Eat+Stay+Play: Vail Travel Diary

Eat+Stay+Play Travel Guides, Travel / Friday, March 2nd, 2018

Now that we’re back and our shins have rested (those ski boots really take it out of you), I put together our Vail Travel Diary so that you can see how to maximize a short ski trip. If you’re new to the blog, this post is part of my Eat+Stay+Play travel series, a collection of posts where I document our travel in a diary/itinerary hybrid format. In each post I highlight restaurants, day trips, travel advice, and recommended places to stay. You may want to bookmark or pin to your travel board for your next trip!

We spent 3 nights in Vail, Colorado and were able to get much more out of a short trip than just snow and après ski (although those two things certainly made it memorable). On short trips like these I prefer not to check a bag. So I managed to pack everything into a carryon, yes everything! You can read about what I packed in my Vail packing list post here.

Tip: Wear your largest shoes on the plane to maximize space in your carryon. I wore my fur-trimmed waterproof snow boots on the plane.

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Where to Stay

We stayed at Hotel Talisa Vail, a newly renovated luxury ski resort. You can read my full review of the hotel here. It is the epitome of alpine luxury at the base of Vail Mountain with ski-in/ski-out access, nightly après ski delights like flutes and frites (Moët and Chandon with pommes frites), passed cake pops and cookies, and a gourmet hot chocolate bar. It was incredible!

We spent one day skiing and the ski concierge at Hotel Talisa was very accommodating. It’s been a few years since I went skiing but I picked it back up easily. After a few runs down the mountain we enjoyed a couple of Avalanche Ales.

Tip: Flying in and out of a larger airport like Denver International can help ensure that your flight times run smoothly. Just be prepared for a 2 hour drive to Vail, and it could be snowing. We rented a 4-wheel drive Jeep and allowed extra time. If you like road tripping, the drive is very pretty.

Where to Play

After checking in to the hotel we spent some time exploring Vail Village. I fell in love with all the ski villages, but I have to say that Vail was my favorite. Everything is decked out in garland and lights. It feels like Christmas! We found a few chairs carved out of ice and had fun sitting in them pretending they were thrones. There are tons of little shops with everything from touristy items like t-shirts to more upscale designers and home accessories. You could easily spend a fortune shopping. There are plenty of places to grab a bite or a cocktail, too. More on that in a bit.

Each of the villages has its own personality, but all are beautiful and worth a visit. You can get to Beaver Creek and Breckenridge easily from Vail, and Lionshead is practically next door. We spent a good portion of Friday exploring Breckenridge. I was a child the last time I was there so I didn’t remember much. What I liked best and why I would recommend it, is that it has a completely different feel than Vail and Beaver Creek. It’s more of a rustic “old west” kind of ski town. So if you want a change of environment, head there. After exploring the town we stopped in to Broken Compass Brewing Company. They have a great selection of craft brews in an icehouse type environment. One of the bench seats is actually made from an old ski lift. Plus, it’s dog-friendly, which I love. There’s also a free shuttle taking you to and from Breckenridge.

Tip: We drove our Jeep for longer distance day trips but our hotel offered a free shuttle into Vail Village and Lionshead almost round the clock. It’s a nice way to get around, especially if you have a little too much après fun. 😉 You can park for free at Beaver Creek if you arrive after peak times and there’s a bus to take you into the village.

Where to Eat

This is almost always my favorite part – where to eat! When we arrived in Vail we were pretty starving and Mountain Standard was the answer. It’s casual (you’ll see a lot of skiers still in their gear) and the food is comforting, simple, and delicious.

Dinner our first night was at White Bison, an upscale creekside restaurant that maintains a relaxed vibe along with its elevated menu. The bison steak tartare is divine and they have a nice selection of boutique wines. It’s a great date spot, so bring your favorite chic sweater.

We enjoyed dinner at the top of the mountain one evening at a restaurant called The 10th. We rode the gondola to the top, which at night is pretty impressive. Make sure to ride facing down the mountain to take in the village lights below. It was pretty cold but we were given fluffy blankets to keep warm. The 10th is a large and elegant lodge in its style and the food was good. They are open in the morning and for lunch, but only open for dinner for private events. Just make sure to plan ahead.

If you do decide on a day trip to Breckenridge, make sure to have lunch at Park & Main Quality Food. The atmosphere is really casual and mostly looks like a coffee shop but the food is outstanding. I recommend trying either the bacon jalapeño or sriracha wasabi deviled eggs.

For our last evening we opted to grab a pizza and make it an early night since we had a morning flight home the next day. After a little après hour we took the shuttle over to Lionshead for a slice at Blue Moose Pizza. This is a great spot for an easy bite and perfect for families. The pizza is also really good. While you’re waiting on your food you can doodle on the tables with the provided crayons.

Tip: Be sure to make time for après ski, which usually begins around 3pm. You can arrive still in your ski gear or change into something cozy. It’s a great excuse to look après chic! There are plenty of nibbles so you may need to plan around dinner. I could easily make a meal out of french fries and champagne.

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

Vail Travel Diary | Itinerary | Cathedrals and Cafes Blog

I hope this gives you an idea of how you can really maximize a short ski trip. The Vail area has a lot to see and do, even if skiing isn’t your thing. I’d love to know where you guys enjoy spending a quick trip? Where are your favorite ski spots? Happy travels!

One last note…I have to tell you how much I love this red après ski sweater. I love fun graphics like this and it was perfect for our trip. I think mine is sold out but I linked a few others that I also love below!

xo – Erin

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