| VailDaily.com

Leave the Stress at Home

When planning your trip to Vail, pack a good attitude and sense of adventure, says Mark Dubovy, president and owner of Mountain Resort Concierge. Here are his tips for maximizing your experience.

Piney Lake


  • If you can, fly into Eagle. It sure beats the two-to three-hour drive from Denver (not to mention traffic and potential pass closures).
  • Don’t rent a car. Winter driving is hazardous and I-70 is stressful, not to mention roundabouts galore. There are group shuttles, free buses, Uber, Lyft … even bike valets.

Food & Drink

  • For lunch in Vail, try Buffalo’s Grill at the top of Chair 4. For a truly high-end experience, treat yourself to lunch at The 10th. Want to go spur of the moment without reservations? Then, walk straight to the back bar and secure “first come first serve” seating in the bar or lounge.
  • Grab some local brews at Bonfire Brewery in Eagle or sip some local spirits in the middle of Vail Village at the tasting room for 10th Mtn Whiskey & Spirit Company.
  • Make some dinner reservations up to a month before you arrive. The top spots fill up fast during the high season. However, bar seats are always first come first serve. Or splurge for a personal chef.
  • Grab a breakfast burrito to go and eat it on the way up the gondola, especially if you are trying to catch first tracks.
  • Check out an FAC (Friday Afternoon Club) in the summer: Maya at the Westin for an upscale scene or Eagle’s Nest at the top of Lionshead Gondola.

Clothing & Gear

  • Pack comfortable après shoes or boots and invest in a ski locker for the week. There is vibrant après ski nightlife. You don’t want to be that person in ski boots at midnight.
  • Renting skis? Book your reservations online before you arrive or set up an in-house ski fitting with a variety of ski delivery companies.
  • Pack at least three pairs of ski socks and few pairs of base layers and back-up ski gloves.
  • The dress code is always mountain casual so no need to bust out the tie and jacket or formal gown. A nice pair of jeans and a sweater or flannel should do the trick at most places.
  • Bring lots of sunscreen and lip balm as well as a good pair of sunglasses.

Insider knowledge

  • Buy your lift ticket at least a week in advance online for the best price.
  • Shop deals: If you come in March or April, look around as ski shops start offloading their demo inventory and start reducing their prices on the past season’s gear. Great deals to be found all around town. The March Madness sale at Gorsuch is also a must see if in town.
  • In the summer, check out Nottingham Lake in Avon. Paddleboarding, boat rentals, fishing, volleyball, a cool beach scene, live music, an emerging food scene and awesome views of Beaver Creek from the lake.
  • Piney Lake is a must-do summer activity. If you don’t mind a drive, it’s worth the hiking, boating, food, great views.
  • Be sure to drink lots of water, even when out on the town. Leave a glass by your bed at night and first thing in the morning. Pack some ibuprofen as well just in case.

Have Fun and Stay Well

The whole point of visiting, or even living, in the Vail Valley is to have fun, enjoy your time and make the most of each mountain moment. There’s no need, doctors agree, to put your life on hold even if you’re not feeling the best, or you have a chronic condition.

Take American Renal Associates’ Kidney Center of the Rockies. With sweeping views of Beaver Creek as the sun pours in through the giant windows, it’s set up to remind people who need dialysis they are on vacation and should take advantage of all the Vail Valley has to offer.

“One person in particular made my heart feel good. He said for the first time in ten years he was able to come with his family on vacation. They were skiing and he was able to come with them [and receive treatment], those are the kind of moments that warms my heart,” said Wanda Trudeau, clinic manager.

Kidney Center of the Rockies is the only dialysis center from Grand Junction to Denver. Wanda adds that this center is second busiest in the world for travelers.

Those with less chronic conditions, such as the symptoms of altitude sickness, are also encouraged to make the most of their vacation, says Dr. Doug of Alpine Mobile Physicians. First off, don’t rest for a few days — it takes six weeks for your body to create more red blood cells to deliver oxygen. And don’t drown yourself in trying to drink water — sip electrolyte drinks. Nausea comes with altitude sickness. Pounding water only makes that sick-to-your-stomach feeling stronger.

