Monday, March 18, 2013

Rocky Mountain High - 46 Hours in Denver, Colorado, Part One

and what, or who, is in Denver, you ask?   Only this uber-elegant, inspired, and inspiring woman  who just happened to be celebrating her 70th (I know, WTF???) birthday this past weekend.

When I learned that Judith was planning a party to celebrate her birthday, and the recent re-decoration of her house, I deciding that it was an excellent opportunity for an adventure, and that it was.  Despite flight and border delays, I managed to arrive in Denver on Thursday evening in more or less one piece, and was picked up at the airport by Judith's friend Colleen, her daughter Grace and son Tristan, and their adorable dog Jack, who decided that my lap was the best place to sit for the drive.  It was the best airport pickup ever!

It was my first time in Denver, which is situated in a valley, surrounded by the Colorado Rockies.  I was able to catch a few glimpses of the mountains on the way from the airport to Judith's house, and they were rather breathtaking (apologies for lack of photos, as there was no place to stop the car).  Judith's house was located very close to Denver's City Park, which covers 330 acres, and is home to the Denver Zoo, two lakes, a boathouse, and the Denver Museum of Science and Nature.  Friday morning was warm and sunny - a perfect day for a bit of exploration before party preparations kicked in.

This photo shows the Spanish-style pavillion in the park, originally built in 1896, and re-built twice since that time.  Denver has had very little snow this winter which has resulted in a drought.  When I was walking through the park, firemen were hosing down the dried-out grass

The park is home to a ridiculous number of Canada geese, who, according to the locals I chatted with, never leave, and consequently, the park is minefield of goose droppings.  For some reason, they decided it was time for a parade just as I was approaching.

After a visit to the park, I headed over to Colfax Avenue, known for its live music venues, ethnic restaurants, and home to the famous Tattered Cover bookstore.  I found Annie's Cafe and Bar where I had the largest, and most delicious, breakfast burrito I had ever set eyes on.  I should have taken a photo, but I didn't want to be one of those people who are always taking photos of their food.

I really wanted to get my hair cut at the bad kittie salon, but I'd just had it cut before the trip

.... and in case I happened to forget I was in the United States

the work of some of Denver's talented graffiti artists

This sad-eyed, adorable hound lives next door to Judith, and spends his days alone in his owner's front yard begging for attention.  I wanted to scoop him, but there was no point in getting arrested or in a fight when I was only there for 2 days.  I did get many hand licks though.

Once back at Judith's house, I had time for a little exploring before it was time to get to work.  Her house is warm, and elegant, like Judith herself, and filled with bold, colourful art.  One of my favourite rooms was her downstairs bathroom.

Judith has spent several months turning the home she once shared with her beloved husband Nelson into a place where she could feel comforted, and surrounded by objects that inspire and delight her.  Art is everywhere, as are pieces of her astonishing collection of vintage clothing and accessories.

One of the many gorgeous hats that are on display in the house

The guest room where I camped for two nights was beautifully decorated in warm colours, but the piece de resistance was the scarf wall, an installation designed by Judith and executed by two young women that Judith hired to help her with the organization of her home.  The scarves that Judith has been collecting her entire life were used to create a rich tapestry of multi-coloured silk that was a joy to wake up to in the morning.  Tiny blue lights placed amongst the scarves made the wall into a starry night sky when the room was dark.

Tomorrow... Part Two - The Party, and the answer to the question on everyone's mind "what did you wear?"  You can see the birthday girl's glamorous gown and hat on her blog here


  1. Love the scarf wall, what a great way to have a tons of scarves on display.

  2. The scarf wall is gorgeous!! Denver is such a lovely city-- the Rockies are breathtaking and spring is the best time to be there (IMO)!! How fun that you got to go to the party. Next time take a pic of the burrito. I, for one, love food porn.
    Becky :)

  3. Oh, this is exciting! When I read your previous post, I wondered if you might be heading to the Style Crone's party, so it's wonderful that you're showing us some of the highlights of her home and the event, and I'll look forward to seeing more. I'll also check in on her blog to get her viewpoint on the celebrations. And yes, that scarf wall is simply magnificent!
    jill in Ontario

  4. Wow, I love that downstairs bathroom, too! And the scarf wall is amazing!

  5. Oh you went to Denver! Of course! How wonderful to meet up with Judith again, and for her special party too.
    The park looks lovely, but I know all about the problems of too many geese - there is a park in York we've been to which the kids call Goose Poo Park for obvious reasons! I would so love to go to Annie's for breakfast before heading to the bad kittie salon!
    I am not at all surprised to hear - and see - that Judith's home is as stunning as she is. That wall of scarves is an inspired idea, what a wonderful result of the collaboration with those two young women. So much interest and beauty at every turn - and the party still to come, can't wait! xxxx

  6. I can't believe you went to Denver!? But of course you did. You even met Judith in New York City, so I shouldn't be surprised. The warmth there must have been so welcome. Thanks for the peek into Judith's home - her scarves are like a wall of jewels. I look forward to seeing what you wore to the party! And how lovely to be greeted by the Canadian geese.

  7. I suspected that was where you were off to but I kept quiet! How utterly brilliant to be there to celebrate Judith's epic birthday! Denver looks wonderful and I'm more than a little in love with the scarf installation. xxxx

  8. How incredibly wonderful for you to get to Denver-- to see Judith, and to have an adventure! What a great use of time!!! Wish I could have been there too. All of us who follow Style Crone are in awe of her: her style, her warmth, her writing, her strength. Can hardly wait to see the next installments in her blog and yours.

    Much love from England, (a transplanted Canadian)
    Rosemary from

  9. I would have loved to be there with the two of you, ahhhhhhhhhhhhh

  10. Shelly, I'm soooo delighted you were there!! I had the privilege of spending time with Judith over New Years and was sorry I couldn't get back for her birthday. I can't wait to hear/see more about it. The scarf wall is truly amazing. Denver is cool, isn't it? I have a few wonderful pieces I thrifted while I was there, thanks to Judith.

    I'll be waiting with 'bated breath to see your party outfit!!

  11. Quelle adventure! That scarf wall is so cool. Looking forward to seeing and hearing more of your trip!

  12. shame you couldn't rescue that poor basset hound! Denver looks like such an interesting place, those shop signs are very intriguing, well worth a visit! xx

  13. Holy AMAZING - the wall of scarves is INCREDIBLE!!! More more more pics please!!

    Sarah xxx

  14. How great to have you in Denver for my 70th. Your photos are always perfection, and I'm loving to see/read your perceptions of the city that I call home.

  15. The scarf wall... oh such an inspiring image! thank you so for sharing this!

  16. I enjoy you because of your own efforts on this blog. Kate really loves engaging in investigations and it’s really easy to see why. You are already performing a splendid job.

  17. The scarf wall is amazing! Both functional and decorative. Love it!


  18. That scarf wall is all sorts of amazing!