Friday, September 16, 2011

Friday Favorites: All Aboard

Sometimes, I find myself at a random location that I had no intention of visiting, but end up falling head over heels in love. We signed up for a tour of Denver in which we had to meet our tour group in front of Denver’s Union Station. I thought nothing of it – Union Station is in a centralized location of the city and wasn’t a place I had included as one of my must-sees. Before the tour guide arrived, I decided that it would be a good idea to make one last pit stop and since we were outside of a train station, I figured ‘mission, bathroom’ would be a success. Little did I know, I was about to discover my absolute favorite place in the whole city.

Denver’s Union Station originally opened in 1881, but the incarnation that stands now formally opened in 1914. Union Station experienced its glory days during the 1920s and 1930s when the station operated 80 trains a day. When I entered, I felt like I stepped back in time. I've been to Grand Central in NYC hundreds of times, but this place was far different.  The station is big, yet was completely desolate. I thought for a moment that maybe I arrived during a lull in Amtrak’s schedule, but remembered reading a sign that the station was under redevelopment and was not in use at the time. For a split second, I panicked that I wasn’t supposed to be gallivanting through the vacant railroad station. But then I started taking pictures.

Talk about nostalgia - this place was right out of central casting for old school train stations.  Sitting amongst the high back benches, my imagination ran wild as I visualized all the hellos and goodbyes that happened in this very station. Soldiers leaving for war, bidding farewell to their wives. Families arriving for the first time out West.  So many stories to tell!

I loved it so much that I stopped there two more times during our short trip. If you want your own quick glimpse into the past, I suggest you do the same. Denver’s Union Station is located at 1701 Wynkoop Street and is open daily between 5am and 10pm.

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