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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Keep the Beat Going with a Dancing with the Stars Pro in Colorado

Here's to Fun and Dance

Smiles from the DWS Judges: Here’s to Fun and Dance

How about that “Dancing with the Stars” finale this week? Did you have your fill of beautiful moves, heart thumping music, flashy costumes and cheeky judges? No wonder this highly entertaining TV show  on ABC has kept much of America enthralled for almost two decades. The creativity, athleticism and sheer vibe of the dance productions is incredibly inspirational and motivating. It’s, in fact, one of my secret desires to be a star on the show. Perhaps if I sell enough books, that will happen!

In the meantime, I guess the closest I—-or most anyone else—-can get to being a part of such a dynamic happening is to attend the Karina Smirnoff DanceFIT-KS workshop at The Westin Riverfront Beaver Creek June 13 through 15. Yes, this successful dancer/choreographer of ABC’s global hit “Dancing with the Stars,” will soon be here in Colorado to lead a unique, customized fitness experience that’s open to everyone including singles and couples of all ages and fitness levels. The classes are sure to be inspiring and physically effective because of this beauty and lifestyle expert’s signature approach to total body fitness. From a Meet & Greet cocktail party to a special screening of Across Grace Alley, a short film starring Karina, to Salsa, Cha Cha, cardio classes and more, this three-day event promises to provide many memorable moments.

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Terrific Spa Experiences in Colorado’s Mountain Towns

Spa Anjali at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain

Spa Anjali at The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa at Beaver Creek Mountain

Mother’s Day makes many of us think of pampering. I read somewhere that a gift certificate to a spa was one of the most popular Mother’s Day gifts offered. So keep that in mind next time you’re traveling with your favorite mom, even if that mom—or nurturing person—is you. Ladies or men—who doesn’t enjoy having their body and soul nourished by a soothing spa experience?

Here in the Rockies, spa going has become a big part of every mountain vacation year round. Whether you’re looking for just one fantastic therapeutic massage after a long day on the slopes or a big hike, or you decide to make a day of it, spa-going should be a necessary part of every mountain resort stay. Some of the spas are so fabulous that you’d be forgiven if you let the rest of your family or friends ski, ride, hike, bike or fish while you logged major relaxation time within such calming enclaves.

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Fall in Colorado: A Beautiful Time for Sightseeing and Winter Travel Planning

Fall in Telluride

Fall in Telluride

Fall in Aspen

Fall in Aspen

As you can see from the photos featured in this post, we are in full fall splendor here in Colorado. The foliage is peaking now, yet there’s still a lot of green on the trees. So it should remain beautiful in the mountains for another few weeks. Now we’ve entered the autumnal phase of white beginning to replace the gold, russet, burnt umber and bronze that currently punctuate our alpine panoramas. Yes, as the snow fills in, this harvest of fall colors fades into the landscape and we’re left increasingly hopeful about the opening of our ski resorts and the promise of the winter season in the Rockies.

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Bike Race Spectating, Colorado Touring, Book Promoting, Travel Adventures Galore Oh My

Taking a Break from Book Promoting Along the Barriers at the Vail Time Trial of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

Taking a Break from Book Promoting Along the Barriers at the Vail Time Trial of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge

“Have you decided what you’d like to order?” the server of Spencer’s, the signature restaurant of Beaver Run Resort in Breckenridge, asked me.

“I’ll have the snake,” I said.

When he looked at me in a bewildered manner, I realized my words weren’t matching my thoughts and then I corrected my order. “Oh, I meant to say steak.  Yes, steak. I’m sorry, I’m just so weary.”

“No problem,” he replied and seemingly just minutes later I was served one of the most succulent steaks ever. I gobbled it down along with a heap of Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, fresh green beans and a big gulp of red wine. I felt exhausted and much in need of sustenance and this unassuming restaurant delivered.

