It’s again the slow season. The gondola to the slopes is closed, and mostly the tourists are elderly, stopping to shoot a photo of the river. I walked five miles in the autumn sunshine, feeling all the stress of the past couple of weeks drop away, and last night slept like a five-year-old.
I keep looping back here. It’s a tourist town, plain and simple. The streets rare filled with milling out of towers all the time, winter, summer, spring, even now on this off-midweek in September. So why do I like it so much? I don’t even (downhill) ski.
We’ve been looking for a long time for the place where we might have a little condo or cabin or something. Both CR and I love to be in the high mountains. I love to hike, and he loves to run, and I’m just a mountain girl. I find it healing to be in the thin air, amid the trees and on the lakes. He just loves altitude. The more the better. At 10,000 feet, he starts to talk. At 11,000, he’s positively chatty.
We visited a lot of places. There are some that are just too glitzy. Some that are too small or far away or backward or ridiculously expensive. We were enamored for awhile with Buena Vista, which is not far away from Breckenridge. There are hot springs, and it’s quiet, away from the tourist hordes, and there is a big hiking area that both of us like–he for orienteering, me for, well, hiking. Also, the views of Mount Princeton are amazing. It’s one of my favorite mountains in the state.
But Buena Vista is quiet. REALLY quiet. I finally nixed it, and that was when CR cast his net another direction. We ambled into Breckenridge one summer afternoon and there was an art fair. I bought a small painting, and we looked at glass, and ate at decent cafe and walked around with the HORDES of tourists and I thought, “Hmmm.” I never mind a tourist town. I grew up in one.
The thing is, I love the mountains, but I don’t love really small towns. I spent a lot of time in Sedalia and CAstle Rock when I was a kid, and it was just….boring. (For locals, I know it is hard to imagine a Castle Rock that was a small town, but trust me, it was tiny and boring.) I also don’t want a place that’s as glitzy and monied as Aspen or Vail. Breck is absolutely nothing but a ski and outdoor-lure town, but that’s kinda what makes it possible to consider actually spending lots of time here. There is a ton of hiking and running, and in ten minutes, you can be in the serious backwoods. There’s a giant lake not far down the road, where we could kayak in summer. My kids could come ski (neither of us downhill ski). There are some good restaurants, and a movie theater down the road in Frisco, and a long, long, long bike path and the mountains are IN YOUR FACE in every direction.
And I can drive here in two hours, on my own. Maybe not in the wintertime on my own, but that’s not the season I care about. I like the others.
Let’s see how much work I get done this time. That’s part of the equation–one reason for a condo is to have a retreat center where I can work without distraction when I need to. (We’ve been using hotel rooms and time shares, but they don’t allow animals and I need to have the company of critters if I’m working for a week at a time on my own. It’s okay if there are no humans, but I need a snoring dog or a purring cat.)
I have to admit, too, that it’s sort of funny to imagine that we’re actually going to think about buying a vacation condo. My inner working class kid thinks simultaneously, whoa! and who do you think you are? My adult self who has worked a long time at a profession she loves thinks it’s just fine. 😉
Happy to find the spot! Even better, CR loves this place.
If you could have a second home or a retreat anywhere you liked, where would you choose?