Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Vail 2016

There's a place we come back to every summer (see other posts HERE and HERE), so that it's thick in our memories and part of our family now. It's tucked away in these mountains, not far from where I grew up.
And yes we're a bit goofy, but we have all these traditions attached to this place that we love: Vail, CO. 
Before we made the trek to our resort, we spent a night with my old neighbors and our dear friends, the Covert family. They lived across the street during my grade school years, and have always been family to us.
Tom was my dad's best friend, and we visited on 7/14, the 20 year anniversary of my Dad's death, and made stones to remember him. The kids and I set these stones beside Dad's grave.

I often take the kids by my old house, which sadly is in bad condition. But the years in this house were some of the happy years of my childhood.

This year we took a drive along Independence Pass to explore new parts of the Rockies, and stopped at the Continental Divide.
And we made the extra trek to Aspen to see the famous Maroon Bells.
They were gorgeous, except that there were gnats chasing us everywhere, so our time there was short-lived!

But not before a few splashes in the frigid waters. They were shockingly cold.

And the kids were giddy.
We arrived at our favorite resort, Manor Vail Lodge. We love this place for its spacious rooms and fantastic location near Vail's best parks, in Vail Village proper.
I love Vail for its flowers.
Here's our room near the pool and jacuzzi, with three beds, a fireplace and a kitchen. We just make ourselves at home.
One of our favorite things to do is white water rafting. The kids embrace a sense of adventure that sometimes stretches them. I love this.

 If we can, we try to talk our boat guides into pulling the raft out of the river to explore these very old mines.

Back in Vail, we pay several visits to our favorite landmarks: The Pirate Park.
 The rocky fountain. Kids splash around all the fountains in Vail!
 The main drag.
Our favorite crepes.
Hopping across Gore Creek.
The jacuzzi next to our room - so perfect in the crisp mountain air!
The two landmark timber bridges, reminiscent of Lucerne, Switzerland.
Leaf whistles at our other favorite park.

And the Betty Ford Rock Garden next-door.
We always stock up on glow sticks and take a night hike.
And this year upped the adventure with horseback riding in the mountains, which used to be something Lorelei was afraid of until she took riding lessons this year.
Feeling a bit tentative...

Howdy, this hunky cowboy's all mine!
But she loved it! We even saw trees along the way with bear scratches on them, and the kids thought those were cool. Gryffy was the one who had the most misgivings about riding, since his was a fairly unruly and ornery horse. :)
 But it was a highlight for sure!
The gondola ride is always a treat!
And a hike through the mountaintop paths...
 that ended at this big pile of snow.
We used to go to the adventure park at Breck nearby for the fun stuff at the top of the mountain, but Vail just opened their new adventure park, and now it's our favorite!
We rode this mountain coaster/alpine slide hybrid until we were all dizzied up!

And explored a bit of Lionshead Village at the bottom of the mountain, at the opposite end of Vail from our resort.

More fountains and parks!
We explored Gore Creek a bit more on the way back, and saw a few guys tubing down the river.

It was a long drive home after days of family fun, and we took advantage of the time in the car to study. The kids earn stickers for memorizing things, which translate into $. Cha-ching.

Until next year, Vail!