She fell in love. Not with a man but the mountains.
Hailing from the flatlands of America, any time I get to spend in the mountains is a welcome change of scenery. Being enclosed by one of mother nature’s majestic formations is some sort of surreal fantasy where real life is put on hold for two seconds, and I can just breathe and think.
As luck would have it, I got to spend the first weekend of my RTW journey in Keystone, Colorado. Keystone, Breckenridge, Dillon, Silverthorne, and Frisco are 5 small towns that make Summit County its own isolated community.
Of course, with that kind of serene isolation comes high prices on everything, even in the off-season. In fact, on my last night in town, I ate at one of the only restaurants open on a Sunday, and ended up paying $18 for a salad and water. What I lose in various expenses though, I make up for in scenery. With mountains stretching on for miles, there isn’t a bad view in sight.
It’s a bit of a ghost town in the off season but an overcrowded nightmare come winter so pick your battle. To get to Summit County, you can either rent a car and drive up on your own or take the Colorado Mountain Express (CMEX) which will drop you off at the door of your hotel. Personally, I’d recommend CMEX because they have free wifi in the van, it encourages you to walk around once you’re in town, and there are free shuttles that will take you where you need to go.
When I checked into the lodge, I was greeted with maps, free chapstick, and fresh chocolate chip cookies. Talk about awesome customer service! Going one step further, the lodge I stayed in was nicer than I anticipated especially for the relatively low price I paid. Although I didn’t care for the musty smell or the fact that there was an echo every time I sneezed, I don’t have anything to complain about.
As for the people of Keystone, well they are some of the most extraordinarily friendly people you will ever meet, and they love telling you about the area. It’s very easy to hold a conversation with them, and you will instantly become new friends.
Although I didn’t get a chance to partake in many recreational activities, due to the fact that I attended a conference all weekend, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from. People are able to select from a menu of hiking, bike riding, skiing, snow boarding, jogging trails, or simply getting work done at a nearby cafe or coffee shop.
Must Do: Visit The Outpost restaurant up in the mountains. It takes two sets of gondola rides to get there, but the view on the way up is so stunning and breathtaking. The Outpost is a very popular place to eat so book early, and don’t forget to wear your little black dress / suit. Not only is it a nice place for a formal dinner with friends, but it also makes for a romantic outing for couples.
When you visit somewhere like Keystone, you have to prepare for high altitude, and that means drinking a lot of water. At ground level, Summit County sits at about 9,000 feet about sea level, and once you hit the mountains, you’ll be facing a soaring 12,000 feet above sea level. The air is thin so plan accordingly, and take it slow to avoid getting dizzy. Expecting to be hit bad by the change in climate, I surprisingly wasn’t phased by it at all. However, should you find yourself short of breath, there are oxygen cans for sale at the local stores for $3.50 and worst case scenario, there are hospitals open 24 hours.
This big city girl can certainly appreciate a getaway in a mountain town every now and again. Mountains are to me as beaches are to others. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good beach, but it gets a bit boring to look at after a while. I’ll never get tired of looking at the mountains though.
After visiting a place like Keystone, it’s hard to go back home where the only scenery is a speed bump in the sidewalk. It’s a good reminder though to appreciate the surrounding nature no matter where I am, and I can rest assured that many beautiful resorts like Keystone are only one plane ride away.