Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Back from Breck!

We had a fantastic trip to Breckenridge! While I am learning more each time we travel that vacation with a baby is never quite as relaxing as I envision, we had a blast hiking, hanging out with GranJan and T-Pop, watching the Olympics each night, and dressing in layers

Skinny jeans and a cardigan...just like mama!
LAYERS, PEOPLE! 

Here's a little breakdown of what we did, ate, and saw... to go along with the Obligatory Vacay Photo Dump, natch. {I've included a summary with links at the very bottom if you're just looking for a quick recommendation cheat sheet!}

Day 1. We arrived in Denver around 2 pm and were on the road in our rental by 3.  Perhaps our only misstep of the entire trip was renting a car seat from Hertz.  We figured shelling out forty extra bucks was a small price to pay for the convenience of leaving our infant seat at home. Um. Yeah. While it was nice not lugging our seat through the airport(s), the one Hertz provided was... for lack of better word choice... abysmally ghetto.  It was a Graco, but not a model name I recognized, and I did a lot of car seat research, y'all.  L likely would have been safer sitting in my lap, for all the head protection this thing provided.  Anyhoo, live and learn {and file a customer complaint with Hertz}.  

The two hour trip to Breckenridge was thankfully uneventful and easy.  We made it to Los Pinos Condos   {in town - a 15 minute walk to the main street} just in time for a little wine and cheese platter {GranJan knows me well} and some playtime for L.  After putting L to bed, we enjoyed chicken tacos a la Jan and the full Olympics telecast.

{Day 1} First Full Day in CO...loving being cool #outdoors #augustphotoaday #catchup
on the balcony at Los Pinos

 Our condo was two bedroom, with a nice living area, full dining table, decent gallery kitchen, and a desk alcove that was a perfect fit for the Pack-n-Play. Said alcove was attached to the living / dining area, so each night before we went to bed, Dad and I {verrrrry slowly and verrrry quietly} rolled L and the PNP from the bedroom out into the alcove.  This made for a slightly better night's sleep for her and for me, since we weren't all up on each other in the same room. 

{Day 4} perfecting coffee sipping spot #whereIsat #augustphotoaday

Day 2. We started off our first full day in Breck with coffee and homemade breakfast tacos in the "cozy condo" {as dubbed by GranJan}.  After L took an abbreviated morning nap, we piled in the car and hightailed it down I-70 to Dillon for our first hike of the trip.  We started at the Lily Pad Lake Trail Head and hiked our way to the... wait for it... Lily Pad Lake.  This was a beautiful hike - definitely on the easy side - around 2.5 hours round-trip.  We borrowed a hiking backpack {thanks Colleen & Brad!} so that L could ride in style.  After a bit of a rough start, we discovered she was happy as a clam so long as we were moving.  So happy, in fact, she snoozed the entire time, face-planted into the padded frame of the pack.  Pretty hysterical. 

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After our hike, we had a {very} late lunch and a few beers at Breckenridge Brewery. Obviously casual and super delicious {our orders included the southwestern salad, a custom hamburger, a turkey rueben, and a steak sandwich}.  My only gripe was the fact that they wouldn't allow our stroller on the porch {there was plenty of room}... but that fact led to L's very first restaurant highchair experience, and she had a blast, so all's well that end's well. 

Representing ATX at my first CO Brew Pup Experience
GranJan & Leighton

We ended our day back at the condo - reading, napping, playing, etc.  We were so stuffed from lunch that we skipped a true supper, opting instead for hummus, cheese, and fruit {and wine} whilst... again... scoping out the Olympic action. 

Day 3.  Our second full day started off identical to our first... breakfast at the condo, morning nap, and then off for a hike!  We took the Blue River Trail from the Illinois Trail Head in Breck right next to the indoor iceskating rink.  Blue River was our longest and "most strenuous" {relatively-speaking... we took it easy this time since we had the bebe on board} hike of the trip, but I would say it was a solid Moderate classification.  A really great trail {although no blue river in sight?} -- we took it all the way to the big paved road and turned back around.  Total round trip: 3+ hours.  Once again, L took a solid nap in the pack for the duration of the hike. 

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We hit up the Dam Brewery in Dillon {sensing a theme?} for lunch and made it a lighter experience since we had dinner reservations that evening {orders included the Dam chopped salad, portabella wrap, and the Mediterranean salad}.  Everything was delicious, although we did decide we preferred the Breck's brewery to Dillon's - perhaps simply because we were on the patio in Breck {also, I liked Breck's beer better... say that five times fast, why dontcha}.  Before heading back to the condo, we stopped at the Carters outlet in Dillon and scored a buttload of goodies for L.  I think we bought seven items for less than forty-five bucks. Retail Win.

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After more relaxation at the condo, and after putting L to bed later that evening, E and I walked into town to have dinner at Hearthstone {which came recommended by every single person we spoke with about Breckenridge}.  We had a ridiculously delicious meal {despite the fact that I twisted my ankle and fell smack on my ass in the middle of the main square on our way to the restaurant... nothing more fun than non-tipsy-clumsiness in a public venue} - the first diner out, just the two of us, since L was born!  We ordered: Colorado Sweet Corn Soup {hers}, Hearthstone Spinach Salad w/ Goat Cheese Eggroll {his}, Blackberry Elk {hers}, Blue Crab Stuffed Trout {his}, and Carrot Cake w/ Bourbon Milkshake {ours}.  Really... no words for that dessert.  I could have died happy right there at the table.  After dinner drinks back at the condo for more... you guessed it... Olympics.  

