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Contrary to popular belief, the great outdoors and I go way back. In my early twenties, I spent quite a few summers in upstate New York. Lake George, it was. And might I say, life on the lake was pretty sweet. Tom Petty on repeat, and wind blowing through my hair as I peered into the rearview mirror reflecting a five-star, all-terrain backdrop. This, my friends, was the good life.
Over the years, I have not only come to appreciate but seek out settings with plush, natural surroundings. With miles and miles of tree-filled land to explore, Vail, Colorado has become a Schaffer family favorite. And as much as we love to explore new destinations, I can guarantee that you’ll find us here, year after year. Immersing ourselves in this family-friendly mountain town provides the best of outdoor adventures, complemented with phenomenal food, music, shopping, and spectator sports. Among the breathtaking waterfalls, wildlife, and mountain vistas you’d expect from a high-end resort village, we’ve put our stamp on some Schaffer family favorites, and we’re excited to share them with you.
Know the Best Place to Stay
Nestled on Vail Mountain, just at the edge of Vail Village is the Manor Vail Lodge. It’s only a stone’s throw from the energy and excitement of the village. But it’s still tucked far enough away to take in the beauty of the surrounding mountains, streams, and parks.
The spacious, luxury suites are gorgeously furnished, and perfectly suited for families of all sizes (including ours!) looking for a quaint resort getaway in the mountains. What sets the Manor Vail Lodge apart? The over-the-top amazing staff treats us like family every time we visit. And I love those awesome, on-property amenities.
Find a Home Away From Home
With a boutique resort feel, The Manor Vail Lodge is perfect for solo travelers up to Schaffer-sized groups. They offer hotel rooms, studios, one-to-three bedroom suites, and four-plus bedroom penthouses. With its own private elevator, the Alpine Ski Haus penthouse was our home for the week. Our supersized balcony had spectacular views of Golden Peak, and each bedroom had a private entrance to the back deck, overlooking the serene sights and sounds of nearby streams. A bonus? We were close enough to overhear the captivating voice of Robert Plant, echoing from the adjacent Gerald Ford Amphitheater.
While my kids were big fans of the two heated swimming pools and hot tubs, Bobby and I enjoyed the state-of-the-art kitchen, expansive living room, and sprawling views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Less exciting, but equally amazing, were the washer and dryer and five bathrooms that provided all the comforts a mom of four could dream of in a vacation home.
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Get Your Fill
As mentioned, the staff at the Manor Vail Lodge always goes above and beyond to ensure our experience is impeccable. They welcomed us with local treats, checked in every day, and provided top restaurant and attraction recommendations. But, without even leaving the resort, we were eating like royalty. I kid you not, the Manor Vail Lodge has a breakfast buffet that dreams are made of. Think made-to-order omelets, breakfast burritos, grilled cheese, biscuits and gravy, oatmeal, yogurt parfaits, rotating french toast, waffle and pancake bar—you name it, they got it. And let’s not forget the real bacon! This complimentary breakfast was an elevator ride away, saving us money and time, which is always a plus on big family travel.
After a full day of fishing and hiking, an amazing happy hour awaited at The Fitz Bar & Restaurant, located on the second floor. Our little ones loved the kids’ menu, and the wines by the glass list had all of mom and dad’s favorites. Local beers and craft cocktails were on point, and year after year, I can still say they have the best brussels sprouts in town.
Stop at Vail Village
Another reason we stay at the Manor Vail Lodge is that it’s within walking distance to Vail Village. Convenience at its finest! Rich in history, we love just walking around, checking out the shops, restaurants, sculptures, and parks. For a bit of culture, we visited the Ski Museum, learning about skiing as the gateway for winter sports.
And for a taste of some rock and roll, Shakedown Bar has some of the best live music in the area. Bobby and I enjoyed a night out, and danced more than we have in years to an awesome rock band called Brothers Keeper.
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Make a Trip to Epic Discovery
Taking the hotel staff up about their recommendation for the best family summer activities in Vail, we set out for Epic Discovery, an all-age top-of-the-mountain playground with zip lining, rock climbing, trampolines, ropes course, tubing, coaster, and much more. (Just make sure you check out the health guidelines before you go!)
It’s one thing to be at the top of the mountain with outstanding ski conditions, but to experience the breathtaking views during the summer is almost surreal—Bobby and I played and enjoyed ourselves just as much as the kids did! Epic Discovery is just a short bus ride from the Manor Vail Lodge, which offers hotel guests a free shuttle right to the gondola. Among their favorites at Epic Discovery? The Bungee Trampoline, Summer Tubing, and the Alpine Coaster!
Mom Tip: The Adventure Pack is the best value for families. It basically gives you unlimited access to a mountain coaster, adventure courses, tubing, climbing wall, and more. Also, warn your kids that they’ll be exhausted, but it’s all part of the adventure!
Stay In God’s Country
Some might say referring to Vail as “God’s Country” is just lofty rhetoric, but year after year, that statement is validated for us. No exaggeration, Vail has stirred a thirst with so much to do and enjoy at any given moment. Whether taking on the rapids, hiking the mountains, or wrangling a trout, there is so much to explore!
Through Vail’s summer line-up of expeditions, concerts, and attractions, we come back every summer to this gorgeous mountainside oasis. A big thank you to The Manor Vail Lodge which served as our home sweet home while we explored. Until we meet again, Vail, thank you for the new experiences and unforgettable memories!