Breckenridge, October 20. 2013

Breckenridge October 20, 2013

Sunday, October 20, 2013:

I had a nice drive up to Breckenridge to meet with a prospective client and do a couple of site inspections at some of our larger homes for their springtime wedding in the mountains.  As I got up to Idaho Springs, I could see the climate change before my eyes.  Gone were most of the leaves and in the shady areas I could see snow!  After Georgetown, there was the plowed remains of snow on the side of I-70, a testament to an early winter storm.  While driving on to Loveland, I was excited to see the chairs were spinning!  As I continued through the Eisenhower Tunnel and popped out on the West side, Summit County was a white winter wonderland.  All the peaks from 1 to 10 are snow-covered.  While the roads were perfectly clear the entire way, as I rolled into Breckenridge I could see that the slopes were white covered slivers just waiting for skiers and riders.  At this point in October combined with the cooler and wetter than normal summer we’ve had, it’s shaping up to be a great start to the 2013-2014 ski season!

This picture was taken just South of Tiger Road, about 3 miles outside the town of Breckenridge, Colorado.

Safe Travels,
Damian

 

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Snow in September is not going to stop us from biking at Canyons Resort!

Fall  Ride at Canyons Resort

Tik-tok… tik-tok… as I sit eagerly awaiting the arrival of my late-as-usual boyfriend. The minutes seem like hours as I wait for him to come home so that we can finally begin our long-awaited weekend getaway at the fabulous Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah.

I hear him pull into the drive. The front door opens and just like that it’s bags packed, bikes packed, high-fives and we’re off!

The drive is quick and effortless as we leave Salt Lake City and head up the canyon to our destination. As we pull in to the grand entrance at the Grand Summit Hotel we were greeted with a welcoming smile from our valet attendant. Our gear, which was surprisingly abundant (my boyfriend packs a lot of shoes), was so effortlessly loaded onto the bell cart that we hardly had time to take in the crisp evening air and star-speckled sky overhead before we were being guided through the lobby and up to our third floor suite.

The room was spacious and relaxing and we made short work of unpacking our things, taking a few quality jumps on the bed, and setting our bikes aside – which the staff was very courteous in letting us take with us up to our room.

Once settled I heard the familiar growl of my traveling companion’s stomach – the tell-tale sign that dinner was about to go down! We asked a group of guests where they would recommend we visit for dinner and without hesitation they all replied the ‘Red Tail’… which made our decision a very easy one. We were pleased to find that the Red Tail was just quieting down from their usual dinner rush and we nearly had the entire place to ourselves. Our host greeted us, seated us, and started us off with a warm serving of crisp chips and chunky salsa. I had the roasted butternut squash salad  which couldn’t have been better. And let’s not forget my prickly pear margarita!   Fresh, crisp, and topped with just the perfect amount of all the extras. My dinner companion was equally as excited about the heaping plate of tasty taquitos that were set before him. Neither of us left there that night feeling anything but fulfilled! Did I mention the flan…?

Back to the room we called it an early night, wrapped ourselves up all snug in our very large and very soft bed and quickly dreamed the night away. Granted, my boyfriend rarely remembers much, but neither of us could ever remember sleeping so good!

Morning greeted us with a beautiful sunlit blue sky. Perfect weather for spending a cool fall day riding the mountain trails and runs at the bike park. The gondola ride up really set the mood for what we were about to enjoy. Watching the vast tree-covered landscape and diverse terrain pass far below us was more than enough to get our minds racing and our faces smiling! The bike park is AMAZING! Everyone involved has done a fantastic job in making the runs and terrain accessible and open to everyone – no matter what your skill level. Trust me, if my biking partner can do it, ANYONE can! I really can’t think of a better way to pass the day.  Our experience at Canyons Resort is one I’ll never forget.

Safe Travels,
Jamie

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Top 5 Things To Do in Taos

Rio Grande Gorge

1)      Take in the sites of the Rio Grande Gorge located just a few miles north and west of Taos on US Hwy 64.  This 800-ft deep gorge has been carved out by the Rio Grande as it makes its 1900 mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico.  Many interesting wildlife live here, including Big Horn Sheep, river otter and Cutthroat trout.

2)      Take a tour of the Earthship Biotecture and learn how this unique community of people are living off the earth. This sustainable community was built with natural and recycled materials. Located a few miles NW of the Rio Grande Gorge on US Hwy 64.

Earthship Biotecture

3)      Visit Ojo Caliente Resort and sooth your tired muscles in the natural hot springs.  Considered a sacred spot for local indigenous people for hundreds of years, the natural hot springs is a gathering place to heal and relax.

