Breckenridge Family Fun Park Activities

 

Alpine Slide at Breckenridge Fun Park

If you’re looking for a fun family activity, load up the car with the kids and drive over to Breckenridge, Colorado, for a sunny weekend.  Breckenridge has built an amazing family-friendly Fun Park that won’t disappoint you.  From your condo in town, the gondola takes you right up the mountain to the Fun Park.  It is a beautiful ride.  The gondola is a walk-on, glass-enclosed, 4 seater that glides over tree tops and beaver ponds where you might catch a glimpse of a furry swimmer with big teeth.  If you’re not into heights, there is also a free bus that circles regularly from the village to the park.  The Fun Park has something to offer everyone, including the family canine.  There’s an enclosed doggy park, a childcare area, a Starbucks to settle down with a warm cup of coffee and an eatery to tame the hungry beasts.

When you’re ready for some fun, the choices of activities meet all kinds of needs too.  You can start with the exciting mountain coaster.  Each coaster can seat a single rider or you can put a small guest in front of you.  The cart gets pulled up the mountain on its own.  It’s nice to look around while you’re getting towed up the mountain.  The flowers are in bloom and the air is crisp, with a hint of the chill yet to come.   When you reach the top and start down the rails, be sure to use the brake minimally.  Your coaster can get going excitingly fast!

The thrilling Roller Coaster ride at Breckenridge

Next get in line at the ski lift for a ride up to the alpine slide.  If you like speed, go for track C.  Track A and B can be used for racing a friend.  You do need to use your brake on this track or risk running off the course and getting a fast ride to the local hospital for a full day tour there!

Another fun activity is the Human Maze.  If you decide to try this challenging activity out, be sure to have lots of patience.  It isn’t as easy to find the exit as you would think.  I got turned around over a dozen times before I finally saw the end.  I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself for not giving up.

Patience is needed for this Challenge

There are some really fun activities for your younger ones.  Their kid-friendly activities include panning for gems in a running water trough, rubber duck racing down a watery slope, a bouncer to strap in to and flip around on and an easy miniature golf course to hit balls on.

I recommend getting the day pass for everyone.  It is such a fun area, your family will easily spend hours there having a blast.  Be sure to take lots of pictures!

Travel Coach, Linda Barsch

 

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5 Tips for a Healthy Vacation

Jenny Lake

Maintaining a healthy routine in your day-to-day life can be difficult. Maintaining a healthy routine while travelling is more than most people’s will power can manage. Even when travelling to a destination known for its active lifestyle, the temptation to trade whole food for fast food and exercise for entertainment can be irresistible. To stay on track, you need a game plan. Here are some tips my wife and I found helpful on our recent road trip to Jackson Hole.

Pack a Picnic Lunch – Even if you never eat them at home, a fast food burger seems to be the standard meal on a road trip. Instead, pack a cooler with cold cuts, a veggie tray, or anything else you’ll enjoy eating cold and plan to stop somewhere nice along the way. Rest stops and town parks usually have picnic tables, facilities, and a pleasant atmosphere. We stopped at a picnic area along the banks of the Logan River. Lodgepole pines and the rushing river provided a much nicer ambiance for our lunch than fluorescent lights and drive through traffic.,

Stay in a Condo Instead of a Hotel – In a condo with a full kitchen, you can keep your usual snacks in the fridge. With a healthy option close at hand, you’ll be less tempted to run to town for ice cream or a pastry. You can also cook your own breakfast instead of eating out.  Restaurant breakfasts often contain more than half your recommended daily calorie intake.  If you aren’t in the mood to cook one morning, order an omelet, but hold the sides. Skipping the fried potatoes and toast with jam will cut the calories dramatically.

Pack Your Gym Bag – Many hotels have an on-site fitness center. What’s less well known, however, is that renting a condo or home often comes with access to an off-site fitness center nearby. When renting in Teton Village, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to visit the Teton Sports Club, located in the Aspens neighborhood about halfway between Teton Village and the town of Jackson. In addition to an array of cardio and weight machines, the Teton Sports Club offers Pilates, spinning, and ski fit classes at no extra charge. You can also attend a Crossfit class for an extra fee. When you make your lodging reservation, be sure to verify that your specific vacation rental comes with fitness center access, as it’s up to individual owners and property managers to offer that amenity to their guests.

