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Happy fall, everyone! It’s Sarah and Ryan, writing on a rainy September day in Manhattan and dreaming about another one of our favorite places: Vail, Colorado. Vail holds a very special place in our hearts for a variety of reasons. Sarah has skied its powdery slopes hundreds of times during winters past, and she even lived there for a time after college. And most importantly, we got married in Vail over a beautiful September weekend in 2015. But we’re not just here to fondly recall our nuptials, nor to relive Sarah’s glory days on the mountain. We want to tell you about . . . autumn in Vail.

Mountain Men

First, a little background on this luxurious mountain resort town. Vail, like many famous American ski resorts, was founded by the legendary 10th Mountain Division of the US Army, a battle-hardened crew of alpine soldiers who trained near Vail during World War 2 and then fought Nazis in the Alps. After the war, many returned to America and became professional skiers. One such mountain man, Pete Seibert, founded Vail. The brand new resort town opened for its first season in December of 1962 with a gondola, two ski lifts, and a small village at the mountain’s base. The rest, as they say, is history.

Fresh Powder

We’re grateful to Mr. Seibert for seeing the potential of our beloved little town as a winter wonderland, but we wonder: did he also know how glorious Vail could be in the shoulder seasons - particularly September, October and November? Sarah's favorite fall activity is to embark on a hiking excursion on one of the Valley's hundreds of trails to take in the breathtaking autumn colors. It's also worth noting that Vail in the fall is a magical place where the average temperatures get into the 50s/60s/70s during the day, and drop to the 20s and 30s at night. That means that ski season begins before Thanksgiving each year. If you’re a winter sports kind of gal, you might want to skip the family turkey roast this year and venture to a place where the mountains are shimmering white and the skies are cobalt blue. 

Eat Like a Local

If you’re more like Ryan and Apres Skiing is the main reason why you ventured above the treeline in the first place, then head to the Red Lion after your recreational activities. It’s a long-time local spot with exactly the kind of dishes you’ll need after a grueling day on the slopes (or maybe after a relaxing day in the hot tub - no judgment). While there’s no bad time to grab a drink at Red Lion, the establishment truly shines in the evenings, when it features great live music acts singing all the hits (post-Covid, of course).  If you want to drink with locals but aren’t necessarily in the mood to boogie, head to the George (another excellent local watering hole), followed by Sweet Basil  for dinner (try to book in advance) in town. Another option (popular with locals) is to drive 10 minutes to neighboring Minturn and cook your own steaks at the Minturn Country Club - end with a nightcap at the Minturn Saloon, established in 1901 and a favorite for out-of-bound skiers who've just finished the famed "Minturn Mile". You can’t go wrong.

Creekside Luxury

Eventually you’re going to stop skiing, eating, and imbibing, and you’ll need a place to lay your head. We recommend the Grand Hyatt Vail (formerly the Vail Cascade). It’s where we and our guests stayed on our wedding weekend, and we suspect you’ll want to decompress in the heated pool and spa while gazing upon the mountain you just conquered. From the hotel, you can stroll Gore Creek trail, which runs alongside a bubbling mountain creek of the same name, all the way to downtown Vail Village. Or, if you want to get around like a local, hop on the free bus that goes between Lion's Head and Vail Village. It's been a staple since the 1970s!

Draped in Down

Vail Village, modeled after the kind of quaint mountain hamlets you might find in the Alps, is the heart of town, and it’s where you can find a wide array of luxurious shops. Get yourself a toasty-warm Moncler down jacket at Gorsuch, where they’ve provided the latest and greatest in ski and mountain fashion for over 50 years. Accessorize your purchase with a bear pendant necklace from The Golden Bear, a classic Vail jewelry shop that Sarah and her family have come to love over the years. FYI - A yellow gold and turquoise Golden Bear is also the first piece of jewelry Ryan bought for Sarah.

The Bridges of Eagle County

A concluding question: Does your Vail getaway even really count if you don’t have a picture to prove it? To be safe, snap a photo in your chicest mountain outfit at the Covered Bridge, a charming local landmark that runs over Gore Creek. It’s the quintessential Vail Village photo spot.


As you can tell, we’re pretty much in love with Vail, Colorado. But we haven’t even scratched the surface of fun things to do in this gorgeous mountain town. So check it out yourself and make some memories.

While you’re there, you should jam to this playlist we made (best enjoyed above 8,000 ft) and take a look at our special curation of jewels inspired by the west.


Sarah and Ryan


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