Tag Archives: Breckenridge

Gearing up for the Pro Cycling Challenge

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

It’s been called the most demanding bike race to ever take place on American soil and for the second year in a row the USA Pro Cycling Challenge will take place in Colorado with a starting stage right here in Breckenridge, one of the most bike-friendly towns in the mountains.

It’s a seven day race that covers almost 700 mile and athletes from across the globe will arrive in Colorado on August 20th ready to take on the course, the altitude and each other. This year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenges twists and turns throughout the state. Starting in Durango the route heads through picturesque cities including Telluride, Crested Butte, Aspen, Colorado Springs and Boulder before ending in grand style in downtown Denver. The Breckenridge start will most likely be a daunting one for riders as it marks the beginning of one of the more demanding mountain stages up Hoosier Pass.

Given Breckenridge played host to a finish stage for last year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge the town is ready to do it all again this year with plenty of activities to keep the big crowds entertained.

The festivities kick off on Thursday, August 23rd with a big screen on the Riverwalk Center lawn broadcasting Stage 4 from Aspen to Beaver Creek from Noon to 4 p.m. Then, starting at 6 p.m. it’s the weekly Breckenridge Cruiser Ride, taking over the town with a different theme each week. Take it from me, if you haven’t been to one of the summer cruiser rides in Breckenridge it’s a true taste of what it means to be local and is not to be missed.

Friday, August 24th is the big day in Breck and the action kicks off bright and early at 9:30 a.m. with plenty of activities in the Start Village with autograph opportunities with the athletes. The rider ceremony will take place promptly at 9:50 and then, it’s go time. You’ll have about an hour to find a good viewing spot on Main Street before the riders start the stage with two neutral laps through downtown starting at 10:50 a.m.

From there, it’s a steep and winding ascent up Hoosier Pass where riders will be jockeying for prime position on the downhill and then it’s a straight shot through open country until they finish in Colorado Springs.

Luckily for all the spectators the fun doesn’t end when the riders take off… actually, it’s only the beginning. For those feeling all inspired by the action there is the Citizen Street Sprint happening right after the pro riders take off and there is no doubt you will be feeling like one of the elite following directly in their tire marks.

Stick around for the Ripstoke trials and mountain bike stunt show happening in the Blue River Plaza where you can also watch the rest of Stage 5 right there on the big screen. To top it all off there will be a free concert at the Riverwalk Center at 4:30 p.m. featuring Maceo Parker.

You won’t want to miss the excitement of one of the biggest athletic events in the country when the USA Pro Cycling Challenge comes to Breckenridge and who knows, you may even end up on TV given the action will be covered by NBC and Versus. So go crazy and wear that big chicken suit you’ve had in the closet for years, this may just be the perfect event to do it.

For more information on everything going on with the USA Pro Cycling Challenge Stage 5 Start in Breckenridge check out the blog and Facebook page.

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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.

Amazing Grace: A true local eatery

The story below was featured on The Breck Connection

213 Lincoln Avenue in Breckenridge

Walking into Amazing Grace Natural Eatery on Lincoln Avenue in Breckenridge it’s easy to feel like you found a true gem. On any given morning you will find the tables full of folks decked out in ski gear, chatting about the current snow conditions, town happenings and local gossip. The vibe is relaxed and unpretentious, a perfect choice for those looking for a more personal dining experience away from the Main Street masses.

It’s no surprised that Amazing Grace is so laid-back given the women in charge would have it no other way. The business was started by famed adventure racer Monique Merrill who wanted to create a restaurant that felt like home when she returned from trekking across the globe, and she recruited other like-minded local ladies who shared a passion for outdoor exploration and good all-natural cooking.

You won’t find anything processed at Amazing Grace as emphasis is placed on fresh, wholesome ingredients. If you head in for a bite in the morning try the glueten-free breakfast tacos, loaded with eggs, cheese, spinach and salsa, gently folded in corn tortillas. Find a table and sip on a cup of free-trade conscious coffee as you peruse the Summit Daily in the dappled sunlight coming through the frosted windows. Or, if you are in a hurry, grab one of their freshly baked muffins with a rotating selection baked fresh daily.

