There aren’t too many places that I haven’t been within the 50 (or 51) United States of America. As an adapter to airlines & road trips early in age, I’ve been able to travel nationally & internationally. So when the opportunity to visit Denver & Keystone, Colorado arrived – I was ecstatic to experience some place new. Typically, I always thought of Colorado as snow covered and cold — all year long! As a first time visitor, I decided not to research the cities or create expectations based on others opinions, simply because I wanted my experience to be purely based on what I encountered during my trip. Boy was I wrong…
Upon my arrival to Denver, I noticed something in the air. It was crisper, cleaner and I couldn’t get enough of it. (What was this euphoric feeling of cleanliness, I inhailed?) Then I became lightheaded. No one told me about the harsh altitude change… (I mean, yeah, I joked with my Nana about possibly suffocating while outside – but I didn’t think that was real O_o) For the record, the higher you travel into the mountains of Colorado, the drier the air becomes; making it very easy to dehydrate every facet off your life. My skin, throat, eyes & hair fell victim to the dry Colorado air causing me to over-hydrate myself as best as possible. My skin immediately went into thirst mode, causing it to become dry & itchy. My throat begged for water every waking second & my poor hair (I didn’t pack conditioner) – it never stood a chance. Luckily, the beauty that is Keystone Mountain made it all worthwhile. After a 2-hour commute to Vail’s Keystone Resort, I was greeted by the friendliest & most accommodating staff imaginable. The stunning views of opulent mountains, serene creeks & forests for as far as the eye could see was just the welcoming I expected, that is until I learned that it was just the beginning. Little did I know, the official ‘Welcome To Keystone: A Taste Of Vail’ reception would take place at Alpenglow Stube, the AAA Four-Diamond restaurant atop of Keystone’s 11,444 foot mountain that evening. Requiring two separate gondola (ski lift) rides up the mountain, the 20-minute ride filled with breath-taking views gave me a sense of admiration of nature & (synonym for fear of heights) at the same ____ time.
After reaching the altitude peak of 11,444 (hello, if I was on a plane – I’d be able to use GoGo in flight internet by then.) my reward was the decadent aroma of desserts, hearty entrees and h’or duervers from the best of Keystone resort’s restaurants. Executive chefs from all over prepared tenderloin, boar and salmon dishes, in addition to unique chocolate themed “hamburger” cupcakes, “tacos” and more. The evening concluded with live music and enjoying spectacular views with friends new and old.
As Keystone Resort is well known for its winter wonderland activities, visiting during the summer prohibits skiing and snowboarding, but it didn’t limit the fun. During the day, many tourists enjoyed bike rides, hiking, canoeing, golfing and other outdoor activities throughout the resort, but moi? I headed straight for the rest & relaxation. As the official pool-dwelling-black-girls-guide-to-tanning-lazy-vacationer that I am, I was on a complete mission to find serenity now. (Insert Seinfield episode flashback here.) Concierge informed me of the absolute best place in Keystone to find breath-taking views of the mountains, while soaking in heated Jacuzzis guaranteed to melt my stresses away.
Later that evening I ventured to Keystone Stables to encounter “How The West Was Fun” as a guest of Expedia.com. This western-themed party, filled with cowboys & cowgirls had over fifty horses, ponies & offered guided horseback tours through the Araphahoe National Forest. Guests enjoyed line dance lessons, mechanical bull rides, games and of course, all the Bar-B-Que you could devour.
Before arriving to Keystone, I would’ve never imagined that this all-inclusive ski resort would boast average summer temperatures in the 70’s and an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. Although the change in altitude was quite apparent & I nearly traveled with a water bottle at all times (to keep hydrated), the experience of Keystone Resort opened my eyes, and made this city Diva fall in love with Colorado for the very first time. (Video coming soon…)
For more information or to plan your next getaway to Colorado, visit VailResorts.com.