My Travel Memoir/Love Story that Features France and Highlights Colorado

My Travel Memoir/Love Story that Features France and Highlights Colorado

I had been on the road a few days by the time I reached Breckenridge and realized that following a major sporting event, especially one that changes locales daily required a lot of hustling about, but then adding a book promo tour to it was like doubling town. I had been busy much of the summer promoting my new book, A Tour of the Heart:  A Seductive Cycling Trip Through France, although I saved the biggest push for the end when I’d scheduled a number of events and publicity opportunities in conjunction with the USA Pro Challenge, a major bike race which was marking its third year in Colorado. It seemed like a good fit, so why not give it a go? My core audience seems to be made up of outdoor enthusiasts and discriminating travelers, just the kind of people you find showing up for this big cycling event, especially in Aspen, Beaver Creek and Vail.

I set out in Misty, my old 1993 Subaru with over 250,000 miles to her credit, late Sunday, August 18, for Redstone, Colorado, a delightful little mountain town just under an hour from Aspen. From Telluride, the drive ranks as one of the finest in Colorado, punctuated by bucolic farmland scenery in and around Paonia and dramatic mountain vistas up and over McClure Pass. I arrived at the warm and cozy Redstone Inn to find its bar and restaurant bustling with Sunday evening diners.

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Favorite Restaurant Picks for Frisco, Vail, Beaver Creek and Telluride

Bountiful Bagalis

Ski season might be winding down, although there’s little letting up on the wining and dining scene in Colorado’s top mountain destinations. To the contrary—with the window of prime skiing narrowed down during most spring days—it seems like visitors and locals alike allot even more time for socializing off the slopes during this fair weather season.

Housebaked Bread at Bagalis

If you’re anywhere near Summit County, be sure to put Bagalis in Frisco at the top of your list. I love the warm, inviting decor of this chef-owned and operated restaurant. Chef Michal Ulehala and his wife, Joyce, opened this fine Italian restaurant two years ago and the accolades have been growing ever since. Copper-topped tables, subdued lighting, wood beams and lots of style-y touches such as rectangular white plates come together to create a look that feels like old mining town meets Euro lounge. A large communal table serves as center stage for diners looking to mix and mingle, however, you might want to tuck yourself into one of the more quiet corners of this handsome restaurant. Plan to while away a good amount of time here over beautifully prepared antipasti such as an olive and meat plate comprised of the finest products sourced with care. Indeed, Chef Michal and his team are proponents of the Slow Food Movement and here everything they serve—from shrimp polenta to artisan pizzas to housemade desserts—is made from the finest ingredients, many of which come from local purveyors. Expect an excellent price/quality relationship on all, including their wines by the glass and the bottle—all of which have been selected with great expertise. Bagalis also opens for lunch, offering the perfect time to enjoy their outdoor patio beneath sunny Colorado skies.

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Ski In/Ski Out to Great Snow in Colorado

Camel’s Garden Hotel at the Base of the Gondola in Telluride

Great Ski In/Ski Out Access at Mountain Lodge in Telluride

Woo-hoo! It’s been snowing in Colorado—big time. Anyone that’s been following this winter’s weather patterns knows that Colorado has been shortchanged in snowfall this season. Yes, it has been a little tough going but that’s all changed after one humongous storm. And then another biggie.

Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Beaver Creek

Just in the nick of time, over forty inches were dumped on parts of the San Juans, the mighty range of the Rockies that dominates most of southwestern Colorado. Avalanche control work is still being carried out in much of the region but since Saturday, folks have been able to enjoy epic skiing and riding.

It’s no surprise that Wolf Creek racked up the highest number of inches with Silverton and Durango Mountain Resort following closely behind. Here in Telluride, we were extremely happy with almost three feet—yes, people have been hooting and hollering on and off the slopes for the past five days. (I was thrilled to enjoy two stellar days of skiing early in the week and then gladly welcomed a day at my desk after feeling totally whopped and sore after so much fun. Plus, I’m still tired from having succumbed to the flu—yuk.)

Vail, Beaver Creek and Breckenridge report almost two feet of fresh this past week while Aspen has measured a bit less. The latest weather system just blew out of the state and now everyone in Colorado seems to be grinning ear-to-ear. With blue skies all around us, it doesn’t get much better for enjoying all this lovely Colorado champagne powder.

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