4)      Visit the old Taos Pueblo and learn how this Native American community has been living in this area continuously for over 1000 years.  These adobe buildings appear much the same today as they looked when the Spanish Explorers first visited the site.  This amazing development is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark.

5)      Shop ‘til you drop in downtown Taos.  Taos is known for its amazing community of artists. You will find everything from beautifully woven rugs, colorful paintings, ironwork, hand-carved furniture, pottery, and intricately designed jewelry made from a wide array of stones and minerals.

Destination Expert Chrissie Davis

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Dining in Taos

The Beautiful Bavarian Restaurant

I recently had the opportunity to visit Taos, New Mexico, for the first time.  My initial thought regarding what I would encounter when it came to the regional dining was a lot of really great Mexican food.  While Taos certainly does have that there are a ton of other great culinary experiences you could enjoy while visiting this exciting little town.

Breakfast. I had the opportunity to visit two renowned breakfast joints while in the area, Taos Diner and Michael’s Kitchen.  Neither disappointed.  Both of these establishments will get your day started off right.  In fact, you probably won’t be hungry again until dinner…the portions are huge! At Taos Diner try their homemade biscuits with sausage and gravy.  At Michael’s Kitchen you don’t want to miss their breakfast burrito topped with homemade green chili.  And make sure not to leave Michael’s without grabbing a goody to go from their amazing selection of baked goods. You might not be hungry at the moment, but you will certainly be happy you grabbed one of their tasty treats for a little mid-day pick-me-up.

Lunch.  A few miles up a windy road past Taos Ski Valley’s base area you will find an unusual lunch treat, The Bavarian Restaurant.  Grab a seat outside, take in the gorgeous mountain views and be treated to a world-class German meal complete with large steins of your favorite German brew.  Come hungry, the meals are sizable.

Enjoying lunch at the Bavarian Restaurant

Treat.  Who doesn’t like ice cream in the summer?  For the best homemade ice cream in Taos make sure to stop in at the Taos Cow located in Arroyo Seco.  They serve up flavors ranging from classic vanilla and chocolate to pistachio, peach, and strawberry.

Dinner.  Arroyo Seco may seem like a sleepy little town that just happens to be nestled along the road between the town of Taos and Taos Ski Valley, but this town has a dinner hot spot that can’t be missed.  Aceq is a small family-owned restaurant with a constantly changing menu based on what is fresh and in season.  This restaurant offers a comfortable, non-stuffy atmosphere that is perfect for enjoying a quiet meal with a loved one or getting together with all your friends. They also offer a great wine and beer list.  You don’t want to miss this place.

Destination Expert Chrissie Davis

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Silver Star Condo Can Please the Hard-To-Please

 

Very Comfortable Lodgings at Silver Star

I had the pleasure of staying at the Silver Star over Labor Day weekend. My family and I went to Swiss Days in Midway, Utah, on Saturday morning. The night before we stayed in a 3 bedroom condo at the Silver Star.  In the words of my hard-to-please mother, “the condo was amazing!”

The Condo won my mother’s stamp of approval!

The concierge promptly accommodated our request of a king bed in each bedroom and the unit was spectacular! Direct TV cable was available in every room with hundreds of channels. The master bathroom had a jetted tub and a steam shower, which would be perfect for a romantic getaway. All bedrooms were nicely decorated with comfy pillows and sheets.

The Silver Star Café had live music and ambiance that invited one to stay and enjoy the nightlife. We enjoyed our stay very much while relaxing in the luxury and comfort of the Silver Star.  I highly recommend the Silver Star for any hard-to-please people!

Destination Expert Tyler Teran

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Taking in Downtown Breckenridge

The Riverwalk pond at Breckenridge

The drive to Breckenridge is so beautiful through the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The town itself has a quaint downtown feel with appealing buildings, unique gift shops, and a beautiful Riverwalk where outdoor concerts, music festivals and activities are held. There is a pond on the Riverwalk that has a floating restaurant that used to be an old dredge. When I stopped to feed the fish at the pond, I saw some river otters frolicking around in the water.  There are hanging flowers everywhere along the sidewalks that make this summer town look beautiful, peaceful and inviting.

 

“The Dredge” floating restaurant at Breckenridge

We  went strolling along the main street shops.  The sidewalks are clean and wide with easy access to all the storefronts.  There are inviting benches placed along the route and bus service convenient to all parts of town.  Parking is tight along the main street, but ample parking is available on both sides of town.

