Archive for the ‘Colorado’ Category


Top 10 Haunted Hotels in the US

Halloween is approaching and spookiness is in the air, so we thought we’d bring you some of the country’s most notorious haunted hotels to consider for your next trip. Why settle for a plain old hotel stay when you could add apparitions, strange noises in the night, locking and unlocking doors, and more to the experience?

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans - Image credit: Flickr

Check out these haunted spots from the Victorian seaport town of Port Townsend, WA to the land of voodoo and witchcraft itself, New Orleans, LA, and find the spot that’s right for your next journey!

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After a recent trip to the Vail Valley in Colorado, I was able to experience firsthand a delicious trend among the culinary world: sustainable dining. Many fine-dining restaurants have begun to adopt the mantra that “fresh is best,” and use locally sourced products as main ingredients in the dishes.

Vail Famers’ Market

The Vail Farmers’ Market is the place to get the latest and greatest in locally grown produce and goods. Whether you’re looking for bell peppers, freshly baked bread or homemade salsas, the market has a huge assortment of locally made products that will tantalize your taste buds. I picked up some avocado vinaigrette from a local vendor, as well as peach salsa and chipotle-stuffed olives from another.The market is held every Sunday from the end of June until the beginning of September. Several restaurants make a “harvest menu” on Sundays, when you can be sure that nearly every ingredient in your dinner came from the farmers’ market that morning.

8100 Mountainside Bar & Grill

The 8100 Mountainside Bar and Grill located at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek and Resort opened in December 2008 after the resort completed a $30 million renovation. Meat eaters will appreciate the regional menu, featuring buffalo steak (which I had), elk loin and trout. My favorite sides included the creamed corn and mashed potatoes, but the quinoa looked delicious as well.

Splendido at the Chateau

Situated on the ground floor by what appears to be a French chateau in the middle of Beaver Creek, Splendido could be perhaps one of the most amazing culinary experiences of my life. My group visited Splendido on a night when Chef Walford was offering his popular off-the-menu special lobster stuffed with Yukon gold mashed potatoes. Since few words can properly convey how delicious the meal was, I will leave you with a picture.


The lobster special at Splendido.

La Tour

French-inspired La Tour is a Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” winner, featuring more than 300 wines to perfectly compliment your dinner. Each month, Chef Paul Ferzacca adjusts the menu to reflect what is new and fresh in the region. On Sunday, he features a harvest menu that comes straight from the Vail Farmers’ Market that morning.

Kelly Liken Restaurant

Lauded by Bon Appétit and Wine Spectator, Kelly Liken Restaurant is the brainchild of up-and-coming chef Kelly Liken. Thankfully, I visited the night of the restaurant’s harvest menu. From my onion and nettle soup to an entrée of Alaskan halibut and fresh, local vegetables, Kelly Liken Restaurant delivered a dinner that was divine enough to blog about.


The halibut from Kelly Liken’s harvest menu.

If you would like an unparalleled dining experience outside of the normal foodie destinations, consider heading to the Vail Valley during the summertime. Its proximity to both the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains means that you will be eating fresh ingredients assembled by skillful and talented regional chefs.

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Chill Out: Winter Festival Roundup by Lynn O’Rourke Hayes

The winter months provide the opportunity to enjoy festivals and gatherings that celebrate all things icy and cold. Looking for an adventure where you can  chill out with carvers and climbers? Try these spots:

Ouray, Colo.

This southwestern mountain town, known for its picturesque jagged peaks, is home to the country’s premiere ice festival. In its 14th year, competitors of all levels, climbing companies and spectators gather for the Ouray Ice Festival. The Kids Climbing College offers free instruction to youngsters interested in learning and testing their skills in the Ouray Ice Park where nine routes have been established for beginners.  All equipment is provided and prizes are awarded to every child who climbs. Jan. 9 to 11, 2009. Tel. 970-325-4288,

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Enjoy the beauty of Lake Louise and the glacier-clad Mt. Victoria during the Ice Magic Festival held Jan. 23 to 25, 2009. Professional carvers go to work on 15 blocks of ice, weighing 300 lbs. each, and transform them into elaborately designed, seven-foot-tall world-class ice sculptures in three days.  Spectators may cast their votes in the People’s Choice Award and Children’s Choice Award competitions and thus are entered to win prizes. Weather permitting, the sculptures remain on display through March. Tel. 403-762-8421,

Stowe, Vt.

The 35th Annual Stowe Winter Carnival offers a winter wonderland of family fun. Tours of the historic town, a Village Night celebration, ski races, a kid’s carnival and the chance to see the pros at work during the ice carving competition make for a great winter getaway. Jan. 22 to 25, 2009. Tel. 802-253-7321,

Aspen, Colo.

Now in its 58th year, Wintersköl, Aspen’s annual toast to snow, will be held Jan. 8 to 11, 2009.   Wintersköl is four days of festive events, including a quirky canine fashion show, torchlight ski parades and fireworks over Aspen and Smuggler Mountains. With activities for visitors of all ages, it’s a favorite among locals. Tel.  970-925-1940,

Whitefish, Mont.

The 50th Annual Whitefish Winter Carnival kicks off with a Penguin Plunge (a hole is cut into Whitefish Lake and participants take a dip to raise funds for charity). Visitors will also enjoy an old fashioned Main Street parade, ice sculpting contest, a kiddie carnival, battle of the bands, pie social, torch-light ski parade, cross-country ski race, hockey tournament, a figure skating demonstration and more. The festivities are open to the public and most are free. Feb. 6 to 8, 2009. Tel. 877-862-3548,