Summer Dining Picks for Vail, Beaver Creek and Telluride

Fabulous Grilled Chops from Elway's Vail

Fabulous Grilled Chops from Elway’s Vail

Wow, Colorado’s mountain towns are going off right now. Every year the summer tourism scene seems to grow as people realize that Colorado’s resort towns are the place to be to have fun, cool off and enjoy terrific dining. There’s so much to choose from, often your toughest decision is where to go. And it should come as no surprise that the culinary scene of our swanky mountain towns rivals the dining options offered in the world’s most cosmopolitan cities.

In this story, I’ve outlined  some of my suggestions of where you’re sure to enjoy a delicious meal in a great setting. These are the busiest weeks from now through Labor Day, so I suggest you plan ahead and reserve as much in advance as possible at these and other fine restaurants.

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My Mom: A True Original

My Mom:  Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

My Mom: Mary Ellen Trigger Rogers Clemente

“I was great for telling stories,” my mom, née Mary Ellen Rogers, told me as we sipped frosty beers and munched on chips and salsa in an old cowboy bar in Scottsdale, Arizona. “When I was a  young girl, my neighbor had a beautiful horse called Suntan,” she continued. “I dreamed of having a horse, so I started telling the story that Roy Rogers was my uncle. It was a plausible story, since my father was from Wyoming and, of course, my last name was Rogers.”

As I listened to my mom recount this tale—one that I had heard before but was relishing even more beneath the sweltering summer heat of Arizona here in this beloved watering hole where so many had come before–I sensed that she had lived this story so much that she almost believed it to be true. “When I was in the sixth grade, I had a leather belt with letters that hung down, spelling out TRIG. You know, as in Trigger, Roy Rogers’s horse. I was tall with long, bushy, blond hair, so I did sort of look like a horse.”

“I remember people calling you Trig,” I said.

“Yes, a few people—those that are still alive—still do,” my mom added as she scooped up the chunky salsa with her tortilla chip.

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La Marmotte and 221 South Oak: Two Lovely Telluride Restaurants Inside and Out

Delectable Dish from La Marmotte

Delectable Dish from La Marmotte

It’s Bluegrass weekend in Telluride, Colorado, the real start of summer, and from now through Labor Day our little mountain destination will be buzzing with visitors, second home owners and even locals delighting in all that our fabulous town has to offer. Telluride’s vibrant culinary scene is part of what makes T-ride standout and between this historic, old mining town and Telluride Mountain Village, the selection of restaurants is vast. The crowds can be as well, so be sure to reserve your table as far in advance as possible—especially at the more highly regarded restaurants such as the two I outline below:  La Marmotte and 221 South Oak. Both of these long-established Telluride favorites also have outdoor patios where securing a table can pose even more of a challenge on busy weekends. But do, because if the weather is cooperating, these are two of the most prized fresh air spaces in Telluride.

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Colorado: A Stunning Place for Weddings

A Telluride Wedding by Merrick Chase

A Telluride Wedding by Merrick Chase

Graduations, anniversaries, engagements, weddings. ‘Tis the season for gatherings—big and small—to mark momentous occasions. I’ve noticed an influx of people from all over the country to Telluride to celebrate milestones, especially weddings, now that the weather has turned beautiful. Telluride, in fact, has become quite the place for destination weddings year-round with perhaps the exception of mid-spring since the leaves don’t typically pop until late May. I frequently meet people in and around Telluride and Telluride Mountain Village—often on the gondola which joins these two towns—that are here for a wedding. Many of the couples that opt to have weddings here and in other parts of Colorado have no particular attachment to the area except for their love of its beauty, the perfect backdrop for making a special day even more awe-inspiring.

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The Riches of Paris and The Riches of France Now eBooks

The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide

The Riches of Paris: A Shopping and Touring Guide

If you’re headed to Paris soon or are just an armchair traveler that enjoys curling up with your eBook, may I recommend my books, The Riches of Paris:  A Shopping and Touring Guide and The Riches of France:  A Shopping and Touring Guide to the French Provinces. They’re perfect for Francophiles interested in knowing more about the places they’re discovering.

The eBook versions of my classic guidebooks come just in time for spring/summer travels to the French capital and the provinces of France. How handy it is to pull them up on your mobile device or eBook reader to find out about the most interesting places and products to savor.

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Closing the Ski Season in Aspen

Relaaax...It's Aspen

Relaaax…It’s Aspen

Smooth, silky, soothing, sultry, relaxing—that’s Aspen. And that’s how my ski season ended this year, and it was lovely. Just what I needed, too.

All kinds of celebrating from pond skimming in bikinis to dancing in ski boots typically take place on closing day at most ski resorts. Skiers and boarders in fun and crazy outfits cut loose as a way of toasting the end of a long ski season marked by few or many turns and often lots of hard work (in the case of those that work in ski towns). I celebrated Telluride’s closing day a month ago and enjoyed closing week festivities on the Front Range mid-April, so I had my share of end-of-the-season partying.

With the closing of its four mountains (Aspen Mountain, Buttermilk, Highlands and Snowmass), Aspen has certainly seen a lot of colorful merrymaking these past weeks. So it wasn’t surprising that this bonus weekend of skiing on Ajax was marked by a bunch of folks—mostly locals—primarily interested in cruising the slopes of their beloved mountain for the last time. Sure there was a smattering of tutus, tiger costumes and wacky wigs along with a vibrant assortment of flowered shirts and shorts, yet the scene was pretty tame. The emphasis was on the skiing; in this case beneath azure blue skies on what were surely the warmest days of the year thus far. (It hit 70 degrees in the town of Aspen on Sunday.) more »

Two Brief Stays in Santa Fe

The Cathedral Basiica of St. Francis of Assis in Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assis in Santa Fe, New Mexico

My boyfriend, Steve, and I have managed to visit Santa Fe, New Mexico—an almost six-hour drive from Telluride, Colorado—twice within the past year and a half and we’re already plotting our next trip. (That one will surely include exploring the ski mountain.) Each trip was short—only two nights a piece—and we didn’t even step foot in one of Santa Fe’s amazing museums, but still, we felt far from cheated. For us, it has been enough to just chill and breathe in the heartwarming, southwestern ambiance for which this town is known. Just like going to Paris and whiling away time in a corner café instead of scouring the Louvre, in Santa Fe during both stays we just strolled around and admired the beauty of this magnificent city, the oldest incorporated state capital within the United States.

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For Off-Season and Year-Round Enchantment: Taos, New Mexico

Contemplating Nature's Beauty at Hacienda del Sol in Taos

Contemplating Nature’s Beauty at Hacienda del Sol in Taos, New Mexico

Ahhh-hhh, off-season. Anyone that has lived in a resort town knows the true meaning of off-season. Whether it occurs in the winter or summer, spring or fall, this lull in peak travel times provides a much-needed respite from the busy-ness of high season. In Telluride, Colorado it means tons of available parking spaces, no lines at the Post Office or grocery store and a certain quietude akin to a ghost town, something that delights some and bores the heck out of others.

Most don’t mind this downturn of activity, since many take advantage of our seasonal slowdown (during the spring and fall) to go off and seek fun for themselves elsewhere. Since the mountain closed two weeks ago, we’re in the throws of off-season now, also referred to as shoulder season and in the case of the spring off-season, mud season.

Many people take off for exotic locales for as many as six weeks travel; others find their bliss within a two- to six-hour drive from our southwestern Colorado mountain town. Indeed, we’re located just a few hours away from some of the best recreation around in Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, all sunny and warm destinations this time of year where spring arrives with the intensity of the desert sun.

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