New to the Vail Valley: Excess and lack thereof
Moving to the Vail Valley has been a bit of a culture shock. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no language barrier, the food up here is the same as it is in Denver and we use a 12-hour clock (which is huge for someone as bad at math as I am).
But there’s still things that stand out to me and still blow my mind a bit every day.
Parking is notoriously a huge problem in Denver, but it’s even worse in Fort Collins, where I went to school. Both cities are constantly under construction, and it seems like developers seem to think parking lots are prime real estate for their new office building or retirement home.
Unfortunately, that leaves us without a place to put our cars — I’d often have to park a half-mile from where I was headed and walk the rest of the way. My other option was to pay (what seems like) $375,019,745 to park closer. Hello, poor college kid here.
One of my favorite things about living near Vail is the free parking. The lots at Lionshead Village and Vail Villages are huge, and I’ve never had trouble finding a spot, and never had to pay a cent.
The other great part is that the lots are nice and close — most shops and restaurants are located right along the front edge of the villages, so I don’t need to wear hiking boots to get to where I’m going.
Also, most of it is covered, and I’m assuming that in the winter months, I’m going to really appreciate that.
I have gotten lost in the Vail Village lot before, and I’ve also mistaken the Solaris garage for a free lot (that was a hit to the ol’ bank account), but otherwise, I have to say, the excess of parking around here is fantastic.
There are three area codes to precede phone numbers in Colorado: 303, 720 and 970. 303 and 720 are both used for the Denver area, and although 720 was only just assigned to the area in the late ’90s, I’d guess that at least a quarter of the numbers in my contacts start with those three digits.
For my job, I have to talk to a lot of people. Often times, people shoot me a message, be it email, text or voicemail, asking me to give them a call. It always throws me for a loop because they only leave me a seven-digit phone number.
Never in my life has anyone given me a seven-digit phone number before I came up here. Ultimately, I know what it means; 970 covers the not-Denver parts of Colorado. That’s the area code in Fort Collins, where I lived for four years, I had a direct line in my office that started with 970 — I’m not unfamiliar with the area code.
That being said, I make mistakes. I’ll probably dial 303 as a default, and I’ll either get connected to a stranger or an annoying recording telling me to “hang up or try the number again.”
Not to mention, this is a community full of tourists and second homeowners — it’s a place where people come to, rather than come from. It stands to reason that people in the area could theoretically have a different area code.
Common courtesy suggests that they’d give me an area code if it isn’t the local one, but, to be honest, typing out three extra digits doesn’t take that long, and I promise I’ll be able to reach you without calling someone else first.
If you’ve ever been to Fort Collins, you know that beer is a big deal up there. Yes, it’s a college town, but I’m not talking about Coors and PBR, I’m talking about craft beer.
People make jokes about there being a Starbucks on every corner, but in Fort Collins, breweries take up just as much of the city. Visiting breweries becomes an average outing when there’s so many at your disposal.
When I moved to the valley, I expected something similar. It’s an outdoorsy, dog-loving community with lots of small businesses and lots of people dedicated to their craft. But instead, I was shocked to learn that there are so few breweries in the area — Vail Brewing Co. being the only one upvalley (I like their Hot Mess Blonde, because I identify as a hot mess blonde myself). Better yet, there are only three others down valley: Gore Range Brewery, 7 Hermits Brewing Co. and Bonfire Brewing; the last two being nearly 30 minutes from Vail.
Now, I understand that I was spoiled having so many breweries at my fingertips, and I really am not complaining — I save money by not visiting breweries on a regular basis, but I have to say, I’m a bit shocked. Million-dollar business idea: open a brewery.
Nate Day is the Arts & Entertainment editor at the Vail Daily, and moved to the Vail Valley in early August.