I’m still pinching myself and questioning if this past month actually happened. It has truly felt like a dream, taking two trips sans kids within a week of each other. It was, to put it frankly…glorious! A week in Scotland followed by a quick 48 hour trip to Colorado has reenergized and refreshed me more than I have felt in these last 4 years of being a mom. I don’t take it for granted and am so grateful for my village that allowed this to be possible.
Our trip to Colorado was a work trip for Dwight that I was able to tag along for (whoop whoop for Southwest Airlines companion pass!) He typically doesn’t have work events out of state so when this opportunity came up in our favorite place in the country, it was an easy “yes!” We met in Breckenridge 10 years ago and hadn’t been out there since 2016 so we were so grateful that everything lined up for us to be able to go together.
Upon arriving to Denver, I was able to see my dear friend Emily and meet her new puppy, Jack! Emily and I were roommates together at the Focus on the Family Institute (10 years ago!) and have remained friends for 10 years now. I told her we would be fine eating out somewhere with her and that there was no need to cook for us but she really wanted to have us over…and that’s just Emily. She has one of the purest, most giving hearts, an adventurous spirit and she lives her life with intentionality. I feel really blessed to have her part of my life even though we don’t get to see each other often. We missed getting to be with her husband Andrew as he was away working flying people all over the country. If captain Roiser-Smolen is flying your SWA plane…you are in good hands!
We headed up to the mountains just before lunch and it could not have been a more beautiful Colorado day. We may live in the official sunshine state here in Florida, but Colorado might just have more sunny days than we do. The crisp air, winding roads and breathtaking views make driving in Colorado feel like you are in another world. I don’t understand how people can’t believe in a creator God when you stand beneath a range of mountains. Nothing leaves my soul more in awe of the Lord than those views.
We decided to spend most of our time in Vail Monday and just enjoyed walking around the village. The flowers, covered bridges and running rivers that weave throughout the area are so serene and beautiful. We had lunch at Mountain Standard and per Emily’s recommendation, promptly ordered their onion rings almost immediately upon being seated. They were just as good as we expected and I loved the dipping sauce they came with. It was almost like a jalapeno ranch-delicious! We then decided to off set those deep fried onion rings with the rotisserie chicken salad. It was loaded with so many amazing veggies, cashews and a yogurt dressing. We split the salad and both cleaned our bowls- definitely recommend! Oh and the biscuits! How could I forget about those! We ordered 1…yes ONE biscuit and it was not enough. It has a wonderful pepper jelly with thinly sliced ham on it…I think Dwight would say it was his favorite part of the meal! They are certainly a busy place but do take reservations so I suggest going that route if you’d like to eat there. They also have a sister restaurant right next door, Sweet Basil, that has to be good too.
Before we left for the trip, Dwight asked me what the one thing I wanted to do while we were out there was and I told him that I just wanted to ride the gondola to the top of the mountain. Simple request, right? Well, turns out its almost FIFTY AMERICAN DOLLARS to just ride the gondola up to the top at Vail, making it just under $!00 for the two of us get up there. I said thanks but no thanks and we decided to rent some bikes instead. I wasn’t super excited about the bike ride because I wasn’t in the best clothing for it but can I just say that it was SO fun!! I guess because I don’t ride bikes very regularly…and I especially don’t ride bikes with beautiful scenery like this so it really exceeded my expectations. We took the Gore Creek paved trail and it was the perfect amount of challenge and ease. It ended up ironically taking us right down to the Vail Golf Course (and along some beautiful homes to admire) so we stopped for a drink and watched people hit at the driving range for awhile. We rode for about 2 hours and rented from Christy Sports in Vail Village.
At that point, we had OBVIOUSLY worked hard enough for a sweet reward so we popped into Sundae for ice cream. I had the salted cookies & cream and Dwight had the mint chocolate chip. They were both huge servings and we couldn’t finish our own…so maybe split one if you find yourself here.
*Side note: I think the entire state of Texas was in Vail that day. They must all be there to escape the heat but I found it refreshing to see so many Texas license plates and UT and A&M shirts around me.
We had about an hours drive to get to Frost Creek where we were staying that night as well as where the event the next day would be held. It’s a beautiful private golf and fishing club in Eagle that is so remote and fully surrounded by the mountains. They have wonderful 4 bedroom cottages on property that we were able to stay in but I don’t believe they are available to the public, but rather for guests of members who are invited. Needless to say, I’m hopeful Dwight gets this event again next year and that we get to go back! They even have glamping on site there with these amazing Yurts that guests can stay in!
The event was benefitting two Christian non-profit organizations: I Am Second and Search Ministries. I have been very familiar with I Am Second for quite a while as their simple black and white videos of well known individuals sharing their Christian testimony have millions of views on youtube. People like Chip & Joanna Gaines, Shawn Johnson, Sean Lowe, Bethany Hamilton and Kathie Lee Gifford are just a few of the over 100 interviews that they have produced. In fact, Kathie Lee Gifford just happened to be there at the event!
She was just as kind and joyous as you would imagine and gladly obliged my request to take a photo with her. I knew she was going to be there so I prepared myself in advance for what I wanted to tell her in case I had the opportunity to meet her. As we were walking to take our photo (she made sure we had a nice background with good lighting…ha!) I told her how much I appreciated how bold she has been in sharing Jesus with the platform she has been given and how it encourages me to be bold, too.
Josh Turner was also there and his signature deep southern voice is just the best.
Before we had kids, I used to work alongside Dwight fairly often at events so it was sweet to have this time together. I am so proud of him and how God has allowed him to work in a field that he loves and in a role that he is naturally gifted in. Just really thankful for him.
After the work part of the day was over, we headed out to make a pit stop in Breckenridge for nostalgic purposes and to get a crepe from our favorite little crepe cart. We’ve waited in 0 degree weather for 45 minutes before to get one of those tasty creations so I was thankful it was warm and sunny with a short line that day. I always get the nutella and banana if you want a recommendation.
We also learned from our friend working the event with us that unlike the Vail gondola, the gondola in Breckenridge is free! Woohoo! I got to have my gondola ride after all. Even though it didn’t take me quite as high up as I’d like, it was still a fun ride. The entire time we were at the top of the mountain, I kept thinking about how much the kids would enjoy all the many activities they had up there. I can’t wait to bring them back with us in the future.
We finished the trip back in Denver with Emily and had an amazing dinner at Senor Bear. before catching our flight out early the next morning. The flight home was solo for me since Dwight had to go to Kansas City for another work related event so I got to finally finish up a book (A Man Called Ove) that I had been reading for months.
It was of course wonderful to see my kids and I have reassured them many times these past few days that mommy won’t be going anywhere again without them anytime soon :)