When one thinks of Vail Colorado, winter sports come to mind. But summer is a great time to visit as well. After coping with some recent challenges, Richard and I thought it would be a good idea to reconnect in Vail. My husband and I were invited to visit during the Labor Day-week holiday, and we had a great time.

Reconnect in Vail;; photo by Kathy Leonardo

Vail Gondola # 1 heading up to the mountain; All photos courtesy of ETG

Reconnect in Vail

When we first arrived, I couldn’t help but think Richie must have been itching to snowboard, as he eyed those glorious slopes painted in bright green grass. He is already planning a trip back during the winter. You see Richie is always up for an adventure, so as usual I suggested that he do a hike. I was distracted by the boutiques in Vail Village, and I had my day planned.

However, this time he insisted I join him on a ride in the gondola to the top of the hill. I looked at him suspiciously and said, “Are you trying to get me to hike?” “No of course not,” he answered, “I thought it would be romantic.” It was then that I realized he was trying to trick me. My man rarely wants to be romantic.

Richie and I have become accustomed to doing our own thing on our ETG trips. I have seen his eyes glaze over, when we are near a retail zone. So, I have learned to suggest that he find the nature in every destination. It gives me time to shop and go wine tasting, while he is off taking photos in the wilderness.

Beautiful Views on our Hike, despite my Complaining

The strategy has previously worked well for us. This time however he replied “I always go alone. Plus, you really don’t want to miss the view, do you?” I looked up towards the mountains. It did look pretty amazing. “Ok, but I am coming right back down, mama needs some retail therapy.”

An Easy Vail Hike

Next thing I know we are up there. I’m walking on a trail, and I find myself thinking, how did I get here? He keeps insisting…”This is a very easy trail. Then we can go down the other gondola to Lionshead.” The trail called Upper Fireweed was not hard, and I did see young children with their families walk by us, so I thought. “Well how bad can it be?”

Soon I started complaining, and Richie said, “I heard there is a bar up here?” I suddenly perked up “A bar?” I studied his face waiting for him to break out in laughter. “How dumb do you think I am? You always say that. It’s never true.” I exclaimed. This has become a running joke between us.

View from Upper Fireweed in Vail Colorado; up from Vail Village

“No seriously, the guy at the gondola said there is a restaurant bar and all kinds of activities up here at the end of the hike. You can relax with a nice glass of wine – it will be romantic.” I turned and kept walking, thinking it would be nice to relax with him (and a glass of wine) while enjoying this beautiful view.

Then a woman came up quickly behind us with a shopping bag. As she passed us, I asked her “Are there stores up here?” She laughed and said “No, I bought this down at Vail Village.” I replied “Well my husband said there is a bar up here.

“Is there?,” she asked eagerly. “No,” I replied, “I am pretty sure he is full of it. He is always promising a bar at the top of every mountain he wants me to hike. I am not sure why I fell for it this time.” She giggled and went on her merry way.

ETG Cofounders Richard Bilow & Kathy Leonardo

A Bar at the Top of the Mountain

Forty minutes later…that dude was right. There was a bar, not a mirage but actually several eateries in a complex adjacent to the Eagle Bahn Gondola (# 19). At this point, my speed picked up, I heard him calling behind me. “Here is Simba’s Cafe, do you want an ice cream?” But he knew where I was headed. I passed through an outdoor seating area and into Bistro 14. I looked straight at the bartender and said “Hello Beautiful” in a Barbara Streisand kinda way. “I’ll have a glass of your house red.” He chuckled an gave me a nice pour. I relaxed at the bar, while my husband finally caught up to me. “Boy you can move, when you want to,” said Richie, as he slumped down into a chair at a nearby table. This was a perfect ending to our short hike. Bistro 14 was exhibiting fine art photography by artist Gray Malin, and this was a welcomed treat. As I joined my husband at his table I said, “You were right…this is romantic.” He laughed and said, OMG, I thought men were never right.”

View of Lionshead Village from the Gondola;

All in all, it turned out to be a great day. The views up top were gorgeous. The hike was short and easy. The gondola ride down was beautiful, and it dropped us off in Lionshead, a lovely village filled with restaurants, shops etc. There was little time left to shop, but Richie dropped me off the following day after his long solo early morning hike at Shrine Ridge. 

If you are not a hiker but want to see the views from the top of Vail mountain, take Eagle Bahn Gondola #19 up from Lionshead village. It drops you off where all the action is. You’ll find Bistro 14 along with all sorts of fun things for the kids to do.

CLICK HERE for more info on easy hikes for families; Or visit the Destinations Section; Adventure; Hiking/Biking/Climbing drop-down.

Find out more about Vail on https://discovervail.com

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