“I don’t tell them to rest, they are just cutting their vacation short,” says Dr. Doug, who makes house and hotel calls and fields many questions about altitude sickness. “They can have a couple drinks, they are here for vacation! In my opinion, telling somebody to rest and don’t do this or that, well, that’s ridiculous because they are here to enjoy their trip.”

Medical-grade oxygen is the solution to that queasy altitude-sickness feeling. He’ll deliver it to your door, while encouraging you to feel better so you can enjoy the rest of your time in the Vail Valley.

“The practice of medicine is an art. It’s a science to apply the correct knowledge to an individual,” Dr. Doug says.

Go West! Learn Eagle County’s towns and neighborhoods

It might be hard to leave the glitz of the resorts, but if you take the time to venture west of Vail, you’ll be rewarded with getting to know some of the county’s towns and neighborhoods.


Technically part of Edwards, Cordillera is a secluded-feeling oasis less than 10 minutes from downtown Edwards. Situated on more than 7,000 pristine acres, Cordillera provides residents and visitors with exceptional Rocky Mountain experiences year-round. Rising from 7,200 to 9,400 feet, Cordillera is surrounded by 1 million acres of the White River National Forest, making it a perfect summer retreat for golfing, hiking, horseback riding, private fishing, tennis, pickleball and swimming. Winter activities at Cordillera include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides.


About 30 minutes away from Vail — and only 5 minutes from the local airport — Eagle is an old ranching community that’s kept its historic charm while focusing on today’s Vail Valley lifestyle. With extensive bike and walking paths, it’s easy to park your car in the garage and leave it for a week, as the town is easily navigated by bike or on foot. It’s a destination for mountain bikers and trail runners, too, who love the town’s mountainous singletrack year-round.

A community pool and ice rink, bike skills park, pump track and a golf course keep the population active. Shopping and dining are popular, too, and the town has not one but two local breweries.

Edwards Riverwalk

It’s easy to wile away a full day at Riverwalk in Edwards thanks to the dozen restaurants/bars, grocery store, movie theater, liquor store, two banks and multitude of shops that each have a unique vibe with everything from local crafts to active wear. It’s home to the area’s only bookstore, The Bookworm, which hosts author events, story time for kids and has a cafe with a robust menu. Wander through the outdoor-mall-like area to find mountain fashions, homewares, top-of-the-line bikes and even several popular workout studios. Settle in to one of several outdoor cafes, hit an afternoon matinee, or pack a lunch and enjoy time right beside the creek. Riverwalk offers several fun events throughout the year including Vail Jazz concerts in the back amphitheater, holiday-inspired afternoons and an annual Pumpkinfest.


Just 10 minutes from Vail and five minutes from Beaver Creek, Avon residents call it the heart of the Vail Valley. The town is thriving, creating a special place to visit, work, grow a business, raise a family and play in a spectacular outdoor setting. The town has an extensive network of hard- and soft-surfaced biking and walking paths. A Zagster bike-share program makes it easy and affordable to borrow a bike for a few hours, and Avon Transit’s free bus service runs throughout the town core from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Harry A. Nottingham Park is the crown jewel, with 48 acres of open space, including grassy sports fields, sand volleyball courts, and basketball, pickleball and tennis courts. Nottingham Lake, dotted with pedal boaters and stand up paddleboarders, sits with views of Beaver Creek; the beach is a hot-spot to be from spring through autumn (rentals are available). The lake is also well stocked and open to fishing with a fishing license (available for purchase at many Avon retail stores). The Avon Recreation Center is a spacious multi-use facility that offers activities for the entire family: the aquatics area includes a 5-lane lap pool, lazy river, zero-depth entry kids pool, 140-foot water slide, Aquaclimb climbing wall, diving well, hot tub, dry sauna and steam room. The workout facility has tons of cardio equipment and drop-in fitness classes from yoga to strength training.

Willows of Wonder: Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork installation visually reshapes Ford Park

Take some time this summer to wander into the wonder of environmental sculptor Patrick Dougherty’s Stickwork installation, a monumental artwork that will be constructed in Vail’s Ford Park area and remain in place for several seasons to come. Made from whimsically intertwined willow branches, the large-scale sculpture will be built by the artist and a host of community volunteers in an interactive process that will span a three-week period beginning on June 4.

