Ski Resorts are Not Just for Ski Season

One of the great things about living in Colorado is that you can get into the mountains in every season of the year. Obviously, the winter is all about skiing and snow boarding, but the other seasons are just as wonderful for hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and just enjoying the beauty of nature. There are many places to stay during those times of year, but the same resorts that are home to ski resorts also make a great destination year round. Ski lifts will take you and your bikes up to the top of the mountain for a thrilling ride down and ski runs are converted to hiking trails. There are also zip lines and other outdoor activities like putt-putt golf, tennis, horseback riding, and golf. There are even some resorts where you can ride down an alpine slide in cars that fly down the luge track. Depending on when you go into the mountains, you will also find a variety of festivals including those with music and film. We have been to several of them, but here a few of our favorite locations.

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Aspen City Hall
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Downtown Aspen
  1. Aspen – There is something special about this elegant city in the Colorado high country. The town has maintained a small town feel and walking the streets will be like going back in time to when skiing first became a popular sport. There is a reason that the Food and Wine festival is held in Aspen as there are an abundance of excellent restaurants for a town of its size.
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    Looking Down at the Village in Late Spring

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    Beaver Creek Colorado
  2. Beaver Creek – Truly one of our favorite destinations no matter what time of year, there is so much to do in Beaver Creek. There are rodeos on the weekends in the small town of Frisco, which is located at the base of the mountain, just outside of the resort. The resort has activities for all ages and physical capabilities and has some excellent hiking and biking trails.
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    View of Downtown Steamboat Springs

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    Fun for the Children
  3. Steamboat Springs – With a main street that has many different gift shops and restaurants, there is plenty to do during the spring, summer, and fall seasons. It is one of the easier destinations to get to from Denver, which makes it a popular location for locals to visit on weekends. The town hosts different events throughout the summer, so it is wise to check out their activities calendar to see what is happening during the time that you are planning to go there.
    Breckenridge Alpine Slide
    Alpine Slide

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    Steep Terrain Near Breckenridge
  4. Breckenridge – Although all of the resorts are family friendly, Breckenridge offers a wide variety of activities will that entertain children of all ages. For those that don’t just want to spend time hiking in the Rocky Mountains, you could pretty much spend all of your time at the resort if you so desired. Obviously, we’d recommend that you get out into nature either walking on a trail or riding horses to feel like an old-time cowboy or cowgirl.
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    Hiking in Autumn

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    Hiking in the High Country
  5. Telluride – Located in southwestern Colorado, Telluride is farther away than most of the other resorts, but well worth the effort to visit. It hosts one of the most famous jazz and bluegrass festivals in the state. We haven’t been to Telluride for a few years now, so it is high on our list to visit this coming summer.

There are plenty of other towns and villages where you can stay when heading to the mountains of Colorado, but staying at one of the ski resorts offer some extra activities that you might not otherwise find. With plenty of stores, restaurants, and lodges of various size, you can truly customize your experience.

The Beautiful Beaches of Punta Cana, Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic has some gorgeous beaches, which is definitely the case in Punta Cana. Located on the eastern coast of the Dominican Republic, or “DR” as some people say, Punta Cana has a variety of beautiful resorts. All of them require that you purchase an all-inclusive package, which can make them quite expensive and also discourages you from leaving the resort to visit the surrounding area. We stayed at the Paradisus Palma Real during our trip to Punta Cana a few years ago and were definitely impressed with all of the amenities.

Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana
Paradisus Palma Real in Punta Cana
View of the Beach from the Resort
View of the Beach from the Resort
View of the Resort from the Beach
View of the Resort from the Beach
The Resort
The Resort

When staying at a large resort, such as the ones in Punta Cana, there are usually many restaurants to choose from, which provides many different options for dining, from casual to fine dining. We took advantage of upgrading to something that the resort called “Royal Service”, which provided us with an ocean view room, access to a concierge to make reservations to restaurants and shows, as well as private pool. It also provided us with a reserved cabana and lounge chairs on the beach without having to get up early and put a towel on it to reserve them.

