There’s just something about Breckenridge, Colorado. Yes, it’s a mountain town that relies heavily on tourism. But it’s also clearly a place where people live, work and know each other. It’s warm (even in the chill of winter) and welcoming. On a recent trip to Breckenridge with my honey, we realized something else about Breck we had really never noticed before – it’s quite romantic!
A Place to Cozy Up for the Night:
The Residence Inn Breckenridge by Marriott opened mid-December, offering a sleek but really comfortable, home away from home. The U-shaped building with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites each with a spacious kitchen, is laid out smartly with the back side one floor higher than the front side so that everyone gets a nice view of the town and ski mountain. Then there’s that outdoor, year-round swimming pool and large hot tub with amazing views. We swam with stars overhead, viewing the twinkling lights of the town and snowcats on the hill across the way, with fluffy flakes of snow falling all around us. It was heavenly!
Even though we were only there overnight, having a fully-equipped kitchen with a refrigerator and stove was very handy. With a fridge, we could keep our bottles of water cold, chill some wine and keep leftovers fresh. It also meant we could we could eat in a civilized way with silverware and plates, which came in handy later on, as you’ll see.
The comfortable lobby has a wall of windows with mountain views and a patio with seating around a fire pit. In the corner of the lobby is a bar that serves food, beer, wine and fantastic craft cocktails made by a master mixologist, who treats each cocktail he prepares as a masterpiece. He makes many of his ingredients from scratch including his apple cider. At the other end of the lobby is the dining area for the free, full breakfast.
Wine for Two:
Across the street from The Residence Inn Breckenridge is the Continental Divide Winery which, like the hotel, recently opened. The Winery’s claim to fame is that it’s the world’s highest altitude winery in the world at 10,361 feet! John, the general manager at Continental Divide Winery, said they’ve noticed lots of people coming in two-by-two. “The Noah Effect,” as he cleverly calls it, there’s something about wine tasting that attracts pairs of people. Sure enough, while we were there doing a tasting of all-Colorado wines (we could have done all-California or a mixture to compare), several couples came in, as well as some singles and groups. We get the appeal – wine tasting is a very sensual experience and is something special to share with your sweetie.
I asked John what I should be looking for in one of the wines I was tasting, expecting him to say “notes of plum and chocolate” or whatever. Instead, and very unlike any other wine tasting I’ve ever experienced, he told me that everyone’s taste buds are different, even varying in number. He said we all bring our own experiences, knowledge and senses to each glass of wine so one person may detect certain things and the person with them will experience the same wine completely differently. In other words, he told me, there is no right or wrong way to sense wine – it’s what it is to YOU! I liked that notion a lot and it made me think about love – the idea that we each bring our own histories, sensibilities and experiences to a relationship, making it something unlike any other.
Also romantic, is the opportunity to make your own bottle of wine! Book the Winemaker Experience with the Continental Divide Winery where you work with a wine expert who helps you create your own unique wine blend, which you will bottle and label. Imagine making a bottle of wine that is a combination of the two of you! Or a bottle you make for your loved one!
Something to Nibble On:
If you need a little something to nibble on during your wine tasting, simply order a cheese box from The Cheese Shop across the way. For $12, you can get three cheeses with fig spread, olives and mini toasts. For a few dollars more, you can order five or seven cheeses or add charcuterie. They’ll deliver it to you at the Winery! Brilliant idea. We decided to go check out The Cheese Shop ourselves, after our wine tasting, to see what else they had. Specialty pastas, crackers and other goodies line the shelves of the small shop but it’s the counters that are the stars with cheeses and charcuterie just waiting to be sliced to take to go or to be made into sandwiches. You can even rent a fondue pot or racklette iron and take it back to your room for a romantic dinner for two. We bought our own cheese box and took it back to our room, storing it in the room’s fridge (it has a kitchen, remember) until later.
We headed back out, strolling along, stopping by the Breckenridge Arts District, where we had visited before. It was getting late in the day on a Sunday so none of the artists were there but, in the past, we’d enjoyed talking to some of them and seeing the demonstrations. We continued down charming Main Street, lined with shops and restaurants, pretty as a postcard.
Go window-shopping (or some serious, heavy-duty shopping) in Breckenridge. While you will find t-shirt shops at every turn, there are lots of independently-owned, unique boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops.
In warm weather, the Riverwalk, just off the main drag is a nice place to lie side-by-side on the grassy banks or dangle your feet in the creek. By winter, it’s also a beautiful area as the water gurgles under the ice-over creek. In late January and February, the area is the site of one of our favorite festivals, the Breckenridge International Snow Sculpture Competition in which giant blocks of snow are carved into gravity-defying works of art by sculptors from all over the world. Other events include Ullr Fest, Oktoberfest and the Craft Spirits Festival, another one of our favorites.
Go Au Natural:
Get away by yourselves for some Nordic skiing on groomed cross-country ski trails or snowshoe trails with Breckenridge Nordic Center. With nary a sound around you except a breeze through the trees, the serene beauty is peaceful and impactful. It’s the perfect place to whisper “I love you” and steel a kiss.
As their website so aptly describes, Breckenridge is the kind of place that makes you “feel like a local,” which keeps us returning time after time for adventure, fun, beauty and now, a romantic getaway too.