HomeUncategorizedVisiting Colorado for the First Time!

Visiting Colorado for the First Time!

BC (earlier than COVID19, obvi) I used to be accustomed to touring up to a couple instances a month – for work, to go to household, for pleasure. I nearly all the time had a suitcase half packed and ready-to-go at a moments discover. Then got here 2020, which undoubtedly modified the concept of journey for the indefinite future for me. My perceptions round security and private duty got here into a lot sharper focus, and it wasn’t till I used to be totally vaccinated this spring that I even entertained the concept of getting on a aircraft once more. On a summer time highway journey, my accomplice, finest good friend and I had been chatting about all of the locations inside the nation that we’d like to go to, particularly throughout this era of retaining journey a bit nearer, and I stated, “I’ve by no means been to Colorado!” There was one thing concerning the mountains and nature there that felt prefer it was calling me, and never even just a few days later… I obtained an e-mail inviting me to go to Vail and Breckinridge, two unimaginable locations simply a few hours west of Denver. I lastly packed my baggage and headed there final week for an early Autumn escape, and it couldn’t have been extra stunning or calming!

Land Acknowledgment
Colorado has been residence to Indigenous peoples and nations, together with the Ute, Arapaho, Comanche, Shoshone, and Apache peoples, in addition to dozens of different nations who’ve been stewards of this land for 1000’s of years. I will probably be visiting Vail and Breckinridge, that are Núu-agha-tʉvʉ-pʉ̱ (Ute) lands. 

A couple of topline notes…
COVID and security are nonetheless very a lot on the prime of my thoughts in relation to journey. My accomplice and I took PCR assessments earlier than and after our journey, for our personal peace of thoughts, and likewise discovered that the state of Colorado has one of many highest vaccination charges within the nation. Moreover, many of the actions we loved had been outdoor – taking full benefit of the contemporary mountain air. The entire locations the place we dined provided out of doors seating.

Views from Mid Vail Village

Our first vacation spot was Vail, CO, a surprising ski resort city that I used to be enchanted by as a summer time or fall vacation spot! Don’t get me incorrect – I really like snowboarding and contemporary powdery snow so a lot, however actual autumn nonetheless appears like such a novelty to me – and getting out west originally of leaf peeping season was an enormous draw. Despite the fact that summer time and autumn are thought of “off season,” the city was nonetheless extremely full of life, crammed with guests, and there was no scarcity of issues to do.

As quickly as we obtained to Vail, we headed straight to our lodge, The Lodge at Vail, to unpack and decompress a bit from the 2-hour drive from Denver. The Lodge at Vail is completely located in Vail Village, and our room was sprawling: we had a big suite that had a full lounge with pull-out couch mattress (excellent for households or small teams touring collectively), a kitchenette, powder room, and separate king bed room with an unlimited walk-in closet, jacuzzi tub, and double sinks with an outsized vainness. The room was styled like an opulent, conventional lodge with trendy finishes – and the views from the en suite balcony had been unimaginable~

Actions in Vail
For the spa goers, Vail is residence to dozens of luxurious spas, sizzling tubs, and saunas that may be loved year-round. Nina and I had a {couples} therapeutic massage on the Rock Resorts Spa on the Arrabelle, proper within the coronary heart of Vail village. This was the right option to kick off our journey, following a flight and our drive from Denver to Vail. Spa remedies additionally grant entry to The Arrabelle’s sizzling tubs, steam rooms, and saunas, and our remedy was completed off with a refreshing blood orange sorbet.

We visited Vail Stables, the place I confronted a lifelong concern of horses, and had the chance to journey horseback via the mountains and catch unimaginable views of Vail from above. Vail Stables can also be residence to mini horses, goats, and sheep – all of which we had the prospect to work together with and feed. The animals had been sort and really properly taken care of — are you able to consider a greater life than attending to stay within the mountains and get fed by guests all day? Horseback driving, paradoxically, ended up being one of many highlights of the journey for me. I couldn’t imagine that I obtained to expertise the views and surroundings of Vail and journey via the gorgeous leafy trails whereas on horseback.