Main Resort Area
Main Resort Area
Royal Service Area
Royal Service Area
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Beautiful Beaches
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Warm Water for Swimming

Obviously, the highlight of going to Punta Cana are the beautiful beaches with plenty of opportunities to partake in water activities. In addition to spending time on the beach or at one of the many pools, there are also shows every evening for anyone that wants with music and dancing. During the day, you can also participate in activities such as yoga on the beach, volleyball, cooking lessons, and more for those that need more than just sun and relaxation. We use trips like this as a vacation and a break from our hectic schedules, so we tend to simply sit back and soak up the scenery as we sip on tropical drinks.

Cabanas on the Beach
Cabanas on the Beach
Secluded Boardwalk
Secluded Boardwalk
Dos Mai Tai's at the Pool Bar
Dos Mai Tai’s at the Pool Bar
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Blue Skies and White Beaches

We hope to enjoy other beaches in the Caribbean, but Punta Cana, with beaches that face both the Atlantic and Caribbean, is definitely worth a visit.  We would also recommend the royal service to anyone who has the opportunity.  It is a bit of a splurge, but truly worth the extra expense, especially if you’re not travelling with children.

Fountain at the Resort
Fountain at the Resort
Beautiful Beaches
Beautiful Beaches
Our Room at the Resort
Our Room at the Resort
Tropical Fruit
Tropical Fruit

 

Beaver Creek, Colorado

Beaver Creek is a resort town located in the Colorado high country that is a perfect place to visit regardless of the time of year. During the winter, it has wonderful skiing and snow boarding as well as an ice-skating rink in the center of the village. In summer, you can find golf, biking, and hiking for those who enjoy outdoor activities. We have been to Beaver Creek several times and have never had a bad experience. It can be a little bit more expensive than some other resort towns in Colorado, but for the extra cost you get the benefit of reduced crowds.

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Outdoor Eating
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Hiking in the High Country of Colorado
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Walking Through the Village

The village of Beaver Creek has an old-world charm that is very welcoming and creates a relaxing atmosphere. Our favorite time of year to visit Beaver Creek is actually in autumn when the leaves are changing and the town is quiet. There is a lull in the mountains of Colorado during the fall as people recoup from a busy summer season and prepare for the crucial winter ski season that usually kicks off in late November. The weather in the mountains is also wonderful as it usually cool, but there is also the possibility of an early snow storm.

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Gondola to Take You and Your Bicycle to the Top of the Mountain
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Mountain Lodges
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Old-World Feel

There are certainly plenty of restaurants in town and if you want something different, you can get out of the resort village and head into Avon, which sits below the resort village. One of our favorite restaurants is the Dusty Boot Roadhouse, which is a steakhouse and saloon that is in the heart of the village. One of the things that we like about it is that visitors can purchase beers for local resort workers and have them added to a tab that is tracked on a blackboard (at least the last time we were there). That way they can come in whenever they want and redeem a few beers from their tab without it costing them any cash.

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Looking Down at the Village in Late Spring
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Deer Near a Trail
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Quaint Village Buildings

We have hiked and biked all around Beaver Creek and it is certainly beautiful. We have also been fortunate to see deer and other wildlife on many occasions while we were there. We have also seen hummingbird feeders in the village with many of the fascinating birds flitting around for your entertainment while stopping for a glass of wine and sitting at one of the outdoor tables. There are also several places with firepits where you can sit outside, even on a cold night, and enjoy a beautiful sunset. And if you are in the mood for shopping, there are plenty of locally owned shops to buy Colorado specialties.

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One of the Lodges Where We’ve Stayed
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Rambling Stream
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Hotel Balconies and Colorful Mountains

Regardless of the time of year, we love Beaver Creek. There are many choices for lodging in the village area as well as a couple of mainstream hotels, but these aren’t going to be massive buildings as the resort tries to keep a small village feel. We definitely look forward to our next visit to this beautiful town nestled at the base of the mountain.

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Near the Skating Ring
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View of the Village in Autumn
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Scenic Hike