See the Sites on Two Wheels – This is easier to do in some destinations than others. In 2012, Jackson/Teton County was named one of only 16 Gold-level Bicycle Friendly Communities by the League of American Bicyclists. The award recognizes the area’s system of bike paths as one of the best in the country. The pathways parallel many of the major roads in the area and can be used to travel from the town of Jackson, into Teton Village, or north into Grand Teton National Park.  We rented bikes from Dornan’s near the Moose entrance to the park and rode eight miles north to Jenny Lake. Despite the imposing mountains the park is known for, the terrain in the valley floor is very flat, making for an easy ride. The ride from Moose to Jenny Lake took about 40 minutes each way.

Ethan and Sarah riding to Jenny Lake

Kill Two Birds With One Stone – Get your entertainment and exercise together at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. The museum offers free yoga outdoors on the sculpture trail every Thursday at 10:00 am during the summer. In addition to displaying enormous bronze statues of wildlife, the museum offers an excellent location for viewing the real thing in the wild. Spread across the valley floor in front of the museum is the National Elk Refuge. While the elk leave the refuge in search of higher altitude and cooler temperatures during the summer, Trumpeter swans, Great Blue herons, and song birds can still be spotted.

Hopefully this gives you some ideas for making sure your next vacation is a blast, without sacrificing your healthy lifestyle.

Destination Expert, Ethan Young

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Taos Ski Valley Celebrating 60 Years

Welcome Sign to Taos Ski Valley

The drive from the quaint town of Taos to the ski valley is a pleasant 19-mile trek through beautiful New Mexico mountain landscape. The elevation steadily climbs to 9,200 feet when you arrive at the remote Taos Ski Valley.

Ernie and Rhoda Blake, Founders of Taos Ski Valley

The Taos Ski Valley was founded by Ernie and Rhoda Blake in 1954.  Ernie grew up in Switzerland but immigrated with his family to America.  After he learned to fly single-engine aircraft, he used one to spot a great place to start a ski resort, the old mining town of Twining. It was the perfect location for his dream.  Taos Ski Valley was born.

This next season, Taos Ski Valley will be celebrating 60 years as a resort. They will be honoring all of the past skiers that have hit the slopes and taken in the ski valley’s grandeur and beauty and all of the future skiers who will experience this little charm of a resort for generations to come.

Snakedance Condominiums

After my recent visit to Taos Ski Valley, I had the pleasure of staying at the popular Snakedance Condominiums where I stayed in a spacious 2BR / 2BA unit.  The unit sleeps six comfortably with about 1100 sq ft of space. The full kitchen boasts granite countertops and a side-by-side fridge. The bathrooms are tiled and have beautiful granite countertops as well.  No worries on proximity to the slopes from this property.  You will find yourself less than 10 yards from the Lift One quad, the main access point to the mountain. This is a slope-side resort with shops and restaurants literally out the door and steps away!

Destination Expert, Susan Makkai

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Taos-the Place That Time Forgot

Taos, New Mexico

Taos is the kind of place that time forgot.  The town’s residents have been doing things their way for 30 years and will likely continue for another 30.  Taos Ski Valley is a bit up the road from the town but has a similar rustic vibe.  That’s not to say there aren’t modern amenities.  We stayed at the Snakedance condominiums and I was very impressed with our condo’s furnishings and appointments, everything was newer and nice.

Snakedance Condominiums 

There are a ton of great places to eat in and around Taos.  The Bavarian had a large german beer selection and wienerschnitzel the size of a manhole cover!  It was delicious!

The Taos Diner

The Taos Diner had a wonderful breakfast spread including grass fed beef and local ingredients.  Michael’s Kitchen is another breakfast spot and I ordered the “Christmas Tree breakfast burrito” whose name will make more sense when you see it!

Dining at Michael’s Kitchen

My favorite meal of the trip was at Aceq.  The lamb short ribs, caprese salad, Hamachi cones and fried chicken were all amazing.  They have a rotating menu, a great beer selection and super friendly waitstaff.  If you are looking for a foodie restaurant near Taos Ski Valley, Aceq is your place.

Earthship Made of Recycle Bottles

We did do some activities in between all the eating.  I recommend checking out the earthships, radically sustainable buildings just outside of town as well as the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge just down the road.  The Taos Pueblo is a unique place; people have been living there continuously for over 1000 years.  There are lots of great artists who have little shops in the pueblo and they were all very friendly to us. Taos is a great place to dine and explore!

Destination Expert, Andrew Bornstein

 

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Top Three Things to Do in Mammoth in the Summer

The Column Tops of Devil’s Postpile

If you’re planning a trip to Mammoth Lakes this summer, don’t miss out on these top three activities; hiking Devil’s Postpile, mountain biking on Mammoth Mountain, and getting spooked in the Ghost Town of Bodie.