There was no scarcity of breathtaking surroundings to soak up. We took a scenic hike via The North rail, beginning at North Frontage Street and Buffehr Creek Street trailhead. This was a average climb via gorgeous Aspen bushes, with runners and hikers of all ranges frequenting the paths (and loads of canines, too!) We couldn’t get sufficient of the surroundings so we grabbed a few Elevate passes (bear in mind, it’s a ski city, in spite of everything), and took one of many Gondolas as much as Mid-Village in Vail. In the course of the winter, this may be a snowcovered mountain to ski down, however within the fall, it was one other unimaginable place to soak up the vistas. The journey within the gondola itself was additionally stunning and enjoyable, with 360-degree views of the altering surroundings. The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens had been one other must-visit for nature lovers — it’s residence to the very best (elevation, that’s) Botanical Gardens on the earth.

Although we visited low season, we additionally determined to seize a few carry passes and journey up Gondola One to Mid-Vail village to soak up the breathtaking views! The Gondola presents 360-degree views because it ascends up the mountain, and the views from the highest couldn’t be beat. The journey is about 10-Quarter-hour in every route, and tickets price round $50 per particular person for a 12-hour interval — it’s admittedly a bit steep, however when else was I going to have this chance?!

Eating in Vail
Our first evening in Vail really set the tone for what a romantic and dreamy backdrop Colorado will be for journey. We had been hosted by Picnic Vail and The Grazing Fox, two small companies situated in Vail, for a phenomenal picnic set subsequent to a working creek by the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens. They created a comfortable, considerate arrange with each single element thought of – from the particular bottle of bubbly from a New Mexico vineyard, to video games and a polaroid digital camera set out for us to entertain ourselves, to plush pillows and blankets to maintain us heat, and naturally – a charcuterie board set with scrumptious fruits, cheeses, olives, and gluten-free crackers. It was such a phenomenal evening and the right welcome to Colorado!

The next day, we had lunch at Candy Basil – situated within the coronary heart of Vail Village. Our server was sort and intensely knowledgable concerning the menu and all of the gluten-free (and celiac secure) choices. We sat on the patio which supplied the very best individuals watching whereas we dined on a smorgasbord of appetizers! We had been each feeling indecisive, so chosen a handful of appetizers/small plates to share — totally anticipated small, New York Metropolis sized parts — however we undoubtedly weren’t in NYC and the parts had been very beneficiant. We shared a vegan mushroom pate, tuna tartare, crudités, and extra.

For dinner, we visited La Tour, a chef-owned and operated French restaurant within the coronary heart of Vail Village, with a big heated patio that appears onto the mountainside. The standard of the meals, cocktails, and repair had been fine-dining stage, however with a extra informal and unpretentious strategy. We felt so relaxed and comfy as we dined on our entrees and loved individuals watching the passersby (La Tour neighbors a number of different eateries, shops, and artwork galleries – so there’s loads of exercise taking place close by.

The next morning, Sunday, Vail was host to a sprawling farmers market that takes over the whole lot of the village. There are native distributors that promote baked items, tacos, produce, tons of handcrafts and important oils, and likewise artwork gallery cubicles. The farmers market is open year-round on Sundays and opens at 9AM. We loved some morning snacks and as gentle lunch in addition to espresso from Yeti’s Grind, a neighborhood favourite, the place I totally indulged of their Honey Lavender Latte (a++ extremely suggest).

Our personalised picnic hosted by Picnic Vail and The Grazing Fox


A brief drive from Vail, again in direction of Denver, Breckenridge is one other mountain city stuffed with Victorian structure and gorgeous nature and views at each single nook. The city itself is extremely cute — it jogs my memory a variety of cities in Upstate New York, with quaint structure and a small-town really feel with infusions of big-city consolation and trendy, hip touches. Whereas Breckenridge, too, is called a ski vacation spot, the vitality within the fall was full of life, excited, and other people had been out – even on Monday nights, we noticed tons of individuals strolling via the streets, eating outdoors at eating places, or hanging out with pals at bar patios.

