Well, it's September 7th and I finally reached the end of my travel posts for my May 2016 road trip to Las Vegas. Today is the last post of this series, for after this day we headed home.
On this final day of vacation, we went to Vail, Colorado. I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive about going to Vail. I'm not one who feels comfortable in affluent environments and I was nervous other people would be snobbish and unfriendly. Boy, was I wrong! Vail was not only a gorgeous town, but one of the friendliest I had ever been to. I ended up having one of the happiest days of my life in this sweet mountain town.
Vail offers free parking during the non-ski season. There was plenty of parking at the Visitor's Center. We stopped in the Visitor Center briefly to get a map and get the tips from the Visitor's Center Guide. When we stepped out of the Visitor Center, this was our view:
Even though it was the last week of May, we enjoyed a second spring because all the crab apple trees and spring flowers were in bloom! All of our spring trees and spring bulbs in Wisconsin were done blooming when we left for vacation, so it was fun to see them all in bloom again in Vail!
This is the view of the Visitor's Center looking up from the street.
A lovely river meanders throughout Vail and there are so many cute bridges like this covered bridge, in town.
This tranquil spot was located just outside a store entrance.
Of course Vail is known for it's skiing, but during the off season it's still a fun place to go to and enjoy the shops and restaurants. Now your probably wondering about the prices. I was actually pleasantly surprised at how many affordable shops and restaurants there were in Vail. We even found a lot of great deals because the stores had great clearance sales of their winter merchandise.
But don't get me wrong, there were expensive shops too where you could buy a real fur coat and pricey designer ski clothes.
Almost every restaurant we passed offered outdoor dining.
Vail was filled with fountains but a lot of them still were not operating because the weather was still below freezing at night.
In the picture below I am looking at a map trying to figure out where I am. The streets are very winding, just like in Europe.
The entire town of Vail is designed to look like a town in the Swiss Alps. Did you know the town wasn't even established until 1966 when the Vail Ski Resort opened?
I was so nervous we wouldn't be able to even afford to eat a meal in Vail, but I couldn't have been more wrong. When a wonderful aroma greeted us as we walked up these steps, we decided to check out the menu. We were pleasantly surprised at the prices, and enjoyed a delicious Italian lunch on this patio.
After our bellies were full, we hit the pavement again and found the ski lift area.
Here is another pretty bridge in town.
I'm not sure, but I believe this might be an ice rink during the winter months. When we were there, it had artificial turf on it. It's a nice spot for the kids to play and work out some excess energy.
One of my favorite parts about Vail was that no cars are allowed in the town's shopping district. I feel I can enjoy strolling streets so much better when I'm not listening to or dealing with traffic. Plus taking great pictures is so much easier because you don't have cars blocking the view.
To help people get about Vail, the town offers the largest free shuttle service in the United States (I told you it was a friendly place!). The buses transport you between Golden Peak, Vail Village, the business district, and Lionshead.
Lionshead is another beautiful shopping district modeled after European ski towns. In the picture below I am walking under a beautiful archway of the Annabelle hotel. Just look at those chandeliers!
I literally thought I was back in Italy again walking these gorgeous brick streets!
Just look at the color of these buildings...you can definitely see the European influence.
After we finished touring the shopping districts of Vail Village and Lionshead, we headed toward the Alpine Gardens. It was a lovely river walk all the way there.
I've already posted some pictures of these beautiful gardens in a fashion post HERE, plus I will be posting more in a future Sunday garden post. But for now, here is one picture of a water feature in these lovely gardens.
We really were pleasantly surprised at how much we enjoyed our time in Vail. We found all the service people to be very friendly and helpful and the other tourists were also very nice. Yes, I saw a few extremely wealthy people walking their pet pedigree toy dogs and wearing furs, but most people were dressed in athlete leisurewear (but I'm sure it was the designer high end type) or casual clothes. My husband and I visit a lot of towns when we travel and we have fought issues that made us not want to go back to those towns because they were not "tourist friendly". Vail is the most tourist friendly town I have ever been to. They provide maps, rest rooms, parking, a shuttle service, and they have shops and restaurants that are suitable for all budgets. I couldn't recommend stopping and visiting this sweet mountain town enough. It should be noted however that I was there during the off-season so I have no idea what the place is like when the snow comes.
And that concludes my travel series of our road trip to Las Vegas. Next week I will begin a new series about our family camping trip we took in July to see a lot of cool waterfalls in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.
Have a Great Day! Amy
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