The ‘shoulder seasons’ (fall and spring) between the main vacation times are often a perfect time for a sojourn in the mountains.Hotel deals can be at their best and the throngs of usual visitors are at a low.Most warm weather activities still abound, with cooler temperatures and beautiful fall foliage as a backdrop making for a sublime vacation.
Vail is no exception.I spent a culinary and adventure filled weekend there mere weeks ago but found it transformed when driving through last weekend.The surrounding mountains offered a dense concentration of fall color with daytime temperatures in the low 70’s, allowing ski slope mountain biking to rage on and the temptation for a long leaf-peeping trail ride with Vail Stables to be its prime.
I recently attended a Vail Harvest Dinner showcasing the current season’s cuisine with four of the most popular restaurants in Vail: Matsuhisa, Elway’s, Larkspur and Sweet Basil.The chefs ponied up such lovely dishes asGrill Vail Mountain Porcini/LaVenture Farm Gnoochi and Single Estate 68% Dark Chocolate Cake with dried black olive and olive oil chocolate ‘vinaigrette’.All these restaurants roll with the seasonal queues, sourcing local fare which gently coaxes us into the cooler months of hearty, soul-warming food and drink.
Matsuhisa: Miso Foie Mousse (Butternut squash chip, nobu soy salt and quail egg)
Larkspur: Grilled Vail Mountain Porcini/LaVenture Farm Gnocchi (Summer truffle fonduta, Edwards green beans)
Sweet Basil: Single Estate 68% Dark Chocolate Cake/Marscapone Mousse (Dried black olive, olive oil and chocolate ‘vinaigrette’, cashew crunch)
Realizing readers at home might want a bit of the Vail Harvest ‘spirit’ each of these four restaurants provided me with a harvest Cocktail recipe to share.I had the distinct pleasure of making them all to photograph and can unequivalently say they are all a smashing success; with distinct notes of fall, there is a new favorite here for every palate.
Need ideas for a fall jaunt?Here are just a few upcoming fall activities, in addition to the regular opportunities of hiking, cruiser biking, mountain biking down the mountain after a gondola ride and more:
Don’t let my harvest dinner recap torment you!Vail Restaurant Month runs from September 17 – October 14 offering four weekly themes spanning singles, couples and family-focused events.There are loads of events, workshops, hands-on opportunities and tastings of food and drink.For the full calendar click here.The Vail Farmer’s Market, one of the largest in the state, will be in full swing through September 23rd as well!
The American Cup International Fly Fishing Tournament will run from September 20-24.80 International youth and adult anglers will be competing in some of Colorado’s best trout waters.Fishing aficionados will undoubtedly take note of this prestige competition.
Runners and cyclist will enjoy the ‘Run, Ride and Refresh’ (September 29) opportunity for a guided group run or ride in the beautiful fall mountains followed by libations at the Veal Chophouse (click here for a gander of what I enjoyed there recently) at the bottom of the ski slopes.Runner’s World and Bicycling Magazine’s experts Ellen Miller and Matt Phillips will be on hand for the latest scoop on the sports, gear and training tips.
A new activity, the ‘Tour of Vail’ (September 29-30), a non-competitive, supported ride for cyclists of all abilities to support local charities.Each day offers a different format and opportunity to tour the scenic Vail Valley.
This is one of the most beautiful times of the year in my book and Vail is opening its fall arms.Don’t miss it!
For more information on these and other fun Vail events, visit www.Vail.com.