There are many unique shopping opportunities in Breckenridge. At Creatures Great and Small, there were chain-saw carved animals.  The detail was amazing and the workmanship very exquisite.

Another shop, Breckenridge Spice Merchants,  was full of every kind of spice you could imagine including some I never heard of.  The smells wafting from that spice shop enticed shoppers to come in.  I picked up a bag of Applewood Spice for meats.  I tried it as a rub on grilled steak and it was delicious!

If you love art work, the town boasts several shops with amazing local artists featured.  Beautiful sketches, paintings and photography line their walls.  Breckenridge Art Gallery has been in operation for 30 years!  The town also displays a quaint historical museum at the Breckenridge Welcome Center that shows off it’s proud history as a mining town to the up-and-coming resort town we know today.

With the view of the beautiful mountains surrounding the downtown and all the quaint shops and easy beautiful walking paths, Breckenridge is a top visit in the summer.  It will quickly become a favorite destination when it’s warm.

Travel Coach,

Linda

 

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Travel & Leisure’s Top Resorts: Which do we offer?

Osprey at Beaver Creek

Osprey at Beaver Creek

Mountain Reservations is proud to offer 12 of the top 50 resorts in the Continental U.S. We pride ourselves in offering our customers the highest quality vacation options for the best value.

Check out some of our amazing properties:

  1. Montage Deer Valley, Park City, UT
  2. Little Nell, Aspen, CO
  3. Four Seasons Resort, Vail, CO
  4. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort & Spa, Beaver Creek, CO
  5. Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, CA
  6. St. Regis Deer Valley, Park City, UT
  7. Waldorf Astoria, Park City, UT
  8. Stein Eriksen Lodge, Park City, UT
  9. Amangani, Jackson Hole, WY
  10. Pines Lodge, Beaver Creek, CO
  11. The Sebastian, Vail, CO
  12. Osprey at Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek, CO

Destination Expert, Amy Ochoa

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Great Dining Options at Breckenridge

Empire Burger is a great sports bar.

There are over 93 different dining options in Breckenridge.  For a unique experience, you could try the Dredge, a 2,000,000 pound floating restaurant on the Riverwalk.  It was the last dredge operating on the pond in 1942 and converted to an interesting dining option.  Or try something as entertaining as Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurant, a spin off the movie Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks.  When you enter, they will ask you trivia questions about scenes in that famous movie.  Have your game on!

The Breckenridge locals are not hesitant to tell you their favorite restaurants. Here’s a list by catagory:

Breakfast-Columbine Cafe

Pizza-Giampietro’s

Bakery – Clint’s Bakery

Steakhouse-Steak & Rib

Sushi-Wasabi

Burger-Empire Burger

Beer-Breckenridge Brewery

Sports Bar-Fatty’s Pizzaria

I decided to try a couple of these out for myself.  I had an amazing Kona Burger at Empire Burger.  This sports bar has lots of television viewing options from the bar as well as the seats.  The service was fast and friendly.  And if you order french fries or onion rings, be prepared to choose from one of 15 specialty sauce choices.

Giampietro’s is worth the wait.

Giampietro’sItalian is difficult to get into. You have to expect a 45 minute wait during prime hours.  Once you get inside you understand why. There are only a few tables on one side of a small restaurant.  They are really known for their pizzas, which the locals will tell you are worth the wait.  If you’re not that patient, order carryout!

Breakfast at Columbine Cafe

Another local restaurant, Columbine Cafe, is great for its rustic atmosphere and known for its wonderful breakfast.  I tried the Columbine Benedikt with hashbrowns.  It was absolutely delicious.  My husband tried the Corned Beef Hash breakfast. It was so good he was insisting everyone at the table grab a fork and sample it.

I was not disappointed with Fatty’s Pizza.  The restaurant had a tempting, mouth-watering smell that lured you through the door to take a seat.  When the pizza arrived, we wolfed it down.  It was absolutely delicious!  The friendly staff and relaxing atmosphere were welcoming.  This is a great place to hang out.

With so many dining options in Breckenridge, foodies will not be disappointed.

Travel Coach, Linda Barsch

 

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Mountain Biking the Rim Trail at Snowmass Aspen

This summer, I was able to visit the wonderful resort of Snowmass in Colorado.  While I was already a big fan of the resort in the winter, I was thrilled to learn of all the activities and fun things for my family to do during warm, balmy days including hiking, mountain biking, mountain boarding, rafting, kid’s camp and more!

I decided to try out the Mountain Biking on one of the classic, cross-country rides at Snowmass – The Rim Trail.

