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Top 5 Happy Hour Spots in Breck

Blue River Bistro

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

With so many options in Breckenridge, settling on a place to go for Happy Hour may just be the toughest decision of your day. Lucky for you we have tried them all and while this isn’t by any means a complete list, it is a collection of some of the best.

Blue River Bistro: Ask any Breckenridge local where to go for Happy Hour and there is no doubt that the Blue River Bistro will come up at some point during the conversation. Known for their martinis, classy ambiance and live music, the Bistro has set itself apart by offering not one, but two Happy Hours every day of the week. From 3-6 p.m. and again from 9- midnight, the Bistro offers 2-for-1 martinis and 2-for-1 selected appetizers. Whether you have a hankering for a classic dirty martini or you want to branch out and try some of their specialty martinis like the Key Lime Pie or the always-popular Espresso, there is plenty of variety to suit everyone’s individual tastes. Even if you’re not in the mood for a martini, draft beers are only $2 during Happy Hour and appetizers like the Kobe Beef Sliders, Baked Brie and Toasted Jalapeno Raviolis will keep your mouth watering. Check out the Bistro at 305 North Main St.

Mi Casa Mexican Cantina: During the winter months, Mi Casa is the ultimate Happy Hour destination given its close proximity to the base of Peak 9. From the classic margarita on the rocks to the lusciously blended mango margarita, there are plenty of ways to get your tequila fix at this well-established watering hole. I remember upon first moving to Breckenridge a friend brought me to Mi Casa and I became a fan for life after realizing they provided free chips and salsa during their 3-6 p.m. Happy Hour. As if that wasn’t incentive enough, right at 5 o’clock a pan of free nachos appears like magic and it’s usually a race to be the first one to dig in. Mi Casa is located right behind Mountain Wave near the corner of Park Avenue and Main Street.

Twist: Of all the restaurants on this list, Twist is definitely the baby, but don’t let that fool you because they handle Happy Hour like pros.

Twist Breck

Located off Ridge Street with an amazing outdoor patio, Twist is the perfect place to unwind with friends after a long day at the office. Twist focuses on local and seasonal ingredients so the Happy Hour food menu is always changing, but the pork shoulder tacos for just $2 each have been a staple since Twist opened, given locals have been known to order them by the dozen.  Twist is also home to one of my favorite cocktails in town, the Green Tea Martini. If you feel like branching out of your comfort zone try the bartender’s creative cocktail of the evening, always different, always refreshing and always just $5.

South Ridge Seafood: Sometimes you visit a bar for the deals and sometimes you visit for the character. Both can be said about South Ridge Seafood Grill because the food and drink are awesome and they have some of the friendliest bartenders around. Happy Hour from 4-6 p.m. is a great time to hit up South Ridge with $1 oysters and great deals on other food items like the peel and eat shrimp and trout dip. Cheap draft beers are the main draw for the local crowd and given South Ridge is tucked away on Ridge Street the atmosphere feels a bit more relaxed even though the place has been known to get hopping as the hours creep closer to dinner. Do yourself a favor and head to South Ridge early when the crowds are minimal and you can pick the bartender’s brain for other Breck recommendations. Thanks to a quick chat with Daryll a few years back I found my favorite hiking trail of all time.

Cecilia’s : I know what you’re thinking. Cecilia’s for Happy Hour? Isn’t that the place with the pole on the dance floor? Yes and yes. While Cecilia’s has definitely made a name for itself as one the best late-night joints in town they have been doing somewhat of an image overhaul and are enticing a different kind of crowd for their Happy Hour these days by offering a bottle of wine with a fruit and cheese plate for only $20. Cecilia’s may have gotten somewhat of a bad rap over the years given it’s a more of a dance club than anything else but they do have a killer martini selection and during Happy Hour they are 2-for-1. Stroll in to Cecilia’s in the late afternoon and you will be pleasantly surprised by the laid-back atmosphere and wide drink selection. Also, if you feel like a glass of scotch and a stogie this is definitely your place as Cecilia’s boasts one of the biggest humidors you will find in Summit County. Find them in La Cima Mall right next to Lucha Cantina.

Guided wildflower hikes in Breckenridge

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

Did you know that the seeds of the Indian Paintbrush wildflower are so small that you can plant a whole acre with only a few handfuls? Or that the white and lavender Columbine was adopted as the official state flower of Colorado on April 4, 1899 and that it’s illegal to pick them?

