A Weekend in Vail

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If you didn’t divine it from the incredibly creative title, I spent last weekend in Vail, Colorado, for the wedding of a law school friend to a college friend. While I have gone to many weddings so far this year, this is easily my furthest destination, and the first one I’ve had to fly to (I also fly next weekend to Michigan).

Friday
Way, way before dawn Friday morning (seriously, my alarm went off at 4 AM), I headed to the ATL airport to head west. The only perk of having a 625 departure time is that traffic on the way to the airport isn’t bad at all. It only took about 15 minutes to get there. Packing for this trip was hard, simply because it could rain, the temperature fluctuated daily from 30s to 70s, I had to take fancy clothes, and I refuse to pay to check a bag. I made a really intense packing list, but then I left it at work. Good job, Elizabeth.

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So, flight went well. I drank some horrible coffee, finished The Rise and Fall of Great Powers by Tom Rachman, which I loved, and played around on my iPad. I landed in Denver at about 730 AM, then obviously went for a) coffee and b) friend finding. Amy, Yas, and I were planning on taking the shuttle from Denver to Vail, and it was an easy experience! There were some characters on the van, but again, nothing too bad. Two hours later, we were finally in Vail!

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E, Yas, Amy in front of the creek and Colorado flag.

The wedding we attended was at the Four Seasons in Vail (not too shabby, if I do say so myself), which is located right across the street from Vail Village. My weekend roommate Arly was arriving a little after us, so the three who had arrived went to do a little sightseeing. Vail is such an adorable little village — so self contained, so many cute things to do and see. The village sits at the base of Vail Mountain, which is used for skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking and weddings in the summer. Technically, this time of year is still the offseason (summer season starts in a few weeks), and so town wasn’t super crowded.

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Seriously, isn’t it cute?

After walking around for about an hour and dropping Yas off at the Bridesmaids luncheon, Amy and I headed to meet Arly at Los Amigos for lunch. The food was really good, but I have to admit we were more drawn in by the thought of drinking margaritas outside at the base of a snow-capped mountain. What, it was vacation?!

Following Los Amigos, we headed back to the Four Seasons to do some hot-tubbing and Prosecco-drinking before the rehearsal dinner. After relaxing a bit, we all got dressed and walked across the village to Larkspur, which is where the rehearsal dinner was held. The bride, Courtney, was one of my first friends in law school, and the groom, Johnny, was my classmate at Sewanee (in fact, I saw them at a Sewanee wedding a few weeks ago!), so this was fun to see both adults and peers from several stages of my life.

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Julie, Arly, the Bride!, me, Amy

The rehearsal dinner was delicious — some of the best food I’ve eaten in a while — the toasts were funny and heartfelt, and everyone had a great time! I actually ended up getting peer pressured into speaking about the night that Courtney and Johnny first met, which may have been the least affecting of the speeches, but it is a good story. (They connected at a law school party one random night because Johnny texted me he was bored). We do have  a pic of that momentous occasion, which I obviously posted to social media Saturday morning.

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Arly, me, Court, Silver Fox, Johnny (Courtney looks awesomely the same, I look like an apple-cheeked 12 year old)

After the rehearsal dinner, the party continued back at the hotel before a way-too-late bedtime for this girl. I ended up going to sleep around 230, which was 430 Atlanta time, meaning I was up over 24 hours. No wonder Saturday morning I didn’t feel my best.

Saturday

We didn’t sleep in nearly as much as I would have thought, but I think that’s just par for the course when you get four east coasters who are early risers on a normal day together. Again, our first order of business was coffee, and the second was clearly food, so we got dressed and headed back to the village. I was actually surprised that there weren’t that many breakfast places open, but I guess that’s because it was the off-season? After asking a lovely woman who was handing out granola bars, we ended up at Big Bear Bistro. I ordered an everything bagel sandwich with cheese, egg whites, and bacon. Exactly what I needed then, and something I wouldn’t mind eating right now.

