Daycations: Morning views, a matinee and great shopping in Edwards
The center of the valley is buzzing with fun indoor and outdoor activities in the offseason
Editor’s Note: “Daycations” is a series showcasing what our local towns have to offer in the shoulder season. Stay tuned for more Daycations stories throughout the rest of May.
Though many of us in the mountains choose to spend our free time in the great outdoors, the town of Edwards is a reminder of how many wonderful activities are available downtown, offering plenty of all-day fun for daycationers.
I always like to start my day with a bit of exercise in the fresh air and sunshine, and Edwards has just the hike to kick off my daycation. With many activities ahead of me, I wanted a hike that would get my blood pumping enough to wake me up, but not enough to drain me for the rest of the day.
The Berry Creek Loop is just the ticket. The trail runs 2.5 miles long with only 554 feet of elevation gain, and it loops back to the starting point, making it easy to access the beauty and seclusion of the mountains while still having close access to town.
Before hitting the trail, I needed to fuel up. As a born-and-raised New Yorker, breakfast in Edwards is a no-brainer: you will find me at Village Bagel, ordering a New-York style everything bagel toasted with scallion cream cheese, capers and lox. When living in the mountains, it always makes me smile to have a taste of home in the morning.
The Berry Creek Loop trailhead is located just north of the Shaw Cancer Center. Once I’ve digested my morning bagel, I head over to the loop and spend just over an hour breathing in the fresh air and getting my energy up for the rest of the day. Those who prefer mountain biking can do the same trail, or extend the challenge by taking the 7-mile option that starts at the same trailhead.
Another fun outdoor activity — for those with the board and the skills to enjoy it — is the Edwards Skate Park, located right near the Edwards Field House. My current skate skills are far too amateur to truly enjoy all of the features of this park, but I can hope one day to be out on those rails.
Shop ‘til you drop
In my humble opinion, The Riverwalk at Edwards has the best shopping in the valley. Dozens of store fronts, most of which are local brands, are waiting for you to find that perfect spring outfit, or your next great read, or just your next great lunch.
Feeling a bit sweaty from my hike, I first head to the new Yeti’s Grind location in downtown Edwards to get an iced coffee and cool off. I also use this break to read the latest articles in the Vail Daily (shameless plug).
Now cooled and caffeinated, I spend the next few hours doing some much needed spring shopping. I’m on the hunt for summer dresses and shorts, and the options are both plentiful and affordable.
As a book lover, I always make sure to stop in to The Bookworm to see what new titles have arrived. I’m still in the middle of my current read, but browsing the shelves has given me plenty of ideas for summer novels.
Once the hunger starts to set in, as it inevitably will, there are enough dining choices both in Riverwalk and just across the street to satisfy any palette. Those who enjoy an early afternoon drink — why not, it’s vacation? – can find great lunch and alcoholic beverage pairings at Best of Vail winner The Drunken Goat, while enjoying a view of the mountains from the patio.
Following food, drink and a lot of sunshine, I can feel the laziness begin to creep in. All I want to do is stay seated, so I head to a place where I can do just that.
The Riverwalk Theater offers a number of matinee showings every day, and sells matinee tickets at a discounted price. Adult admission to shows before 6 p.m. cost $10 — $2 cheaper than the normal price.
Though I’m not a Marvel obsessive myself, my little sister forced me to watch all of the movies in order during the pandemic. After all of that time committed to this franchise, I now feel obligated to keep up with new movies as they come out each year, so I chose the 3:30 p.m. showing of “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”.
As I am not a true Marvel fan, and my sister says I am generally too critical, I will not share my reviews of the film itself, but I can tell you that coming out of the sun to sit in a cool theater and take in a newly released film with a bag of popcorn is a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
On the way out, grab an ice cream cone to cap off the experience.
Access your inner artist
Having enjoyed taking in the cinematic arts, I was now inspired to tap into my own creative side. Just down the road, I walked into the Alpine Arts Center to participate in their bi-weekly Cocktails and Canvas event at 6:30 p.m.
Each class is led by an instructor who walks the participants step-by-step through the painting process that will allow them to replicate a model painting that sits at the front of the class. In the class that I took, we were painting a colorful bear in a landscape of rolling hills. No prior experience or artistic talent is necessary to partake, and Alpine Arts Center provides all of the paint, canvas and other materials needed to create your masterpiece.
Walking into the art studio, I hung up my jacket and replaced it with a smock. Though I now looked the part of an artist, I promise I did not feel like one as I began timidly adding strokes to the canvas, following my instructor’s every move.
Fortunately, there is also a bar in the studio, and after a glass of wine I felt much more free in my painting motions. Everyone in the class seems to be on similar levels, and a certain camaraderie formed as we all struggled through the challenge of trying to paint fur, or get the right amount of light and shadow on our bears.
Three hours later, I was tired from a full day, but proud to have immersed myself in a new skill set. I will not call my bear a masterpiece, but he exists now, and that’s all that matters.
A full list of the events at Alpine Arts Center can be found at AlpineArtsCenter.org/events. The center also offers drop-in studio hours throughout the day for anyone who wants to experiment on their own, or with the individual support of an instructor.