What I Did on My Summer Vacation in Vail

I am keeping with the back-to-school theme, and joining kids everywhere in sharing the, “What I Did on My Summer Vacation” exercise.  Coming from a large family that rarely vacationed, I’m so excited to finally show off and brag about my trip to Vail. To say Vail is impressive is an understatement. Nestled at the base of a mountain, Vail Village is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. European style buildings decked with huge planters, overflowing with flowers, line the meandering lanes that snake lazily through the village. Picturesque, oh yes!  Before I can begin to share the bounty we found at the Vail Farmers Market, I have to tell you a little more about my trip in the hopes of enticing you to put this hot spot on your bucket lists!

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I was fortunate to spend a long July weekend there with two friends, Ashley, whose recipes I often feature from Ashley Quinn Style, and Betina, a new friend of mine from Denmark. By far, this trip was the highlight of my summer. We arrived late in the day on Friday with plans for a Saturday hike and a Sunday visit to the farmers market. So we started by fortifying ourselves with wine and cheese, much in the way a runner would do with carbs the night before a marathon. Then we made our way to Sweet Basil, a lovely restaurant with an open patio that overlooks a beautiful stream. I recommend this for a special occasion. Keeping in mind, that just being in Vail is a special occasion unless of course, you are fortunate to live there. After a glorious meal, some more wine, and a luscious dessert, we rolled ourselves back to our new home away from home, the Tivoli Lodge.

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This hotel was so beyond incredible it is deserving of its own paragraph. Ever the bargain shopper, I stumbled upon this resort through an offer on LivingSocial. Vail is a little pricey, so finding a hotel for $189 in Vail Village is actually quite a steal. Everything about the lodge was wonderful. From the gracious, attentive staff (Brandon we can’t thank you enough) to the cozy yet elegant décor, the well-appointed rooms (and when I say well, it’s with a capital W…for the complimentary bottle of WINE that awaited us), the beautiful green expansive lawn, and the lovely large windows from which we could soak it all in. I would be totally remiss not to mention the owners beautiful (and well behaved) chocolate lab that meanders around the lobby. I’m sure there are plenty of other fabulous hotels in Vail, but this one really won my heart. So much so, that I’m on a mission to get back there again. So please, please if you don’t take any other advice from me, stay at the Tivoli Lodge if you get a chance!

Saturday greeted us with a cool breeze and blue skies. The hotel staff suggested an easy hike up a trail called Berry Picker. Three miles…piece of cake. We were looking pretty good at the start.

Vail startIt didn’t take much more than the first mile marker to get me thinking I really need to get back in shape. Ashley being a gracious Southerner assured me it wasn’t me, it was the thin air. She is likely to tell me there are no calories in cake too. Here is another picture of us about half way up. We made the attempt to look refreshed as our photographer was an attractive man who was hiking effortlessly along the same trail. Exhaustion aside it was really quite amazing.

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Another mile had us saying the proverbial “Are we there yet?” In search of the gondola that we were promised would be waiting at the top, we found ourselves stopping frequently to admire the view (a/k/a catch our breath). And by the grace of God there it was!

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We so needed this lift back down!

So after a taking in the view from the top which was of course, breathtaking, we took a leisurely gondola ride back down to the village. After a delicious lunch at the Red Lion, and a little window shopping in the village, we made our way back to the lodge for a nice long soak in the hot tub before a celebratory dinner in honor of Betina’s birthday.

That's Betina wishing for Prince Charming!

That’s Betina wishing for Prince Charming!

Stay tuned for our second day in Vail.  A culinary excursion at the Vail Farmers Market!

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