Late Summer in Vail
A few summers ago, we helped Nathan’s dad celebrate a milestone birthday in Vail, and it was one of our favorite trips ever! The natural beauty and relaxed pace of Colorado combine for an ideal long and restorative weekend away. Throw in a stay at a Four Seasons resort into the mix and we were on cloud nine.
Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail
We stayed at the gorgeous Four Seasons Resort and Residences Vail. There’s something quite genius about visiting a lovely destination in its “off season.” Vail is of course a ski town, so the resort is well-equipped for cozy relaxation with a fireplace and soaking tub, but with the cool mountain air and days spent hiking around, we enjoyed both of these features just the same. In the summer, you can enjoy the sounds of beautiful Aspen trees blowing the the breeze and walking around the quaint, European-style village with spectacular, overflowing flower boxes adorning every building and shop. The resort provided complimentary L’Occitane Lavender Bubble Bath and a sachet of lavender and a bath bomb on demand, a most luxurious touch! Each of the rooms had a little balcony as well, which I imagine could not be as appreciated in the winter. We took full advantage of our “wine terrace” taking in the natural beauty that surrounds.
We used the resort’s complimentary shuttle service to take a quick ride to Vail Stables for a two-hour horseback ride through the mountains. I audibly squealed walking up as I was greeted by two PONIES equipped with tiny little saddles! The horseback ride took us through many terrain changes as we worked our way up the mountain, and I was amazed that the horses knew every step to take through narrow and steep passes. We had great views of the Gore range and Beaver creek, a wildflowers meadow high in the mountains, and passed through dense Aspen tree forests, so thick I was amazed a trail existed. Be sure to wear long pants and a jacket or long shirt since you will pass through some brush and scratchy branches. Nathan and I brought up the rear of the trail ride, and our challenge was to keep our horses in check since they wanted to stop and munch on nearly every leafy branch in our path!
Vail Pass Summit Bike Ride
On Nathan’s dad’s birthday, the three of us caught the first shuttle of the day with Pioneer Sports from Vail Village and rode about 14 miles up to Vail Pass Summit for a (sometimes thrilling) leisurely, downhill bike ride back to Vail. Part of the ride was a bit treacherous as we rode along I-72 with oncoming semi-trucks, but that part of the ride was brief once we got on the dedicated trail through Copper Mountain and Ten Mile Canyon.
Vail Jazz Festival
The Vail Jazz Festival is made up of multiple events that stretch across the summer and it culminates on Labor Day Weekend (when we were there) with student artists and world-renowned Jazz artists throughout the weekend. The Labor Day weekend event is known as ‘Vail Jazz Party’ and the village is full of foot traffic, stages, vendors and incredible food vendors serving up gourmet bites. You know you’re in the right place when there’s a Champagne cart among the vendors. Nathan’s parents posted up to enjoy some music and we roamed around in and out of shops and seeing what goodies our food and beverage tickets could buy.
Chef’s Table Experience
Our favorite dining experience of the trip was without question the private chef’s table in the Four Seasons kitchen that we booked one evening. I loved getting to take a peek behind the scenes in an industrial kitchen, and interact with our chef as he prepared some seriously amazing food. The tables were covered in butcher paper and we were given crayons to play with (so much fun). The menu was a build-your-own burger, a fixed offering of family-style sides, and for the finale, we were invited to each design our own boozy milkshake! I cannot think of a time that I’ve felt more full, but oh was it worth every bite. My takeaway from the dinner was a super savory dipping sauce that we used for fries, Brussels sprouts, and onion rings of a black bean purée. I took notes from the chef and snapped a pic to try to recreate it myself at home.