Rim Trail, Snowmass Mountain Biking, Aspen

The Rim Trail – Snowmass Resort

I left from my conveniently located 3 bedroom vacation rental right on the slopes at Snowmass.  This unit at Woodrun Place had everything my family of 6 needed for a great summer home base – a pool and hot tub, bike locker room and, of course, the best slope-side location.  I pedaled out from Woodrun Place and across the Fanny Hill run and through the Village mall to the base of the Rim Trail.  From the trail head it is a steady climb up the switchbacks to the crest of the mountain.  It took me about 20 minutes to get to the top, where there is a beautiful view of Snowmass resort and a nice resting spot with a memorial.

Rim Trail, Snowmass Mountain Biking

View from the top of Climb 1

From there, the Rim trail starts to resemble its name.  The ride is nice and flowy, up and down across the mountain ridge with beautiful mountain and valley views on both sides.  The trails here are as luxuriously smooth as the expensive leather coats worn by the Aspen glitterati in town.  I don’t think I saw an out-of-place root or rock the entire ride!  After another climb to the next peak, it was a nice long and smooth downhill to the bus station at the base of Snowmass resort.

Rim Trail, Snowmass Mountain Biking

The view from the Rim – Beautiful Riding

From there, I followed the bike path along the golf course back to the base village and my condo.

All in all, it was a terrific ride, and one that I would recommend to any cross-country mountain bike rider.  The climbs are tough but predictable and well spaced.  The entire ride of 11 miles took me 2 hours and 15 minutes, but stronger riders could easily do it in 2 hours.  I managed to burn over 1300 of the calories I had consumed the night before at the outstanding seafood restaurant Pacifica in downtown Aspen.  (Try the Seafood Risotto, and the Butterscotch Pudding – Incredible!)

If you’d like to explore Snowmass in summer or winter, let the Destination Experts at Mountain Reservations help you reserve the perfect vacation condo for your trip!  Visit www.mountainreservations.com, or call 1-800-754-9378.

Julian

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Relaxing Lake Tahoe Lodging

North Side of Lake Tahoe

North Lake Tahoe – Hyatt Regency

We checked in around 6:30 pm on a Thursday evening, just before Memorial Day.  The complimentary champagne offered at check-in was a very nice touch.  Coming from a night of camping, it was refreshing to check into a hotel and be able to shower and relax.  Our valet was quite talkative and congenial and had a lot of recommendations for things we could do while we were staying at the hotel.  He escorted us to our upgraded king room which had LOTS of space and nice furnishings.  The nightstands on each side of the bed had motion sensor lights that came on when you stepped out of bed – very useful at night.  The bathroom had a rain shower head, which I love!

Our first night there we went over to the hotel’s private beach and although it was a little chilly, we had a good time sitting by the fire pit and chatting with other guests.  We walked out on the pier to watch the sunset.  We could feel our stress and tension quietly slipping away.  The next morning we went for a walk down the path that the valet had suggested when we checked in and then hung out on the private beach again.  Although the weather wasn’t warm enough for sunning or swimming, it was very beautiful and peaceful for hanging out.  The pool at the hotel was a great spot for laying out and had a small bar/grill poolside for guests.  We spent a few hours at the pool the two days we were there.

Everyone we came into contact with was very friendly and had recommendations for where we should eat and what we should do.  One place recommended for breakfast was The Log Cabin and it was so good we ate there twice!  Several hotel employees remembered our names, which was very nice.  There were a lot of little touches that made the experience very pleasant and memorable.

South Side of Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe – Aston Lakeland Village

Saturday we drove down the west side of Lake Tahoe and were mesmerized by the beauty of the lake, particularly Emerald Bay.  We got into South Lake Tahoe around 6:00 pm and checked into our condo at Aston Lakeland Village.  The place we were staying had a bedroom and bathroom on the main floor and two more beds upstairs in the loft.  The kitchen was nice and fully equipped and the living room had comfortable chairs and couches.  It was a great place to spend a couple of days.  The owners had a journal in the kitchen for guests to write in about themselves and their experiences in Lake Tahoe.  It was fun to read about some of the other people that had stayed where we were staying.  After we checked in we walked down to the beach to watch the sunset.  The view was spectacular!  It was fun walking in the sand and waiting for the sun to go down.

The next morning we were lucky enough to go on a short cruise of Lake Tahoe.  Again, the weather wasn’t particularly warm for being on a boat, but it was sunny and beautiful and a very fun experience.  There were a lot of activities to do in town as well as around the lake and I wished we had had more time to enjoy a hike or two.

Destination Expert, Andrew Bornstein

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