes you hungry, so after a short respite, just long enough change our clothes and glance in the mirror, they were off again to the fashionable part of town and Elways restaurant, where Erick had thoughtfully made dinner reservations for 8 o'clock. It would be unpardonable to go to Denver and not have steak, and that is just what our hearty bunch indulged in, and a fine steak it was, too! Rolling out of yet another eatery, they strolled the streets of Cherry Creek late that evening, where workers were erecting the booths and stringing lights for their annual Art Fair. Though it was not officially open, the Halls did manage to meet many of the artists while they were arranging their booths, and it was the perfect ending to another exciting day. Next episode: Jeppesen Sanderson and Points Southwest; stay tuned!

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