Top Things to do in Vail

I always get a lot of questions asking for recommendations in Vail. To make it easy for you (and for me) I’ve compiled a list of some of my Vail musts. Don’t agree or have others you think should be on the list? Message me! I’d love your input!

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Mountain Standard

Restaurants:

  • Mountain Standard

  • Sweet Basil

  • Matsuhisa

  • Bully Ranch

  • Fall Line

  • Ludwigs

  • Big Bear

  • Los Amingos

  • Elways

  • Minturn Country Club

Bars:

  • The George

  • King’s Club (if you’re feeling bougie)

  • Shakedown

  • Minturn Saloon

Garfinkles

Après:

  • Garfinkles

  • Red Lion

  • Vendettas

  • Pepis

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Booth Falls

Hikes:

  • Booth Falls

  • Piney River Falls

  • Berrypicker Trail

  • Lost Lake

  • Deluge Lake

  • Beaver Lake

  • Turquoise Lake

Other Activities:

  • Snowmobiling

  • Sage Outdoor Adventures

  • Turtle Tubing

  • Shopping in Vail Village

  • Minturn Mile

  • Farmers Market

New Zealand Honeymoon

When Drew and I started planning out honeymoon we knew that we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been. We wanted to go somewhere that would have the perfect combination of beach, relaxation, romance, and adventure. Bora Bora was top of mind (until we realized a hamburger is about $100 there) and so was New Zealand. New Zealand hit all the check marks for us! We wouldn’t get bored laying by a beach every day for a week and we’d be able to do wine tastings, hikes, beaches, and explore a completely new place!

Our Itinerary

First Stop: Auckland

My recommendation if you’re going to New Zealand is to only do one day in Auckland. We spent two nights there and, in retrospect, would have only done one and then continued on to our next stop. It’s not a bad place at all, it’s just not the “pure New Zealand” we were looking for.

Auckland Recommendations:

  • One Tree Hill

  • Mount Eden

  • Britomart

Second Stop: Waiheke Island

Waiheke Island is just a 45 minute ferry ride from Auckland is known for it’s beautiful beaches and vineyards. You can also do a day trip ferry here and just go wine tasting but I would recommend going for at least two nights, if not three! We stayed at the cutest hotel called The Boatshed. It overlooked the water and the owners were so nice and accommodating! They have a chef who makes delicious breakfasts every morning and for an additional cost, you can also have dinner there, which I highly recommend! We did one beach day and one day wine tasting. It is such a quaint island and the little one street town has delicious restaurants as well!

Waiheke Recommendations:

  • Lodging: The Boatshed

  • Vineyards:

    • Man O’ War Vineyard

    • Mudbrick Vineyard

    • Stonyridge Vineyard

    • Cable Bay

  • Restaurants:

    • The Oyster Inn

    • Fenice Italian

    • Private dinner at Boatshed

Third Stop: Nelson

Nelson is a small city on the northern most point of the southern island. It is known for Abel Tasman National Park, which is not to be missed! We stayed at Te Koi Lodge, which a luxury lodge about 45 minutes from Abel Tasman. There are not a ton of nice hotels close to the park, so I highly recommend this lodge, it is truly a destination in itself! We had ended up doing dinner at the lodge every night, since the owner is a professionally trained chef and would cook mouth watering meals every night for the guests. If you can, I would recommend doing two days at the Park, one for a day hike on the Coastal Track, and one to do a kayaking / boat day.

Nelson Recommendations:

  • Lodging: Te Koi - Lodge at Bronte

  • Activities: Abel Tasman National Park

    • Do a day hike of the Abel Tasman Coastal Track

    • Kayaking excursion through Wilson’s

  • Dining:

    • Private dinners at Te Koi

Fourth Stop: Queenstown

Queenstown is the wow factor from the moment you fly in. The actual city is pretty small and it is all centered around Lake Wakatipu. However, it may be small, but it is even more mighty! There is SO much to do here, it is called the adventure capital of the world for a reason! We stayed at the Azur Lodge, which is easily the nicest place I’ve ever stayed. We did not want to leave the room, it was so beautiful! We did 4 days in Queenstown and did everything from paragliding, souvenir shopping, the shotover jet (you have to google video this!), to a taking a helicopter to a glacier. It was incredible!

Queenstown Recommendations:

  • Lodging: Azur Lodge

  • Activities:

    • Paragliding

    • Skyline Queenstown & Luge

    • Shotover Jet

    • Bungee Jumping

    • Over the Top helicopter ride to glacier

    • Onsen Hot Pools

    • Day Trip to Lake Wanaka

  • Dining:

    • @Thai

    • Fergburger

    • Fishbone Bar & Grill

Fifth Stop: Milford Sound

We ended our honeymoon with the Mildford Track. I have had a lot of people ask me what the highlight of our honeymoon was and it really all was spectacular, but Drew and I agree that the Milford Track was the most special. The Milford Track is one of the great walks in New Zealand and Mildford Sound is referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. We used a company called Ultimate Hikes, which leads a group on this 5 day, 4 night trek, which is 33.5 miles total. It was so interesting meeting the other people in the group, who were from all over the world, and having this unique opportunity to talk to people whom you would never otherwise get to. To give you an idea, I was singing karaoke with a group of 11 Malaysians by the end! I would describe this trek as “glamping”. The company we used cooks all of your meals and each night you end at a lodge with a private room, shower, electricity, and, naturally, a bar! The trek itself is not overly hard, so do not let the 33.5 miles scare you away. The first and last day do not have any hiking and the middle three days are 10-13 miles each, most of which is flat, other than the 3rd day. This trek does take up a good part of the trip, especially if you are pressed for time, but I cannot recommend it enough! It is one of the most amazing things I have done in my life!

