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When I first got there, on 10/9/09 around 3:45 PM, it was slightly gloomy out and there was a big white tent on the [ceremony] lawn. I wandered around taking photos for a while, called a friend and chatted on the patio for a good 30 minutes, saw a hawk (and took it’s photo), before heading home via the grocery store to prep and cook shabbos dinner.

The next day (Saturday the 10th), it snowed. That’s not quite true, it started at about 9 PM the night before. There were about 2″ total after 1.5″ overnight and flurries all day. The temperature never got above 24ºF and it was COLD. Just to remind you all, that new record low (17ºF) set that day was set on our -1 year anniversary.

BE PREPARED AND CHECK THE LONG RANGE FORECAST BEFORE PACKING TO VISIT COLORADO. It would be unfortunate if you say packed a sun dress to wear to a wedding accompanied by the first snow of the year, or if you packed something fall/winter appropriate only to find it sunny and 75ºF.

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Friday night, Ben and I went to check out the Hazel Miller Band at the Millennium Hotel, the place with the yurt. Remember how I couldn’t check out the bathrooms when we visited because they were locked. I kinda wish I’d never seen them….

Yurt Bathroom

I told my dad that they reminded me of CCC park restrooms. His response: “Heh, oooh. Not good.” Correct, not good. The public restrooms on Pearl Street are nicer! There is almost nothing that can be done with just a bathroom basket to nicen this place up, it’s just BLAH. Small, cramped, un-heated in the winter and BLAH. So, we decided that lest our guests believe that we never checked out the restrooms before booking the beautiful yurt, we said good bye to the Millennium Hotel.

From there, where the music was too loud for Mr. Ben’s sensitive ears anyway, we were still in search of dinner. The original plan had been to try out the food at the Millennium while there were other people there instead of being doted on in an almost empty hotel restaurant. I would have felt awkward when they asked where we were visiting from as opposed to going on a busy night meant for locals.

We decided to check out the Chautauqua Dining Hall for dinner. From inside the Millennium I called to see if we needed a reservation (we didn’t), and we were on our way. 15 minutes later we were walking up to the Dining Hall. At first I thought we were under dressed, wearing jeans and all, but once we got there I noticed two things 1) there was a wedding inside the main dining room and 2) not only were were not under dressed, in jeans, hiking shoes and a fleece jacket we were dress EXACTLY like 90% of the clientele that evening who weren’t wedding guests. Even the waitstaff were wearing kaki cargo pants/shorts and t-shirts with a silhouette of the Fiddler on the Roof with the caption of “a taste of tradition…” I like blending in.

Pasta Primavera

We shared a very good salad caprice as an appetizer, Ben had the Trout Amandine and I had the Fusilli Primavera. I thought Fusilli were the bowties, oh well, giant elbows are good too. Both our dishes were perfectly cooked and delicious. After we inhaled the appetizer and were sopping up the balsamic vinegar with the crusty sourdough table bread, I said “I just got a waft of something yummy.” Almost immediately, our food arrived! I’ll have to take Ben’s word for it since his dinner was covered in evil allergens, but he said his food was perfect too. Mine was so good that I couldn’t resist digging in before I shot the above photo. Sadly both photos I tried to take of Ben’s plate came out sad and fuzzy looking. Oh well. Low lighting is not the best for an older digital point and shoot.

Dessert was by far the best course. A lemon tart. Yum. Ben said the decaf was good too, again, I’ll take his word for it since I’m not a coffee drinker at all.

So, now we’re still deciding between the St. Julien, somewhere else (which is now the Chautauqua Dining Hall), and the elusive Flagstaff House Restaurant. We haven’t gotten to visit Flagstaff because we wanted to try the food but it’s too pricy for us while I’m out of a job. St. Julien is no wilting flower in the price department either, but we can still afford to go there for lunch and know that the food is wonderful. Flagstaff is only open for dinner by reservation only.

Would anyone like to gift us a fancy night out for two? We’ll be responsible (fiscally and calorically) and share the starter and dessert, or main and dessert, and drink tap water too so that we can keep our tab under $100. Anyone? No?I didn’t think so. My dad had better come visit soon, maybe he’ll take us….

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Friday night, Ben and I went to check out the Hazel Miller Band at the Millennium Hotel, the place with the yurt. Remember how I couldn’t check out the bathrooms when we visited because they were locked. I kinda wish I’d never seen them….

