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Love in the High Country

Laura A. Ball
Special to the Daily/Jack AffleckTake an open air sleigh ride to Beano's Cabin for a romantic dinner for two.
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Dinner and a movie? Guess again. Take advantage of the many romantic settings in and around the Vail Valley in the winter time and be ready to impress you date.Starry nightThere’s a reason so many couples get engaged at the rustic cookhouse high on the hills of Tennessee Pass. With views of Mount Elbert, the highest mountain in Colorado, Mount Massive, Mount of the Holy Cross, Galena Peak, Mount Homesteak and the start of the Collegiate Range from the deck, the scenery is unbeatable. Arrive as early as 3 p.m. at the nordic center and snowshoe or cross-country ski through snowy alpine woods. Make your way to the cookhouse (one mile from the nordic center) and have a glass of wine on the deck while you watch the sunset. Sit around the old pot belly wood burning stove from Camp Hail’s 6th Mountain Division and dine on gourmet fare. They encourage you to take your time – there’s only one seating for dinner – before making your way back to the nordic center under the stars far away from city lights. Make reservations far in advance. For more information, visit http://www.tennesseepass.com or call 719-486-8114.Love is an art

The Vail Valley is home to some of the finest art galleries in the West, and it doesn’t cost a thing to look. Stroll through Vail Village and peak inside Art Novell featuring Eastern European glass art, Claggett/Rey Gallery’s traditional American art or Western art at Gore Creek Gallery. In Beaver Creek Village check out Pismo Gallery’s unique contemporary glass art, museum quality minerals and fossils at By Nature Gallery and Native American art at Indian River Gallery. Afterward grab a coffee or a cocktail and humor your intellect while you recount your favorite gallery pieces.Food that puts you in the moodA romantic dinner can put you in the mood for love – especially when the meal is inspired by edible aphrodisiacs. The silkiness of melted chocolate, the sweet juice and delicate fuzz of a ripe peach, the spicy bite of a hot pepper; all tantalizing to both the taste buds and an erotic imagination. Bananas, asparagus and carrots are considered erotic stimulants as well because of their phallic resemblance. Of course, the meal wouldn’t be complete without chocolate, which engenders a sense of well-being and excitement.Lover’s lane

Nothing is more fun than a little friendly competition. Bowling is perfect for a group date when the pressure of being alone can be inhibiting. The Back Bowl, an upscale bowling alley in Eagle, with cozy furniture, fire place, a bar and a cafe. Order pizza, nachos or a pitcher of beer delivered right to the lane. Just remember to wear socks without holes. For more information, call 328-2695.Hot, hot, hotHave dinner at a quaint restaurant in downtown Steamboat Springs and then dip into the Strawberry Park hot springs for an unforgettable evening. A series of mineral springs spew from the hillside at temperatures gauranteed to leave you feeling hot. Even better, Watsu, or warm water massages are available in a small private pool. The springs are open Sunday through Thursday 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-12 a.m. 365 days a year. For more information, visit http://www.strawberryhotsprings.com.Howl at the moon



Take advantage of light shed by a full moon, a time of culmination, a time for things to reach fullness, a time when emotions run high. Choose your favorite outdoor activity, be it hiking, snowshoeing or skiing Vail Pass.Belle’s and whistlesGrab your skis or snowboards and head to Vail Mountain to explore the gladed terrain together in Blue Sky Basin on a crisp, clear winter morning. As lunchtime nears, make your way to Belle’s Camp, nestled more than two miles into the wilderness in Blue Sky. Bring veggies, steak and a bottle of wine and make use of the outdoor grills as you gaze out toward Mount of the Holy Cross and the Ten Mile Range and enjoy a picnic lunch. To top it off, drop off Lover’s Leap holding hands – at your own risk, of course.Sleigh ride in the snow

The snow is falling and a warm blanket keeps the two of you nice and warm as you take an open-air sleighride from Beaver Creek Village and find yourself ina hand-hewn log cabin in a snowy meadow framed by Grouse Mountain. A warm crackling fire, delicious five-course dinner and live musical entertainment awaits for an unforgettable experience at Beano’s Cabin. For more information, call 949 9090.You can also take a sleigh ride from the great room of the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch through in the quiet serenity of the hills to Zach’s Cabin nestled in a stunning aspen grove. Let the atmosphere and Chef Tim McCaw’s menu, best described as Creative American Cuisine with Pacific flair, romance you and your date. For more information, call 845-6575.A horse-drawn sleigh takes diners from the Lodge and Spa at Cordillera to Timber Hearth Grille, which features a three-story river rock fireplace, cozy furniture and large picture windows overlooking mountain vistas. For more information, call 926-2200.



OvernightPack your bags. Leave the dirty dishes in the sink and the kids with a sitter. Jump in the car and head to the nearest hotel or a quaint bed and breakfast in the next ski town and get away for the night. Check your worries at the door and prepare to be pampered with your honey. Order room service.Visit the spa. Don’t lift a finger.In your own backyard If you think camping is romantic during the summer months, try it in the winter. Pitch the tent in the backyard, pile in heaps of blankets and sleeping bags and don’t forget a thermos of hot cocoa. If you’re still cold, rely on body heat. The good news? You’ll always have a cold side of your pillow.

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14641, or laball@vaildaily.com.Vail, Colorado


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