While following the path to Betty Ford Alpine Gardens or to events at Ford Amphitheater in Vail, passersby can watch on as the Stickwork installation takes shape on the lower bench of Ford Park and grows to a size that will be large enough to walk in and around. The sculpture’s raw materials — willow branches sourced from a ranch near Leadville — will be pliable during the construction phase, but they’ll harden over time into a semi-permanent structure that can withstand winter snow, morphing and changing through upcoming seasons.

Dougherty is known for his beautifully constructed sculptural forms made from natural materials, and his Stickwork installations have been built in more than 285 public locations that span the globe from France to Japan to the United States. A North Carolina native, Dougherty has been combining his carpentry skills with his love of nature for more than 35 years since his first artwork made of maple tree saplings went on public display in 1982.

“I see my work as being propelled by people’s concern about the environment,” says Dougherty in a PBS Craft in America segment that will be showing at the Vail Welcome Center in Lionshead while the Vail Stickwork project’s construction is in progress. “I think that my work has filled a space…where there is some visual relief, some kind of nostalgia to some degree. But in a real way, it’s also a touchstone for the things we care about in the natural world.”

Through its Art in Public Places (AIPP) program, Town of Vail has partnered with other environmental artists in the past, notably in the summer of 2010 when Ben Roth and Brad Watsabaug’s beetle-kill pine installation was constructed in the Ford Park area. Dougherty’s Stickwork project continues this tradition of environmental art in Vail while being an evolving piece of raw beauty that will engage community members long after its construction is complete.

“This project fits exactly with the mission of Art in Public Places by connecting an artwork with a public space that everyone in our community can enjoy,” says Art in Public Places Coordinator Molly Eppard. “It’s important that this artwork is tangible — it’s something that people can touch and be involved with while it’s being built. And then we can continue to appreciate it as it integrates into the Vail landscape and changes over time.”

Wedding Flower Roundup: Keep up with what’s fresh on Vail’s floral scene

photo - wedding photo

With many inspiring wedding venues set among the Vail area’s natural beauty, it’s not surprising that several local businesses have cropped up to make art out of a classic — and natural — wedding feature: flowers. A staple of ceremonial bliss, wedding flowers add fragrance and color to décor that can range from traditional to eclectic. And wedding flowers can be incorporated into anything from the customary bride’s bouquet to cake toppers, head crowns, scene-setting floral arches, boutonnieres and beyond.

Historically, wedding flowers have had legit purposes, too. Sweetly scented floral bouquets were once thought to help mask a bride’s potentially embarrassing body odor. Over time, extra-special powers have been associated with aromatic wedding flowers, which some believed could repel evil spirits. In the Victorian Era, small bouquets called tussie mussies were arranged according to the symbolic meanings of each flower or herb included. Queen Victoria, herself, wore a crown of orange flower blossoms — a symbol of fertility — in her hair when she wed Prince Albert.

The flowers that make their way into modern mountain weddings are as diverse as those who attend them. But if you’re on an upcoming wedding invitation list, be on the lookout for these trends that three established Vail-area florists — Vintage Magnolia, A Secret Garden, and Cedar’s Flower Shop — highlight for this summer’s wedding season.

photo - Wedding bouquet by A Secret Garden

Wedding bouquet by A Secret Garden

Whimsical Bouquets

Bridal flower bouquets continue to be customary in modern weddings, but they’ve loosened up over time. Gone are the days of highly symbolic, tightly ordered arrangements. And while roses remain a classic, fragrant choice for bridal bouquets, expect to see some more fanciful creations this summer.

“Carefully selected flowers are still the heart of the bridal bouquet,” says Jamie Frank, co-owner of A Secret Garden in Vail. “But bouquets with a whimsical style are popular right now — as if the flowers have been plucked straight from a garden and then arranged in a way that’s full, lush and organic.”

A floral shop and boutique located in Vail Village, A Secret Garden has been in business for 23 years, with new owners Jamie Frank and Karen Apostolo taking over in 2017. Together, these two have decades of combined experience and the creative know-how to bring forth any floral vision from traditional bouquets to the more free-form style that you’ll likely spot at weddings this summer.