In Breckenridge, we stayed at Gravity Haus – a boutique lodge with a number of places all through Colorado’s mountain cities (Vail, Breckenridge, and Winter Park). Gravity Haus felt prefer it could possibly be all the pieces to everybody — it’s situated within the coronary heart of downtown Breckenridge, completely located for guests on ski-season and off – with their very own on-site fitness center, spa, cabanas, restaurant (Cabin Juice), bar, and occasional store, and even a trampoline. The rooms are trendy and jogged my memory a variety of The Ace, and all the pieces inside is sourced from eco-friendly and sustainable manufacturers and shoppable — so for those who cherished the mini fridge, towels, or linens in your room, you could possibly additionally take them residence with you. One notice, for gentle sleepers, we did discover the lodge to be fairly noisy — however ear plugs are supplied to assist soften a number of the sounds. The very walkable location made up for any grievances we would have had concerning the raucousness!

Actions in Breckenridge
Like Vail, we had been in awe of all the character right here, and had to soak up a number of the hikes and take a look at all of the views. There’s no scarcity of scenic points-of-view, and I’m fairly certain that’s true of the whole lot of Colorado. Whether or not we had been within the coronary heart of Breckenridge downtown, or took a drive out to a trailhead, in every single place we turned was gorgeous.

A brief drive up French Gulch Street took us to a number of the historic mining areas in Breckenridge, the place there are a number of trails and hikes value exploring. You may go in any route and discover magnificence at each flip simply go throughout the day — I think about somebody can fairly simply get misplaced at evening!) A number of the vacation spot trails on this space value visiting are X10U8 (Extenuate), The Minnie Path, Nation Boy Mine, The Reiling Dredge, and The Lincoln Townsite. Isak Heartstone park, which is residence to Danish artist Thomas Dambo 15-foot picket troll sculpture and the accompanying Trollstigen path. All of those trails are simple and low-key, simply put on some comfortable footwear and produce a reusable water bottle with you (trashcans are scarce and it’s vital to be a accountable customer and depart no hint!).

Sawmill Reservoir in Breckenridge

We additionally cherished visiting the Sawmill Reservoir, which has a simple 1.3 mile loop across the reservoir. It’s such a peaceable and idyllic place, and there are park benches nestled between bushes that look onto the water. A couple of individuals had been fishing across the perimeter of the reservoir, whereas others had been picnicking or strolling across the loop. The reflections of the bushes glimmering off of the water are motive sufficient to go to, for my part! Professional-tip: there’s a small car parking zone off of Snowflake highway that may be a brief stroll to the reservoir. Parking will be restricted and isn’t allowed within the neighboring residential space, so plan accordingly! We visited on a weekday and located parking simply.

A extremely enjoyable exercise we did in Breckenridge was a skincare class!! In the event you comply with me on instagram, you already know I’m obsessed with skincare – it’s really one among my largest hobbies and passions. That stated, I don’t usually discover myself partaking in DIY-skincare-making, so this was an actual deal with. Our class was with Erica, the founding father of Ambika Herbals, who’s a Hudson Valley, NY-native that has made a house and planted roots in Breckenridge. Positioned contained in the Breckenridge Inventive Arts Campus, Ambika Herbals takes an herbalist and Ayurvedic strategy in direction of skincare, and prioritizes sourcing the very best components attainable. With Erica, we made mud masks — the method was similar to baking! We measured out components, “cooked” them collectively, and positioned them inside stunning recyclable vessels. It was an ideal afternoon deal with, particularly whereas taking within the crisp and dry mountain air!

Eating in Breckenridge
Our first meal in Breckenridge was at a small, much-loved eatery, Crepes a la Cart (there are two places – we headed to the placement on South Important Avenue). As we had been strolling down foremost avenue, we noticed an extended line main as much as Crepes a la Cart, so I instantly regarded it up and located rave-reviews in addition to gluten-free candy and savory crepes!! I don’t point out this right here usually, however I’ve celiacs illness – so this was a extremely thrilling discovery. My accomplice and I shared a few savory crepes and completed off with a candy dessert crepe — they had been all scrumptious and really hit the spot and was properly well worth the wait. It additionally wasn’t the tip of the unimaginable gluten-free choices, so if this appeals to you, maintain studying.

