Vail, Colorado is a heaven on Earth environment with gorgeous terrain of mountains and streams and the perfect place to turn off the cell phone and laptop or not bring them at all. While autumn may not bring the famous soft powder snow, a true blessing from the ski and snowboard gods, it does have the chill of winter creeping in with fresh air and a soft breeze that may give your nose a little hint of red. This time of year also allows you to check out the town like the locals and really enjoy its charm before the snow dumps and the crowds pour in.
Start this perfect day by checking into the Lionshead Inn, located directly at the bottom of Vail Mountain and then, head to the west end of Vail to the Sandbar Sports Grill. The layout is designed for the ultimate sports fan. Large flat screen plasmas deck the halls. There is a section of the bar that has nice leather couches and recliners setup in a social setting reminiscent of something you might see on MTV’s Cribs. Try the wing sampler- they are awesome! Thick tender juicy meat and the sauces were wonderful; a raspberry chipotle, a tangy bbq and a spicy hot sauce.
Next, catch the free bus that picks up in front of the Sandbar and head to the other side of town for a daytime adventure – a ride on the Eagle Bahn Gondola which is free after 4pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from late June until the first weekend in September. Everyone on the bus is always happy and warm making you feel right at home, a very neighborly community to say the least.
The ride up the mountain is fantastic, staring at the gorgeous orange and red leaves of the trees as you sail above the earth. When you get to Eagle’s Nest on the top of the mountain, there is a park with a volleyball court and several benches, viewing areas and a nice little pub called the Blue Moon Restaurant that offers amazing views. Sitting on top of the mountain looking down over the little town made me long for the days of the mountaineers, wishing I could live in a simple time like that. It is so easy to spend a few hours just chatting and enjoying the fresh seasonal air…scents of wood burning from chimneys permeate the crisp air.
Later head down the mountain to Lionshead Square to explore the cute little ma and pa knick knack stores, over the top fashion stores with some of the wildest winter gear you have ever laid eyes on…a true shoppers delight. And if shopping isn’t your thing, wonder into a little café for a cup of some fresh, hot apple cider.
After getting your shopping fix you might want to head back to the hotel for a nap and some relaxing. The rooms at Lionshead are gorgeous. Very cozy, well maintained and comfortable.
When your stomach bellows a small grumble to inform you it’s getting close to dinner time head to world famous Chaps- a high end restaurant with American cuisine offering large portions of delicious food. Sample a bowl of fresh hot onion soup, and for an entrée- Elk. Yes, a well cut trim piece of marinated steak with a slight tang. Dessert could be a delicate piece of chocolate cake that is nice to pair with a glass of port.
If you have the energy to check out a local band and do a little dancing check out the local venue 8150. The club is unique in its design since the building was built over a bridge, which in turn allowed for a sort of bounce effect to happen on the dance floor. A local reggae band usually jam’s some Bob Marley covers and as the patrons are dancing you can feel the floor beneath you bounce up and down – very cool.
Vail, is a dream come true for anyone looking to feel the awe of nature. The next time you’re looking to experience a perfect day, check out Vail, Colorado and enjoy the mountain life!
What & Where:
Lionshead Inn (705 West Lionshead Circle; 970-476-2050)
Sandbar Sports Grill (2161 N Frontage Rd; 970-476-4314)
Vail Mountain- Eagle Bahn Gondola & Blue Moon Restaurant (450 East Lionshead Circle; 970-476-9090)
Chaps (1300 Westhaven Dr; 970-479-7014)