Photo: Getty Images
Sure, the Vail-area has some of the best ski slopes around, but, in our opinion, the prime time to visit Beaver Creek is during the area's late summer season when the temps are mild and the wildflowers are blooming (Perf for your Instagram feed!). Whether you and your new hubby are looking for a mini moon destination or are in the area for a wedding (September is the most popular month for weddings here), we break down the town's can't-miss spots, restaurants, and activities for an action-packed long weekend.
If you're flying in from Dallas, Houston, or Los Angeles, you can fly straight into Eagle Airport, just a 30-minute drive to the heart of Beaver Creek. If you're making more of a long haul, you have to fly into Denver International Airport, the area's true hub. From here, you have the option of catching a connecting flight to Eagle or taking a van transfer (we recommend Colorado Mountain Express) for a two-hour drive.
Photo: Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch
When you finally arrive in the Vail valley, post up at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch, which sits above the rest of the ski resorts — literally! — in the uber-exclusive community of Bachelor Gulch. Here, butlers dressed as mountain men (long leather coats and boots with spurs, no less) look like rugged Ralph Lauren models. Inside the log-cabin style property, you'll find fireplaces, warm, western interiors, and floor-to-ceiling views of Beaver Creek mountain in the background. With 180 guest rooms and 40 suites, this luxe ski in/ski out resort is quaint enough for a romantic getaway but bustling enough for a wedding weekend.
If you took an early-morning flight, you should arrive just in time for lunch — head to the cozy lobby for a drink fireside or grab a bite at Buffalos, the in-house restaurant serving killer burgers and local dishes like bison chili and dip. After you fuel up, settle into the area with a hike around the property. There are private nature guides on staff — Ranger Jackie is especially awesome — to teach you about the region's landscape and lead you on a leisurely hike up the mountain. Bonus: You can have Bachelor and Belle, the hotel's very own St. Bernard ambassadors tag along with you! (Two-hour private guided hike; $160 for up to 4 guests, $25 for each additional person.)
The hottest restaurant in town just happens to be at The Ritz — Taylor Swift was even spotted here with ex Calvin Harris last December. The Grill, formerly Spago, has an upscale city-meets-rustic atmosphere and serves a diverse menu of American fare. Diners especially rave about the Colorado lamb, Alaskan halibut, and wine selection. After dinner, sit by the fire with s'mores while you check out the constellations above.
Photo: Courtesy of Beano's Cabin
Morning and Afternoon
You'll want to spend the entire day outdoors so get an early start with bird watching on the mountainside terrace, where you can chat with a naturalist as you sip on your coffee (7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.) Next on the agenda? The big adventure — horseback riding and fly-fishing! At 9:30 a.m., meet a guide at Beaver Creek Stable, which is about a 20-minute drive from the resort. Your guide will introduce you to your horse, fit your saddle, and prep you for a ride to Gore Creek, where you'll be fishing. But don't fret if you're no fly fishing guru: A Gore Creek Fisherman guide will be on hand with his wisdom, equipment, and lunch, of course. ($435 a person; Memorial Day through the end of September)
End your night at Beano's Cabin, a restaurant housed in — you guessed it! — a restored wood cabin. To get there, you can sign up for another horse ride, catch the free shuttle, or take a tractor-trailer ride up the mountain (the kiddos would love this!). Inside, enjoy the five-course pre-fixe meal, wine pairings, and panoramic views. ($105 a person)
Photo: Courtesy of Alex Peters via Instagram
Set an early wakeup call and start your final day with a hot air balloon ride above the Eagle River Valley. The ride, offered by Camelot Balloons in neighboring Eagle, CO, starts at 6:30 a.m. (the Rocky Mountain sights are worth the lack of sleep alone) and ends at about 10 a.m., just in time for a mimosa-fueled breakfast when you land. ($295 per person)
Spend the rest of your day at the 21,000-square-foot spa at The Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch. Treatments feature a seasonal flair so check what's on tap before your appointment. For the late summer season, the Signature Facial infused with wildflower oils sounds rather heavenly. And for winter, of course, there's always the Apres Sun Facial, which will replenish your skin after a long day of skiing in an extreme climate. After your pampering sesh, make the most out of your spa time by alternating between the hot and cold plunge pools in the women's lounge and hanging with your partner in the coed, rock lined grotto. (This mini pool is accessible even if you don't have a spa appointment.) Bonus: The outdoor pool is heated year-round in case you also want to take a dip al fresco.
And, of course, you can't leave town without vising the actual town so make a dinner res in Vail Village, a short shuttle ride away. A few local favorites? Sato for sushi, The Gashouse for western-style BBQ, Ti Amo for authentic Italian, and Agave for tacos and margs. Cheers!
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