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

 

Snugglers – Hot Chocolate with Peppermint Schnapps

Backyard During the Storm
Backyard During the Storm

Its called a snuggler because it is like a warm hug for your tummy. We’re not sure what is about winter and schnapps, but we have wonderful memories of skiing with schnapps in a camelback.  Back then they were horn-shaped leather bottles that we slung over our shoulders while were skiing.  Over the last couple of days, we’ve been watching the snow pile up, almost two feet in total, so we needed something warm to cheer us up after all of the snow shoveling.  We first had this in Aspen, many years ago and it is definitely one of our favorite winter drinks.  The pairing of hot chocolate and peppermint is obviously a delicious one and this will definitely put a smile on your face.  We added some peppermint bark (dark chocolate, white chocolate, and peppermint… yum).  We hope you enjoy them.

Snuggler
Snuggler

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Whole Milk (2% or skim, your preference)
  • 6 tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 4 to 6 tbsp Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1 tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Confectioner Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla Extract
Snuggler with Peppermint Bark
Snuggler with Peppermint Bark
The Next Day
The Next Day

Instructions

Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat (do not bring to a boil).  Whisk in the cocoa powder until it is thoroughly mixed.  In a cold bowl, combine the whipping cream, sugars, and vanilla extract.  Whip until soft peaks form.  Pour the hot chocolate and schnapps into a mug and top with whipped cream.  Serves 2.

Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate
Whipping Cream
Whipping Cream
Creamy Whipped Cream
Creamy Whipped Cream

 

Aspen, Colorado – Western Elegance

We’ve been to Aspen a couple of times and have thoroughly enjoyed each occasion. The great thing about Aspen is that it has managed to keep that small town feel despite its popularity. The town is host to several large scale events such as the Winter X Games and the FOOD and WINE Classic, but it has a lot to offer all year round. With four mountains for skiing and snowboarding, it is a winter enthusiasts dream, but like all of the Colorado mountains, it is a perfect destination all year long.  Don’t let the rustic exterior fool you, this is a first class destination and it comes with a pretty hefty price tag, but the food and accommodations are all world class.

Downtown Aspen
Downtown Aspen
Babbling Brook Outside of Aspen
Babbling Brook Outside of Aspen
Aspen with the Slopes in the Background
Aspen with the Slopes in the Background

If you go during the winter and like to ski or snowboard (we ski, the kids all snowboard), you won’t be disappointed.  One lift ticket will get you access to Buttermilk, Snowmass, Aspen Highlands, and Aspen Mountain.  But, if you’re not into skiing, there are plenty of other things to do, such as snowmobiling, going on a horse-drawn carriage ride, or even going snowshoeing.  If nothing else, there is always sitting in front of the fire in the lobby of one of the many lodges, sipping wine, and watching the snow fall gracefully from the sky.

Aspen Mountain
Aspen Mountain
Horse Drawn Carriage
Horse Drawn Carriage
Snowshoeing in Aspen
Snowshoeing in Aspen

We went during the final weekend of ski season last year to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary.   We didn’t do any skiing that weekend, but typical to Colorado, we saw everything from blizzard conditions to sun and warmth.  Spring and Fall can always be tricky times to visit the Colorado high country, but we find them to be almost the best times to go as the crowds are definitely not as bad and sometimes the hotels offer discounts to try and bring in a few more tourists.

Dona, Sitting by the Heat Lamp
Dona, Sitting by the Heat Lamp
View of the Deck at our Resort
View of the Deck at our Resort
Check Out Line of Snowmobiles
Check Out Line of Snowmobiles

Summer can be as busy as the winter, with everyone wanting to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery that Colorado has to offer.  There is plenty of hiking, but there is also fun to be had by going to some of the nearby towns, like Minturn, with their old west history.  Horseback riding and rafting are also great activities for those that are a little more adventurous.  If you don’t want to pay the high price of lodging in Aspen, you can always go camping in Maroon Bells.

Aspen City Hall
Aspen City Hall
Hiking Trail in the Colorado High Country
Hiking Trail in the Colorado High Country
Water Fall in the Mountains of Colorado
Water Fall in the Mountains of Colorado

Personally, we find Fall to be the perfect time to go into the mountains and we hope to go hiking in Maroon Bells one of these times soon as the Aspen trees there are supposed to be spectacular.  Although there is always a chance of an early season snow storm, usually the weather is ideal for getting outside and going hiking and enjoying the incredible colors.  The only downside to going during the off-season is that sometimes not all of the stores and restaurants are open as the owners take time off prior to the busy winter season.

Fall in Colorado
Fall in Colorado
Autumn in Colorado
Autumn in Colorado
Aspen Trees
Aspen Trees

The restaurants are some of the best that you can find anywhere.  If you enjoy fine dining in a relaxed atmosphere, then Aspen is the place for you.  One of the great things about Colorado, and Aspen in particular, is that you can go out in jeans and relatively casual clothes and enjoy a night out at excellent restaurants.  The lack of pretense and unnecessary ceremony makes going out to be much more relaxing than other locations.  If you’re not a vegetarian, we’d highly recommend getting a steak or some elk while you’re there, it is truly a taste of the west.

Aspen Mountain
Aspen Mountain
Home in Aspen
Home in Aspen
Snowing Outside of Aspen
Snowing Outside of Aspen

If you get the chance, we’d highly recommend visiting Aspen and having an upscale western experience.  Whether you go take part in all of the winter sports or are going to enjoy the scenery and go hiking in the beautiful Colorado outdoors.