Yurt Bathroom

I told my dad that they reminded me of CCC park restrooms. His response: “Heh, oooh. Not good.” Correct, not good. The public restrooms on Pearl Street are nicer! There is almost nothing that can be done with just a bathroom basket to nicen this place up, it’s just BLAH. Small, cramped, un-heated in the winter and BLAH. So, we decided that lest our guests believe that we never checked out the restrooms before booking the beautiful yurt, we said good bye to the Millennium Hotel.

From there, where the music was too loud for Mr. Ben’s sensitive ears anyway, we were still in search of dinner. The original plan had been to try out the food at the Millennium while there were other people there instead of being doted on in an almost empty hotel restaurant. I would have felt awkward when they asked where we were visiting from as opposed to going on a busy night meant for locals.

We decided to check out the Chautauqua Dining Hall for dinner. From inside the Millennium I called to see if we needed a reservation (we didn’t), and we were on our way. 15 minutes later we were walking up to the Dining Hall. At first I thought we were under dressed, wearing jeans and all, but as we got closer I noticed two things 1) there was a wedding inside the main dining room and 2) not only were were not under dressed, in jeans, hiking shoes and a fleece jacket we were dress EXACTLY like 90% of the clientele that evening who weren’t wedding guests. Even the waitstaff were wearing kaki cargo pants/shorts and t-shirts with a silhouette of the Fiddler on the Roof with the caption of “a taste of tradition…” I like blending in.

Pasta Primavera

We shared a very good salad caprice as an appetizer, Ben had the Trout Amandine and I had the Fusilli Primavera. I thought Fusilli were the bowties, oh well. Both our dishes were perfectly cooked and delicious. After we inhaled the appetizer and were sopping up the balsamic vinegar with the crusty sourdough table bread, I said “I just got a waft of something yummy.” Almost immediately, our food arrived! I’ll have to take Ben’s word for it since his dinner was covered in evil allergens, but he said his food was perfect too. Mine was so good that I couldn’t resist digging in before I shot the above photo. Sadly both photos I tried to take of Ben’s plate came out sad and fuzzy looking. Oh well. Low lighting is not the best for an older digital point and shoot.

Dessert was by far the best course. A lemon tart. Yum. Ben said the decaf was good too, again, I’ll take his word for it since I’m not a coffee drinker at all.

So, now we’re still deciding between the St. Julien, somewhere else (which is now the Chautauqua Dining Hall), and the elusive Flagstaff House Restaurant. We haven’t gotten to visit Flagstaff because we wanted to try the food but it’s too pricy for us while I’m out of a job. St. Julien is no wilting flower in the price department either, but we can still afford to go there for lunch and know that the food is wonderful. Flagstaff is only open for dinner by reservation only.

Would anyone like to gift us a fancy night out for two? We’ll be responsible (fiscally and calorically) and share the starter and dessert, or main and dessert, and drink tap water too so that we can keep our tab under $100. Anyone? No?I didn’t think so. My dad had better come visit soon, maybe he’ll take us….

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Here’s my report on my visit to Boulder’s St. Julien hotel yesterday morning:

lawn

This is the view that we’d have for the ceremony (imagine the retaining wall with a lattice work the hight of the taller posts, to block the street view better). The chuppah would be in the corner, with a table over the electrical access plate, and the isle running diagonally across the lawn.

gazebo

This gazebo is where a lot of people set their ceremony. How dull. Who wants a view of a the hotel? The mountains are a much better backdrop than the hotel, IMHO.

Xanado III

This is the far end of the ballroom. There are 3 parts, this is the smallest.

chandelier

This is one the chandeliers that are in the ballroom. Just thought I’d show off how the ballroom is more modern/contemporary, and less East Coast opulent.

table settings

Here’s the closer/front of the ballroom with breakfast table settings on cream cotton waffle table linens.

carpet

Here’s a picture of the carpet. It’s a dark bluish charcoal with a leafy motif. Definitely not the plushy paisley  we were seeing on the East Coast.

mountains from loby

Here’s the view from the lobby. I LOVE BOULDER!

lobby fireplace

This is the lobby. The window looking area on the left is a HUGE gas fireplace. It has broken industrial glass on the bottom, instead of the fake logs that you usually see. The reason it looks like a window is that it can be opened on the other to provide a fireplace for the patio (where we’d have cocktails).

entrance

The main entrance. I like being pampered at nice hotels. It’s a great touch when they open the door and greet you as you’re coming and going. Such a nice touch.

