you might be asking yourself, “didn’t you go out to colorado back in june? and you’re just now blogging about it?” guilty. this summer has been nuts and frankly, clients take priority around here. however, i didn’t want to completely forget about it!
my whole family went out to beaver creek/denver for a family vacation. the bulk of our time was spent at the westin in avon (the base of beaver creek) and we loved being able to quickly drive to neighboring villages like vail and edwards. the lionshead part of vail was my favorite!
going to the mountains in the summer might seem odd, but with a small kiddo, it was perfect! the weather was absolutely gorgeous and unseasonably warm which meant lots of pool time, naptime cocktails on the porch, and evening games of bocce. my parents are westin villa owners which meant that we had a super roomy villa with a separate living room, aka perfect when you have kids! the westin isn’t paying me (i wish they were!) to say any of this but we are just really big fans of their vacation villas as they really align with our vacation style.
one night in beaver creek we managed to take in the rodeo which was SO fun! josh and i had been to THE houston rodeo, so we knew what to expect, but the rest of our group were newbies which was fun to witness. is mutton bustin’ not the best thing in the history of rodeos? i can’t wait until hazel is 30 lbs.
you know it wouldn’t be me if i didn’t have suggestions!
• rental cars: josh and i rented a standard car (hello, why are car rentals in denver SOOOO expensive?!) which was fine, however, mountain roads are NO joke. some extra power would have been nice.
• restaurants: ticino (avon//one of the best, homey little italian restaurants i’ve eaten at, outside of italy), pepi’s (vail), red lion (vail//apparently this place is an institution. i loved the atmosphere and had a great lunch), voodoo doughnut (denver//if you ever pass up a trip to voodoo, i’m not sure we can be friends), snooze (denver//awesome brunch. be prepared to wait, even on a monday at 8am.), cherry cricket (denver//gritty, dark restaurant with an awesome beer list and even more awesome burger. and god lord those fries. my favorite stop in denver.)
• things to do (keep in mind we were there in the summer): aquarium (denver//short and sweet. perfect length for a toddler and the mermaids were worth the cost of admission. hazel loved the massive bubble blower the best. which was free.), REI (denver//more than just a store. it’s an epic collection of outdoor gear housed inside a restored denver tramway building which once housed boilers and electricity generators.), BEER (everywhere//you literally can’t swing your arm without hitting a great beer menu. sample the local stuff.), rodeo (beaver creek//only in the summer. awesome family atmosphere and lots of food stalls and alcohol!), free afternoon cookies (beaver creek village//look for the chefs in coats!), central park (stapleton, denver//one afternoon i needed to get hazel out to do something and landed on this park after a google search. AWESOME park, especially if your kid can walk!), union station (semi-recently restored and can i just say, it’s gorgeous. tons of restaurants, coffee shop, ice cream and the most gorgeous lounge area. i only wished we had more time to sit and have a cocktail from the terminal bar.).
• altitude: it’s fun to have high expectations pre-arrival, however you never know how you’re going to react to altitude until you’re there. with an average altitude of 8,000 feet, no matter your resort, the air will be thin. and when you get on top of the mountain it’s even thinner. my advice? give yourself a day or two to adjust and then create your grand plans. i managed to do ok, though i had a few weird bouts of dizziness and headaches. hazel struggled a bit (of course, she did) and was also battling a sinus/ear infection while we were there.
• sleep: westin beaver creek: the general concept of these villas was similar to others. we loved having a kitchen, nice sized living room (with a fireplace!), bedroom and a washing machine. what’s better than coming home from vacation with clean clothes (pro tip!)?? it’s really nice to be able to wake up and eat breakfast in your pj’s, especially when you have a kid who wakes up at the crack of dawn. hyatt place: josh, hazel and i stayed here last spring as well. there are a TON of options for hotels in denver and frankly we were overwhelmed with options and underwhelmed at the quality for the price. so we stuck with what we knew would be fine. they had a decent breakfast (it was better the last time we were in town) and the location is an easy drive from anywhere.
i thought my idea of stopping for voodoo doughnuts on the way out of denver and then eating them at red rocks was a good one. until i remembered that 90% of the people at red rocks are there to exercise. so there we sat like fat americans chomping down while watching people burn calories. no regrets. those doughnuts are some of the best.
this is what a family photo on the top of beaver creek summit looks like. toddler is totally over it.
hazel especially loved the beaver tails and grilled corn.