Tag Archives: New Years Eve

NYE 2016 in Denver

Things have been a different this year around the holidays.  Lots of changes are happening so while I was driving to the beach for a 5 day mini vacation, stuck in traffic, I got a crazy idea in my head.  I have wanted to go to Denver for a while now, I had the time, and my bonus was burning a hole in my pocket.  It took me just over 5 hours but I finally made it to Rehoboth Beach and started doing research.  I knew it would take me two solid days of driving to get there and another two getting back.  I could arrive late on Friday and spend all Saturday in Denver.  A quick check of local NYE shows and I found that The String Cheese Incident was playing the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield.  String Cheese doesn’t tour much so this would be a good opportunity to see them and besides this is a hometown show for them.

Thursday morning I started this adventure by watching the sunrise on the beach.  It was overcast with a lite drizzle but I managed to see parts of the sun as it broke the horizon.  From here it was nothing but driving across the country.  The weather on the east coast wasn’t to great.  I drove through snow, rain and fog for about half the day.  I made a reservation for a hotel in St. Louis and didn’t make it there till around midnight.  One day done and my old bones where already starting to feel it.

Just get on the road and drive.

The next morning started early, I was out the door around 7am.  I knew this last part of the trip would take me a solid 12 hours and I wanted to spend at least some time that night having some fun.  On the outskirts of St. Louis another idea started to take shape.  I would have been perfectly happy going to Denver on my own but instead I brought Nancy and Jeremy with me.  It was a busy morning making a lot of phone calls and booking travel but totally worth it.  This was shaping up to be a pretty awesome last minute adventure for New Year Eve.

I drove all day and watched the sun set across Kansas which was really nice.  Finally I made it to Denver and when you come in on 70W you round this slight hill and then the city just appears in front of you.  It is this massive city with suburbs that go for miles.  Honestly I was shocked at how big Denver is.  On Saturday as we drove around I got a better idea just how big it is.  By the time I got into town Nancy had already landed and made her way to the hotel to check in.  I didn’t arrive till almost nine but it felt good to finally be in Denver.  Jeremy was on a later flight so Nancy and I head to True Food Kitchen just down the street for dinner.  After crap food for two days I wanted something super health and True Food Kitchen delivered.  They also had beer so it was my first sample of beer from Colorado.  Eventually Nancy and I retired to the hotel bar for another drink and this is when Jeremy arrived.  He worked a full day and then hopped on a plain so didn’t get in till almost 11.

Saturday, New Years Eve.  We all had tickets to SCI but we had a ton of time to kill before the show started.  We started with breakfast on the top floor which over looked the front range.  When I came into town it was already dark so this was my first sight of the mountains.  Denver is already a mile high and I knew the mountains where much taller still.  The mountains stretched for as far as the eye could see.  Denver is still a good distance away but they still looked impressive.  At breakfast we strategized what our plan would be for the day.  It really came down to what brewery we could find that was open at 10am.

All day we traveled across the city visiting as many breweries as we could.  By the end of the day we hit four in all and one restaurant that served some really good food and had a ton of local craft beer on draft.  First up was CO Brew which we thought we got wrong when we pulled up.  It is a home brew retail store and not a brewery per say.  We found they do in fact brew beer on premise, they teach glasses on home brewing so make a tone of beer.  Very interesting place to have our first beer of the morning.  As cool as everything was it didn’t inspire me to start home brewing.

On the recommendation of the bartender we went to Black Sky Brewing next.  This spot is certainly geared toward metal and hard rock.  My first impression was that this place would be an interesting stop on our trail, just a minor speed bump.  Of all the places this was the one I liked best.  The beer was good but it was the people that made it so enjoyable.  Not only was the staff very friendly but the other patrons really made it a fun time doing a little day drinking.

Black Sky sent us to Strange Craft down by the river.  This is a small hole in the wall but it had character.  Here the beer was very good with a wide variety to choose from.  We got to talking and the guys from Black Sky actually got their start at Strange Craft doing a home brew startup thing.  Small world when you think about it.  By this time we all where pretty hungry and headed over to Sloan’s Lake Tap and Burger for some food.  The burgers where all really good and the selection of local craft was amazing.  Very nice decor on the inside with huge ceilings and plenty of space for guests.  The building is brand new but the neighborhood could still use some work.