“We’re blessed to be here and know our surroundings so that we can create with a sense of connection to nature,” says Apostolo. “Bouquets that include greenery and pops of color echo what you’ll see on a mountain hike, so these are popular choices — whether the ceremony is held indoors or out.”

photo - Wedding arch by Vintage Magnolia

Wedding arch by Vintage Magnolia

Personalized Floral Arches

Vintage Magnolia has made a colorful splash in the Vail wedding scene since opening in Edwards in 2008. Known for its on-trend designs and luxurious floral arrangements, Vintage Magnolia is also the place to go for special gifts and unique home accents. But wedding flowers are what Vintage Magnolia does with standout flair, and its scene-setting floral arches have been creating a buzz.


A Secret Garden
Vail Village

Vintage Magnolia

Cedar’s Flower Shop

“Floral arches provide a focal point for the wedding ceremony,” explains owner Caitlin Caldwell. “Arches and chuppahs — a canopy-like structure that’s part of traditional Jewish ceremony — frame the bride and groom, and they’re becoming more and more personalized. People are asking for family heirlooms or story pieces, such as antlers from a recent hunt, to be woven into the scene.”

Such personalization is part of a larger wedding trend that extends beyond floral arches and chuppahs. Keep your eyes peeled for other personal touches this summer — in charms dangling from bridal bouquets to swatches of treasured fabrics intertwined among Vintage Magnolia’s flower-bursting arches.

Wild and Wonderful Personal Flowers

Personal flowers are those that designate members of the wedding party, family members or friends with floral hair accents, corsages, boutonnieres and the like. Some personal flowers can be made with a magnetic backing so that they’re easy to attach for the ceremony and then remove when it’s time to cut loose on the dance floor. Flower choices often complement colors in the overall wedding palette, and color choices for mountain weddings can get wild.

“Wildflowers and bold colors are common requests for Vail weddings,” says Sarah Young, owner of Cedar’s Flower Shop in Edwards, which has been in business for more than 20 years. “Bright yellow sunflowers are popular, along with deep purples and reds. Greenery, berries and thistles add texture and color, too. And eucalyptus of all different kinds has become a go-to choice with a fresh, aromatic scent.”

When floral inspiration hits at any time of the year, Cedar’s is also the place to stop in Edwards when you’re looking to liven up a space with houseplants, dried arrangements, custom wreaths and cut flowers for all occasions.

Perfect Patios: 5 ways to improve your outdoor experience at home

photo - Outdoor patio - outdoor hot tub

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Vail Valley HOME magazine, now on newsstands everywhere.

“What can we do to make this home special?”

That’s the question Andy Bokol, senior sales representative at Maximum Comfort Pool & Spa, tries to answer for his customers, and many times, that answer lies outside the house. Adding improvements to a yard or patio can reap benefits all year long.

Here, Bokol shares five ways homeowners in the Vail Valley can improve the quality of their outdoor lives.

1. If you’re going to spend time outside your home, then you want it to be beautiful and relaxing. That’s what water features can add to your landscaping.

“Being up here in the middle of the mountains, I think a lot of people feel landlocked. It’s nice to have some water,” Bokol said. “The sound takes people’s minds off of things, lets them escape. And in certain areas in the valley, it can cover up what highway noise is there.”

The possibilities are endless.

“We can build into basically any existing hillside with different rock textures, different water patterns,” Bokol said.

You can even combine water and fire features, as Maximum Comfort did in its work at the top of Bridge Street in Vail Village. Whether you want something to soothe and relax you, or water fountains to wow your guests, you only need to dream it up to make it happen.
photo - patio water features

Water Features


2. But your enjoyment of your beautiful backyard only lasts as long as you do.

“What I find up here in the valley is that even in the middle of summer, once the sun sets, that temperature drops pretty quick,” Bokol said.

Firepits come in many forms, from portable gas pits to customized, freeform pits. If your goal is simply to take the edge off while you enjoy your patio, then install a patio heater. The patio heater can be freestanding or built into the eaves or a patio overhang, so it’s out of the way.