The next day, we awakened early and headed to Lolo Juice, simply across the nook from our lodge. Lolo Juice is an eco-friendly juice and smoothie spot that goals to supply lower than 1-bag of waste a day. They’ve an assortment of protein balls, juices, smoothies, and wellness pictures. After throwing again a few immunity-boosting pictures and a protein ball, we headed throughout the road to BreckFast (Breckenridge is residence to a variety of puns, btw) for chilly brews and a little bit of a heartier breakfast to prep us earlier than a day of hikes.

After spending just a few hours climbing and shedding observe of time, we realized that many lunch spots shut on the sooner facet, particularly on weekdays – however we had a suggestion to go to Pante Pizzeria, which was open and ended up being one of many highlights of our journey! It’s an all plant-based Italian restaurant that focuses, clearly, on pizzas. I don’t say this flippantly – I’ve lived in NYC for practically twenty years and my accomplice was born in Brooklyn, their gluten-free (and vegan!) pizzas had been a number of the finest we’ve ever had. Like – I’ll have messaged them on Instagram to share that their recipes ought to be licensed out to some NY-based pizzerias… and I’ll have debated taking a whole-pie cross nation with us, (to be clear: I didn’t do that, however I additionally may remorse not doing this). Lengthy story brief: if you end up in Breckenridge, undoubtedly go to Pante Pizzeria.

For our last dinner and one other spotlight of the journey, we visited to Ember, one of many few fine-dining locations in Breckenridge. Ember is chef owned and operated by Scotty Boshaw, and staffed by a number of the friendliest individuals we encountered throughout our journey. At present, Ember’s patio homes just a few particular person heated Igloo-style cubicles for social distanced eating. It felt like being inside a snow globe — I can solely think about how magical it feels as soon as snow begins falling! It was cozy and romantic, and felt personal whereas nonetheless having the ability to take within the ambiance of the restaurant. We shared an eclectic assortment of dishes with taste profiles I had by no means earlier than skilled. Ember presents each totally gluten-free and vegan menus along with their signature dishes. It was a extremely memorable expertise on each stage – ambiance, meals, drinks, and repair. In chatting with the workers, we additionally discovered that Ember has inadvertently grow to be one of many LGBTQ locations on the town – internet hosting LGBTQ-specific occasions and total being a extremely welcoming and inclusive environment.

Dinner at Ember, Breckenridge

A Pit-Cease in Denver….
Earlier than heading again to NYC, we determined to spend 1 evening in Denver! We had heard such wonderful issues about The Ramble from pals, so determined to remain there for our flying visited. It jogged my memory a lot of my favourite inns in New York Metropolis, and the foyer can also be residence to Demise & Co, a NYC-imported cocktail bar with a speakeasy really feel. We had a nightcap and headed as much as our cozy, luxurious room. With just a few hours in Denver earlier than heading to the airport, we had a yummy breakfast at Simply BE Kitchen, a 100% gluten, grain, and refined sugar free cafe. We shared a breakfast burrito (my first ever!) and pancakes – each had been scrumptious! Afterwards, we picked up a few scooters and took a scenic journey via Denver alongside the South Platte River again in direction of our lodge. After testing at The Ramble, we drove to Rivers & Roads Espresso, a completely gluten-free cafe, to select up meals for our cross-country flight. I can’t suggest this place sufficient! Lastly, as we made our manner in direction of the airport, we took a 1-hour self-guided audio driving tour via Rocky Mountain Arsenal Nationwide Wildlife Refuge (audioguide obtainable right here). We cherished and had been completely entertained by the drive. We noticed a herd of bison, prairie canines, preserved wetlands, and the audio tour provided some insightful and really trustworthy historical past on the Denver space and Indigenous Peoples within the space.

A glance a the foyer (left) and our room at The Ramble

Disclosure: My journey was hosted and sponsored by Go to Colorado. All opinions, photographs, and content material listed here are my very own.



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