To get to Devil’s Postpine, you will need to hop on the shuttle.   As the shuttle makes it’s way to your destination, be sure to sit on the driver’s side for some amazing views.  You will also notice a large area with fallen trees.  The damage was from a 200 mile wind that went through the area in the fall of 2012.  The amazing thing is that Mammoth Lakes had very little wind that same day.  After the shuttle stops, head to the trail head.  The hike is relatively easy with very little elevation gain.  Devil’s Postpine is a unique geologic formation and ranks as one of the world’s finest examples of columnar basalt. I would recommend hiking to the top of the Devil’s Postpine to see the view from the tops of the columns. The columns are very slippery so watch your step. The view is stunning!

Options at Mammoth

I would next recommend mountain biking on Mammoth Mountain.  You can take the lift to the top of the mountain and ride all the way down to the bottom. I would recommend using body gear because the trails have a good deal of loose, shale rock that will keep you alert and give the ride an extra challenge.  The trails are single-track but they wide enough for two bikes to pass. When you look from the top of the tram you have several trail options to get to the bottom. Mammoth Mountain does have a bike trail map so you can choose the perfect trail for your ability.

Ghost Town near Mammoth Mountain

Finally, a must see would be the Ghost Town of Bodie. This is a very interesting ghost town that really isn’t that old. The last person to move from this town was in the 1940′s. When you look through the windows into the interior of private residences or stores you will see remains of items as they were left. The town of Bodie was a thriving gold mining town in the late 1800′s and residences left when the mining started to slow down. The town had several brothels, saloons and gambling halls for the residences to spend their earnings.  All of them are interesting enough to peek at.  Make sure to bring sunscreen when visiting this town because you will want to be here for several hours.  I would recommend paying the $5.00 for a tour of the town with the ranger that lives there full time.  He can regale you with all the local stories and legends.

Destination Expert, Brenda Whitlock

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The Eight Best Things About Taos

 

Lodging at Taos

 

  1. Incredible beauty. Taos Ski Valley feels really remote and unspoiled, situated approximately 15 miles up a mountain valley that is almost completely uninhabited. When you arrive, you just know there won’t be any crowds.
  2. No lift lines! Taos is a good distance from any major city or airport and there aren’t that many locals in the area. Even during the Christmas Holidays, the longest lift line anybody can remember was only a 4 minute wait.
  3. Something for everybody. When arriving in the base village, the first thing you notice about the ski mountain is that it looks very steep. Actually, what you are seeing is only 15% of the ski-able terrain. There are lots of easier runs and every lift accesses at least one blue run. So don’t freak out. Even beginner and intermediate skiers have a great time in Taos.
  4. Breakfast burritos. OK, I probably wouldn’t eat a breakfast burrito every day of my life but they sure are tasty. Check out Abe’s Cantina y Cocina in Arroyo Seco (just down the road from the Taos Ski Valley) for an awesome burrito.
  5. Après Ski. The coolest place to put a cap on the ski day is the Bavarian Lodge at the base of lift 4. Their deck is a great spot to have one of their German beers while looking up at Kachina Peak. Don’t overdo it on the beers because you still have to ski down the Rubezahl trail, back to the base area.
  6. History. Take time to visit the 1,000 year old Taos Pueblo. Just outside of the town of Taos, the Pueblo is thought to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities in the United States.
  7. Natural food. Check out Aceq in Arroyo Seco. They offer a wide variety of farm-to-table dishes made from fresh local produce. The lamb ribs were the best I have ever had. A great place to have dinner but make sure you reserve ahead of time.
  8. Small base area. One of the best things about the Taos Ski Valley is that the base village is small enough that, no matter where you stay, you are only short distance from a ski lift. If you are staying in the village, you won’t need a shuttle or car to get around.

 

Beautiful Rugged Mountains of Taos

The easiest way to get to Taos is to fly to Santa Fe or Albuquerque, then drive. Santa Fe to Taos takes about one hour; Albuquerque to Taos takes about 2 hours. You will be rewarded with some beautiful scenery, excellent skiing, friendly locals, tasty margaritas and absolutely no lift lines. Just remember to go easy on the breakfast burritos!

Destination Expert, Ray Polglaze

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Top Restaurants in Mammoth Lakes

Lakefront Restaurant at Tamarak Lodge

I visited Mammoth Lakes a few weeks ago and thought all of the food was amazing! Here are a few of my suggested restaurants along with a few recommendations from locals that I was unable to get to.