“It’s just taking that edge off and allowing people to enjoy the outdoors up here,” he said.


photo - outdoor patio heat

Patio Heat

3. You’ve got a beautiful outdoor experience that you can enjoy all day and all night — but everybody’s got to eat. Why not cook outdoors instead of spending the evening running back and forth between the kitchen and the back patio?

Bokol sees a lot of grills go out the door, including propane, natural gas, charcoal and smokers, but he also helps homeowners install entire custom outdoor kitchens.

“We’ve done 20-foot-long outdoor grill islands with beautiful stone countertops, barbecue grills and gas smokers, pizza ovens, kegerators, warming drawers and outdoor refrigerators,” he said.

You can even install a trash chute so you’re not spending time carrying garbage in and out of the house.

photo - outdoor patio outdoor kitchen

Outdoor Kitchens

4. The most popular outdoor improvement is still that old standby: the hot tub.

“People just love when they get off the mountain — or if they’re out for a walk or if they’re out fishing or golfing — to be able to go home and enjoy that hot tub,” Bokol said.

He said the hottest new items are swim spas, a hot-tub-like unit with fitness equipment built-in.

“We’ve got some with underwater treadmills people can use, swim-in-place units, there’s row kits that you can add on and use the water as resistance against your body, and then they typically have a hydrotherapy section, as well,” he said.



photo - outdoor patio - outdoor hot tub

Hot Tubs & Saunas

5. Bokol has one last suggestion for improving that quality of life — an outdoor sauna.

“Saunas are starting to become really popular again,” Bokol said. You can pick from many varieties of prefab saunas, which are “aesthetically appealing in the backyard. They’ve got them designed very nicely with exterior wood siding, different roofing materials. We’ll have glass windows and glass door panels.”

Saunas combine everything Bokol sees homeowners looking for in their outdoor lives.

“People are looking at them from a health benefit — they’re going to flush toxins, help with weight loss, build people’s immune systems — and they’re becoming more of a social setting as well, where people will come over and sit in there for 20, 30 minutes, and still enjoy the mountain views,” he said.


photo - outdoor pool

Musical massage is a symphony of wellness with the Spa at Four Seasons Resort Vail

photo - Four Seasons Resort

Photos Courtesy Four Seasons Resort

“Everything about the symphony is incorporated here,” says Mary Gunderson.

Bodily wellness, wine, good food and symphonic entertainment rarely come intertwined in a single harmony. But the Vail Valley is a place of exception and what’s rare elsewhere in the world, is standard operating procedure in these parts.

This summer, in honor of Vail’s premier music festival, Bravo! Vail, the spa at Four Seasons Resort is offering a “Symphony of Wellness” for any- and everyone itching for a fully immersive and wholly sublime symphonic experience. The package, offered only on select nights through the summer, combines the euphoria of a massage, with the warmth of wine, the comfort of a delicious picnic and the splendor of classical music played by world-renowned professionals.

“Everything about the symphony is incorporated here,” says Mary Gunderson, Spa Director at the Four Seasons Resort. From the moment you walk into the spa, you’ll be whisked into an immersive experience — one that begins with a 50-minute rhythmic massage. Set to the music the orchestra will be playing later that night, this serves as a gentle prelude to the evening still to come. Then, a complimentary glass of wine will pique your senses before it’s time to make your way to Ford Amphitheater.

Of course, transportation from the Four Seasons is already orchestrated. One of the resort’s luxurious Mercedes Benz SUV’s will pick you up when you’re ready and deliver you directly to the venue, where a curated picnic under the stars awaits.

Complete with a wicker basket and a blanket outstretched over your reserved lawn seats, the picnic is a gourmet way to enjoy the show. Guests can choose from several different menu options without any fear of making a poor choice. Everything is cooked up beforehand at the hotel by the Four Seasons’ esteemed team of culinarians, crafted to pair perfectly with your symphony under the stars.

Then, just relax into the music — the crescendo of your night.

photo - Four Seasons Resort

Photos Courtesy Four Seasons Resort

The package is only available three days this summer: on June 30th, with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, July 6th, with the Philadelphia Orchestra, and July 20th, with the New York Philharmonic.