In the weeks leading up to our trip, we talked about doing some sort of outdoor activity on Saturday morning, and since ziplining wasn’t an option (we didn’t think that far out), we decided to take a hike. Most of the ski runs are turned into hiking trails for the summer, and we asked a dude at the gondola which one we should do. He recommended one that was the equivalent of a blue, and it seemed a little more technically challenging that we wanted. We set off on the Gore Valley trail, but a nice man (with a cute pup) told us that the view wasn’t awesome and that we should walk the creek trail to the Alpine Gardens and Vail Nature Center. IMG_4169

It was an absolutely beautiful walk, and he correctly judged our abilities — more than a hike, this was a leisurely stroll. Exactly what we needed. There were tons of little side trails, and I wish that I appreciated gardens more because the Betty Ford Alpine Garden was really neat looking. I just don’t know enough. I do like being able to say that I’ve been to the highest botanical garden in the United States. #yolo

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E and Arly, roommates

After our “strenuous” nature stroll, we decided to head back to the hotel to take advantage of all the amenities. Cue a few hours spent in the hot tub, steam room, sauna, and hot tub. Again, nothing to complain about. We headed back into the Village to grab lunch at Joe’s Famous Deli (grilled chicken panini + chips + more coffee) and then back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

The wedding was meant to start at 5, but it was at the Wedding Deck on top of Vail Mountain. We had to shuttle to the gondola, then ride the gondola to the top of the mountain, then walk to the deck. We had to leave the hotel at 4:15, and I was with two other ladies who also get anxious about being late. Needless to say, we were on the first shuttle and in the first gondola to the top of the mountain. At least we got to admire the scenery?

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Arly, E, Amy

The weather was cool when we left the hotel, but we started to get nervous when the gondoliers mentioned it was freezing at the top of the mountain. I thought they were exaggerating for hyperbolic effect. Spoiler: they were not. The wind was (obviously, if you look at that picture) blowing, and the temperature dropped something like 30 degrees in the thirty minutes we were up there. In fact, shortly before the ceremony started, there was snow! I told some of my law school friends via group text this, and the reply was “pics or it didn’t happen,” so just in case you feel the same way:

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Being cold was (mostly) forgotten when the wedding party made its appearance! Their ceremony was beautiful, and the sun came out just as they said their vows. A picture says 1000 words, so I’ll just leave you with this:

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The wedding reception was back at the Four Seasons, and I have to say, my first thought was not how pretty it was but how warm it was! We had a cocktail hour, followed by dinner. I’m allergic to shellfish, which is heartbreaking (late-in-life allergy), and so that limited my dinner options: the meal started with lobster bisque (nope!), and the meat came with a side of lobster risotto (I wish!), so I was careful about that. No one wants an allergic reaction at a wedding. After dinner, the dancing started, and I wish I knew the name of the band because they were awesome. The rest of the night was spent dancing, drinking, and spending time with friends. Prepare for a barrage of pictures:

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with the gorgeous bride!
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Camp friends represent!
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Yas, the prettiest bridesmaid
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Arly, E, Courtney, Julie

 

Sunday

I’m not going to lie, Sunday morning was rough. I woke up pretty early, played around on my iPad, ate cheddar bunnies, and willed Arly to wake up so we could go venture for breakfast. We walked over to Vail Village, where the farmer’s market was going on, and strolled around looking for coffee/carbs. The market was huge, and I wish that I had been able to shop. Sadly, my suitcase was stuffed to the gills. We ended up back at Joe’s, and I ordered a bomb sandwich – portobello mushrooms, onions, roasted red peppers, scrambled eggs, and cheese on rosemary focaccia. Pretty much a breakfast grilled cheese. No complaints.

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Chilling out max and relaxing all cool

We knew that we had to leave early afternoon for the airport, so Arly and I decided to take advantage of the spa one more time. Back to the steam room and hot tub it was! The weather on Sunday morning was a lot colder than it had been on Saturday, but it was still so nice outside. Being in a place with no humidity is so foreign to me.

After packing and saying goodbye to the bride and groom, Arly and I hit the road around 1. Luckily, we are both nervous about missing flights (mine was at 5:15, hers was scheduled to leave about an hour later), and we left early. There was some sort of blasting zone we had to drive through, which added about 45 minutes to our trip. Oh well, just more time together!

When we got to the airport, Arly had an email that her flight had been delayed three or four hours, so I sadly left her at security and booked it to my gate. Three and a half hours later, I was back in hot and humid Atlanta, exhausted but thrilled that I had such a wonderful weekend.

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