Sunday, April 13, 2014

Breckenridge, Colorado - A quaint skiing village with lots of personality

If you ever want to spend a weekend enjoying nature at its finest and feeling like you stepped back in the Victorian era - Come to Breckenridge!  This is by far one of my favorite skiing vacations I've taken over the years.  I have found that the best time to go to Breckenridge is during the end of the season to experience Spring skiing.  There is lots of snow for great skiing, beautiful weather, and smaller crowds.  There are a couple of ways to get to Breckenridge from the Denver airport, the most obvious is to rent a vehicle.  But, there is a little less known way to get there...Colorado Mountain Express.  This shuttle service is very convenient and with sharing the ride with multiple friends arriving/leaving at similar times they can all share the costs to and from the airport.
Amazing Views

The mountains in Breckenridge offer a variety of ski trails on the 5 peaks.  From the thrilling black diamonds on Peak 10, easy runs on Peak 9, runs for every level of skier on Peak 8, long windy trails on Peak 7, to the above the trees intermediate runs on the new Peak 6.  My personal favorite is to start the morning hitting the Briar Rose trail and making my way over to finish the day on Lincoln Meadows or Monte Cristo.  It is a great way to clear out early from the beginners on Peak 9 and have runs all to yourself over on Peak 7.
Solo trail blazer
You can bring your equipment with you or rent from the numerous shops in town.  They all have quick, easy rentals and returns.  If you happen to forget something like leaving your poles in your condo (yes I have done this!), they will let you borrow them for free.  Plus they are more than helpful when renting a helmet, which I highly recommend on the ski trails.  If you have enough pockets you can put a small point & shoot camera or your cell phone in them.  You never know when you will have the perfect scene present itself to you.  The other thing you need to be prepared for is the change in temperature.  Sometimes it can be very windy on the chairlifts and at the peaks but, can definitely warm up as you are skiing down the trails.

Crazy snow storm
Beautiful sunny day
There are plenty of places to take breaks on the mountain. From plopping down right on the trail to spending a nice leisurely break at any of the restaurants on the peaks or at the base.  Just remember to drink plenty of fluids to counteract the potential of altitude sickness and pay attention to your body's energy level during the full day of skiing.  When your legs start feeling tired it might be time to stop for the day.  Or you might end up being the person standing in the lift line that just falls over at the end of the day because your legs feel like jello (Oh yeah that was me, too!).
Taking a break on the hill
Hanging out at the bottom of Peak 7
Condos for rent
ULLR - Snow God from Scandinavian Folklore, protector of all those who participate in winter sports.

If you have numerous friends or family members going on this vacation, the best bet is to rent out a home or condo.  There are lots of choices and reasonable prices.  Most of the places to rent are on the free shuttle ride routes.  This shuttle will take you to and from the town, just remember to pay attention to the color of your particular route or you might end up taking a tour of the town.

View of the ski hill from town
The Dredge Restaurant & Bar

Each time I visit Breckenridge I always find something new and exciting in the shops along Main Street.  Of course they all have the traditional souvenirs available but, you also can find that rare gift for yourself or a loved one in one of the old buildings they have renovated into quaint stores.  What I enjoy the most is conversing with the proprietors.  They love to chat with you and love to hear where you are from.  I always hear amazing stories on how they know someone who lives in the same area of the country as me. 


Breckenridge Brewery
My favorite part of the town of Breckenridge is how the entire downtown area has lights strung on the buildings.  It always reminds me of Christmastime here. There are plenty of dining choices to try after the day on the slopes.  I've had great meals at The Dredge, Breckenridge Brewery, La Francaise Bakery (great crepes!), Columbine Cafe, Giampietro, Briar Rose Chophouse & Saloon, and The Motherloaded Tavern (great Mac & Cheese!).
Views from the interstate to and from Denver are amazing.  The only potential drawback is if you happen to get caught in one of the traffic jams.  There isn't a lot of options other than sitting and waiting for the cars to move.  I only hope that you don't have to experience this on your way back to Denver when you have a flight to make.

Breckenridge is a place where you can step back into time and enjoy hospitality and friendship with everyone you meet on and off the slopes, and where you can breathe fresh air and see the most spectacular views of mother nature at her finest.     

Spring trying to come through the snow!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Georgetown...Worth a whole day visit in itself!

Georgetown was one place I was determined to visit while I was in Washington DC.  It was highly recommended to me to find a restaurant on the Potomac and eat a great dinner.  This town is not the easiest to get to.  There are no direct Metro stops and very limited parking on the streets.  I got off at the Foggy Bottom Metro stop and struggled with which way to go to get to the downtown.  I knew the general direction but, it was still a little stressful before I had confirmation that I was heading the right way.  But when I did get there I found the most quaint and historic downtown area.  Old buildings that were full of character along tree lined streets.  And anyone with extra money will love the multitude of shops to browse through on the main street and all the side ones as well.  I was having a great time window shopping and without knowing how long the main street went I kept on walking.  I ended up coming right up on one of the oldest buildings in Washington D.C.

The Old Stone House, part of the Landmark District of Georgetown, is the only surviving pre-Revolutionary Colonial building in the capital.  The house stands on its original site in the port of Georgetown in 1751.  

This building was beautiful from the outside.  I was a bit bummed that I couldn't see inside but, the flower gardens were amazing!

I kept walking down the street and noticed a store that had a line of people waiting in front of it.  I had no clear idea what was going on but, that didn't matter I stepped right up and took my place in the line, the same as everyone else. Everyone was in a jovial mood and we all kept looking back to see how many people would line up after us.  This seemed to be the place to be...Georgetown Cupcake!  I have never heard of this place before but, let me tell is definitely worth the wait in line!  The cupcakes were very Yummy!! 

I asked for directions to get to the waterfront and everyone was so nice here.  I was directed to the brick-paved street that would take me directly to the Waterfront Park.  Crossing the C&O Canal, I couldn't help noticing how rustically beautiful it was.

Waterfront Park
Georgetown View of the Potomac

Washington Harbour has some great restaurants with amazing views of the Potomac.  I had dinner at Tony and Joe's.  Meals there are reasonably priced with their specialty in seafood. Try the Salmon it was fabulous!  I sat on the patio and watched the boats go by and the sun setting.  What a wonderfully relaxing evening!

As I was walking back to the town from the waterfront I came across the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park.  A little history..."Georgetown was little more than a sleepy market town when planning for a Potomac River Valley canal began in the 1820s.  It would likely have remained one forever or perhaps even faded away entirely but for one critical decision: the new canal would not end at Fletcher's Cove, as expected, but continue int the heart of the village.  This meant Georgetown would have a real future, not only as an important capital city neighborhood but also as a vibrant, industrial community."  But walking along the canal it was like walking back in time.

Georgetown...definitely a must see town when visiting in the Washington D.C. area!