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Stone Mountain LodgeUm, there was no lodge. The bathrooms had showers and brown tiles. The ceremony site was gorgeous, but the reception tent was just eh. The “bridal tent” smelled like mildew.

Overall, you’d get some decent bang for your buck, but it definitely isn’t the right place for us. Though I did meet a really helpful caterer/event planner. With this venue, I’m too worried about everyone 1) getting stuck in the mud if there’s any inclement weather and 2) it being a place you have to drive too, people drinking at our simcha and then driving is a big fear of mine. I think we’re going to stick with places downtown, within walking distance of a hotel, or at a hotel/lodge that has an actual lodge and isn’t a motel.

Whatever, I sound like I’m bashing the place…. That wasn’t my goal. If you’re into cushy rustic, then this is the place for you. From the cute little cabins I saw a family of deer, and the vistas are amazing. But, apparently I’m attached to amenities like pavement and nicer bathrooms. Oh well. I’m sure it is the perfect place for the right couple.

 the cute little upstairs of a guest cabin
reception tent dance floor

the bridal tent/getting ready area (me in the mirror)

duck pond and yellow wildlife crossing sign in the background

outside of the reception tent

ceremony area

bathroom building with mini storage barn in front of it

looking down at the reception tent and duck pond from the entrance

one of the guest houses

mule deer

looking down the corridor at the motel-like rooms

the area where you’re allowed to put RVs and tents

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Here are photos of the tour the dude and I went on this morning. The minimum is $10,000, with a $500 setup fee. They only hold one event per day so there’s no need to worry about not having a weather backup plan because someone else got in the way. I’ve annotated the photos. I forgot to take photos of the day room that we would have access to all weekend, but it’s about 800 square feet and has a large bathroom. It also has a wall of windows and they’d bring in whatever furniture we want in there, we only saw it bare. The only rules for the day room: no sleeping overnight in there and no liquor. They would also provide one complimentary “superior” room for Ben and I to have the night of the wedding.

The hotel is totally OK with us using an ice cream cater (though they would rather arrange it, like most other places) as well as having a flambe station. Candles and open flames are fine. There are a bunch of glass/mirror things we can use for no extra charge to make up table decorations, and their regular china is just fine but they have an arrangement with a rental company if we want to upgrade. I wonder if we can have a bonfire too…. That would be icing on the cake.

The Pavilion, or as I like to call it, the yurt, can hold up to 300. They put down a portable dance floor out on the side where the tennis courts are. There are dark green, waterproof canvases (I think they have windows) that can be rolled down if needed. There are also space heaters they can bring out if we want to stay outside even if it’s totally freezing. The bathroom is on the right.

Here’s the covered pathway from the hotel to the pavilion/yurt. The bathroom is on the left. It was locked, so I didn’t get to check it out.

This is the lawn where most people set up their ceremony. You can see the mountains through the frees. The bridge goes over the creek and joins the Boulder Creek Path, it goes all the way out to the synagogue (34 blocks) and up to Boulder Falls (passing Pearl Street, about 1 1/2 miles away). That’s the edge of the pavilion on the far right.

The tennis courts in the background are covered in big white bubbles by mid September.

This is the indoor/snow/rainstorm option. It’s a ballroom. It has windows that overlook the courtyard where the pavilion/cocktail area/lawn are.

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entry way

My aunt and uncle are members of River Bend Golf and Country Club in Great Falls, Virginia. It is about 15 to 20 minutes from my parents house, and about 10 from Great Falls National Park.

They’re redecorating it next winter. Sadly, it is too small for our needs. Only 90 people for the ceremony if it needs to be held inside. Very affordable though, but also very do-it-yourself. There really wasn’t a planner, just a site coordinator.

the outside, front entrance

the pretty foyer, looking back towards the welcome desk


there’s a piano in there!

the “rotunda” area, the corner of the L-shaped room we would have the small leg and corner of (the larger leg is the club’s main dining area and can’t be rented out)

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Our number one venue in Washington, DC is Sequoia, in Georgetown. It is apparently named after the presidential yacht, not the tree. The yacht might be named after the tree… Anyway, here are the photos. It is SO pretty. Here’s a review showing what it looks like in the winter: review.

It’s pretty. You can see the Kennedy Center looking down the river, and you can sorta see Georgetown looking up (or just the Key Bridge). Across the Potomac is Roosevelt Island, a National Park. Here are my pictures:


^ yes, that IS the Kennedy Center

on yeah, we’d have the WHOLE patio to ourselves

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