Day Trip: Colorado Carousel + Waterfall
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Rushing streams, pigs with wings, and all the feels.
Recently I visited Denver on business. After a couple days of working hard, I decided to play semi-hard, and spent a couple days near Boulder with a dear friend, Hillary, and her family.
The Carousel of Happiness - Nederland, Colorado
Get ready for some feels. I will never be too old to ride a carousel, so when in the middle of running errands, Hillary told me there was something called a "Carousel of Happiness" under an hour away, I said "Ok ...so today we're playing hooky." We grabbed her 10 year old, Annie, from camp and said "Surprise... we're going on an adventure!" (This is why I'm only allowed visit her twice a year, because we get into trouble.)
“The carousel is a labor of love, a gift to residents and visitors, meant to restore, to heal and bring happiness”
Vietnam veteran Scott Harrison purchased the abandoned carousel frame after returning from war, and spent nearly three decades carving the animals on it.
From the Carousel's website: "As a young Marine in Vietnam Scott had received a tiny music box that he held to his ear to distract him from the horror of the war going on around him. The music, Chopin’s “Tristesse”, brought him a peaceful image of a carousel in a mountain meadow. After rescuing the abandoned Looff carousel in Utah, he spent the next 26 years hand-carving animals to bring it back to life."
I'm not crying, you're crying. The carousel is a labor of love, a gift to Nederland residents and visitors, meant to restore, to heal and bring happiness in the face of whatever scars you. It's a very special place, and we rode the carousel several times (I rode a pig with wings and a st. bernard), with every turn seeing something new in the gorgeous, intricate carvings.
If you're hungry, there are several little restaurants, breweries and the like in the area, like James Peak Brewery or New Moon Bakery & Cafe.
The drive back to Boulder we were winding through the mountains alongside gorgeous streams, watching kayaks, tubers, and rock climbers the whole way. Watching everyone enjoying the outdoors, I was getting really antsy, like I needed some nature time. Unfortunately, I was also still pretty tired from working so hard. Fortunately, Hillary knew just the place to stop for a quick fix.
“Great for kids and the elderly or if you're just feeling lazy but want to get in some nature for a couple hours.”
Boulder Falls is a short constitutional with five star views. Great for kids and the elderly or if you're just feeling lazy but want to get in some nature for a couple hours or have a scenic road side picnic. It wasn't too crowded when we were there. (You could, of course, hit the falls first if you do this day trip.)
We spent some time sitting by the falls, breathing in all the spray, photographing rock cairns, ignoring the "Are you coming home soon??" texts from her husband for just a little bit longer. Highly relaxing and rewarding for very little effort. All in all, a nice day. (And yes, we made it home for dinner... eventually.)
Carousel of Happiness: 20 Lakeview Drive, Nederland, CO | Thurs - Monday till 6pm
Boulder Falls: Boulder Canyon Dr, Nederland, CO 80466
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