They say that those who fall in love with Colorado come for the winters but stay for the summers. Of all the reasons to love the mountainous state, none are more convincing than the beauty and fun offered during the warmer months when cities such as Vail show off the other side of luxury vacationing at a higher altitude. Here is your itinerary for embracing the heat and having a luxurious Colorado getaway.
One of the area’s most popular summer attractions is the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show, which takes place every Sunday until September 22. Visitors and residents alike enjoy how this market is true to the taste of Colorado, showcasing locally grown produce as well as international dishes, fresh baked goods and even Colorado wine. The Art Show feeds travelers’ creativity, offering everything from beautiful clothing and jewelry to handmade home items.
Ongoing through August 3, Bravo! Vail, Colorado’s preeminent summer music festival, celebrates its 26th anniversary this season by bringing together four celebrated ensembles: the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the National Repertory Orchestra and the New York Philharmonic. Concerts here are wonderful, whether inside or out, though the outdoor events include the surrounding grounds of the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, a beautiful area worthy of exploring by bike.
Adventurers can try their luck at the Family Adventure Challenge, a fun-filled outing with tug-of-war, dunking booths, an obstacle course and more as part of the Vail Survivor Casting Call (Saturday, August 17) or simply go on hiking tours in the area. Bikers can explore downhill biking trails, animal lovers can partake in horseback and pony rides and anyone can take part in activities such as rebound trampoline jumping, wall climbing and miniature golf. If you are feeling extra adventurous and decide to get married, the wedding deck located at the peak of the mountain is spectacular.
Solaris Residences is a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star property that offers larger (up to six-bedroom) accommodations for groups or families with all one could need in a home-away-from-home — Wolf gas range and stone fireplace included. Conveniently located near the center of Vail township and the farmers’ market, Solaris also offers amenities such as a private spa (with therapeutic soaking tubs and Dr. Hauschka skincare products), fitness center, movie theater with dinner and cocktail service, bowling alley and lounge, complimentary ski valet and a Personal Assistants program that tends to guests’ every need.
Guests can also enjoy dining outside of their suites at the resort’s in-house restaurant Matsuhisa, one of star chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s eateries. Dig into dishes such as filet mignon with wasabi pepper or teriyaki sauce, lobster shiitake salad with spicy lemon dressing, and more.
Four Seasons Resort Vail offers luxury and convenience in location and service. Situated along a pedestrian walk, the resort is a short walk from shops and restaurants, as well as hiking trails. From private residences to deluxe room accommodations, guests at the Four-Star property can choose the space to best fit their needs. Also at their disposal are the finest amenities around, including a host of services from the Five-Star spa such as the “Earth, Wind and Sky Ritual,” with its pine and juniper oil, and the aspen- and pine-infused “Spirit of the Rockies” foot soak. Also worthy of consideration is the newly re-launched Flame Restaurant, a place where the 35-day, dry-aged bison rib eye doesn’t disappoint and ending your meal with the maple bacon doughnuts with Palisade cherry-bourbon jam is heavenly.
For a dining experience with a priceless view, check out Vail Chophouse during the warmer months. The outdoor seating places Vail Mountain at your feet and that view, when accompanied by a Chophouse Bloody (tri-pepper infused Finlandia vodka, signature house bloody mary mix and all the fixings — you must ask that they include their famous jalapeño–cured, bacon-wrapped shrimp to top it off), is a knockout. Take the experience to a whole new level of indulgence with the Chophouse cold seafood tower (four whole langoustines, a half pound of green lip mussels, a half pound of snow crab legs, four jumbo shrimp, half cold Maine lobster and avocado and blue crab cocktail).
Sweet Basil has created a standard for mountain dining through modern American cuisine. Led by executive chef Paul Anders, this restaurant is family-friendly but also features a selection of more than 500 wines from around the world and serves refreshing cocktails to help enjoy a summer’s day — order a gin-based Hendricks Haze, a moonshine-laced Bad Moon Rising or the WWJD (Wild West jalapeño drink). Kick dinner off with an appetizer of yellowfin tuna crudo or seared Hudson Valley foie gras before moving onto a main course of pan-roasted chicken breast or Colorado lamb T-bones.
Chef Kelly Liken may be best known for her appearances on Top Chef: Washington D.C. and Iron Chef America, but in Colorado, the restaurateur is renowned for her philanthropic endeavors as a founder of the Sowing Seeds program and for her commitment to locally sourced, organic ingredients at Restaurant Kelly Liken. This season, during the restaurant’s Summer Harvest Sunday Supper series, guests get a chance to taste Liken’s favorite ingredients from the farmers’ market that day; you may even get to mingle with an artisan or farmer who drops by. These three-course, last-minute meals will run through September 22.
Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy a visit to Larkspur, where former New Yorker and executive pastry chef Mark Metzger has mastered the challenges of baking at 8,000 feet. Metzger is known for his creations of beautiful, delicious sweets, many of which are wedding favorites. Decadent cakes (Brooklyn blackout, Tuscan “strawberry shortcake”), fresh Colorado plum and almond tarts, and more await guests looking to put the cherry on top of their Vail vacation.
Photos Courtesy of Jack Affleck, Solaris Property Owner LLC and Four Seasons