We started off our trip at our hotel- the Lodge at Vail. Since the Lodge offers Valet parking ($20/night) it was easiest to head there from our place and get settled in. If you're looking to skip the parking fee, you can park in one of Vail's free parking garages. It's a bit of a walk to the Lodge- but not anything unmanageable.
When we checked in, we were thrilled to check out our room. Our room was situated right over the hotel restaurant, Cucina Rustica. Our balcony was huge and overlooked the mountains- even though we were in the middle of Vail, the way the hotel is situated you don't really see the town from the east facing rooms- just the hillside across I70.
The Lodge is an older hotel from the 70's, and doesn't have air conditioning. It can actually get quite warm in the rooms, so we just left our window open. This was actually really nice and refreshing (there is nothing better than mountain air), until the people in the room next to ours decided to loudly party after the bars closed at 2am. The hotel took care of it very quickly though, and the rest of the night was filled with great sleep on the super comfy beds! The Lodge is currently renovating, and I am hoping a/c is on the list- but its actually quite nice in the summer with the windows open.
We were greeted with a lovely box of goodies in our room full of Colorado favorite foods like granola, jerky and trail mix- as well as some local microbrews from Eagle County breweries Crazy Mountain and Bonfire Brewing. It was a lovely touch that you can add to any room!
For lunch, we walked over from our hotel to La Tour. I've been coming to Vail since I was a kid, but I've never eaten at La Tour- I have no idea why! The food is fresh, delicious, and distinctively french. During lunch, they had the doors open to their patio and had seats both inside or out. We went for the dining room which is decorated in warm, inviting colors and features lots of incredible art. Each table was adorned with typical candles, and a small sculpture of a woman- none looked to be the same from what I could tell. It was a really nice touch!
For our lunch we each sipped artisan cocktails,
If you're looking for a less expensive option, I LOVE Pazzo's pizza which is literally steps from La Tour. Their pizza is ooey, gooey, and perfectly New York style thin. It is a very laid back place, and great for lunch or dinner. You can also order up a huge batch of nachos or some delicious wings at the Red Lion, where they have live bands many afternoons. It's a great dive bar! We also love Pepi's for lunch- their authentic German food is delicious, and there is something for everyone. Their patio is a great place to people watch!
For dinner, we wanted to stay close to the hotel, and decided on Elway's- which is right in the Lodge at Vail. I remember back when it used to be the Wildflower Cafe- and I have to say, while I loved the European-style paintings on the side of the old Wildflower- I am SO excited Elway's is in Vail!
Elway's was a huge hit. I've been to the Elways in Cherry Creek, but hadn't ever dined at the Vail location. The atmosphere in summer is perfect to sit on the patio and glance out at the gorgeous tree lined walkway (my favorite spot in Vail- check it out below!), up at the bistro lights, and up to the stars. It was completely romantic- and the food was amazing!
We started off in the bar and drank some honey vodka based martinis with Colorado's local Spring 44 vodka while waiting for our table. We then moved on to rich and delicious asparagus topped with poached eggs, and my husband went for deviled eggs. For our steaks, I had a filet with sweet onions, and my husband had a ribeye with peppercorn sauce, with some mushrooms on the side and a wonderfully paired cabernet.
The steaks were full of flavor, tender, and cooked perfectly (my slightly over rare was one of the most delicious steaks I have ever tasted- and I know good steak!). We finished the meal with our favorite quarterback's personal favorite dessert- homemade ding dongs! We were both impossibly full, but the meal was an incredible experience!
And of course, no trip to Vail would be complete without walking around to enjoy the beautiful Colorado wildflowers (Columbines grow everywhere- and Vail takes loving care of theirs), a walk by the river, and around the base of the mountain.
We got up the next morning and took a stroll through town to walk off some of our rich meals. My favorite walk in Vail is the bike path in between the two "villages" of Vail. Start off at the fire station (where you just might catch a peek of Ryan Sutter from the Bachelorette!!), and walk along the walkway past the hospital, ice arena and the library. It starts to wind through a wooded area along the creek, where there are plenty of picnic benches and places to dip your toes in the river (be careful- the water runs fast and can be dangerous. Stick to areas with natural barriers and stay away from fast moving water!), as it makes its way over to Lionshead. Once there, stroll around the Arrabelle- it looks like you've entered a whimsical Bavarian village!
If you're looking for dining options in Lionshead, I love the Tavern and Chophouse- but they are a bit spendy. Garfunkel's is much less expensive- but can be hit or hit or miss (though their patio is the perfect place to soak up the sun and have a wonderful view of the hillside!). You can also head up the hill and take the gondola and pay a bit extra for lunch credits. It is also a bit on the spendy side, but so much fun to head up the gondola and dig for dinosaur bones, play at adventure ridge, or just walk around on top of the mountain.
Along with wildflowers everywhere, Vail also has a TON of great art. Some pieces are large and welcoming (like this snoozing bear near the Vista Bahn lift ticket building), and some are interactive (like a large installation of a cloud with wind chimes kids can play with) as well as some fountains that dance throughout town. The more you walk and explore- the more you'll find!
Vail was a perfect place for our parents getaway- full of romantic meals, beautiful walks, and plenty of great shopping. If you're looking to stay at the Lodge at Vail, be sure to check their summer specials. We snagged our room for under $200- which in Vail is a scorching deal!
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