One Step Closer (and a Farewell to Denver’s Baker Neighborhood)

For those of you who follow us, you know that our ultimate goal is to shift into a place where we are able to travel, experience new cultures, people and places and blog on a semi-full time basis. We began this vision (and blog) about six years ago with the goal of “selling our stuff and our house, downsizing and hitting the road”. Today, we took one bittersweet step closer with the sale of our home of eleven years.

We moved into our now former almost Gothic, Victorian home designed by Frank Edbrooke of Chicago (who also designed Denver’s Brown Palace, City and County Building, Tabor Building and many more buildings and homes, several of which are no longer standing, Tabor among them) in Denver’s Baker Neighborhood just before Halloween in the midst of a financial and economic meltdown. Since that time, we’ve had a wedding (ours), two graduations (my MBA and my nephew from high school), lost all three of our remaining parents, started a business and a blog (this one). We’ve spent countless hours in our “map room” pinning and planning future destinations for travel and discovery and took international trips to Italy, England, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Japan and Portugal.

And now we downsize.

Downsizing eleven years worth of living to a place less than half the size ain’t easy people. For those of you with kids, do them a favor and do it early (I’m speaking from personal experience here). There are many tradeoff decisions made, lots of donations and giveaways and it all comes to a head faster and also more slowly than you want, need or expect. But we are on our way… to the next chapter anyway.

But… We will miss this place. It’s been good for our souls. We will miss the fires in our fireplace on cold winter nights, our Christmas tree in the small turret at the front corner of the house, BBQs and dinner parties in our backyard, the high ceilings, crown molding, nooks and crannies of this 1880s classic. We will miss the front yard which blooms all summer long and the sycamore tree which lords watchfully over our backyard (and even the weekly raking of its enormous and dusty leaves each fall). We will miss the quirkiness of Baker, even with its rougher side, homeless issues and occasional evidence of gangs. That makes it sound a lot sketchier than it is, but it is a transitional neighborhood in a big city and downsides aside, it has a ton of positives.

For those new or not-so-new to South Denver, here’s what we will miss most (aside from just the house itself) about this great and eclectic hood:

  1. Gozo. This is in our top 10 restaurants anywhere and is the place to which we will return in our former hood. In true celebratory fashion we had a final tip o’ the hat to Baker and Gozo with a dinner here our last night in our house. Wood fired pizzas, an amazing Brussels salad and rustic pastas along with great service will draw us back to the old stomping ground for lunch and/or dinner.
  2. Sushi delivery from Taki Sushi. This has got to be the best sushi we’ve ever had, maybe anywhere, including in Tokyo. They know us by name and deliver fresh and delicious sushi, sashimi, a great yellowtail-jalapeño appetizer, etc fast. It’s great for eating in too, but more and more we’ve used it as a go-to when we are too tired or lazy to cook even the simplest of dinners.
  3. Five minutes to Overland Park Golf Course. This classic south Denver country club has wide fairways, is easily walkable and it’s back nine empties out after the nine-holers bail on a Friday afternoon.
  4. Moxie is a great relatively undiscovered spot on South Broadway for interesting lunches. The Top Ramen, falafel waffle, green eggs and ham breakfast sandwich, salads and soups are our faves. Owned and operated by a long time south broadway restauranteur, this is a local fave (at least by these two locals).
  5. The convenience of the bars of south Broadway. Since we moved in many have arrived: Punch Bowl Social, Gary Lee’s, Lena and Historian’s Ale House all hold solid but the original, the Hornet, is still my personal favorite for a buffalo burger and a beer or a good salad or wrap. I also want to give a shout out to the guys and gals at Novel Strand Brewing, a little brewery just off Broadway at 1st and Cherokee and right around the corner from our former casa. Stop by and check it out. Beer only though, so not for you winos.
  6. Walking to the Mayan movie theater. Built in 1930, restored and opened as a movie theater in the 1980s, the Mayan is beautifully and ornately decorated and plays independent films. We came here for most of our in-theater movies even before we lived here and will come back, but we will miss the convenience of a quick stroll for great films.
  7. Sweet Action ice cream. It won’t be hard to find on a summer evening. Just follow your nose and look for the line. Dangerously close and delicious.
  1. Mutiny Now used books. We only finally wandered in this place a couple of years ago and yes, the name was a deterrent to us, but it’s a cool used book shop with good coffee and live music.
  2. Driving down the wide, tree lined lane of Bannock St from 6th Avenue when returning home from the airport. There’s something about the tree lined, flower filled yards and the old Victorians that welcomed us home every time we returned. Call me sentimental, I will miss driving down this beautiful street coming home from a trip for business or pleasure to some far (or close) flung locale.
  1. Sunday afternoons. There’s something about a Sunday afternoon anywhere that’s just special. It’s that bittersweet, just-a-few-precious-hours-left-before-going-back-to-work feeling of relaxation that is hard to describe. In Baker, I will always associate that with sitting on our porch or deck, listening to a neighbor’s radio play KBCO from somewhere a block away while the breeze gently shakes the leaves above and people stroll by, sipping in the last moments of weekend.

Ah Baker and Bannock, we will miss you. Farewell old friend and onward.

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