Travel Diary: 3 Hours in Breckinridge
| I live near the mountains!
Often, I feel like I need to remind myself of this simple but wonderful truth. Tim and I have lived in the Denver metro area of more than a year, yet we have explored so little of what is literally in our backyard. When we moved to Colorado from the Midwest, one of our requirements was to live as close to the mountains as we could while keeping Tim's commute under 45 minutes. And aside from the sunrise slow downs, we most certainly accomplished this! Waking up to the beautiful foothills is truly a luxury, but looking at them is not enough. So as the mountains begin to thaw and the winter resorts prepare to halt the lifts at the end of the month, my mission is to explore more of what is so close. Less than 2 hours from our front door is Vail, Crested Butte, Aspen, Keystone and so on. 2 hours or less. That's an afternoon. So that's exactly what we did. We spent three hours in Breckenridge on the last Saturday in March and I'm outlining our short but sweet adventure below! This is by no means a travel guide (hence the title, diary) as there is so much we could have done with the three hours we were there, but more like you were walking the streets with us.
I-70 is arguably the most beautiful interstate in the US, and all because of the drive from Denver to Grand Junction. It winds and twists up and back in elevation, following Clear Creek for miles, and burrows its way through actual mountains of the Eisenhower Tunnel. We left the house around 12:15pm. Traffic was light, moving at a leisurely but purposeful pace. We felt our ears pop in Georgetown, snapped pics of the still snow dusted mountains from the car window and listened to The Heat on satellite radio. As neither of us had never been to Breckenridge before, we wanted to steer clear of massively expensive lunches, especially as the lifts were still running. We stopped just over an hour in the neighboring town of Silverthorne for a quick bite at Einstein's bagels (your girl also needed some coffee). Silverthorne is beautifully nestled on the west side of the Eisenhower Tunnel in a mountain valley near Frisco and backs up to the expansive Dillon Reservoir. After our quick food and coffee stop, rather than take I-70 up two exits, we drove the ring road of the reservoir...and I'm so glad we did. Sweeping views of the town below erases the extra 10 driving minutes.
We wound our way around the water, took highway 9 and made it into the heart of Breckinridge at 2pm on the dot. Having done a (very little) bit of research on what there was to do in a ski town if you were not skiing, I knew I wanted to spend the hours exploring Main Street. Pro tip: parking on or in a lot one block away from Main Street can get pricey. We parked up two blocks on French Street and did not pay a dime. Plenty of open spaces and the street was not crowded so it made maneuvering nice and easy.
For the next hour, we wandered street after alley of ornately decorated storefronts and dreamy exteriors. I was truly surprised at the character and charm this resort town held. Unlike the village of Vail (a blog post for another day), Breckenridge caters to so much more than the skier and snowboarder. Of course Marmot, Burton and Patagonia have a major presence here, but other than the occasional group that walks through holding their gear, this city may never strike you as being known as world class winter sporting mecca. Eclectic shops, boutiques, book stores, coffee houses...all of which look as if they leaped from the pages of a fairy tale fill Main street. And each and every one of those shops was set against a snow capped backdrop. You could make no mistake of where you are.
We walked through small alleys, random doorways and as I wanted to get a better look at the base of the mountain, we crossed 9th Street and walked to Maggie Pond. We watched the ducks when I found a boutique (of which I didn't even take a picture!) that I had to duck inside...because what's a getaway without just a little bit of shopping!? Tim patiently waited, cracked a few jokes while I combed through the racks and made fun of me when I purchased a beautiful knit cardigan! Shopping with boys, am I right!? But as a reward for shopping, it was time for beer! And as we were in the home of one of our favorite breweries, and it was 0.2 miles from the boutique, we naturally crossed the street to Breckenridge Brewery.
It was right about 3:30 when we walked into the brewery. Having been to the Breckenridge Brewery campus in Littleton, I was expecting more. To my surprise, the brewery was rather humble, quaint and warm. As opposed to the Farmhouse in Littleton, the space is compact, rather small but quiet and comfortable. As we had just recently eaten, we found two seats at the bar, and ordered from the paper and chalkboard menu overhead at the far end of the long bar. We sat next to a couple of single ladies that I learned were traveling nurses, on their second rotation at the Breckenridge hospital. As they were local (and obviously regulars), the head brewer came out to greet them, chat. And as I was a new found friend, we tasted an unfinished prototype for a summer brew due in a week's time. We spent quite a large portion of our three hours here at the bar in Breck Brewery. Around 4:30, it became much more crowded from the mountain trekkers fresh off the lifts or out of their snow shoes wanting a drink and a bite to eat. We said goodbye to our new friends and made our way back down Main, then up to French Street to the car. We walked slowly and just admired the architecture and the beauty of this little town at 9,600ft. We got back in the car and enjoyed the winding 100 mile trip back home to the pup. Walked in the front door around 6:30.
And truthfully...that's it.
To be honest, there was nothing spectacular or extremely provoking on this little afternoon escapade, but it is the small moments like this that build into a lifetime of memories. Appreciating the Lord's creation that I am so fortunate to be able to explore with little effort is something we will certainly be taking advantage of this spring, summer and fall season! I have so many towns, attractions, places and things on my list, I cannot wait to share more with you. If you have a favorite place in Colorado, please let me know in the comments!
Thank you so much for reading!
Travel Loudly. Love Loudly. Live Loudly.