Summer Getaway: Glenwood Springs
Last week I went with the whole fam (me, my husband and the two kids) to Glenwood Springs, about two and a half hours west of Denver. The main attraction for us is the Hot Springs Pool, which is huge, warm, and (although they do treat it with a little chlorine) smells neither of chemicals nor sulphur.
Besides the mountain-valley view, another perk at the pool is that they allow you to bring your inflatable floaties, noodles, balls and other pool toys. Chairs and chaise lounges are available on a first-come basis, so we got there around 8 (the pool opens at 7:30) to stake out our little setup next to the lodge (on the left-hand side of the photo above) so that we were shaded all day. The pool has a snack bar that serves burgers, ice cream and other junk food at double the usual price, but they also allow you to bring in coolers with your own stuff. We bought deli sandwiches en route to the pool and tucked them into the cooler with our drinks.
My kids are too little to go on the water slide, so I can’t report on whether that’s worth the money or not. The pool isn’t cheap, but there’s a little bit of a price reduction on weekdays and you can come back all day long after you stamp your hand. In the past I have enjoyed coming back to the pool at night — the warm water, the quiet and the cool mountain air make for a really relaxing end to the day. But… for now, that’s past “our” bedtime.
Glenwood Springs has a few quaint city blocks that are fun to walk around, with lots of restaurants and at least one really good coffee shop (The Bluebird Cafe). Against my better judgment, one evening we sat down to a nice dinner at Juicy Lucy’s – it’s the kind of place that doesn’t exactly scream, “Bring your kids here!” but they have a children’s menu and I didn’t feel underdressed wearing khakis and a t-shirt, so it’s not that “highfalutin.’” (Bonus: the waiter didn’t balk when I asked if I could just share my food with my toddler instead of ordering her an $8 mac-n-cheese.) It’s a nice dinner, and it’s not exactly cheap, so I wish we had saved it for another time when our little guy is old enough to not require toys (and the throwing of toys) for his amusement throughout the meal.
We chose last weekend in particular because it was Strawberry Days in Glenwood. I’m a sucker for small-town parades and hootenannys, so we took in the parade on the main drag, then went to the carnival grounds where they had loads of food vendors, a stage with a military band, and free ice cream with strawberries for all!
I can’t wait until we go to Glenwood again next year. But in the interest of full-disclosure, I must admit: this time around, with kids who will be one and three in a month, it was not a relaxing vacation. It didn’t help that we forgot to bring our own pillows (never, ever forget your own pillows!). Sleep quality was down for all four of us, and by the second morning at the pool I got to enjoy not one, but two walks of shame to the ladies’ locker room toting a screaming nearly-three-year old over my shoulder. Nonetheless, the kids did have a good time (my tiny guy fell asleep in his floating-ladybug contraption – he was so relaxed!) and as we headed back to the city following the Strawberry Days festivities, I was a little sad that we couldn’t hit the pool again the next day.