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My family is visiting your state in just about a month, for just about a week. I have read this forum off and on for a little while now, since we decided to pay the visit.
I am so tickled with myself that we decided to do this, and now that it's just a month away, I could just explode with excitement. Here's the thing, though:
It's a surprise Christmas present present for the children. Two of them, anyway. The third one is 19 and I had to tell her because she is no longer completely under my power and control, much to my chagrin.
So not only can I not talk about it with roughly half of my travelmates, but when I DO talk about it with those in the know, I have to look around and keep my voice down to make sure they don't overhear!
This is putting a crimp in the excitement factor.
So, here I am, shouting it out to you guys that we are getting to visit your state in a month! We will inject some $$ into your economy (not that much $$, so don't get excited--we can't afford like Vail and Aspen type stuff) and admire your good taste in states, and I myself am personally going to roll around in snow at least once. Yes, I'm 42 years old, but I don't care. I grew up around snow, love snow, and I hardly ever get to hang out near decent quantities of the stuff. So I'm going to build a snowman, throw a snowball and make a snow angel. We will celebrate Christmas in what is, of course, the best location to celebrate Christmas in Colorado: The hotel from The Shining. Yay! Hehe. I made the children watch the TV miniseries and it was practically a commercial for The Stanley Hotel. They were getting into the story, but I was just there for the exterior (and some of the interior) shots. Glorious.
We are going to spend some time in Grand Lake and try not to drive snowmobiles off mountaintops. We are going to try to find that big snow hill in Fraser and not break our butts sliding down. Then we are going to check out one of the ski areas and take lessons, with the goal of not making fools of ourselves on the lift and possibly mastering the easiest bunny trail. We will be fully decked out for that particular experience, too--after I got over my shock that some people actually pay $700+ for a ski jacket, I got serious and found everybody one at super clearance prices. We may not all match, but we will all be at least relatively warm.
We don't want to move to your state, and we can't anyway, because well--who wants to move right now if they don't have to, the economy being what it is (little nod to Jazzlover there). Plus, Middle Tennessee is great and we even have our own itty bitty mountain, so we're set.
I hate to fly, hate hate hate it. But I'm dosing up on whatever anxiolytic the doc will give me (or buying booze on the plane as my Plan B) and getting on board. I'm going to shop in the overpriced airport shops just a tiny bit, and then we're going to find a grocery store that we've never seen or been in before and get provisions for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, on our way to Estes Park. We'll load up on stuff that's easy to fix and that doesn't rely on specialized kitchen equipment, since who knows if the kitchen at our disposal will be well stocked.
I am so excited to be visiting your state, and so excited about this surprise we are springing on the children, but--it's so hard to keep the secret. I just want to run upstairs (where they are watching Dead Like Me on DVD--I'm a great mom, what can I say, and let them watch such mind-warping stuff) and blurt it out to them. But I can't. So, I'm sharing with you instead.
If you can think of anything we should add to our experience, please feel free. We are just a tad bit quirky and I don't really like "beaten path" stuff. I can't tell you how many hours it took me to plan this trip because of that.
I do have one complaint, though: The cost to rent a vehicle was incredible!! I had to rent this big old hydroponic station wagon (SUV) and it was like $1200 for the week. SHEESH! What's up with that? All the people coming to ski over Christmas bloat up the demand or something? The same SUV was less than half that price if I rented it from the Nashville airport (hey, I was so shocked that I checked). I guess you guys don't have to rent SUVs in your own state very much, though, so hopefully that abominable situation will not affect you. I hope it's at least snazzy looking for the price. Or black--then I will sit in the back and pretend I am being escorted as part of a security detail. If it's white, I'm going to spill coffee on the bumper.
Thanks for letting me share my excitement! It helped the tiniest bit.
Grand Lake is a decent place for some winter sports. The Winding River Resort has snowmobiling, an indoor pool, and maybe horseback riding in the winter. We saw a moose on our trail ride there one September, but he may send the horses out for the winter and bring in the snow machines. The town of Grand Lake is small, and yes, it sits on a large natural lake. It will be cold. You are near Winter Park, a major spot for skiing and the like. Sorry to hear your SUV will cost so much. Most folks can get by with front wheel drive, but you never know what the weather will be like when your arrive and your may need it, especially for the drive out I-70 and up US-40 over Berthoud Pass. Overall, I think you'll love it here.
Hey, thanks! Sleigh ride? Hmmmm. That is very interesting. I may have to call the people from that link you provided. Thanks again!
We had something smaller all picked out, but my nephew and sister-in-law will be joining us, so with the luggage, we had to go with a larger SUV or a minivan.
I figured we would get to see snow no matter what--don't they manufacture it if nature does not cooperate? I would rather have the "natural" kind but really--I don't care as long as it's snow. Winter Park was the ski resort we were thinking of or that one that is sort of closer to Boulder (I think it's Boulder), Eldora? That one seemed a little more our style but I understand Winter Park is less glitzy than some of the other resorts as well. I lived outside of Orlando for years and years. I don't need more touristy glittery stuff. Both of our locations are right on the edge of Rocky Mountain National Park, so I'm hoping for more woods/views/natural stuff and less "traditional ski vacation."
Thanks for letting me share my excitement! I went for a walk with one of the children last night and even though I still wanted to shout out what we are doing in a month, it was a little less tempting. They are going to be so surprised. I figured also that this was a good way to start to move away from the holiday excess that we've been so guilty of. They will not have a large quantity of presents this year--just a stocking to open Christmas morning and the box full of winter gear with the plane ticket. Well, and I bought a Wii with Wii Fit before deciding on this plan, so I guess they can open that when we come home. Still, that's NOTHING compared to the usual silly holiday excess.
You will love Grand Lake, no shortage of snow there. By Christmas I've got over 5ft at the back of the lower level of my home. Many places to rent snowmobiles from, On The Trail and Lone Eagle just to mention a few. The best part of snowmibiling in Grand Lake is that you can ride down the main street of the town, pull up to your favourite drinking hole and have a heart starter in front of the fire. Unless I have shopping to do, I hardly take my vehicle out in winter around the town. I just ride everywhere.
If you do decide to fly, you can use Home James to pick you up at the airport and drop you in Granby. They do have vehilces that can carry up to 10 people and the price is extremely cheap, from memory about $280 for the whole family. That way you don't need to concern yourself driving over Berthoud Pass which can be challenging if you've never driven it before in winter. Then hire a 4x4 vehicle like a Subaru from Avalanche rentals for $39/day. It may not be a full size SUV but it still is a 4 wheel drive and will do fine around Grand Lake, Granby, Fraser, Winter Park. One call to Home James and they can set you up, give you phone numbers, drop you at the car rental. It's a small community and they all work together to make life easy for you.
Enjoy your vacation.
ps: no this is not an advertising plug, just a local giving some local knowledge.
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