By now it was getting pretty late in the afternoon so we headed back to the hotel to rally for String Cheese.  I really wanted to take a nap because day drinking really wears me out but there was no time for that.  We got an Uber and headed to one last brewery before the show.  The last place we went to was 4 Noses Brewing just a couple blocks from the venue.  It was a nice place so close but honestly I didn’t care for the place.  The brewery is brand new and modern but it lacked character.  I also thought the beer all tasted pretty much the same.  It didn’t matter what style you got, they all had this underlying orange citrus taste to them.  They even all looked similar.  As much as I wanted to like the place I just couldn’t bring myself to find anything good about it.

Doors for the show were at 7 with the performance starting at 8.  It was all general admission so we didn’t feel a need to arrive early and grab a spot.  I was just happy to be there. I unfortunately could only manage the first set before I had enough.  The long day of drinking and two days of straight driving was catching up with me.  Nancy and I decided to head back to the hotel and Jeremy stayed for the remainder of the show.  The report the next morning from Jeremy was good and I have listened to the show several times at this point.

As soon as my head hit the pillow it felt like it was time to get up and get going.  I dropped Jeremy and Nancy off at the airport and started back home to Virginia.  Getting back was just as interesting crossing the country but not much inclement weather this time.  Just like going out to Denver I stopped in St. Louise for the night.  I got home before midnight on Monday which was my goal and got to work the next morning right on time.

Not sure if I will drive that far again anytime soon but it was a great trip further west then I had ever been before.  Seeing String Cheese Incident, even if it was just for one set during a three set night was still worth it.  I was able to cross several more breweries off my list.  Honestly there wasn’t a bad part about the trip.  Already thinking about seeing Medeski, Martina and Wood at Red Rocks in late April just so I can spend more time in Denver.

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge entrance sign

Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge December 2011

hundreds of snow geese

Photo Gallery

Once again the family has gone to the beach house to celebrate the coming New Year.  Last year I intended to do some hiking on January 1st, but that turned out to be a bad idea as I was to hung over from the night before to even think about going for a hike.  This year I got smart, I hiked before the festivities began while I still was still feeling good.

I was thinking about the Seashore Park but I couldn’t find it on the map, not sure if it is still around, and just decided to hike another park.  To the north of Rehoboth Beach I found the Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge which is over 10,000 acres of freshwater and salt marshes, woodlands, grasslands, scrub-brush habitats, ponds, bottom land forested areas, a 7-mile long creek, and agricultural lands.  Only 30 minutes from the house this would provide all the nature I could handle for the day.

crazy dead tree

The weather was rather mild for being almost January, mid 50’s but overcast, so at times it did get a little chilly.  I parked near the entrance and decided to combine a few trails and hike the perimeter of the refuge, taking in all the various types of terrain the park had to offer.  One think I noticed early one was all the deer blinds positioned around the park.  I could understand why they where placed there as I ran across two deer while trekking through the woods towards one of the ponds.  I came across many birds like this, just stumble across them.  I rounded one corner and found 4 turkey vultures sitting on an electrical pole, two of them with their wings spread wide.  I was amazed at how large these birds are and that they allowed me to approach so close.

At the extreme end of the park there is an observation tower that overlooks much of the marsh.  Here there are several bird blinds, one of which I saw was occupied.  I was fortunate to go during the migration season and saw several flocks of hundreds of snow geese fly by.  Several species of ducks were also using the pond.  It was incredible to see hundreds of birds flying over head.  As soon as one wave was done, another would come in.  Fortunately for the ducks they stayed well clear of the bird blind.

In addition to the numerous bird blinds for hunting they have a singular photography booth along one of the marshes.  It was empty when I arrived so I took the opportunity to smoke a cigar and wait for some birds to show up.  All day I had seen only a few birds, most of the waterfowl would fly away long before I could get close enough for a picture.  I could tell they are not use to humans so I figured the blind would provide plenty of cover and allow me to get some good shots.  After almost an hour no birds came near the blind.  The few I did see would land on the other side of the pond, well out of range of my camera.  I could see coming early in the morning or even taking a small boat to the one of the bird blinds in the marsh and waiting for some birds.  It would be long time to wait, but I think the shots I could get would make the waiting worth it.

4 turkey vultures on a power line pole
4 big turkey vultures

By now the sun was setting and the temperature was starting to dip.  I completed my loop of the refuge and headed back to my car.  The final leg of my walk is a long straight fire road that reminds me of my hike at Pinckney Island.  This is another wildlife refuge that has some great marsh land outside of Hilton Head, SC.  Prime Hook didn’t have the low hanging fog with the sun streaking in like Pinckney Island.