The Symphony of Wellness package needs to be reserved at least three weeks in advance.

Beyond the Bravo! Vail Festival and the Symphony of Wellness package, the spa at Four Seasons Resort will also be offering its popular Mountain Cures all summer long — therapeutic massage specials for altitude adjustment, sleep improvement, and energy expansion. These mountain-inspired treatments are tailored specifically for high country healing: a holistic way to ease yourself into the laid-back lifestyle of summer in the Vail Valley.

And for couples or individuals seeking a romantic evening with the entire Spa at Four Seasons to themselves, the spa is also offering their Spa Under the Stars special. It’s an opportune way to treat that special someone to an unforgettably romantic and tranquil summer night.

Bachelor and bachelorette gatherings in the Vail Valley bring on the pre-wedding fun

photo - root and flower gin and tonic

Root & Flower cocktail

The gathering of friends before a wedding can be relaxing or rambunctious, informative or indulgent. With activities that range from time in the kitchen to a day at the spa, an adventurous day on the river or a crafty afternoon in an art studio, it’s easy to make a memorable bachelor or bachelorette experience in the Vail Valley.

Wine or Cocktail Class at Root & Flower

Parties in the form of classes are best when they’re informative, yet interactive and fun.

“The wine and cocktail classes at Root & Flower are the perfect pre-dinner or afternoon activity for a bachelor or bachelorette weekend,” explains Root & Flower co-owner Samantha Biszantz.

“We either guide you through the tasting of four wines, or how to make two cocktails, so everyone can go home from the weekend feeling like an expert.”

Root & Flower’s sommeliers and bartenders allow each group to create a personalized experience.

“We are happy to come to your home or hotel room too if that works better for your group,” says Biszantz.

Cannabis Party with UpRooted Events

A cannabis pairing party, she adds, is very unique and a fun experience.

“Depending on the smoking rules in your home, hotel or condo, UpRooted Events can do a number of things,” explains Biszantz, who is also co-owner of UpRooted Events.

“Whether it be a cocktail party pairing different strains of weed with cocktails or wine or beer, or a dinner party and we infuse it into the food, or both — it’s a good time.

UpRooted partners with High Country Healing to ensure they comply with all laws and provide safe dosage amounts.

photo - Larkspur chefs

Cooking class at Larkspur

Cooking Class at Larkspur

The culinary programs offered at Larkspur can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 32 guests, providing an interactive and delicious option for a bachelor or bachelorette gathering. The cooking demonstration and competition starts with the chefs showing the group how to prepare a selected starter and entree.

The group then splits into teams to create the dish, and are judged by the chefs based on presentation and taste. After the friendly competition, the group can be seated in Larkspur’s private dining room for an optional three-course dinner.

Another hands-on culinary experience offered at Larkspur has teams pair up with professional chefs to prepare one composition of the group’s pre-selected dinner menu. This includes one hour of preparation in the kitchen prior to dinner service, a cocktail reception with passed hors d’oeuvres and a three-course meal. Throughout the dining experience, each team will return to the kitchen to plate, then serve, their respective course.

Group Spa Day at Hotel Talisa

For the groups who want to enjoy a day of relaxation, Vail’s newest luxury hotel also has a brand new spa that accommodates groups beautifully, connects directly with the outdoor pool and hot tub, and is ideal for an indulgent and pampered day.

The group can work with spa director Carly Oakland to set up their treatments.

“We can help you arrange really whatever you’re thinking. We do body treatments, we have massages, facials; we also have a manicure and pedicure station. We can do hair too, so we definitely have a lot of options,” says Oakland. “If everybody want to do the same treatments, we can do that, or if everyone wants different ones, we can do that as well.”

For groups who also want to incorporate a yoga or spin class, for instance, Oakland and her team can get it scheduled.

Stay awhile and unwind in the relaxation lounge where you can have platters and refreshments set up, including bites like tea sandwiches, fruits and cheeses, and of course, Champagne.

