Summer in Vail
Vail, Colorado is known for being North America’s biggest and most popular winter ski destination, but the truth is that Vail offers four seasons of outdoor activities and cultural pursuits. And the summer season is particularly sublime in Vail, with a plethora of outdoor activities from which to choose – be it hiking, biking, fly-fishing, rafting, golfing – you name it. The keywords here are outdoors and active, although most everything can be tempered to match all ages and energy levels.
My husband and I recently returned from a long weekend trip to Vail. It was actually our first visit to the area, and we found the June weather in Vail suited us just perfectly – coolish early mornings (in the 50’s) and very warm afternoons (in the mid-80’s) – and nothing but Rocky Mountain sunshine and blue skies above! On average, Vail has about 250 sunny days a year.
We stayed at the newly renovated Hotel Talisa, a Virtuoso property on the west side of Vail Village, formerly known as the Vail Cascade. The location of the property is ideal, situated along Gore Creek at the base of Vail Mountain right next to Chairlift 20, making it one of the only true ski-in-ski-out options in Vail. Of course we were there in June, so the ski shop was completely converted into a bike rental shop for the summer season. The hotel offers 285 luxurious guestrooms, a brand new spa and some beautiful and cozy community areas, including the Fireside Lounge adjacent to the Gessner Bar and Dining Room. We toured several room categories (Thanks, Crystal!), and were most impressed with the incredibly spacious Talisa Two Bedroom Suite. Two of our favorite highlights on property were the walking and biking trail along Gore Creek, and the outdoor fireplaces with comfy rocking chairs. We walked to Lionshead Village most every morning (just a mile away), and Vail Village is just another three-quarter mile eastward along the trail. In the evenings, we tended toward eating a little early so we could come back to the hotel to enjoy the fireplaces and a glass of wine when it got a bit cooler outside.
While we were in Colorado, Vail was host to the GoPro Mountain Games, which turned out to be quite a draw – our valet at the hotel told us approximately 100,000 people were in for the weekend event. The games were fun and interesting, and something completely new for us.
As is typical for us and our family, figuring out where to eat is an important and essential daily task during our vacations, and the evening meal is considered one of the main events of the day. I must say, we hit a homerun all three nights we were in Vail. On our first night, we ate at a small Italian restaurant called Ti Amo, which was located in Eagle-Vail (just a 5-10 minute drive from the hotel). It sure was nothing to look at from the outside, located in a run-of-the-mill strip shopping plaza, but the food was simply delicious. The fettuccini, ravioli, and gnocchi are all homemade there, and the Fettuccini Bolognese was a highlight of the trip. Something we didn’t expect, but found to be a nice added bonus, were some off-season specials (which you might find elsewhere in Vail during the months of May and June). In our case, complimentary soups or salads were included in the entre price and there was a list of really good $20 bottles of wine to choose from. On the second night, we ventured over to Vail Village using the hotel’s complimentary shuttle service, and enjoyed a fabulous meal in a bit more upscale al fresco dining atmosphere at a restaurant called Mountain Standard, sister restaurant to the ever-popular Sweet Basil right next door. The Corned Pork Shank, a regular menu item served with gruyere potato puree, cabbage, green apple, puffed faro, and caraway vinaigrette, is something not to be missed. On our final night, we thoroughly enjoyed a beautiful evening (in another al fresco dining environment), and a great meal at Zino Ristorante in Edwards (about a 15-minute drive west from our hotel).
If you are into snow skiing, you probably already know quite a bit about Vail. Perhaps because we are not the most avid skiers, we were relatively unfamiliar with the area and found Vail to be a pretty spectacular summer destination. No matter the season, Vail has an awful lot to offer for families and all age groups. You might want to add it to your destination checklist!
Co-Owner, Travel Advisor