My hike took just over three hours and I managed to hike 4 miles according to my GPS unit.  I certainly could have hiked further but I spent much of my time going off trail trying to find some waterfowl and almost an hours in the photo blind waiting for birds that never showed.  This is a great place to hike during migratory season as you will be able to see many many bird species as they pass through town on their way south.

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New Years Eve 2011, back to the beach

celebrations at Dos Locos for NYE
lets party!

Concert Photos | NYE Photos

This years New Years Eve party happened again at the beach house in Rehoboth with a few additions and surprises.  First off Marvin flew in for the holidays again after having surgery last years.  We also convinced Matt to come along for the first time and join in the festivities.  A not-to-be-missed once-in-a-lifetime concert with Nancy and my Dad was to take place as well.  Last year while at the beach, late in the evening and after many drinks, a plan was hatched for the two of them to play a duet together on acoustic guitar.  This was going to be the best NYE ever!

Getting to the beach turned out to be more of a hassle than in years past, traffic was not the problem.  The post-Christmas crowds had already died down and not many people travel long distances for celebrations.  The timing of January 1 also worked in our favor as Friday was the observed holiday so we all left on Thursday night after work, again making traffic a breeze.  What we didn’t count on was the blizzard that hit the beach a few days before.  When Nancy, Pat, and Marvin arrived in the afternoon they where greeted with a five foot pile of snow blocking the drive way.  The snow was plowed directly into the driveway from a cross street.  They spent over an hour clearing the snow till Matt showed up and finished what remained.  My Dad and I had to work so we got a late start and completely missed shoveling snow, what great timing.

chefs in the kitchen
lots of great food

It was great having a long weekend at the beach house with plenty of time to prepare for the party and a long night of drinking.  Getting up on NYE at the house was a fantastic way to start the day.  We pretty much lounged around all day till the afternoon hours when we started getting dinner ready for our feast.  By now the first beers and wine has been opened for everyone to enjoy so we where off and running.  For dinner Matt hooked up some nice fat pork chops with side of pasta and homemade sauce.  Nancy and I contributed with a <INSERT DISH NAME> dish we got from a recent cook book her brother gave us for Christmas.  The food was fantastic as we all stuffed our faces in preparations for the long night ahead.

Around 6pm, before dinner was served, the concert took place in a grand spectacle in the living room.  As the official audio and photo archivist I had my gear setup and ready to roll come show time.  The two of them played for almost an hour with various songs ranging all types of genera.  I must say the recording came out alright, very low levels as it was an acoustic show.  I think were I really shined where in the photos I took that night.  I of course would love to have a better lens that bigger aperture to shot in low light, but I think they came out rather well.

acoustic concert with Nancy and my Dad
the highlight was the concert

After dinner stuck around the dinner table talking for a long while just relaxing.  That is probably the thing I love most about the beach house is the rush to do nothing.  There are not schedules, no time lines, nothing has to be done so we just sit around and relax.  Eventually the discussion turned to what to do at the witching hour of midnight.  We decided on a little bar hoping and got an early start, we left just after 10.  We wanted to grab our first drink at Fins which from last year we knew would close early.  Even though we arrived just after 10pm, the bar already took last call so we immediately walked out and headed across the street to Finbar.  Here they were remodeling in the off season and we got a preview of the new layout.  The big change was to move the bar close to the entrance and expanded it greatly to accommodate three times as many people.

The service here was not to great so we quickly finished our round and headed down to our local haunt for New Years, Dos Locos.  Here the crowd was lively and the place packed.  We were fortunate to grab two tables just as another group got up to leave.  The table was not yet cleared but we snatched it regardless.  Here was spent almost an hour as we drank a few rounds and rang in the new year with champagne.  After the hooping and hollering died down we headed back to the house to continue the celebrations.  Some more drinks and dancing, all of a sudden it was about 3am as everyone started dropping out for some much needed rest.

dance party
dance party

January 1 was a quite and lazy day for everyone.  I didn’t feel so hot for much of the morning and early afternoon, I should not have had that last whiskey sour with Matt.  That drink did me in, but it certainly was worth it.  We watched a lot of football and I was able to finish the book I was reading, Deception Point by Dan Brown.  As a matter of fact I don’t know if anyone even left the house that day.

