6 Ultimate Tips for Your Colorado Vacation

The number of families that are choosing a Colorado vacation destination is on the rise.  According to the Denver Business Journal, Colorado saw 82.4 million tourists in 2016 alone.  The landscape of Colorado, from its vast plains to its mile(s)-high mountains, seems to offer a little bit of pleasure to everyone. 

Why a Colorado Vacation?

People are choosing a Colorado vacation for a myriad of reasons.  They flock to Breckenridge and Aspen in the Winter for a little bit of skiing.  Explore the cliff dwellings of Manitou in the Spring and Summer, or camp in the Rocky Mountains.  If an all outdoors Colorado vacation isn’t your thing, Denver offers world-class museums, cuisine, and shopping.  

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Winter Hiking Must-Haves Mom Needs this Year

Winter hiking gives one the chance to view nature from a different perspective.  Hiking in the Spring and Summer is nice- depending on where you’re visiting.  However, views change dramatically in the Winter, whether there is snow on the ground or not.  Since trees are bare, the distance and depth that you can see offer a new landscape to a favorite and well-traveled trail. Read more

Victor and Cripple Creek, Colorado

Another little gem we stumbled on in Colorado.  Cripple Creek is an old mining town, and happens to be where the Root Beer Float was created.  The drive to the town is gorgeous, and once you get there, it’s like time has stopped.  It’s like you’re back in an old mining town, with plenty of food, gambling, and alcohol.  There may be little hotels as opposed to brothels, now, but it definitely has the feel of the old mining town.

Cripple Creek, Colorado

There’s a reason this little booming town feels like a scene out of a western is because it pretty much is.  Next to Cripple Creek is the even smaller town of Victor.  Here, you can find the Cripple Creek and Victor Mine site, right next to an active mine.  What do they mine?  Gold!

Strolling the trails through the abandoned Cripple Creek & Victor Mine, while witnessing trucks go by just over the hill at the active mine site was interesting.  Looking one way, story boards and the remains of mining equipment from 75 to 100 years ago tell of the history of the area.

Then, looking the other direction, you see dump trucks on the side of a mountain, and hear other machinery doing this….

Back in the day, miners used to live at the mine site.  I snapped this through one of the windows (that are now covered with wire fencing to keep people out.

At one point along the trail – of which seemed to go on and on, but we didn’t notice until we started going back up hill– you can see Pike’s Peak in the distance.  Unfortunately, clouds were rolling in, and it’s hiding behind the big cloud on the left.

All over the place, the fencing warned us where the line was between active mine site and historical site.

For a couple who watch “Gold Rush” religiously every Friday night, the Cripple Creek & Victor Gold Mine was a great find.  It also checked off my requirement of exploring a ghost town while out there!  For more information, and for trail maps of the area, check out VictorColorado.com!

More Colorado Posts:
Colorado’s Western Slope
Rocky Mountain National Park

Tips & Snaps from EPCOT International Food and Wine Festival | Disney

EPCOT's International Food and Wine Festival at Disney

Scott and I celebrated our last day of being Disney Annual Passholders at EPCOT.  Coincidentally, this was also our first 3rd anniversary.  Since we did the legal side of the paperwork 10 days before our wedding, we technically have two anniversaries.  Usually we only celebrate the wedding anniversary, but sometimes it works out in my favor to celebrate the other as well.

Tip One | Go at night, during the week.

It’s Florida, and even though Fall is upon most of the country, it’s still hot and sweaty down here.  We went on a Sunday afternoon when it was hot and crowded- by the time we made it half way around the world, we were both ready to go.  The evenings are starting to cool off though, and I suspect it would be a little less crowded during the week.

Tip Two | Get a Food & Wine Passport.

There’s a festival center, and just about every souvenir kiosk in EPCOT has these for free.  The passport lists all of the different food and drink available at every country/ stop.  Just be sure to bring something to check off the list- no free pencils at Disney.  It’s handy to mark where you been, and take a look to map out a plan.
Street performers in France at EPCOT

Tip 3 | Skip the food and beverage entitlements.

Admittedly, Scott and I didn’t know this even existed, but you can purchase 8 food or beverage entitlements for $59 per person, or 16 for $109.  Neither of us were very hungry since it was so hot, and we weren’t looking to spend a ton of money.  We didn’t not try something because of the price, though.  We wandered through, checking out menus and bought whatever we wanted.  Usually if we got food, we split it.  If it was drinks, we each had our own.  Our total cost, including swinging into Starbucks when we were leaving, was around $56 for the day.  For us both.  We enjoyed what we ate and drank, but didn’t find the need to purchase things just because we had the entitlements.

Tip 4 | Start backwards.  

We always go counter clockwise around the world.  As such, our first stop was at the Caribbean Islands.  It seems that the counter clockwise focused more on drink and dessert, which is right up our alley.  As such, I enjoyed the best mojito I’d ever had.  The fact that it was frozen made it extra good in the heat.
Frozen Mojito in the Caribbean Islands at EPCOT

Tip 5 | Try the non-alcoholic specialties.

The Ireland kiosk was by far our favorite.  We wanted to eat and drink everything.  We settled with a Honey Wine for him, a nonalcoholic Frozen Pumpkin Chai milkshake for me, then a lava cake for us to share.  It was all delicious, and while I didn’t get a straw with my milk shake, it took approximately 3 minutes for it to melt anyway.
Pumpkin Chai Milkshake, Honey wine, and Chocolate lava cake at the Ireland kiosk in EPCOT

Tip 6 | Rotate between beer, wine, and sake.

This one comes courtesy of my husband. The size of the drinks offered during the Wine & Food Festival are rather small- 4 oz for the wine above.  He had a Moosehead lager in Canada (6oz), a grapefruit beer in Germany (normal size, because it wasn’t a special F&W thing), a “Pineapple Breeze” sake in Japan (4-6oz), then finally a Moscato (6oz) in Brazil. The moscato (we both had, and it was delicious) was accompanied by some cheese bread to get something a little more than the lava cake in our systems!

Tip 7 | A picture with Belle makes your niece’s day.

While we were sipping moscato, I noticed Belle was out near France signing autographs and taking pictures with small children.  Then she was gone.  But she was going to be back in 30 minutes, so we managed to stick around long enough for me to get this little gem.  I look like sweaty hell, but I got reports that my little niece in Maine had to run around with her mom’s phone showing everyone that “her Dorrie was with Belle.”
Belle at EPCOT