From The Beginning To Present Day!
By Glenn Arnette, lll
Now, let’s talk mountains. Not the North Carolina beauties, but the real Rockies and my most favorite spot for perfect weather. It is perfect because it offers four fantastic seasons each full blown in every way.
To narrow down my thoughts for this week, I want to take you to one of the most beautiful valleys surrounded by huge mountain peaks known as the Vail Valley. It is the home of Vail, Beaver Creek, Avon, Edwards, Cordillera, and Eagle, Colorado.
It all started when Charlie Vail created a stretch of dirt road to connect a quiet sheep-raising and lettuce growing region with a scenic area located at the eastern edge of the Gore Range. It was originally inhabited by Ute Native-Americans, rugged ranchers and farmers who lived off the land. As years passed and Colorado developed, World War 11 veteran Pete Seibert, along with Earl Eaton, a ski enthusiast who helped build the famous Colorado’s Camp Hale for wartime ski troopers, hiked up from that valley to the top of what is now Vail Mountain. That was the beginning of VAIL, COLORADO. The resort opened for skiing in 1962, and the first lift tickets were sold for $5 each.
Skiing is not the only thing you do in Vail. Over the years since 1962, they have been developing the Summer/Fall business. It is a shopper’s paradise, a wonderful family village with lots of entertainment surrounded by other communities. It is the home of the now famous VAIL DAILY, the daily newspaper, who broke the story about Kobe Bryant, the basketball player. By-the-way while living in Vail I was the Social Editor for the Daily and had many exciting opportunities covering the social scene and events.
Now let me tell you how these “socialites” can party. They still dress with all the trimmings and jewelry. It is like a movie set and stories you read about. Even at a fund raising gala, they think it’s nothing to drop $50,000 to $100,000 in a silent auction or opening bid on a trip. Now a trip would be a private jet flight from Colorado to Paris for lunch in a Palace or Switzerland to ski the sloops of Zermatt with everything included or a private yacht for a week, complete with a Captain to cruise the Mediterranean. Just simple get-a-ways! Oh, don’t forget those 3-5 carat diamonds or necklaces they purchase. Thank goodness, it is all done for charity. But they have the money and the fun of life to do these things. They think nothing of paying in the millions for a simple log cabin or a mansion on the hill. But it is not just a place for the rich. It is a place for the young at heart and can be reasonable if you know how the locals live. One would think that Aspen is the real paradise of the mountains, not so. It does not compare to the beauty and feeling of the
Swiss Alps like Vail. Vail is European and so clever in its layout and design. It is programmed for the resident and the tourists. Every detail is addressed, including busing, parking, crowd control and more.
Summer is the best time for concerts on the grounds, hiking, biking, and swimming in the wonderful mountain streams, horseback riding, relaxing and more. It can take the burdens of the world off your shoulders. Just sitting on top of the mountain, taking in the vista views, will do wonders. Bravo is the Vail Valley Music Festival and it brings the symphony to the hills where you take a blanket or chair for outdoor enjoyment with a nice bottle of wine and cheese. For information about the events contact
Just outside the Vail area and down the hill you will find a little town called Minturn. There you will find the Minturn Country Club. Now it is not a Club, so to speak, it is a restaurant and one of the most famous of the area. It is the place for the best steaks, chicken, vegetables, and more. Of course you select your steak, chicken or vegetables then head to the grills and cook it yourself. It is more fun, as you can have a drink, stand around and cook while meeting fantastic friends. Lots of laughs and cooking lessons from friends, plus good food!
On up the hill from Minturn, about an hour away is the home of Molly Brown, Leadville, Colorado. It is out of the old west and a wonderful part of history. This is worth your trip and you will find museums, tours, and a very historic theatre where all of the great performers played by in the 1890 - 1920. It was a direct route over the mountains. Oh, there is now a two story antique shop where the main guest house was located during the early days. This is down the street from the Oldest Saloon where you can “Belly Up to the Bar”. Both are a must see! Believe me, this is the OLD WEST!
It is time now to head back to reality and the world of Beaver Creek, Colorado, where you will find everything upscale and absolutely the most exciting skiing around. The village is classy with exquisite shops packed with great values and The Vilar Theatre has the best in entertainment. They have many famous name performers and productions and every seat in the house is a great seat. The restaurants are excellent and all of them have a specialty for you to try. Sitting outside during the Winter or Summer with a glass of warm cider is a mountain treat. You will meet friends from all over the world. This is a very European styled resort.
Up above and overlooking Edwards, a nice community where many or most of the locals can afford, you will find Cordillera. They have the most famous spa in the area and the view from the mountain is spectacular. At one time this was the retreat and home of Frank Gifford and Kathy Lee. (This is also where the Kobe Bryant “whatever” took place!)
Now, here are some of the hot spots. The landmark of Vail is Pepi’s Restaurant and Antler’s Room creating Continental and American cuisine since 1964, two years after the first lift ticket was sold. Then in Beaver Creek you have the exciting Beano’s Cabin, classic Colorado cuisine. In the Winter a sleigh ride takes you there for a five-course meal. This is one of those nights to remember. You wrap up in a nice warm blanket with that someone special and ride through the glittering trees sparkling in the moonlight like crystal snowflakes. The heavens are packed with an abundance of stars and the sound of silence places you in the midst of God’s country. My goodness, that would even make the Burger King food taste good!
I could go on for hours, but my space is running out. Vail and the Vail Valley offer you everything you can imagine and places you in a world of make believe. If you think Disney has all the charm, you have missed the real thing…..COLORADO!
To get there you can fly directly into the Eagle-Vail Airport or take a flight to Denver and rent a car and drive those beautiful mountains. When you drive you can stop in Georgetown, Colorado. One day I will tell you about that perfect Christmas Village. Even John Denver loved it enough to do a movie there.
If I have interested you at all, go to the web site www.thinkvail.com. You can find all the rest!
A special thanks to Sean Ricketts (Sardis, New York) for the nice compliments regarding the New York story about five or six weeks ago. Remember you can contact me with your thoughts or ideas at VGArnette3@aol.com. Until next time!