By the time Sunday rolled around everyone was feeling good and back to life as we all headed back home.  Another successful New Years celebration.  We even got Nancy and my Dad to commit to another concert next year with an expanded list of songs.  Both committed to getting together once a month practice for the never-to-be-repeated-again concert event of the year.

See you all next year at the beach, have a wonderful new year everyone!

New Years Eve 2009, Rehoboth Beach

For the second year in a row Nancy and I went to Rehoboth Beach, DE to celebrate New Years with my Dad and his wife.  We left early on NYE so we have plenty of time to get up there and relax for a while before a long night of drinking.  After a quick settling in period it was time to start drinking and getting some food cooked.  It is a tradition to cook a good meal and then head out to a bar for a quick drink, then return back to the house to celebrate the ball dropping.

party time!
party time!

This year we changed it up a little.  We still had a great meal of grilled salmon and chicken.  Then about 10pm we headed out to the bar for a couple of drinks.  Our first stop, Fins, was for a sole purpose, Nancy and I wanted to get oyster shooters.  Last year was the first time I ever had one and we wanted to recreate that unique experience.  They infuse their vodka with all these herbs, add an oyster of your choice, with a shot of Tabasco for good measure.  I am not a real big fan, but it is a cool thing to do.  Unfortunately when we got there they were closing down the place.  They had taken last call and were cleaning up.  Who ever heard of a bar closing at 10pm on new years eve?

Undaunted we headed to a second watering hole.  One we knew would be open and would be happy to take our money.  That place was Dos Locos further down on Rehoboth Avenue.  This place was very lively, packed, and ready to ring in the new year.  It was so packed we almost didn’t get a table, fortunately a couple was leaving and we took their table to crowd around.  We even got our old waiter from last year, Jeff, and he actually remembered us.  It was great to be back at the place.  We even got necklaces and party hats again.  I got the “special” one saying “Happy New Year.”  All it cost me was a pinch on the butt, a small price to pay for such a luxury.  After the first round we talked and decided to stick around for New Years.  At midnight we had a champagne toast to ring in the new year, the place was a mad house.

recovery time
recovery time

Shortly after midnight we headed back to the house in the blistering cold weather, that was not a fun walk.  But with all of us being slightly drunk, and “feeling” warm, it was not that bad.  Once back at the house it was a few more hours of drinks, dancing, and conversation.  Also the always popular drunk calling to all our family and friends.  I was able to take a lot of great pictures, most of which my family would kill me if I posted, but they are so funny to look at.

The next morning came early for all of us.  But we powered through it with a good breakfast and lots of coffee.  Since we all took Friday off we were in no hurry to get back home.  We could just relax for a change on new years day.  For the most part we didn’t leave the house.  Simply cooked food, watched a little tv, and got things done around the house.  Even though it was a vacation, it was a working vacation.  Every time we are up at the house in the off season we take the opportunity to prep for the summer rental season.

let it snow, let it snow
let it snow, let it snow

For Friday we actually ventured out of the house for the first time.  We also got the hot water heater fixed early that morning.  It was the first hot shower I had in days and made getting up and out so much easier.  It was a day filled with some shopping for the most part.  With all the great deals and no taxes in DE, what a perfect time to spend some money.  On the way back it even started to snow.  And not just a little flurry that didn’t stick, no actual large flakes of snow that stuck to the ground.  When we finally get home I was so excited to get out and walk around.  With it being the first snow fall of this year I am excited for more, a lot more, like feet more.

By the late afternoon Nancy, my uncle and I walked down to the beach.  Not a good time to sun on the sand or get into the water, but still nice to walk around.  It’s is something to see the beach with snow on it.  I never really think about something like that but it does happen, I have the pictures to prove it.  With it being the late afternoon the sun was setting fast and the wind was back with a vengeance.  So after a quick walk it was back to the house for us all for another fine meal.

walk on the beach
walk on the beach

Our final day was a quick one, get up, clean, and drive home.  With it only being Saturday there was still one day left in the weekend to enjoy before it was back to the grind and the start of a new year.  What a great weekend it was, even without hot water for most of it.  Got to spend time with my family away from home.  Ate good home cooked food, got a little shopping done, survived a mini blizzard and even got a little walking done despite the severe cold and howling wind.  Can’t wait till next year.