I was thrilled last weekend to finally venture for the first time to a couple of the most popular mountain towns in Colorado; Frisco and Breckenridge. They are located about 70-80 miles west of Denver and it took about an hour and 15 mins to get out there. I went on this trip with my main squeeze, Dylan, and we met with his family later and stayed in their condo for the night. The drive of course was scenic as cascades of water from the snowmelt poured down off the bedrock along the highway. I wish I was able to get a picture of the waterfalls, but they are those blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of moments.
Our first stop was in Frisco. Frisco is a charming town located next to Lake Dillion and it offers a lot of things to do nearby for the outdoor enthusiast both in the summer and the winter. There is a Main Street with bars, restaurants, and shops and things so we headed towards that area. When we got there, the streets were jam-packed with people and we could smell the aroma of smoked meat. As it turned out, there was a BBQ challenge taking place in which over 70 BBQers were competing to win the coveted title of “Grand Champion”. By the time we got there around 2:30pm, most of the popular meats had already been sold out. And no, they weren’t handing out free samples, unfortunately. They did, however, have a very entertaining New Orleans funky jazz band performing, called Rebirth Brass Band, whom I just discovered are 2012 Grammy winners.
This local musician is also worth mentioning; he was playing on a rustic, metal guitar as he used one foot to give a drum beat against a suitcase and the other foot was used to hit a bell and tambourine. And he had a great voice! Super cool and very talented!
After the musical performances, we made sure not to leave without stopping at the Foote’s Rest Sweet Shoppe to get some fine, fresh fudge. We got 3 different combinations of peanut butter and chocolate fudges and each one was melt-in-your mouth delicious!
After we had enough BBQ and fudge, we headed to Keystone, another town nearby, to nest at the condo for the rest of the evening. Dylan asked a local where the happening places were in Keystone, and he said that there were none. Apparently Keystone doesn’t want the reputation for being a party place. So Dylan, his family, and I ended up at quite possibly the only bar in Keystone called The Snake River Saloon. A live cover band was playing the greatest hits of 70’s and 80’s rock bands which made it a fun, lively atmosphere. It turned out to be a great evening filled with Tito’s Vodka and interesting conversation!
The next morning we headed onwards to the old mining town of Breckenridge. “Breck” as the locals call it, is the 2nd most visited city in Colorado following Denver. After visiting there, I can see why. There were a ton of shops, fun restaurants, and gondolas that take you partially up a mountain. This town is a tourist’s dream. There was an interesting festival taking place celebrating past mining history. Called “Kingdom Days”, the city turns upside down to pay tribute to mining, brothels, saloons, explorations, and adventure. Locals participated in Outhouse Races, where they personally made the outhouses themselves, and there was a cowboy host that brought all the dads together in honor of Father’s Day for a game of “Simon Says”.
Somewhere during the hula-hoop competition, I saw people carrying around delicious looking creamy ice cream in wonderfully scented waffle cones. We followed the trail of people and it led us to this ice cream shop called Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House. This was some seriously good ice cream, and I am usually a huge dessert snob. I got a s’mores flavor and Dylan, with his more simple palette, got vanilla.
They also had some gold panning tables set up with sand and water taken straight from Clear Creek (so they said). This turned out to be a lot of fun, and we even found ourselves some gold! Hopefully it will be enough to buy us a new house.
While the festival was fun, I would like to go back again and explore Breckenridge without all the crowds of people. If you are looking for great scenic mountain views, outdoor adventure, and a town that feels like you are truly back in the Old West, Breckenridge is the place for you! Words of advice: Even though Denver is 80 degrees, the climate can be completely different in the mountains. It was in the 40’s and 50’s when we got there and we were totally unprepared and had to stop and buy jackets! But overall, it was an enjoyable, entertaining weekend and I’ve learned what to do and where to explore next time I go!