My favorite time to be at Amazing Grace is during the lunch hour. There’s something about being in a refurbished old house that makes me feel at peace and when work starts to get too hectic I always find myself wandering up to Lincoln Avenue to slow down for an hour or more and enjoy a quite lunch.

I’m a sucker for a good turkey sandwich and Amazing Grace has several options I tend to rotate through. The Turkey Veggie comes complete with tomato, cucumber, shredded carrots, zucchini and sprouts, and when I’m feeling something with a bit more zip I opt for the Turkey Berry with avocado, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette dressing.

Belly up to the counter

If you’re looking for good food you can feel good about eating, venture away from Main Street and pop in to Amazing Grace Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Check them out online before you go at amazinggracebreck.com and you can see the full menu along with short bios of all the employees.

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.

Winter has arrived

The rumors had begun swirling late last week.  Moisture out of the Southwest was set to collide nicely with a favorable jet stream and snow was the one thing on everyone’s mind.

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You heard it in line at the coffee shop, in the aisles of the grocery store and, most typically, at the bar. Everyone you asked wasn’t shy about giving you their own personal predictions either.

Although some people were talking big numbers (1-2ft) we all woke up this morning to more modest snow totals than expected but still enough to label it a bona fide powder day at Loveland and Arapahoe Basin.

As much as I wished I could have gone skiing today I’m still a few weeks away from getting my season pass. Luckily, the scene in my backyard today couldn’t be more serene and the quite that comes with having all the roommates out of the house is perfect for sitting with my laptop and a cup of tea.



Hope everyone else is having a happy snow day!
 

 

 

 

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Twist arrives in Breck just in time

Truth is, some of us were getting bored.

Menus plastered outside local eateries in Breckenridge were starting to curl up at the edges, watermarks obscuring old standby options that were starting to look uninspired. We were feeling blase by overexposure to the same burgers, pizza and pasta options

Enter chef Matt Fackler and Twist, a new Ridge Street restaurant boasting an innovative take on comfort cuisine.

Having already garnered national acclaim for his Main Street restaurant, Relish, including a favorable mention in the New York Times travel section, Fackler opened Twist in June of this year.

Open for Happy Hour and dinner starting at 4p.m., Twist boast one of the best patios in town. Nestled just far enough off of Main Street, the property is situated at the perfect level for stellar mountain views and charming lights strung through the trees add a touch of romance to the casual atmosphere.  Walking through the door, the servers dressed in jeans and t-shirts let you know that there are no pretentious attitudes here.  Simple, intimate and bright, the interior of Twist seems cheery and welcoming even if there is a thunderstorm raging outside and the friendly vibe of the staff is the perfect compliment.

The menu at Twist is familiar and far reaching but in all the right ways. Classics like corn dogs and macaroni and cheese get a funky modern makeover with lots of focus on keeping many ingredients locally sourced. Dinner entrees are incredibly reasonable price wise given the quality of ingredients and the care in the preparation. Having worked in several restaurants around town I have an idea of what goes on behind the scenes and you can always tell when there are people in the kitchen that actually care about the food they are putting out.

While I have to admit I have done more visiting during Happy Hour, my favorite dinner entrees were the “fish and chips” (with amazing rosti potatoes) and the “chicken and waffles” (this wild rice waffle ‘aint yo mamas Bisquick), a must try if you ask me. Now, Happy Hour is a time I know quite well. Focusing again on the locally sourced, Twist enlisted the help of the boys over at the Breckenridge Distillery to create a watermelon infused vodka that flies off the shelves as the main player in their signature Watermelon Vodka Lemonade. It’s the perfect after-work cocktail and, if it’s been a particularly bad day at work, you can kick it up a notch to the Green Tea Martini, a personal favorite of mine.

The food served during Happy Hour is also a great deal for the price and diners will be pleasantly surprised with the softshell crab sandwich, the clam strips (ask for extra tartar sauce, it’s awesome!), sweet potato fries or the shrimp “cocktail” with seaweed salad. Neil and Tom at the bar are great for conversation or a menu recommendation and there is plenty of local flavor around the bar during the after-work rush.

Twist is a welcomed addition to the Breckenridge restaurant scene and given the man in charge isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit, I’m excited to see the menu change with the seasons, a sure way to keep the local foodies interested.