I have made Vail, Colorado my hometown by choice. And, the holidays in Vail is one of the reasons. Vail is truly an alpine winter wonderland with lights twinkling in the snow covered pine trees all winter long. With majestic snow covered mountains, bountiful outdoor activities and creative culinary offerings Vail has something for everyone.
Thanksgiving really marks the start of ski season in Colorado. And, what better opportunity to escape the cooking and cleaning and getaway to a ski resort for some turns on the hill? Thanksgiving dinner made easy is the icing on the cake. It is a good time to head to a ski resort because prices are lower and the hill isn’t as crowded. But it is also a good time to head to other Colorado areas that aren’t known for skiing. They all can provide an easy Thanksgiving with or without extended family. Most have some really fun value add ons as a part of their Colorado Thanksgiving packages.
In my youth I could have been described as horse crazy. I took riding lessons twice a week, subscribed to a variety of horse magazines. I even spent three weeks at a horseback riding camp in Wales. These days I don’t often get the opportunity to ride horses. So when planning an anniversary celebration at Gateway Canyons Resort and the opportunity to partake in Palisade Ranch horseback riding presented itself, I jumped. Our timing was perfect. The foliage in Gateway, Colorado was just starting to peak. The bright orange and red fall colors of the area are spectacular.
Last week I had the pleasure of chaperoning a class of fourth graders on a tour of Leadville, Colorado. I have driven through Leadville many, many times. It is a charming town with old colorful Victorian buildings with a rich history and spectacular views. This visit was an extra special treat as we had most of the day to tour the National Mining Hall of Fame and Museum, Matchless Mine and the Healy House. I knew that Leadville had a rich history but had no idea how interesting it really was.
In the 15 plus years that I’ve lived in the Vail area I have made it on the mountain to ski several days each winter, but I had never taken my bike on the mountain until last month. In honor of summer ending, the day before my daughter went back to school, we brought our bikes into town with us and had them hauled up the gondola then rode down the cat walks. What fun!
When you live in a Colorado mountain town you don’t find too many excuses to leave, especially in the summer. But every once in a while you want a dose of the city and cultural activities that your town doesn’t offer. School has started back. Maybe you are still in need of a few supplies, or maybe you just want to get a dose of the city? We made the short trek to Denver recently to celebrate our daughter’s birthday, to visit our favorite kid attractions (zoo and children’s museum) and to experience the new trendy LoDo Denver hotel, The Maven.
In Vail we have a saying that, “We moved here for the winter, but stayed because of the summers.” With sunny days, cool evenings and more outdoor recreation and culture that you could imagine it really is a spectacular place to be in the summertime. And, it gets better every year. Last June I had the fortune to attend the grand opening of Epic Discovery Vail. Many of the key legislators and government agencies that were integral to making it possible gave their thoughts at the ribbon cutting. I managed to sneak in a ride on the Forest Flyer (alpine coaster) and tubing hill before heading back to the office that day. This summer we made it a family outing.
Summer is in full swing. As a parent, I’ve found it a fun time to reminisce about my summers as a child. I was very lucky that I lived oversees as an expat in London for Kindergarten, and then nine years in Stavanger, Norway. It gave me opportunities to experience other cultures that I never would have had otherwise. My oldest is nearing an age where she might want to consider sleep-away camp which ignited several discussions between my mom and me. It inspired her to pull out an old file from International Summer Camp Montana where she sent me two summers when I was ten and eleven-years-old. She proceeded to write about the experience from the perspective of a mom sending her child off to sleep-away camp in another country for three weeks. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did!
We live in the beautiful Vail valley, but don’t always think to take advantage of some of the best activities here. I grew up horse crazy, taking riding lessons twice a week but have not been on a horse in five to ten years. So when the idea and opportunity to horseback ride Beaver Creek presented itself I couldn’t image a better way to spend the afternoon with my daughter.
In June our family took a multi-generational family trip to Santa Fe New Mexico. There is a whole different world of culture available with a beautiful 5 1/2 hour drive from Vail up through Leadville, Buena Vista and past Salida into northern New Mexico to Santa Fe. There is so much to experience and delight every sense in Santa Fe, but Meow Wolf was the highlight for every person in our family from age 4 to 70+. Here is the perspective of Meow Wolf from a grandmother experiencing it with her grandchildren.