Whether you are a wildflower enthusiast or not, it’s hard not to find beauty in the

A few local varieties

splash of color found alongside mountain streams and paths this time of year in Breckenridge. Given this window of spectacular viewing only comes around for a short time during the summer months do yourself a favor and make it a point to check out one of the guided wildflower hikes offered through the Breckenridge Resort.

Locals and visitors alike can take advantage of several guided hike options that depart from the base of Peak 8 at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on a daily basis throughout the summer season with weather permitting, of course.

Each hike includes wildflower identification, information on certain medical remedies for some varieties, a background on Breck’s local history and what you need to know to be an expert “Leave No Trace” hiker.

Maybe you have cruised down Horseshoe Bowl on a powder day but when all that snow melts it leaves the soil in perfect condition for summer wildflowers and one guided hike option included riding the Colorado Chair up the mountain for a stroll through the lush and colorful basin.

Columbine can be found everywhere this time of year

Having a hard time getting the kids to want to go on a hike? What if the end reward was zooming down Breck’s famous Alpine Slide? Ride the chairlift to the top of the mountain and once you finish exploring and discovering local flora your group will end up at the top of the Alpine Slide and you can give your legs a break riding the slide all the way to the bottom of the mountain.

The guided hikes run through Breckenridge Resort are described as moderate, running up to three hours in duration and the ones that utilize the chairlift are not recommended for children under the age of five.  Even if you are an expert hiker each guided session includes water, a granola bar, use of a daypack and hiking poles and they will even hook you up with a rain poncho if it starts to sprinkle and you forgot to bring one.

Remember to bring some sturdy hiking shoes, a good attitude and a camera because you will be channeling your inner Ansel Adams in no time once you look around and realize everywhere you turn is another unparalleled scenic view.

Reservations are recommended but not required so visit their website or call 970-453-3256 with any questions.

Playing catch up

It’s been a while since I used this as a forum for self-expression and I feel compelled to start out by quoting a man who was clearly ahead of his time, Mr. Ferris Bueller.

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

It’s true. We live in a world where it’s all about getting ahead, moving forward and never settling. It’s easy to loose sight of the present and to remember to take the time to commend yourself on where you have come and what brought you to this moment.

It’s been an incredible year of growth both personally and professionally, and even though I am now an editor for a different blog I have been completely neglecting my own.

As a writer you learn to mold your voice for different audiences, but I think to be a true writer you have to learn to revisit your own voice from time to time. It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since I moved to Summit County as a fresh-faced college grad and, while I am still light years away from having it all figured out, I have arrived at a place of balance on the brink of my 27th year on this planet.

While this site will now feature most of my work for The Breck Connection I’m hoping I still remember the importance of documenting my own voice every once in a while.

Feels good to be back on here.

Taking in an evening view with Makazi, our new trusty canine companion
Photo credit: Shaun Smith

Breck Biz Spotlight: b boutique

When you begin talking to b boutique owner Cathy Cleary about her new shop on Main Street in Breckenridge you quickly realize this was a business born out of necessity.

“When I moved to Summit County I noticed there were hardly any places to buy high-quality makeup, hair or skin products,” Cleary said. “The brands that I used when I was working with salons weren’t accessible to people living in the mountains and it usually meant driving to Denver and spending more money.”

Now ladies need to look no further, tucked away at 301 N. Main Street behind The Fall Line, b boutique sits in a completely renovated ski tuning shop. Lines of skis and snowboards have now been replaced with handcrafted tables stocked with hair care brands like Pureology and Aquage, makeup lines from Stila and highly sought after skincare products from Ole Henriksen.

Starting on November 11th through the weekend b boutique will be celebrating their Grand Opening complete with giveaways, goodie bags and a jewelery trunk show.

“I feel like it’s great to finally have a place outside of the salon setting where people can shop and have someone there to educate them on which product will best suit their needs,” Cleary said. “Plus, there have to be plenty of testers. That’s what makes it fun!”

