Explore outdoor activities, music, culture, dining and more in Edwards
Special to the Daily
Upcoming events in Edwards
Escape the hustle and bustle of Vail, and experience Edwards’ small-town charm.
• The Bookworm of Edwards — On Saturday, July 23, from 10 to 11 a.m., join The Bookworm of Edwards for Superhero Day, a free event where children can dress up as their favorite superheroes and enjoy superhero story time, crafts and games (www.bookwormofedwards.com, 970-926-7323).
• Corner Farmers Market — Residents and visitors value Edwards’ mom and pop atmosphere and every Saturday, when the Corner Farmers Market brings the community together. Open now through Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the farmers market features live music with remote broadcasts from local country station KSKE Ski Country Radio, cooking demos and, of course, fresh, organically grown seasonal fruits and vegetables from Colorado farms (edwardscornerfarmersmarket.com).
• Eat + Drink — Bottomless mimosas are just what the doctor ordered when it comes to Sunday mornings at Eat + Drink. For $15 per person, patrons can soak up the summer sunshine on the Eat + Drink patio while drinking blood orange mimosas and snacking on fresh cheeses (eatdrinkedwards.com, 970-926-1393).
• Bravo! Vail — The Bravo! Vail season offers free, hour-long chamber music concerts throughout the Vail Valley. On Tuesday, July 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Edwards Interfaith Chapel, listen to the smooth and spontaneous sounds of the Aeolus String Quartet.
EDWARDS — Summers in the Vail Valley are filled with bright-green backdrops, powder-blue skies and an abundance of outdoor activities, festivals and music. While your things-to-do-near-Vail search pops up with activities and events primarily in Vail, Minturn or Avon, it’s the often forgotten Edwards that is the locals’ hidden gem for summer amusement.
With a population of just more than 10,000, Edwards has a small-town community spirit, which offers many noteworthy music, art, dining and recreational options that only require one thing: good old fashioned summertime fun.
Just about anywhere you go in Edwards, you will find numerous outdoor endeavors for all interests and fitness levels. The town boasts rafting, fishing, hiking and golf, all with unspoiled wildlife viewing.
Edwards is a gateway to some of the best river rides in Eagle County. The Class III/Class III+ Edwards Mile is an upsurge river journey that takes you from Riverbend to Edwards on the Eagle River for about a mile, and Lakota Guides is your premier escort to experience it (www.lakotaguides.com, 970-445-1533). The guide company offers rafting trips for all skill levels and can help you decide which one is the best fit for you and your fellow rafters.
The Upper Colorado Family Adventure (two-hours, $75 for adults, $64 for kids) is perfect for the entire family, due to the gentle whitewater and swimming opportunities. Lakota Guides also offers the only Night Vision Rafting Trip in the state (three-hours, $115 for adults, $95 for kids), which incorporates a twilight float down the Colorado River (Class II). If you listen closely, you will hear the sounds of beaver tails slapping the surface of the water as you watch the stars emerge and learn about the constellations.
You can also go for a half- or full-day wade trip and let the fishing experts at Vail Valley Anglers be your guide (www.vailvalleyanglers.com, 877-926-0900). The fishing outfit gives you access to the picturesque Eagle and Colorado rivers, as well as several small mountain streams minutes from the Edwards fly shop.
Don’t know how to fish? No problem — Vail Valley Anglers’ experts provide personalized instruction, everything from refining casting techniques to mastering the basics of fly-fishing. Before fishing, don’t forget to obtain a Colorado fishing license ($9 for a day) and Vail Valley Anglers requires you to buy flies for your wade trip (both can be purchased at the fly shop).
When you want to escape the center of town and take in the alpine community’s serene landscape, check out the East Lake Creek Trail, which is a 12.5-mile hike that climbs to nearly 12,000 feet (www.fs.fed.us). Geared toward both the slow-and-steady and the enthusiast, East Lake Creek Trail presents picturesque lush aspen forest with abundant wildflowers and beaver ponds. At 6.5 miles, you will see the ruins of an old mining operation from the 1930s, but don’t meander off the trail. This is an open mine and is only for observing. East Lake Creek Trail is accessible until October, and both dogs and horses are welcome.
Golfing in the Colorado Rockies is both majestic and challenging. Edwards offers pristine courses at the Sonnenalp Club and The Club at Cordillera Short Course, both of which are open to the public and possess velvet green fairways and an elevation to get your heart rate going.
Open through Sept. 30, the Sonnenalp Club is a sun-drenched course designed by renowned golf architects Jay Morrish and Bob Cupp. The Sonnenalp Club offers a public tee time after 1:30 p.m. for a fee of $130 (half rates are available for junior golfers younger than 18). The Club at Cordillera Short Course is open to the public now through Oct. 8 and is a nine-hole short course designed by legendary golf coach and author Dave Pelz and managed by Troon Prive, the largest third-party manager of golf and club operations in the world.
Music and culture
Edwards residents value the community for both its music and arts scenes, and the sound of the rushing Eagle River in the background solidifies the town’s cool factor.
Known for its signature sauteed Chilean mussels and helping locals kick off the weekend, Main St. Grill is your hot spot for Friday night music and flavorful grub (www.mainstreet grilledwards.com, 970-926-2729). Coming up on July 1, the restaurant’s live music lineup features The Burnsville Band, a blues and rock band from San Diego.
