What is it about New Years Eve?? It is such an over-rated night of celebration – at least for me. Though I do like the idea of a reset every year. This particular checklist keeps presenting itself on Insta and FB news feeds – maybe I need to pay attention to it – there are a few things here to focus on in the new year. I love it!
Rather than spend the evening at home on the couch watching the ball drop on TV, we decided to head to Buena Vista (BV), Colorado for the NY holiday. BV is about a 2.5 hour drive or, 122 miles southwest of Denver. It’s a sweet little mountain town surrounded by the Collegiate Peaks of the Rocky Mountains and they are STUNNING. One thing to note, it’s pronounced “BEW-na Vista” instead of the Spanish “BWAY-na Vista. If you say it the Spanish way, you will be instantly identified as a tourist!
The Collegiate Peaks include 19 of the highest mountains in the Rockies. They are referenced as such as many of the peaks are named for Ivy-League Universities. Climbing these beauties is another summer activity not to miss if you are up for the challenge.
Our lodging of choice was the Surf Hotel. It has been open since the summer of 2018 and is modeled after a French Chateau. It is situated in the South Main neighborhood a short hop from the primary downtown of BV. There are a few shops and a great brewery in the same hood.
I have mixed feelings about this place – the bar area is really modern and hip, the food was pretty delicious, the location is fantastic – right on the Arkansas river which skirts the edge of town. There were twinkling lights throughout the property which provided some romantic ambiance…..that all sounds good right?
Well mostly, it was the rooms that made it somewhat painful! The beds had a strange plastic mattress pad which made the sheets slide around every time you moved – it provided a really weird sensation all night long! The walls, which I think were modeled after a weathered chateau, just looked dirty to me.
Anyhow, what did we do on our 48 hour excursion? We hardly put a dent into what you can experience here.
- Took a hike along the river right outside the hotel – I do love this hike, it is easy and flat, good for pups and goes for miles and miles miles along the Arkansas river. There are numerous places to cross a bridge to shorten the distance. In the summer you can kayak, stand-up paddle board, raft, and fly fish right out the back door – that’s a sweet benefit. It’s a gorgeous intro to hiking in the area.
- Enjoyed some brews from favorite breweries in Colorado – Eddlyline is just a block away from the hotel which makes it convenient. Not in love with the food, but the IPA’s are some of the best in the state. Elevation is further afield in a town called Poncha Springs but worth the drive. The beer is outstanding! They have all kinds of what I think are innovative beers like coconut infused stouts and lime infused lagers. YUM. There is a food truck on site, but really not much else nearby.
- High-tailed it to Salida, the closest town to BV (30 mins) where we like to buy breads at a place called the Little Red Hen. One of my favorite bakeries in the world – yes, in the world. They make the best bagels and breads. Maybe I just love it so much because it’s in a small unassuming town in Colorado. It’s extremely popular so go first thing in the morning to avoid a sell out of some good stuff. I once nearly snatched the last bagel sold out of a woman’s hands, they are so good! The drive to Salida is also one of my Colorado favorites – the views are unbelievable.
- Explored Monarch Pass and took the pup on a 3.5 mile hike up the Old Monarch Pass trail. The trail is fairly easy – not a lot of elevation gain and you can choose to snowshoe, ski or use plain old micro-spikes. The top of the trail presents some amazing views of the Continental Divide. Monarch is a ski area as well, so if that is your bag, this is a home-grown simple place to ski. They had tons of snow too.
- Soaked in some hot springs till our fingers pruned. This area is known for these healing, thermal waters and offers several options ranging from fairly swank to hippie or “casual” as they put it. The most well known and popular are the Mount Princeton Hot Springs. They continue to invest in the property with the addition of new pools all the time and a more upscale lodging option. We chose the more casual (aka hippie) option called Cottonwood – good news is there was no nakedness during the day – you generally don’t see good nakedness in these places – I’m just sayin’. The great thing about all of these springs is that they are odorless – sometimes the rotten egg smell can be overwhelming!
- What did we do on NYE? We were pooped from the days activities so we spent the evening in our room playing Yahtzee and watching re-runs of the Twilight Zone – it was one of the best NYE in a very long time! Who knew so many stars were discovered on that show?!! Cloris Leachman and Elly May Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies to name a few. The show is just classic.
All in all, we had a great time. And, to top it off, we got home on NY day and got engaged! Super happy about that – can’t think of a better human to spend the rest of my life with!!!! A new book of life was kicked off with this trip and I am looking forward to filling in the chapters. Life is GOOD.
….i choose this….