our 36 hours: steamboat springs

We got away last weekend. For a whole weekend. Two nights. Two days. No diapers to wash or highchair to clean. I definitely did miss my smiling, running, chatting, comprehending toddler. But I didn't miss wiping up crumbs off the floor. As is always the case with vacation, it was delightful to get away from the day-to-day stuff and just take a deep breath while soaking in new experiences.

The drive to Steamboat Springs from Denver was beautiful. Rolling hills, snow-capped mountains, and rusty old pick-up trucks leading us into the wilderness. The mountain passes were just a bit snowy, and when we arrived in town it was sunny and clear. We checked in at the Mariposa Lodge, which really didn't entail much besides getting our key and putting our stuff down. I easily found champagne flutes in the kitchen and in moments we were drinking prosecco on the back porch.

The Mariposa was slightly less picturesque than the website suggested, but as advertised, the key upside was that it was perfect walking distance to town. On Friday night we made our way to Laundry, a new-ish gastro pub inhabiting an old laundromat. The bar was bustling but the dining room was relatively empty. We assumed it'd fill up later in the evening, but it never did.

The highlight of Laundry was definitely their cocktails. The food was decent, but nothing remarkable. The drinks however, were keepers. I first tried their "daily infusion" which was a basil and blackberry infused bourbon mixed with...something. It was fruity and light without being overpowered by sweetness as too many cocktails are. After that I enjoyed a "Kentucky Fall" which was rye whiskey, cider, and ginger peppercorn syrup. Again, not too sweet and perfectly balanced. Plus it had an extra-large ice cube which gets me every time.


Saturday morning I quickly decided I love the "breakfast" part of "bed and breakfast." At 7:55am I rolled out of bed and moments later I was being handed a cup of coffee and a plate of homemade muffin, asparagus souffle, and fresh fruit. The food was good fuel for a hike at Fish Creek Falls, which we started at 9am. Surprisingly, we were the first car in the parking lot and so the whole way up we had the morning sunshine and snowy views all to ourselves. The hike took just over 3 hours roundtrip and passed two waterfalls. One at the very top. It afforded great views of Steamboat and the surrounding hills. Those aspen trees! So pretty.

We clearly needed to replenish the calories burned on the hike, so upon returning to town we went straight to Winona's to try one of their "world famous" cinnamon rolls. Lucky for us, by that point in the day they were 1/2 off! Score. The cinnamon roll took up an entire dinner plate, and was smothered in sweet, non-cream cheese frosting. Sweet heaven! (We ordered a sandwich too just to make it seem more like lunch, but that was really a waste of money. Just get the cinnamon roll.)

A trip to Steamboat wouldn't be complete without a plunge into the hot springs, so on Saturday afternoon we made our way out to Strawberry Park Hot Springs. There were a few more people there than I would have liked, but I was still able to find some peacefulness in the hot pools of natural water. The setting was beautiful: snowy mountain trees and fresh, crisp, autumn air. The admission of $10 seemed a bit steep to me, but by the time we left I was too relaxed to really care about it.

We got our splurge on for dinner Saturday night and headed to bistro c.v. We ended up downtown a bit early for our reservation, so we decided to grab a beer at the Mahogany Ridge Brewery beforehand. Gosh I wish we hadn't. I never, EVER, don't finish a drink, but I could not bring myself to drink their Alpenglow in its entirety. For their sake I hope I got the dregs of a keg or something. It tasted like a homebrew gone wrong.

Thankfully, bistro c.v. erased all bad memories of that beer. What a meal! Every dish we had was spectacular. We started with a steak tartare and a yellowtail crudo, followed by their grilled romaine salad. The trio of lamb and house made whole wheat pasta with fresh mushrooms did not disappoint as entrees, and we closed things out with decadent cappuccinos. Some of the best food I've had in Colorado.

Sunday morning was another tasty breakfast at the Mariposa and a run through town and along Spring Creek trail before heading back to reality. What a weekend. Thanks, Steamboat Springs! We will definitely be back.