Are you short on time for a full-blown honeymoon but dream of a several-day post-wedding escape to somewhere beautiful? What you’re seeking can be found in Breckenridge, Colorado, an epic ski town plus so much more. This authentic mining town is beyond charming. In the winter it's illuminated with fairy lights and glittering trees that, especially when coated with a blanket of fresh snow, make it a fairy-tale setting for a proposal. The effect is like being inside a snow globe. Up there, at nearly 10,000 feet, the air is thin, forcing everyone to slow down a bit, stroll the Victorian-styled streets at a leisurely pace hand in hand, and simply relax.
Where To Stay
Breckenridge (just an hour and a half from Denver) has long been known for its—count ‘em—five dramatic peaks, which provide more than enough fodder for skiers, snowboarders, and hikers. But these days its sparkling reputation doesn’t only concern topography, thanks to new businesses springing up. Gravity Haus, a 60-room ski-in/ski-out boutique hotel at the base of Peak 9, is brand-new to the scene and a game changer. It’s like a chic clubhouse for outdoors enthusiasts, so if that describes you and your spouse, you’re guaranteed an excellent time.
Gravity Haus is actually part hotel and part social club, aimed at the very adventurers who dwell in mountain towns and could use a coworking space, state-of-the-art gym (with performance-driven, athlete-oriented training and classes), and ski lockers. But newlywed out-of-towners also get to enjoy these perks, and more. Think massages, a chiropractor, and a recovery room with things like NormaTec compression leggings and massage guns so you can go hard without fear of being too sore the next day. The onsen, aka Jacuzzi tubs, dry sauna, and contrast baths, is another valuable amenity. Grab craft brews or canned mimosas from the fantastically stocked minibar in your mountain-meets-minimal room, wear your cozy bathrobes (made of recycled plastic) down to the glass-clad space, hang them on the racks made of repurposed skis, and let the heat melt you two into a state of bliss.
What To Do
This should come after, of course, a full day on the slopes if it’s winter (the lifts open in November), or hiking trails if the snow’s gone, though last year the season went through almost all of May. Experienced skiers and snowboarders are spoiled for choice when it comes to epic runs of a lifetime in perfect powder—maybe even first tracks if they’re lucky. If you or your love are beginners or total newbies, do yourselves a favor and book a private lesson with one of Breckenridge Ski & Snowboard School’s consummate professional instructors. These encouraging blue-clad superheroes of the snow will ensure you have a blast while building a foundation on which to add skill after skill. You’ll start off on non-intimidating bunny-sized hills to learn the basics before progressing as the day goes on to green trails with names like Ballet Hill, lined with ponderosa pines and Douglas firs.
If you enjoy hiking and opt for a sunny summer minimoon, keep in mind that you can see Pikes Peak, Maroon Bells, and Copper Mountain from the top (if you don’t want to huff it to the top, take a romantic ride up the gondola), where your heads will be above 13,000 feet. Colorado Adventure Guides offers backcountry gear rentals, plus everything you need for snowshoeing and trekking, and is based inside Gravity Haus. Other excursions for the drier season include rafting, fly fishing, and mountain biking under blue skies, and the city claims a rare Jack Nicklaus–designed golf course.
Where To Eat
One of the fun things about an active minimoon in Breckenridge is you get to truly indulge in order to fuel all that fun. The town’s culinary scene would make any foodie happy. To start with, there’s excellent coffee. With its reusable glass coffee cups, ethically grown single-origin beans from Ethiopia, and zero-emissions roaster, Unravel is sustainable and delicious. (Speaking of sustainability, the whole hotel is quite consciously done, with composting, metal mugs, and biodegradable coffee packets in the rooms, and dreamy petroleum-free mattresses.) On the drinking side, there are plenty of places to share a shot-ski, linger over après-ski happy hour, or enjoy after-dinner cocktails—check out the Breckenridge Distillery, which is perfect for a casual dinner at the chef’s table–style bar.
Upstairs at Gravity Haus, Cabin Juice has a hip lumberjack vibe, with a potent cocktail menu that’s Dumb & Dumber–themed, a reference to the scenes that were purported to be in Aspen but were actually filmed in Breck. The menu, which you can enjoy from a ski-lift-style booth, is decadent but healthy and lean, with roasted meats and veggies, quality grains, and as-local-as-possible produce. The genuine hospitality and friendliness of everyone in Breckenridge only ups the appeal. At the cozy second-floor seasonal restaurant Relish, there’s a very good chance that your waiter will apologize for interrupting your hand-holding at the table by bringing a venison carpaccio appetizer. And the chef might appear with a melt-in-your-mouth leg of lamb and this wish: “I hope you have the meal of your lives.”
Don’t leave town without savoring dinner at Aurum, a contemporary rift on a steep-roofed cabin with Bavarian flair that feels endlessly romantic. Staff here are passionate about what they serve, and it’s wise to take their advice on the elevated yet approachable cuisine. Apropos for a minimoon, the share plates are the places to focus your attention—and appetite. For these plates, the chef takes extra special care, spending up to three days on intricate processes to make the salmon and rabbit trios. Pasta is handmade and changes daily, and cocktails are cool and creative (as is apparently the norm in Breckenridge). Dessert should be a nonnegotiable, since your server may accurately describe the warm chocolate cookies poetically as “my love affair.” There’s no better place to kick off the next chapter of your love affair together.
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