No matter where I have lived in my 39 years (YIKES!) on earth, I have always had trouble playing tourist and seeing the sights of my hometown. It was the case growing up in St. Louis, during my seven-year stay in Miami, and unfortunately, for most of the eight years I’ve been a proud resident of the Vail community. Ryan and I were lucky enough to show off a few of Vail’s highlights for a show that aired years ago on the Travel Channel called “Trista and Ryan’s Honeymoon Hotspots”, but even with that, there are still things on my to-do list. With constant questions via twitter and facebook of what people should do during a trip to Vail, I wanted to put together my favorite spots as well as write down the sights that I’d still love to see…and then, hopefully, I’ll actually take my own advice and play tourist!!
1. Hiking to a Four Course Dinner at Tennesee Pass
It’s only 29 miles away from Vail and I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this experience. You can ski or hike up one mile to the Cookhouse, so you will not only get a great workout in for the day, but you’ll also enjoy a wonderful four course meal in an exceptional location. Make reservations though and plan on leaving the kids and dogs at home. Date night!
2. Rafting with Lakota River Guides
As someone who is incredibly fearful of water, river rafting has never been high on my list. However, after spending time helping out at a First Descents adventure camp and kayaking down the GORGEOUS Colorado River last summer, I decided to change that. Owned by friends of ours, Lakota Guides offers trips for all different skill levels and ages, even with Class I-II rapids that 2 year olds can ride. I think this summer will be the time to make it happen, so if you see me about to hop in a raft, wish me luck (or confidence)…I’ll need it!
3. Adventure Ridge tubing
This is one adventure that I’ve actually been able to personally enjoy…twice. I wouldn’t call myself a thrill-seeker, and will admit that anything that gets me going at high speeds puts tears in my eyes instead of a smile on my face, but I decided to not be a bump on a log and actually get my butt into a tube alongside my daring husband. And I don’t regret it! We even got to link up and see just how fast two tubes can get down the hill. Loved being right beside Ryan, but I don’t think he was too crazy about my screams, even if they were screams of fearful joy!
4. Hanging Lake hike
Every time we drive to Glenwood or Aspen, we pass the signs to the trailhead of this popular spot on I-70 and every time we do, I want to stop. It’s a 1 ½ mile trail, which I actually think the kids could do easily with snacks and breaks in the shade, and it ends in pure beauty…that is if you like gorgeous waterfalls and turquoise blue lake water. With yet another thing on my list for this summer, I better get to planning!
5. Trapper’s Cabin at Beaver Creek
Tucked away on Beaver Creek, this cabin is nestled among the aspens and right where all the mountain action is. Ryan and I were lucky enough to call this cozy, yet luxurious cabin home the summer before we bought our own home in the valley and I will never forget it. It can be booked in the summer or winter, sleeps up to 10 people, and boasts amenities such as a private chef, hot tub, ski-in/ski-out access, a pool table and total seclusion. If you get the chance to plan a trip when the leaves are changing, you will be surrounded by Aspen glow like you’ve never seen. After noticing that it’s been completely renovated, I think we’ll have to get back up there soon…especially because we didn’t get to enjoy the benefit of the private chef!
-- Trista Sutter