There is also an outdoor sun lounge area connected to the spa’s relaxation area, providing really nice access to the outside that is just steps from the creek-side pool. For those who book their wedding at the Hotel Talisa, the bride and groom receive 20 percent off spa treatments, and wedding guests receive 10 percent off.

photo-stand up paddle boardingWater Adventures with Stand Up Paddle Colorado

Whether your pre-wedding party is looking for a dose of whitewater adventure or a more chill day on the lake, Stand Up Paddle Colorado has everything from rentals and guided trips down the Colorado River, to SUP yoga and SUP polo out at Nottingham Lake in Avon.

From their Rancho Del Rio headquarters on the Colorado River, located about 45 minutes from Vail, SUPCO has different crafts to pick from: stand up paddleboards, SUPsquatch (the giant family SUP) and rafting, so there really is something for the thrill seeker and the tame
of heart.

Out at Nottingham Lake in Avon, SUPCO can put up a SUP Polo field and kit if parties want to coordinate a game. Bachelors versus bachelorettes, anyone? Co-owner Javier Placer says other fun lake activities include group events like relay races. The town of Avon also rents out full pavilions to use for group picnics and gatherings.

Want a little of everything? Hit the lake and the river in the same day.

“We have a lot of flexibility to work with people and create what they want,” says Placer. “If you have an idea or you have specific needs, we are willing to work with you and try it. The sky’s the limit on these experiences.”

photo - Alpine Arts Center

Alpine Arts Center classes

Get Creative at Alpine Arts Center

Alpine Arts Center in Edwards offers bachelor and bachelorette party options inclusive of a fun art activity, wine and beer to create a festive atmosphere, and instructors to guide the group through the event to have a successful experience.

Projects range from Cocktails & Canvas and Cocktails & Clay, to Paint Pottery wedding dish sets, nude model drawing sessions, group mural paintings for the soon to be couple’s new home, glass etching, a group handmade quilt and more.

Pricing varies based on the project so there is something to fit every group’s interests, and Alpine Arts Center can be rented out for the party or can travel to an off-site location.

“Alpine Arts Center is a great choice for a bachelor or bachelorette party because of it’s a fun atmosphere and limitless choices for creative group projects,” says owner Lauren Merrill. “We’ve hosted everything from tasteful nude model art sessions to batik quilting classes and paint pottery beer stein decorating, and had a blast every time. The experience is memorable and everyone comes away with a keepsake piece of art or a group gift to give the bride or groom.”

ME Moment: Comfort meets couture with chic brand Moxy Evolution

photo - Missy Erickson, Moxy

Dominque Taylor Photography
Missy Erickson, owner and designer of Moxy Evolution fashion, looks over new fabric samples as she works on her next season’s designs at her home in Avon.

By definition, the word moxy means “a force of character, determination, or nerve.” And, it is precisely this attitude that is felt when you shop the new, off-duty-meets-badass fashion brand, Moxy Evolution. Texas-native, Vail-transplant and owner and founder Missy Erickson created Moxy Evolution with the notion that women can do anything, and look fabulously chic while doing it.

photo - Me time, moxy apparrel

Dominique Taylor Photography

“Moxy Evolution is something bigger than making a buck and selling a tracksuit. It is a brand with purpose for women ages 30 to 55 who are athletic, healthy, smart, doing their own thing, and doing it all. Moxy Evolution is about being fit on the inside and out,” says Erickson.

The female-empowered brand began when Erickson was emerging from her time as a stay-at-home mom, and wanted to show her daughter that she too can do anything, at any age.

“I wanted my daughter to know that women don’t have an expiration date,” Erickson says.

Erickson’s career path took her from design school in Dallas to the luxury hotel market here in the Vail Valley, when she decided to leave the traditional work force and spend time with her daughter. It was when her daughter got her driver’s license that Erickson knew she was ready for a change. Not a change that meant going back into the hospitality industry, but one that was an evolution and had meaning.

Moxy Evolution’s designs are the epitome of comfort meets couture. The look of the brand centers around luxurious ease, focusing on a collection of joggers, sweat suits and tracksuits that carry an air of confidence and sophistication, both of which capture the attention of fashion-conscious women with healthy and active lifestyles.

“I design for me. I am a business woman who loves fashion,” says Erickson. “I love sweats, but I wanted to bump it up to something beautiful and pair them with stilettos.”