Vail Jazz and KZYR bring neighborly fun to Edwards with Riverwalk First Fridays at The Backyard (www.riverwalkfirstfridays.com). Featuring live music from Colorado’s premier jazz artists, Riverwalk First Fridays combines music with food and beverages from Edwards purveyors Tacorico, Local Joe’s Pizza, Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. and Riverwalk Wine & Spirits. The music event runs the first Friday of the month throughout the summer, with upcoming performances from The Burroughs (July 1), Gypsy Swing Revue (Aug. 5) and The Delta Sonics (Sept. 2). Admission is free, and the gates open at 5 p.m., with music starting at 6 p.m.
For those with an artistic flair and a craving for cupcakes, Alpine Arts Center presents two programs, Cupcakes & Canvas and Cupcakes & Clay (970-926-2732). Both classes are $30 per person and designed for any artistic level, both adults and children. During the classes, an instructor guides you with a step-by-step demonstration of the featured acrylic painting or clay project. Finished projects may be taken home; sculptures can be picked up two weeks after class. Class fees include all supplies and, of course, cupcakes. Wine, beer and champagne can be purchased during the class for those ages 21 and older.
Continue with art appreciation at Art on the Rockies, a free event July 8 to 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Colorado Mountain College (www.vailarts fest.com). Coined as “a collector’s dream,” Art on the Rockies features 132 artists from all over the United States, including Hawaii, Miami, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The event showcases all medias — sculptures, painters, contemporary abstracts, traditional Western and an entire fashion section of clothing and accessories from luxury, red-carpet designs to everyday.
While at the art festival, children are invited to participate in the Children’s Art Discovery Program (free; all children must be accompanied by an adult), which features interactive art instruction for diverse attention spans and all ability levels (www.vail artsfest.com).
In partnership with Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District and funded by Alpine Bank, the Children’s Art Discovery Program will feature block printing, stained glass making, silk flower wreath making, mural painting and bubble art. This year, the featured art, presented by Big Hat Ranch, will be an alpaca weaving studio, where children will witness the “sheep to shawl” concept as they meet the farm’s alpaca and see how the weaving process works.
When it comes to looking for great food in the valley, most think Vail has the only haute city-inspired cuisine. Captivating even the most discriminating palates, Edwards’ restaurants feature accomplished chefs and innovative food concepts that impress foodies from all over the world.
An ideal spot to unwind, Crazy Mountain Brewing Co. (www.crazy mountainbrewery.com, 970-926-3009) offers a cervesario’s inside scoop on homegrown beer, with the launch of the brewery’s local stash new reserve series, which features a new beer release every few weeks. In addition, Crazy Mountain offers other nightlife options, including Open Mic Night, every other Wednesday.
On July 13, join the brewery for Open Mic Night and celebrate an American favorite, National French Fries Day, which features a regular pint and hop fries special. On Aug. 20, Crazy Mountain presents Ed Fest, which will showcase 60 different beers for tasting and the cool sounds of Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. For up-to-the-minute information, check out Crazy Mountain’s Facebook page.
The contemporary chic eat drink hosts a Saturday Sipping Series during the Edwards Corner Farmers Market from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The sipping series is a free wine tasting that educates tasters about different wines from all over the world. The wines are also available for purchase at a discount to participants.
When you’re looking for a late-night snack, put on your fiesta swagger and go to Tacorico for late-night Taco Tuesdays. The after-hours Taco Party takes place every Tuesday from 8 to 9 p.m. and features half-off tacos and $2 drafts.
A true locals’ hangout, e|town knows just what you need after a long day of summer fun. The restaurant and bar offers Happy Snacks and Thirst Quenchers from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. daily. Happy Snacks are $2.95 and include the restaurant’s signature wings. Wash them down with a seasonal pint for a buck more.
Weddings and special events
Summertime in the Vail Valley commonly features weddings and outdoor events for families and friends. While the wedding deck on Vail Mountain is a breathtaking location, many visitors and residents are exploring other locations in the area, which offer a similar scenic and intimate setting.
The Backyard recently hosted its first-ever wedding for local Avon couple Nora Jaskiel and Benjamin LaPrade. The Backyard is a value-added wedding event space, and couples can incorporate the Inn & Suites at Riverwalk and Zino Ristorante to help create a memorable experience for bride and groom (970-306-6161).
“We are so fortunate,” said Jaskiel, lead bartender and staff trainer for the Sonnenalp’s Swiss Chalet. “With the sounds of the river running in the background and green trees everywhere, it couldn’t be better.”
If you’re interested in taking advantage of Edwards’ natural splendor, then hosting your next family reunion, wedding or summer soiree is a win-win at Bearcat Stables (www.bearcat stables.com, 970-376-4647). Offering a unique outdoor venue, the historic Bearcat’s Cabin, the outdoor pavilion, three acres of groomed meadow and a musician’s stage with outdoor dance floor will delight you and your guests. Celebrate in the Back Yard at Bearcat’s Cabin with an old-fashioned campfire for s’mores, outdoor bar and space for games. Bearcat Stables is suitable for parties up to 200 guests and available seven days a week through October.
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