Ski with the family: Crested Butte, Colorado!

Every winter our family makes the pilgrimage to the vast playground of western Colorado.  Since we live in New England, an area brimming with ski slopes, people always ask us why we bother to go west.  In a nutshell…  Big sky, big mountains and in the winter BIG snow. Not to mention unobstructed family time that is becoming rare.

family, ski, colorado, gunnison, crested butte, elk mountains

cousins!

 

But when the reality hits of paying for airfare, ski equipment, rental car, lift tickets, food, blah blah blah I sometimes wonder too… why are we doing this?

Well, this is why…

 

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Beautiful Mt. Crested Butte

And this…

red lady

Not to mention that Crested Butte is a destination.  You don’t just stumble upon the town or pass through and decide to stop for lunch.  If you are there, you are meant to be there. It’s very remote and therefore has kept a lot of its original, old mining town charm.  Which they rightfully place in high regard and a trip to the local museum on Main St. will guide you through the town’s mining past.

The town is not wrought with schwanky overpriced stores, and restaurants. Although it is LOADED with incredible eateries and funky boutiques.  It bursts with color and charm and hospitality.  For as cold as it gets here in the winter, Crested Butte is still one of the warmest places we’ve visited.

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The bookwall at The Secret Stash, Crested Butte, CO

The mountain itself is low-key but offers incredibly diverse terrain and a slew of outdoor activities for every age range and IT IS NOT SUPER CROWDED!!! I thankfully do not have to worry about our kids having a mid-run collision as much as I do at some of the more cramped resorts. I think this is in part to the fact that again, Crested Butte is a destination. It is far enough off the beaten path that you do not have as many weekend skiers as you do closer to Denver or in the East.

From extreme, crazy, cliff caressing, hair-on-fire skiers  to 2 year old bunnies riding the Magic Carpet, and every level of skier in between, Mt. Crested Butte does not disappoint.  Our kids are usually taking turns at one of the terrain parks.  Which is surprisingly fun even for an older, average skier like myself.  Granted the kids had to teach me  what to do and I did manage a face full of snow at one point, but still fun. And the kids LOVE it.  There are two smaller terrain parks and then there is one super colossal, mac daddy, wear your knee brace, park.  My fearless duo and their equally fearless cousins love el grande.

Lessons.  Great all around.  We’ve enrolled the kids for the past few years (ask for Todd- he’s great!) and from every lesson the kids come away with something new.  I will say that the lessons are not cheap but are totally worth every penny.  My 2 sisters-in-law and I took a powder lesson a few year’s back and loved it! Being from New England, I’m used to skiing on ice so the lesson was needed if I wanted to hang in the powder.  Learned a ton. Again, worth every penny.  If you have little littles, they have a great daytime child care program while you hit the slopes.  Plus a great “park” at the base offers skating, tubing, bungee/trampoline jumping and rock climbing.  Music’s always playing, sun is shining, life is good!family, ski, west, colorado, snow, fun, big sky, blue, mountain

Although we have never stayed in any of the Mt. Crested Butte Resort lodging (they offer the Grand Lodge, Elevation Hotel & Spa and Mountaineer Square), all of their properties are newly renovated and have breathtaking views of the mountain. The resort runs ski an stay deals quite often especially early in the season.  We opt for ski-in, ski-out condos.  Check Visit Crested Butte’s vacation homes listings or search VRBO,  Home Away, or Flip Key for more options.

For dining be sure to check out:

The Secret Stash – great pizza and very cool atmosphere. Be prepared to hang out for a while.

The Ginger Cafe – great pan-Asian food

Pitas in Paradise – Global comfort food

Camp 4 Coffee – a must have for a perfectly roasted bean. I always bring a few bags home.

stars, funky, fun, lights, nightlife, night, pizza,

 

 

A Wintery 24 Hours in #Vermont: Gymnastics, Cheese and Markets

Although I was raised in New England there are still a lot of spots in the region that I haven’t visited. Since moving back here from Texas a few years ago I made a vow that we’d take our kids to do more and see more in our area. New England is beautiful! It’s an outdoor adventure park! It has cows, maple syrup and apples! Mountains, oceans, rivers, forests! I love every ounce of New England’s charm and character.

barn, apple, red, vermont, history, farm, farmer, winter, snow, cold, roadside, travel

Sadly, I admit that we haven’t been doing the best traveling around the area so far which really bums me out.

But it’s never too late and when opportunity calls, we must seize it! So when we found out about our daughter’s gymnastics meet in Brattleboro, VT we knew we needed to jump on it and turn it into a mini-getaway.

We didn’t have a ton of time in the area, but the escape we did enjoy was beautiful and the perfect opportunity to take this area for a “test drive”. The best part of our trip was realizing that we want to go back this summer to explore more.

Here are a few highlights:

Brattleboro Winter Farmer’s Market was a really unique experience. From locally sourced foods to artisans and craftspeople, this market was a beautiful testament to sustainability, community and local lifestyle.

farmers market, farm, vermont, art, craft, local, food, asian, dumplings, dim sum, rocking chair, wood, organic

The picture above shows at left a view on the market, top-right is a wood-carver who is hand carving rockers for rocking chair and on the bottom right a plate of delicious Chinese  dumplings that we got for a snack.

Grafton Village Cheese is a beautiful series of apple red barns majestically standing near the banks of the Connecticut River. You can’t miss their complex when you drive into town. They offer a great selection of hand-crafted cheese made on- site and their 4 year cheddar is to die for! If you go during the warmer months, we were told you can watch them make cheese on weekday mornings. The cheese maker may come out to greet you and discuss the cheese making process.

cheese, vermont, cheddar, travel, visit, new england, red, barn, antique, local

cheese, girl, vermont, new england, travel, happy, cheddar, sample, store, local, food, farm, dairy

Cool landscapes abound in this region! From antique New England barns to creaking but quaint cemeteries, to small ice-fishing shacks dotting the many frozen lakes this area is simply breathtaking.

cemetery, vermont, history, new england, ghost, winter, snow, forest, cold

Now we have our sights planned for a longer voyage up to the Green Mountain State this summer. Love having a “scouting trip!”

Oh, and also, our daughter did GREAT at her gymnastics meet! Congrats to her!gymnastics, kids, floor, parallel bars, beam, vault, vermont, nh, atlantic