Monday, April 21, 2014

Colorado with kids - Exploring Breckenridge

On our first morning we rose pretty early due to the time change. I was eager to begin our day but soon realized that it was oddly difficult it was to even lift my arms! The high altitude was beginning to take affect. We all took our time getting ready and noticed how we felt a little out of breath performing simple tasks. Soon, though, we were ready to go.

We were excited to step outside and see the mountains in their sunlit glory. The sky was a perfect blue and the beautiful Rocky Mountains jutted into the sky - what a beautiful sight! The kids were oohing and aahing over the beauty of their new surroundings and I was thrilled to see this new environment through their eyes.

Breckenridge is an old mining town and many buildings still maintain this facade. There were plenty of old buildings still standing in town, some with a facelift and others left in their original glory. I loved the authenticity which lent a peek into the past that inspired this town in the first place.

Main Street - Breckenridge, CO

We enjoyed shopping on Main Street and taking breaks as needed. Again we noted how this simple task of walking about tired us out as we were still acclimating to the altitude change. I was very glad to have planned our first day to be an easy day! Everyone had a chance to check out the shops they wanted and finally, the youngest of the bunch, 7-year-old Miss A, dragged me into a boutique that had caught her eye: Anything Bling. It was an adorable shop sure to delight any girl who loves sparkles and jewelry. She knew exactly what she wanted once she found a blue beaded bracelet adorned with snowflake charms. How perfect for our first trip to the snowy mountains. While there, the very friendly shopkeeper informed us of the FREE Breckenridge Gondola. What a fun thing to do on our first day here!

We went back to our resort to eat lunch and rest for a bit and then we drove to Weston Street, which is right off Main Street. There was a large parking area across from where you board the gondola which was free to park in. The gondola is a great way for any non skiers/non snowboarders to get higher views of the mountains and town below. All six of us fit comfortably inside and enjoyed the beautiful views as we rode up. We stayed on for the round trip back to town and were all impressed with how pretty the scenery was.

Views during the gondola ride

We also needed to register the kids for their ride school where they'd be getting six hours of snowboard lessons! My husband took off with the kids and got everything set for the next day.

View from our hotel...the bridge crosses the Blue River and leads right to the base of Peak 9, the lodge, and the kids ski/ride school!

My husband and I also needed to get our rental equipment sorted. After some research I settled on Charter Sports, which is located right IN the Marriott Mountain Valley Lodge. It couldn't have been more convenient and I was very happy with this decision! The guys in the shop were very helpful and friendly and we got our boots, boards, and helmets all ready for the next day.

For dinner we decided to eat out as it's always a fun way to get a feel for a new locale. We initially set out for Breckenridge Brewery, however could not find a parking spot and it looked crowded when we peeked into the windows. Instead I remembered another restaurant I wanted to try, Downstairs at Eric's. The entrance is under a small awning and you go immediately downstairs. The place is filled with arcade games, which of course the kids were thrilled to try. While they played, us adults enjoyed a local brew while watching them. We had over an hour wait but it by fast with all this to keep us occupied! We had an absolutely delicious pizza dinner--one of the best we've had yet! The atmosphere and service also ranked high. As we headed out, a light snow was falling, which made this the perfect end to a great first day.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Colorado with kids - Travel Day

We had a direct flight into Denver, arriving in the early evening hours. We were meeting my mom, who was flying in from Minneapolis, as well. Thankfully all worked out perfectly with our planes landing within minutes of each other! We were reunited near baggage claim, collected our haul of suitcases, and boarded the shuttle bus to our car rental location, Thrifty, which was about a 6-8 minute ride from the airport itself. The sun was starting to set, making a beautiful first impression, with a pink painted sky slowly closing in on the Rocky Mountains in the distance. We all enjoyed nature's show while my husband was taking care of the rental. Finally we had all the bags and people loaded up and were ready to roll. We brought along our GPS from home so we didn't have to pay extra for that and easily navigated our way to the nearest Whole Foods in Denver.

Upon my research in dealing with potential altitude sickness, it was recommended to ascend altitude slowly, drink plenty of water, and eat a lot of carbs. With kids and my mom with us I was worried about how it would affect us. So, for dinner we enjoyed a carb-heavy dinner of breads, pasta salads, chips, lunchmeat, some of our favorite prepared foods, and of course a lot of water. Taking the time to eat when arriving in Denver was advice some friends had given me and I was listening! Because we were staying in Breckenridge, which is over 9,000 ft. above sea level, we wanted to gradually introduce our bodies to the altitude change. So, we first enjoyed our dinner in Denver, which is around 5,000 ft.

Once we finished eating, I quickly shopped for items we'd need for the week with a grocery list I had made out ahead of time. Once we had all of our supplies we headed off to Breckenridge!

Unfortunately we didn't get to see the beautiful mountain views as we were driving, as it was completely dark by this time. The kids quickly fell asleep, which made for a quiet drive.

We arrived at the Marriott Mountain Valley Lodge about an hour and a half later, got checked in quickly, and parked in the parking garage. We had two rooms, right next door to one another, although not connecting. My mom and and our oldest daughter, 13-year-old S, shared one, and the four of us the other. Each room had a kitchenette which is so helpful when traveling with food allergies! We enjoy eating out when we travel but also appreciate a home-cooked meal as well.

We ended up crashing pretty quickly after entering our rooms, as we were tired from the traveling, altitude, and time change!