Moxy Evolution is spot on for summer trends as the brand introduces a collection of breezy, drapey pieces for the season.

“I am taking the tracksuit to another level — lightweight, washable cashmere, a short harem-cropped jogger and matching cropped hoodies,” says Erickson. “The look and feel for summer is soft palettes and plush fabrics.”

Moxy Evolution’s “Dream big, finish strong” philosophy sparked a #MeTee trend. Erickson’s loyal customers can’t get enough of the brand’s ME Tee, which is pro-women (not anti-man — the brand has a ME Tee for men too) and inspires the notion of “I am enough.” 

With every ME Tee purchase, Moxy Evolution donates 50 percent of the proceeds to Dallas-based Adaptive Training Foundation, an organization close to Erickson’s heart which helps those with physical disabilities to transform their lives through exercise and community. In addition to partnering with the Adaptive Training Foundation, Moxy Evolution also supports SafeHouse Denver with donations of new clothes.

Moxy Evolution is currently sold in boutiques throughout Denver including Pinkberry Lane Boutique, on the brand’s website at www.moxyevolution.com, and it will be in stores nationwide coming soon.

Betty Ford Gardens in Vail: Community center and host to educational programs for adults and children

photo - Betty Ford Gardens

Dominique Taylor Photography
Visitors can bring a picnic lunch and are encouraged to bring plenty of water — especially if visiting during summer afternoons.

Just steps from Vail Village, one of the world’s highest botanical gardens awaits exploration. The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, which are open dawn till dusk year-round, are host to the Education Center, with hours that change seasonally, as well as a myriad of programs for both adults and children. Together with a team of employees, the Board of Trustees, and with the assistance of volunteers, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is gearing up for another colorful season of learning.

The Vail Alpine Garden Foundation, organized in 1985 and renamed in 1988 as the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, began as a collaborative work between landscape designer Marty Jones and gardener Helen Fritch. It focuses on promoting the understanding and conservation of alpine plants and mountain environments. Through the decades, the gardens have maintained that collaborative spirit, bringing together artists, horticulturists, chefs, garden enthusiasts, yoga instructors and visitors of all ages as they contribute to the garden’s own culture and ecosystem.

photo - Betty Ford Gardens; kids playing

Insider Tip
While the Crevice Garden is the first garden to bloom in May or June, the Perennial Garden, which is at its peak July through August, is probably the most vibrant.

During peak hours in the summer months, the paved and cobblestone trails — the majority which are ADA-accessible with ramps — are teeming with enthusiastic visitors. Lorrie Panfil, the operations manager at Betty Ford Alpine Gardens, is thrilled about the summer’s outlook. “We are excited to host our own exhibit this year, ‘H20 = Life,’ in addition to displaying both traveling and permanent exhibits. We also have many children’s and family drop-in activities — everything from treasure hunts in the gardens to our popular Yoga in the Gardens programs.”

It’s a busy place, with something for everyone who harbors curiosity about the alpine environment around us. Comprised of six garden areas — each with multiple distinct garden beds — the Schoolhouse Gift Shop, the Education Center, the Picnic Pavilion, and with trails that connect the area, the Betty Ford Alpine Gardens continually grows and expands its educational and conservational reach.

Last year, for example, the addition of the Pollinator Garden highlighted the vital role pollinators play in the health of alpine environments — and the health of nearly all global ecosystems. This year, as a result of being awarded a Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust Grant, the gardens will again grow, with the installation of the new Silk Road Garden, highlighting plants from alpine areas throughout Asia.

New signage along the Back to Nature Trail, one of the many ways the Town of Vail has shown its support of the gardens, allows visitors an insider’s look at the riparian environment along the Gore Creek. River and water health are further highlighted in the Education Center’s “H20 = Life: Wet, Wild, and Wonderful Waterways” exhibit (July-December).

While admission to the gardens is free, thanks to the loyal support of members and donors, as well as the Town of Vail and other sponsors, most of the numerous gardening and photography workshops such as Yoga in the Gardens and Chefs in the Gardens do charge a fee. More information is available at www.bettyfordalpinegardens.org.