Lakewood Heritage Center

These Buildings Are a Little Displaced (But That’s a Good Thing)

Special thanks to the Lakewood Heritage Center for their help with this article.

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The Denver Metro Area is growing at a rapid pace, but it hasn’t forgotten its roots. We were pleasantly surprised, as we enjoyed a stroll through Belmar Park last summer, to find a number of old and even older buildings that were remarkably well preserved. 

Officially, we had wandered onto the grounds of the Lakewood Heritage Center, which borders the Park. Lakewood is a burgeoning suburb of Denver with its own unique history. The Heritage Center–originally known as Belmar Village when it was founded in 1976–has worked hard to preserve some of the original farm buildings built on this land in the early 20th century.

But then there are the other buildings, like the diner, that seem oddly out of place. Those came later…and they were built somewhere else. The Heritage Center, like the City of Lakewood, has grown since its inception, and now incorporates a number of artifacts, large and small, to document the history of this fascinating part of the country. 

Belmar Park also happens to be exceptionally beautiful with lots of trails and pathways. A perfect combination of outdoor fun and exploring.

You know how we love to step back through time at UndiscoveredWanderings. This one you can’t miss.

Links
Lakewood Heritage Center
City of Lakewood, Colorado
Belmar Park

Tour an Old Mine in the Back of a Restaurant. No, really.

Back of the Bar, Then Take a Right.

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How do we put this? Well…there’s an old silver mine in the back of a bar in Virginia City, Nevada.

Huh, that was easier than we thought.

Virginia City is a neat old town. Found in the hills of Northern Nevada, 45 minutes from Reno, this old mining town was critical to Nevada when it achieved statehood 150 years ago, helping to give it the name “The Silver State”.

Mining was and still is a HUGE industry in Nevada. But many mines run their course and then they’re sealed, forgotten or, in this case, turned into a museum with walk-through tours.

Enter The Best and Belcher Mine. It’s the location that got our attention. You see, the mine is literally in the back of the famous Ponderosa Saloon in Virginia City. And by “the back”, we mean that you walk in, buy a ticket for the tour, and you enter the mine through what looks like a cellar door at the back of the building. Just casually going to the bar, getting a bite to eat, check out the old mine. Just another day.

We got a real kick out of it. In historical context, it actually makes a lot of sense because the Ponderosa Saloon is in a building that once housed a bank. Virginia City has a lot of cool history like this.

The 25-minute tour is really cool. The mine is well preserved and full of old mining equipment from back in the day, plus some neon-colored…uh…rocks? See the last pic in the gallery below to figure that one out. You’ll get a feel for what it was like to work in such crazy conditions all those years ago, all in the name of the invincible dollar.

We included a couple photos, but we don’t want to spoil it for you. We promise it will be worth the trip.

Links
Information on Mine Tours in Virginia City
Ponderosa Saloon

Shelby Cobra Museum, Las Vegas

Watch These Amazing Cars Get Restored in Real Time

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Carroll Shelby had a vision, and he worked hard to make that vision come true. The Shelby Cobra is a staple of American muscle car power and road prowess. Mr. Shelby’s numerous contributions to the American auto industry are numerous, so it’s only fitting that a museum exists to honor his life’s work.

Las Vegas is known for a lot of things, but it’s also a fitting home to this museum, just off the Strip. Officially known as The Shelby Heritage Center, this massive building not only houses vintage collectibles and phenomenal reproductions, but also an entire garage dedicated to restoring these amazing cars. You can watch them while they work.

Admission is free and guided tours are available on most days. No reservations required. You can learn more about tours here. The Center also has a store where you can buy official Shelby memorabilia.

Even if you’re not an avid car fan, this is a definite bucket list item that must be checked off. There’s more to a Shelby than just the car; there’s an amazing history of a man and a company whose impact reached far beyond the road. This is a must for any road trip through Nevada or a weekend getaway in America’s lovable Sin City.

Links
The Shelby Heritage Center, Las Vegas

Antelope Island State Park, Utah

Wildlife. Lots of it.

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If you’re looking for scenery and wildlife, this is it!

Antelope Island State Park, about an hour drive from Salt Lake City, makes for a good day trip. Your drive out there will treat you to an outstanding view of the Great Salt Lake as you cruise along Antelope Island Road, just off I-15. Odd that the drive reminded us of cruising the causeways of South Florida, but in fact nothing could be more opposite.

As you cruise around the Park roads, you’ll notice the wildlife is hard to miss. Although named for the antelope, you’ll probably see more bison. Lots of them.

A simple $10 entrance fee will let you in, then you’re free to explore. Perfect for a cool down on a hot Salt Lake City day. We recommend checking the link below for current Park conditions before visiting.

Links
Antelope Island State Park

Painted Canyon

On Your Way to Fargo, Stop and See the Sights

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Let’s say you’re heading into North Dakota coming from Montana on I-94. Let’s say you want to take in the view of the amazing scenery, including and especially Painted Canyon. Let’s say we’ve got a place for you!

Fargo wasn’t our only stop in this great northern state. Theodore Roosevelt National Park, which is only about 20 miles from the MT/ND border, will make your day. This is historical Dakota Territory, with a park aptly named for a U.S. President who spent a lot of time here. This is no ordinary scenic overview.

There’s plenty to see in the Park itself, but if you’re in a hurry, there’s an amazing scenic overlook of Painted Canyon as you’re heading East on I-94 towards Fargo (see map point above). Watch out for bison.

Perfect stop for the All-American Summer Road Trip. Adventure on!

   

Links
Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Painted Canyon Visitor Center

 

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