Travel: Vail, Colorado

If you like to travel then quarantine has definitely thrown a wrench in your wanderlust.  I haven’t been outside of the Denver bubble since January.  My sister, daughter and I decided to head up to the mountains for a weekend getaway in Vail.  We were so excited packing and driving up there, it felt like we were going to Disneyland {BTW, I can’t wait for Disneyland to open again.  Open, open, open…}

Vail is about a two-hour drive from Denver.  But, if you get stuck in traffic or there’s an accident, your two-hour drive can quickly become a four-hour plus drive.  We left around Noon and got up there no problem.

Vail Colorado

If you’re not familiar, Vail is a ski town in the mountains of Colorado.  If you watch The Bachelorette then you know that one of the most successful couples from the franchise, Trista and Ryan {also the first couple from the franchise,} live in Vail where Ryan is a firefighter.  It is a ski resort which caters to a fancier crowd, much like Aspen.  It has a small town feel and the villages {Lionshead Village and Vail Village} are set up to mimic those in Europe.

Vail Fire Trista and Ryan Sutter
Are you busy? Is Ryan working? 

In the Summer, or Fall, hiking or biking are the main activities.  There is also a gondola, but Coronavirus had it closed.  Speaking of, it was more crowded than we expected.  We found that everyone wore masks inside, but not everyone wore masks outside.  I did wear my mask when we were in the villages because they were more crowded, but I was definitely in the minority in those areas.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in Lionshead Village at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort.  The hotel was great!  Everyone was compliant with their mask policy, but it was a little hard to socially distance from others in the lobby during check-in.  There were a lot of people during that time, so if that concerns you, FYI.  The staff were great and we even got a can of local beer as a welcome gift.

Vail Marriott
The Vail Marriott Mountain Resort is the building on the right 

The room was very clean and I didn’t feel concerned about safety.  We had a little balcony and a great view.  They asked that since we were only staying for two nights, would it be okay to forgo cleaning services?  Fine with us.  I assume it’s to cut down on exposure for both the staff and the guests.  They did drop off extra towels when we requested them.

There was also a Nespresso machine in the room, but you had to pick up the supplies for it at the front desk.  Also, not a big deal.

What We Did

When we arrived, we ate a snack and then we explored the Lionshead Village.  It was about a 5-minute walk from our hotel.  We scoped out where we were going for dinner and just took a little gander around some of the shops, including Rocket Fizz where we bought a bunch of candy.  We also took some pictures of the fall foliage and then headed back to the hotel.

Lionshead Village Vail Colorado

After dinner the first night, we drank wine and played a movie trivia game in our room.  A great day, and even though it wasn’t Disneyland we were staying in a hotel and we were in the mountains.

When we woke up, we took a longer walk to Vail Village following a path along the river.  It’s a little under a mile away from Lionshead Village.  We walked very leisurely, so it took a while.  When we got to Vail Village, we looked in the shops, scoped out where we were eating dinner {do you see a trend} and then headed back to eat lunch in Lionshead Village.

Travel: Vail, Colorado

After lunch, we took a dip in the hot tub.  We had to make a reservation at the front desk to use the hot tub or the pool because they limit the amount of people using the amenities at one time.  No masks have to be worn in the pool area, so it’s the same rules as eating at a restaurant.  Masks when walking around.  No masks when in the water.

We made our way to Vail Village for dinner, after our hot tub, via the free shuttle.  It picked us up in front of the hotel and made a few stops. Not a big deal, we were all able to socially distance and everyone was wearing a mask.  But then, the driver stayed at one stop for about ten minutes allowing people to trickle in until the bus was full {all seats taken and people standing.}

Vail Village Colorado


Once we got off at our stop, we decided to walk back to the hotel after dinner because what was the point? It took longer than it did for us to walk and it didn’t feel safe with all those people crammed together.

Vail Shuttle
Help Us 

After dinner the second night, we returned to the hotel where we drank more wine and watched T.V.  Including this Saturday Night Live skit, Superspreader Event,which may be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long time.  Warning, it’s very dirty.

The next morning, we woke up and got out of town around 10 a.m. to beat the traffic, which we did.

Where We Ate 

Avalanche PubOnce we checked into our room, we had a quick snack at the Avalanche Pub located in the hotel lobby area. The food came packaged to go even though we stayed and sat in the restaurant {it was an odd time between lunch and dinner so we were the only ones there.}  They had really great fries, but the Caesar Salad was meh.

Vail ChophouseWe made reservations a couple weeks in advance.  They have a patio but it was a little chilly, so we decided to sit inside.  All the tables were socially distanced and we didn’t feel like it was unsafe.  The food was great and my daughter and I shared a delicious steak.  We actually just made it in time as the waiter told us they were closing that Sunday until ski season starts at the end of November.  We didn’t even know this was a thing.

Vail Chophouse

Garfinkel’s –On Saturday,Ella decided she wanted fish and chips for lunch, so we found out that Garfinkel’s had the best fish and chips and that’s where we decided to eat.  We had no problem getting a table, and this time we sat out on the patio.  But, it was picnic table seating and we had to all sit on the same side so we could be socially distanced from the next table.

Garfinkel's Vail
Garfinkel’s Patio

Also, our table didn’t have an umbrella and it was really sunny that day.  We just put on our sunglasses and enjoyed the heat.  The menu is full of bar food, but it all looked really good.  I guess we were hungry from our walk.  Ella and I had the fish and chips which were not the best we’ve ever had, but they were good.  We’ve had fish and chips in the U.K., it’s hard to beat.

I had a cider and I can see how this place would be packed during ski season.  It’s the perfect place to sit on the patio and enjoy the view while having snacks and a beer.

Fall Line – For dinner the second night, we ate here.  We also made reservations a few weeks in advance.  We arrived about 45 minutes early and really didn’t have anything to do, so we asked if they could take us at that time.  We sat at a small table on the patio.  There were three separate weddings happening in and around the village, so it was great for people watching.

The food was delicious! I had a lobster roll and Ella had a kids cheeseburger which came on an English muffin instead of a bun.  It looked so good and she said it was.  I also enjoyed a glass of rosé.  The hostess was really nice, but our server, not so much.  Clearly, because we were early, she had to take on our table even though it wasn’t in her section.

She started out nice, but then developed an attitude.  Once our food was dropped off, we never saw her again.  Ella ordered her burger with mustard, which the server forgot.  And since she never came back, I was done eating before Ella could even ask a bus boy for her mustard.  The hostess was the one who dropped off our check.  I really liked this restaurant and I would go back despite the service.

Fall Line Vail Colorado

Ultimately, we’ve decided we certainly don’t take advantage of what’s in our own backyard!  It was nice to just get out of town for a couple days, eat good food, take it easy and enjoy the mountains.  We’ve now decided all the other places we’d like to visit, either during ski season or not.  Hopefully we’ll be traveling further than our backyard soon, but if not, we have a lot of great choices here!

Vail Colorado


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