As a relatively new mom, I’ve come to realize that plans, plus a baby, usually equals a frantic dash to get out the door only to be very late or frazzled upon arrival to said plans. Knowing that set activities can, at times be a source of stress, my only plan this week has been to enjoy the beautiful, summer sunshine. Imagine my surprise when that simple idea opened my eyes to the countless ways to spend a summer day in Steamboat, Colorado.
Before baby, I spent most weekends at the ski mountain, enjoying a little snow, après and taking in a concert, but this past winter kept me mostly indoors with a infant, so when my husband asked me the other day if I wanted to take the baby up the gondola and have lunch with him at the Oasis Grill, I almost fell over – how had I forgotten what fun the mountain can be in the summer? I grabbed our season passes, loaded up the kiddo (complete with sunscreen, hat and sippy cup) and we took our first gondola ride of the summer season. From the top of the gondola and the Thunderhead Deck I could see everything I’d been missing – new bike trails, a completed promenade at the base area, and lots of green mountain trails just waiting to be explored. It was the perfect lunch with the perfect valley view – as we wrapped up our brief afternoon and headed back to the base, I made (tentative) plans to return the next day – this vitamin D thing was proving healthy and fun for all of us, not to mention, the little guy napped like a champ after his gondola adventure.
The promenade at the base area is, in my mind, one of the best things to happen to the mountain. Everywhere I looked, there were kids playing in the water, enjoying the Adventure Zone, and parents and on-lookers enjoying the contagious happiness around them. For me, the highlight of the newly remodeled base area was pretty simple – I could get everywhere I needed to go – with a kid in tow (!) – without any hassle. Free structure parking (meaning, shade for the car), a simple, stroller-friendly route around the base and the creek, and easy (again, read stroller-friendly) access to restaurants and trails. After a quick splash in the water, we headed to Slopeside Grill for a bite to eat. With a seat on the patio, we had a perfect view of bikers coming off the mountain and small groups of kids playing lawn games in the grass. Pretty perfect summer-time lunch spot for all, wouldn’t you say?
Summers in Steamboat are, in a word, amazing. There are so many activities going on – there’s never an opportunity to be board. And while it’s not always easy to make plans (and stick to them) when there’s a baby (or toddler or teenager) calling the shots, I've discovered some of the best days happen when we aren't planning loads of activities. Right now, our days primarily consist of park picnics (did you know we have over 25 parks in Steamboat?) and library visits. I know it’s only a matter of time before I’m hauling gear to the Ice Arena or tubes to the Yampa River in an effort to cool off (and wear out) the kiddo on warm summer days. When he’s a little older I’ll be setting him loose on a mountain trail (whether it be on bike or foot) to explore and camp. You see, the thing I love most about Steamboat is that it’s a family town; it’s a lifestyle where kids of all ages can flourish. No matter what our plans are, whether it be enjoying a BBQ and rodeo on a Friday night, or a Saturday morning bike ride to the Farmers Market, we are bound to run in to families doing exactly what we’re doing – letting go of plans to better enjoy the life and people we love in the place we call home.
-Guest Blogger, Katherine Hamilton