In October while back in the US, I had the chance to spend some quality time with mom and dad. As I’ve made my home as an expat in Colombia, that time is becoming ever more precious. Colorado is a favorite of us all. So, we made the road trip from Texas to Colorado in one…long…day trip.
It wasn’t ski season yet, so I didn’t expect in terms of crowds. And, I always preferred to go to the mountains in the summertime, low season when I lived in Denver. We headed off to the Vail Valley, my favorite. I typically go to Avon. It’s not the most charming town compared to some of the others around it. But, it’s central to many of the little towns in the area and I’ve made a couple of friends there. While I was prepared for few travelers, I wasn’t prepared for this.
It was desolate!
Everywhere we went, shops were closed, restaurants were empty, streets were quiet. It was as close to a ghost town as I had ever seen the area. Normally, I wouldn’t mind. But, this was eerie.
A Reality Check While Exploring Edwards
I went out a couple of days with mom to walk around Edwards, Vail and Beaver Creek. Nothing was open. We often couldn’t escape from the seasonal biting wind because the shops were closed. And, what was open, wasn’t that interesting.
The one ray of hope was finding Larkburger in Edwards. I usually prefer to go to the Gore Range Brewery. But, on the tip of a local, we went for burgers for lunch one day. I think we were only the second customers all day. The burger was great, but the truffle and parmesan fries were to die for. They are a buck more than the traditional fries, but worth it. I may have to divide my loyalties on my next trip to the area.
I’ve also decided that I don’t like Edwards very much. There’s not a lot of charm to it. I guess I never noticed before. Barren streets. No hustle. No Bustle. And, the architecture seemed soulless. There are exactly two reasons to go to Edwards: Larkburger and the Gore Range Brewery.
What About Beaver Creek?
Mom and I decided to head out to Beaver Creek for lunch. Fearing that nothing would be open, we stopped off at the Avon Bakery and Deli to pick up sandwiches for a picnic in the park. This bakery is the bomb. Homemade, artisan breads, rolls, breakfast sandwiches, sweets. You can’t go wrong here. The only thing that left a bad taste in my mouth was the service: slow and unfriendly. Having said that, the food was so good we continued to go back. And, not once did we get good friendly service. Don’t miss this place, but don’t stick around once you have your goodies.
Once we got up to Beaver Creek (free parking, yes!) we encountered an equally deserted town. But, it’s friggin’ Beaver Creek. We headed to a little park in the sun, listened to the babbling brooks and hear what few aspen leaves were left fluttering in the light, crisp breeze. By the way, mom’s BLT from the Avon Bakery was awesome! Here it was actually nice to have the whole place to ourselves. When you have this kind of natural beauty around, you don’t want a lot of people nearby.
The town center was vacated mostly. It was weird. I didn’t like that.
Surely Vail Can’t Disappoint
Yes it can. Sigh. Trust me, it pains me to write this. Mom and I headed off to explore Vail, maybe do a little shopping and grab a bite to eat. The weather conspired against us. Cold drizzle followed us all morning. Normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal. I’ve been to Vail plenty of times when the weather wasn’t perfect. But, with other things going on in town, it was part of the ambience. This time, with the town closed down (practically), there weren’t many places for us to spend our time. After grabbing a hot chocolate to go at the local Starbucks, we headed back to the hotel.
I learned that as much as I like getting off the beaten path or going to places in their off-season, you can go when it is too off. Part of the charm of the Vail Valley, or any small town area, is that you can escape the crowds and have the place more to yourself. But, I also learned that I need more stimuli. I will certainly go back. I’ve been going up for most of the past 10 years and I won’t stop. And, it was great to have the time with my parents. But, lesson learned, there is a difference between off season and no season.