Day 4.  We mixed things up a bit on our last full day and went out for a later breakfast.  We had a ton of breakfast recommendations, but finally settled on the Coffee Depot as it had the shortest wait and a table outside.  I had the best breakfast burrito I've likely ever enjoyed.  And E shared this massive slice of lemon cake that was just out of this world.  Very good times at the Coffee Depot. 

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After breakfast, we strolled through the Sunday market and then through town via the little "river walk" to the Peak 7 gondola.  The gondola is free during the summer and quite the nice little ride... that is, unless your 5 month old decides that the gondola is a death trap and protests the entire time. Oh well, can't win 'em all. 

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Once at the top of Peak 7, we realized why the gondola was free... there were tons of summer mountain "attractions" for families to enjoy... for a pretty penny!  It was a bit of a zoo, but if you had older kids in tow, it would be a good way to spend an afternoon {think putt-putt, bungee-trampoline combos, and a no-snow sledding trail, plus overpriced hamburgers and pizza}.  We stayed long enough for L to eat and soothe her gums with an ice pop, then caught the gondola back down the mountain, and walked back home. 

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reading with T-Pop

After some resting, we decided to finish out our last day strong with a small evening hike.  We drove up Boreas Pass to Baker's Tank {a water tank used back in the day by steam engines passing through}, and hiked for about an hour round-trip.  This was a gorgeous trail {well, part of a much longer, gorgeous trail}, and I wish we'd had more time to do the entire hike.  But!  What a great way to end our trip! 

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We enjoyed our last supper {zucchini boats!} / Olympics combo that evening at the condo and hit the hay early so we could leave for the airport the next morning at 6:45.  All in all, a really fun trip!  We're so glad GranJan and T-Pop invited us to tag along for part of their Breckenridge adventure! 

Summary / Recommendations 

Hikes

(1) Lily Pad Lake Trail between Breckenridge and Dillon

(2) Blue River Trail - this is a long trail that is also biker {and dog} friendly. Apparently many parts of it aren't all that scenic as they run along a paved road, but the portion we took was really quite beautiful. We began at the Illinois Trail Head (park by the indoor iceskating rink in Breck) and, hiked until we hit a big paved road {about 1.5 hours} then turned around for a total of about 3 hours hiking.

(3) Baker's Tank - another longer trail that we only did a portion of.  To pick up the trail where we began, drive up to Baker's Tank on Boreas Pass, park by the Tank, and take the trail to the left of the Tank.

Gondola Ride up Peak 7

Restaurants:
- Hearthstone {reservations needed... super nice food, but still super casual}
- Coffee Depot
- Breckenridge Brewery 
- Dam Brewery (Dillon)
- Also highly recommended, but we didn't make it: Twist, Relish, Blue Moose {breakfast}

Los Pinos Condos

17 comments:

  1. Awesome recount, wonderful trip! So good to be with the 3 of you in the cool mountain air!

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  2. Love the picture of L reading with T-Pop! Sounds like a fun vacay!

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  3. I sure love when people love 'my' state! Glad you had a blast.

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  4. Day 2 - E has his hand over your lower belly in one of the photos. I came over from my Google reader to see if anyone else noticed that. ;)

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    1. Ha! You mean the photo of my parents? Pretty sure I'm not getting a sibling at this point!

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  5. How fun!!!!! Love all the pics!!!! Such a beautiful area!!!

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  6. Love this recap! Used to go to Breckinridge to go skiing growing up, and now I MUST go in the summer. It is absolutely gorgeous!

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  7. Looks like a great trip! That picture of L reading with your father is absolutely precious!

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  8. zomg. the pictures of happy L in the stroller with the rings. Dying of cute. Plus you've convinced me to add CO to my list of potential fall vacations!

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  9. Baby girl is getting so big! Also, I love Breckenridge. Looks like a fabulous little vacay.

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  10. Love the reading w/ TPop, she looks so engrossed!

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  11. Oh yummy. You just made me so excited for our little "Staycation" in a few weeks to that part of the mountains. I am glad you enjoyed the breweries. I am dying to know which beer you liked the best at Breckenridge. I remember being pregnant on my birthday in downtown Denver. I made them bring me a sample of the Vanilla Porter because I missed beer so much!

    Thanks for the links to the hikes too. Think any of them are jogging stroller okay, or definitely bring the baby backpack?

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    1. I loved the amber beer (can't recall the name)! E and my Dad both raved about the IPA!

      I'd go baby backpack for sure! We saw where someone had tried to take a Bob on the Lily Pad Lake trail and had left it to one side while they went on. We did use ours on Day 3 when we walked down into town and to the gondola.

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  12. Love the face plant napping pic of L in the back pack. Too funny. Sounds like a wonderful trip!

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  13. Sounds like a great family trip! My husband and I actually got engaged at the top of peak 7 at Breckenridge so that's a favorite vacation spot of ours!!

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  14. Hi Kate,
    My name is Jane and I'm with Dwellable.
    I was looking for blogs about Los Pinos in Breckenridge to share on our site and I came across your post...If you're open to it, shoot me an email at jane(at)dwellable(dot)com.
    Hope to hear from you :)
    Jane

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  15. PS I like your elephant favicon :)

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happy little comments!