1. Lakefront Restaurant at Tamarak Lodge – fine dining – recommend pork chops
2. Petra’s Bistro and Wine Bar – fine dining – recommend salmon with mashed potatoes

Gomez Restaurant – Tequila Flight

3. Gomez - Mexican Food. Known for having over 400 Tequila’s to choose from – recommend a flight of Tequila and the guacamole
4. Von’s – local grocery store – recommend turkey avocado. Perfect for taking a sandwich on a day hike.
5. Giovanni’s Restaurant and Bar – best pizza in town (gluten free option) – recommend Johnny’s Pizza
6. Rafters - breakfast – recommend BlackBerry multigrain pancakes. Also a local favorite for all-night happy hour that starts at 4pm. Live music Thur-Sat.
7. Whitebark inside The Weston - Mexican and Asian flare – recommend rock shrimp tacos and guacamole

 

Locals recommended:
2. Toomey’s – American
3. The Pita Pit – casual
5. Red Lantern – Chinese
6. Jimmy’s Taverna – Greek

 

Safe Travels,
Amy
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Top Three Restaurants in Mammoth Lakes

Delicious dining at Mammoth

There are a lot of restaurants in Mammoth Lakes I would recommend.

My favorite would be The Lakefront Restaurant near Tamarack lodge. When you pull into the parking lot you will see an amazing lake and mountain view. The restaurant is very small so I would highly recommend making dinner reservations. Our waitress was very knowledgeable and assisted us when we had questions. The menu included Gluten free items which was a nice touch. At the end of our meal Chef Brown thanked us for dining at the restaurant. After the meal we talked with the waitress and Chef Brown and learned we narrowly misses a bear that visited the restaurant earlier. I would highly recommend dining at this restaurant and sure to dine there on my next visit Mammoth Lakes.

Rafters would be my favorite breakfast spot. They have some unique breakfast items like Blackberry multi-grain pancakes and smoked duck egg Benedict. The service was fast and very pleasant.

We had a really good meal at Gomez’s Mexican Restaurant. This restaurant is located at the Village plaza. The restaurant is kid-friendly with an outside sandbox on the patio. Service was attentive and speedy. The restaurant has 400 Tequila’s to choose from and I’m not joking. We had the house margarita which was perfect. The salsa was great. I would recommend putting some of their house chipotle sauce into salsa. Overall this was a great place to stop for dinner and the price will not break the bank.

Destination Expert, Brenda Whitlock

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Bear Watching in Mammoth Lakes

We found our first bear.

Don’t feed the bears. However, part of the adventure in Mammoth must include searching for one of the 48 black bears that live in and around town. Driving around from dumpster to dumpster after 11 pm can be as exciting as a haunted house.

 

The bears originally had a refuge in the golf course where they still sleep in the tunnels under the course. Once they awake they begin their search for food and will usually follow the same path each night. They will attempt to open a dumpster hoping that a tourist has left the dumpster unlocked. They are not known to be aggressive and will disappear in seconds if they notice you around.

 

Make sure and check out Animal Planet’s TV series The Bear Whisperer with local bear expert Steve Searles before you visit.

 

My Mammoth Bear

When our group was there we located a large bear at the resort maintenance shed. We had been searching over 30 dumpsters and were shocked when we turned on our lights and saw a big bear looking back at us. The picture above is the best shot I could get. =(

 

I really enjoyed Mammoth Lakes. There were so many summertime activities to keep me busy for at least a week.

 

Safe Travels,
Amy
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Going to Mammoth

Beautiful Mammoth Mountain

 

Mammoth Mountain is fantastic.  Like most things California, it is beyond spectacular!  Have you ever had a dream where you find yourself hiking along a rocky mountain in rugged, pine-covered wilderness completely alone and at one with nature?  I have and that is what Mammoth Mountain reminds me of.  The scent of the pines on the fresh, crisp breeze makes the scenic view from the mountain top especially fulfilling.  In the winter, I can easily imagine the amazing skiing Mammoth provides from these peaks.  It would make for some spectacular runs.

Down below, the village wraps around the ski resort, so it almost doesn’t matter where you stay because you are, at most, a short shuttle ride from a gondola. I love that kind of convenience.

There are many tasty places in the village to calm a hungry gut but my favorite place to eat at is Gomez’s Restaurant.  It is Mexican food that aims to please.  They make some mouth-watering special sauces that bring you back time and again.  Gomez Restaurant is located in the newer part of the village, so after dinner and drinks you can stroll around the village to shop and play at the many activates that are set out for your entertainment.

Destination Expert Patrick Young

 

 

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