Our Wedding

September 1st, 2018 will forever be the best day of my life. It was the day that I got to marry my best friend in our favorite place. We had a wedding of 170 people at the place where I grew up going, Devil’s Thumb Ranch. Within 48 hours of being engaged, we had our date locked in. Labor Day weekend 2018.

I cannot even begin to put into words how special our wedding day and the entire weekend was. I felt a love I never even knew possible when I saw Drew for the first time on our wedding day. He is someone who makes me feel my most comfortable self and when he is not around, I feel like a piece of me is missing. He is my person and my rock. The feeling of having all of our family and friends in one place and knowing they are all there for us was extremely humbling.

It was amazing to see our wedding come to life after all of the hard work and planning we put into it. I would be lying if I said I was never stressed or overwhelmed during our 9 month engagement. There are ups and down but my best advice is to never lose sight of what the wedding and marriage truly means.

My goal was to create a rustic, yet elegant mountain wedding. My color palette was green and white, with soft shades of lavender and dusty rose mixed in. I wanted person touches like walking down the aisle to Elvis Presley’s “I Can’t Help Falling in Love” and wearing my aunt’s diamond earrings and bracelet. Drew’s Uncle married us, which was so special and personal and my grandmother gave a beautiful blessing during our ceremony.

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Vendors:

Level Smart Glasses - Time to See the Future!

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What happens when you combine fitness, philanthropy, fashion, and your glasses? Something spectacular! Level smart glasses are the answer to all of the above! VSP Global has created this amazing new line of glasses that does everything from tracking your steps (say goodbye to your Fitbit!), counting your calories burned, and keeping track of the distance you’ve walked throughout the day.

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I had the amazing opportunity to collaborate with VSP Global to try out this new eyewear line and yes, I am wearing them as I type. First I went and had an eye exam. I am not ashamed to admit that I have not had an eye exam since elementary school. I’ve always had perfect vision (insert hair flip here) so glasses were never something I had to worry about. However, I was always a little jealous of my friends who wear them because they have become so cute over the years and are really more like an accessory now. And yes, I do think they make people look smarter J So when VSP Global reached out to me and told me about these new Level smart glasses, I was immediately intrigued.

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I used to wear a step tracker on my wrist, but it became annoying and let’s be honest, they are not stylish at all. I loved the idea that I could wear cute glasses and still count my steps throughout the day. So I went into the eye doctor, and while my vision is still 20/20, they saw that I have a slight astigmatism that is likely a result of the strain my eyes go through from staring at a computer all day and then my phone all night. The doctor at Vision Care Specialists prescribed computer lenses for me, which reduce the strain on my eyes and the help eliminate the blue light that comes from these devices. Waiting for my new Level smart glasses to arrive after they ordered my prescription was like waiting for Christmas morning, I was so anxious and excited!

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So finally, the moment of truth… they arrived! Even the people at the eye doctor’s office were excited! Everyone wanted to experience and be a part of these new technologically advanced glasses! I was amazed by how light they are and how comfortably they fit. Plus, they are so cute and come in a number of different shapes and colors! They charge easily on the side of the glasses and everything is app-based. Once you have them on, they are automatically tracking your steps, calories, and active time. It is so easy!

The best part? You can set step goals through the app and each time you meet those goals, you earn points redeemable for the donation of eye care and eyewear to someone in need through VSP’s Eyes of Hope program. I am a huge fan of fashion for a cause, so when I learned this, I was even more floored! These glasses are incredible! Did you know that more than two billion people worldwide lack access to proper eye care? It is easy to forget how fortunate we are and how little things, like the simplicity of having glasses or contacts, are second nature to us. But to someone else, glasses can be life-changing! You can even choose if you’d like your donation to benefit veterans, children, seniors, or individuals experiencing homelessness.

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So my review? Highly recommend! Even if you are someone, like me, who has never worn glasses and does not think you need them—you might! Definitely go in for your annual eye exam. I have noticed such great results with my new computer lenses. My eyes feel much less strained, no more headaches, and I am able to better focus throughout the day. The app is extremely easy to use and the charitable aspect is next level (pun intended).

Level is available in select U.S. markets right now—including Denver—so visit the website to find a VSP network doctor in your area who carries Level smart glasses and start tracking your fitness goals in just the blink of an eye (yes, more pun).

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