Jon had the entire week of the 4th off. The office was closed, everybody was on vacation, and it was a much needed no-strings-attached break for him. He never just gets time off-- at least not in the amount of 7 days in a row! We wanted to utilize that time off as much as possible, and decided to explore Steamboat Springs as a family right after the 4th.
We packed up Wednesday morning and headed up north to the Rockies. We stopped in Silverthorne, which is a beautiful halfway point, for lunch and a little rest. From there, it was only about another hour or so to Steamboat.
Having never visited Steamboat we were wide open to adventure and seeing all there was to see. The kids picked to do the alpine slide-- the Howler--first, of course. This is Shorty and I on the ski lift.
There's Jon and Lizzie right behind us. Yes, even Lizzie got to ride the alpine slide!
Lucy and Zach were brave and rode by themselves. The mountainside was just covered in wildflowers and the 360 views were so lovely! That was worth the ticket price right there.
Ready to go! Great view of Steamboat off in the distance. It really reminded me of Sun Valley, ID, where Jon and I honeymooned after we got hitched in 2004.
Whee! Poor Zach is totally doomed on alpine slides. He gets SO paranoid and basically rides the brakes the whole way down. And this was a loooooong track, too. Thankfully nobody but Jon was stuck behind him this time. Maybe one of these days he'll figure it out and be the little daredevil he normally is....
Lizzie was rearin' to go! Leah and I burned down the mountain together-- she is a little speed demon and just laughed and told me to go faster the whole way down.
We found a place to eat dinner at called the Slopeside Grill at the Steamboat Mountain ski resort. They had a little creek running behind the restaurant that the kids could play in while we waited for our table to be ready. Such a lifesaver!
My bacon, brie, and avocado sandwich. Yum! I think I just love eating outside.
The next morning we grabbed breakfast at the hotel and then headed over to the Old Town Hot Springs. It's a historic mineral hot springs that's been turned into eight different recreational pools, and been part of Steamboat Springs' lure for over 100 years.
It was very, very nice, and the perfect temperature for feeling refreshed and relaxed! It was a great way to spend the morning before it got too hot outside.
If you know me, then you also probably know I really, really dislike cold water. So this was perfect for me and the kids were so shocked I actually got in and swam with everyone the whole time.
We headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready, and then found lunch at Cruiser's Deli, which was recommended by a friend. They serve unique subs on homemade bread and they were super yummy! Our sandwiches were a hit!
Once again, eating outside for me is top notch. Can't beat that scenery either!
Unfortunately the gondola ride that goes up to the top of Steamboat Mountain was broken and closed for repairs until August. Bummer! That was our plan for the afternoon, so we had to change gears and we figured a good plan B was to do the alpine slide again, right? Right.
Here we go, Round 2, and yes, Zach was slightly faster than a turtle this time... Slightly.
We wanted to wait until it was a little cooler to hike up to Fish Creek Falls, and a little thunderstorm blew in and did just that-- cooled it down for us, so we set these hiker kids to hiking. It was an easy trail up to the overlook, as well as to the actual bridge and waterfall.
Beautiful! The kids loved hiking to the waterfall and it was nice and cool from all the river mist.
Steamboat Springs, July 2017
We climbed down to the river from underneath the bridge and dipped our feet in for a little bit. It felt so good on that hot summer day!
We voted on what to do next, and the kids picked the Steamboat Springs Botanical Gardens, which BONUS, were free to the public! It was perfect for Lizzie to toddle around, and featured lots of fun gardens for the kids to meander through, although we did get eaten alive by all the mosquitos!
They had a darling fairy garden that Leah fell in love with. We might just copy some of their ideas.
I'll call this Mosquito Bog Lake, because that's exactly what it was. But, a very pretty piece of Steamboat Springs nonetheless.
We got takeout at a Greek gyro place for dinner, and then decided to head back to the hot springs before bed since our passes were good all day long. We got to enjoy those healing mineral waters one last time, as well as admire the sunset.
Even though our hotel had a continental breakfast, we had to eat breakfast out at least once on our vacation, so I picked a place called Winnona's, that had great reviews. We had a delicious mountain breakfast with probably the best cinnamon roll I've ever eaten. I wish I'd gotten a picture. It was HUGE, and had sunflower seeds and this white chocolate orange scented cream cheese frosting that was to die for!
Miss Lizzie wasn't too impressed with her pancakes, so while Jon ate his breakfast she and I headed over to the Yampa river greenbelt just behind the restaurant. Next time when she's a little older we'll have to come back and float the river like everybody else did. It looked fun!
We walked and shopped around the little downtown shops and had fun looking at all the different souvenirs. We found this horse in front of a western outfitters shop that has been open right there for over 90 years. Steamboat has a pro rodeo circuit every Friday and Saturday night that we didn't know about, so we'll definitely have to make it back for that, too.
Lizzie was just about ready for her nap by then so we decided to utilize it by hopping back in the car and heading on home. It's a beautiful drive through the mountains with rivers and lakes everywhere. How lucky we are to be surrounded by all of this beautiful scenery!! We made it back to Parker safe and sound late that afternoon.
Let's just say it isn't always easy traveling with four kids-- one of which is still a baby who doesn't like to be towed around all the time. There are lots of fun memories made, but it also requires a LOT of patience and work, so when Grandma and Grandpa Cardon offered to babysit that night we absolutely said yes. It was a nice way to finish off our "vacation" with a relaxing dinner for just us two. We tried "Manna" at the Castle Rock hospital, and then looked around the outlet malls for awhile. Such a fun way to spend our 4th of July vacation together as a family!