Originally hailing from Chicago, Cleary attended the Aveda Institute for Cosmetology and later joined Trio Salon in Chicago’s Gold Coast. After migrating westward for a  job in Vail, she realized she had her own ideas for a business model and launched Weemala Wedding Hair and Makeup, a mobile venture with fellow local Kelly Richardson. With business growing, the logical next step for Cleary was to set up a more permanent location for wedding consultations and an onsite boutique was something she had always envisioned.

Catering to locals and visitors alike, b botique carries a host of products perfectly suited for life in the Rocky Mountains. Skin feel dry and scratchy from too many cold days on the ski slopes? Try the Pine Tar Soap Bar from Made In Breck, a locally made, all-natural alternative to soaps that further dry out the skin. Lips feel chapped? Slather on a sample of the Sara Happ lip scrub followed by the shimmery gloss and you’ll quickly realize it’s impossible to walk out without buying at least one of the many lip-smackin’ flavors. Or, maybe you forgot your sunscreen on your way to the gondola just a few steps down the road. To keep your skin protected you can pick up a tube of Zinka, the original zinc oxide waterproof sunblock in a variety of retro neon colors that will remind you of the good ‘ol days on the mountain.

Custom jewelry and pottery creations from local resident Regina Signa and her company ArTraveLove are artfully displayed throughout b boutique as well as colorful wrap bracelets and assorted jewlery from BB Dharma. Those interested in checking out more of the jewelry offered at b boutique should make it a point to stop by the shop on Sunday the 13th for jewelry trunk show with BB Dharma’s creator Mary Beth Brush.

Whether you are a full-0n beauty diva or just looking to battle split ends, b boutique is a clear choice for those in the High Country looking to treat themselves. So do yourself a favor and stop by this weekend to check out the Grand Opening, free samples guaranteed.

Goodbye mud season, get ready for live Summit Sunrise!

If you happen to be one of those people who dream about the snow report then you should get ready to start setting your alarm to wake up with TV8 Summit for the rest of the winter.

Like most people in the county the station took a little breather during the off season but starting back on November 12th the Summit Sunrise morning show will be live six days a week with weather and snow reports, interviews, dining reviews and, most importantly, the daily Watch and Win.

What’s that you say? No access to cable TV? Well dry your eyes because Summit Sunrise is now streaming live on their website during the show so you don’t have to worry about missing any of Jeffrey Bergeron’s classic one-liners about the snow conditions.

Also make sure you check out the daily weather reports on TV8 Summit’s YouTube page. While you’re there you can click through past Summit Sunrise interviews or take a look at clips from local businesses.

So this winter, do yourself a favor and wake up with TV8 Summit for everything you need to know to start the day off right.

TV8summit’s Channel – YouTube.

Doing some Haus work…

I was supposed to have jury duty yesterday. I had been dreading it all week and was cringing at the idea of having to wake up early and sit in the stale air of a courtroom all day. Much to my surprise, when I arrived at the Justice Center promptly at 8a.m. the parking lot was completely empty and the security guard at the door wasted no time in making me feel like an idiot.

“Didn’t you think to call like the notice told you,” he asked with a knowing smirk.

First off, I don’t appreciate a knowing smirk from anyone before 10 a.m., and once I took a second look at the jury summons I immediately felt like an idiot considering I had ignored half of the important instructions.

With the whole day suddenly free I was able to join a few of my guy friends on a mid-day rock climbing mission at Haus Rock located between Keystone and Montezuma. The 20 minute hike in is pretty steep and can be hard to follow, but just make sure you keep an eye out for carins making the trail.

Our buddy Mike, the real climber out of all of us

As we approached the rock from the south I was feeling a little daunted. I’ve only rock climbed a handful of times and these pitches had crazy vertical and overhang, but my friend told me not to worry and we continued around the rock to the north side where the lines looked a little more manageable.

Safety first, then teamwork

It’s easy to see why Haus Rock has become a favored climbing spot in Summit County, with numerous routes and plenty of bolts it can be an easy climb for those just starting out or a technical endeavor for those looking for a bit more of a challenge.

Even though I hadn’t really planned on doing a whole lot of climbing myself, I couldn’t resist giving it a try and after my first climb I refused to take off the harness so I could try out different routes. By the end of the afternoon I was beating the boys up the rock with a huge smile on my face.

All photos by Sam Steen, my trusted belayer.

Mike D with Jake and Sammy looking on

Jake is now addicted as well

Think I found a new hobby to sink my money into