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A-Z Guidebook: Union Station, Denver

Welcome to the A-Z Guidebook Link Up. If you would like to join, read the A-Z Guidebook tab at the top of the blog and write a travel post relating to the letter of the month.

*Despite having travelled extensively, I found this month a bit of a challenge. As a result, I spent a lovely afternoon flipping through photos of holidays past. Then I uncovered this beauty.  This month:

U or Umbrella

Denver was one of the few large cities we stayed in on our last visit to the US. It was mainly national parks and one horse towns so it was nice to stay in the big smoke for a few days. In autumn, leafy Denver turns a golden hue. The CBD is quite sprawling, making it a good walking city. There are ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts of town. Union Station is in a former bad part of town, with vacant, decaying buildings and ne’er do wells. Literally the wrong side of the tracks. But like many large cities, a program of urban renewal has meant the station is being transformed into a hip part of town.

the california zephyr train parked in front of union station in Denver, Colorado

The station itself has been renovated with part of the building now housing the sumptuous Crawford Hotel. Much of the transport hub is now underground in a modern station but this glorious train was parked at the front of the station, waiting to take its passengers on to Chicago. The California Zephyr is dubbed ‘the most talked about train in America’ and I can see why. Isn’t she beautiful? The Silver Solarium houses 3 bedrooms, a drawing room an observation lounge and bar. Talk about the glory days of rail travel.

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8 comments… add one
  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime February 15, 2017, 1:57 pm

    I never went into Denver proper when I was there in the eighties. Urban renewal is an amazing thing.

    • Fiona Ryan April 14, 2017, 10:23 am

      The major cities of the US seem on a downward spiral, despite the renewal. Having just returned from Houston, Dallas and Austin, they are pretty much ghost towns. It’s all in satellite suburbs these days.

  • sherry from sherrys pickings February 18, 2017, 3:39 pm

    Oops! forgot to add my link. here it is now. love that train! what a gorgeous beast.

    • Fiona Ryan February 23, 2017, 10:02 am

      It is so fabulous. We are (hopefully) going on a similar one when we travel from Houston to New Orleans – ‘The Sunset Limited’.

  • Joy @MyTravelingJoys February 20, 2017, 8:42 pm

    Gosh I don’t think I’ve been to Denver since I was a kid! Once I started working, I always wanted to head to the East Coast instead. 😉

    • Fiona Ryan February 23, 2017, 10:04 am

      Denver was interesting. We could see that there had been lots of money and clearly there were plenty of wealthy neighbourhoods but the CBD had fallen on tough times. Even in the very centre of the city it was fairly bleak. It reminded me of the lower west side of Manhattan and I could see the first signs of the urban renewal, just as there has been in New York.

  • retrostuart February 22, 2017, 11:14 am

    It truly is a beautiful train. It looks like one designed around the same time as the silver/aluminium caravans with the aerodynamic shape, called the aero or something similar, as I recall. While in Denver, did you manage to spend time in Boulder? It’s one of my favourite US towns

    • Fiona Ryan February 23, 2017, 10:21 am

      No, we didn’t get to visit Boulder, other than to drive through on the way to the Rockies. It’s a shame as I could see it was a lovely college town and would have been a better fit for us. I’d say next time but I can’t see us getting back to that part of the US. I know the caravans you mean. I saw one at at retrospective of Californian Design at QAGOMA a few years back. They are called Airstreams. Here’s the link to my old post: http://www.tiffinbitesized.com.au/2014/01/09/california-design-1930-1965-at-qld-art-gallery/

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