Surprised by Vail, and an apology

Lionsgate in Vail.
Lionsgate in Vail, Colorado.

I’m planning to write several posts about our trip to Vail, but I had to start with this one. I’ve lived in Colorado for 14 years, and while I’ve been stuck overnight in Vail due to a pass closure, I had never explored Vail properly until earlier this month. As some of you know, I was in town covering Taste of Vail, an event that should definitely be on your bucket list.

My husband, Ryan, and I stayed for three nights. I think a three night stay in any town is the appropriate amount of time to get a true sense of a place, and I was excited to get to know Vail.

I have to admit (and I’m not proud of this) – I had a few preconceived notions about Vail. Knowing a bit of Vail’s history, I knew that it had been founded as a resort. I also knew that people like Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton skied there. Being a small town girl who has only ever had one French manicure, I was a bit worried about fitting in, but as it turns out, this was a pointless fret.

Ice rink Vail Village.
Ice rink in Vail Village.

Twenty-four hours into our stay I’d chatted with welcoming shop owners, bantered with local bar tenders and even been invited to a house party. On day three, we browsed high end art galleries with $200,000 paintings hanging on the walls and were treated like true art connoisseurs (which we sort of are, even though we can’t afford $200,000 paintings).

This trip smashed my stereotype of Vail as a snooty resort that caters only to the very rich. Vail is actually a friendly place, and while it is pricey to stay and dine here, we quickly discovered that you get what you pay for. Even the bathrooms and lockers at the bottom of the mountain are super nice. You can’t find a bad meal, and it seems that everywhere someone is there to cater to your needs, whether it’s a shuttle driver or a local you meet at an upscale bar who invites you to her house party that evening.

So, I owe Vail an apology. I’m sorry, Vail. You’re a pretty swell place, and we can’t wait to visit again!

Heidi thumbs up in Vail, Colorado.

I’m a reminded of a quote by Mark Twain: “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts.”

Have you ever judged a destination wrongly? Feel free to leave a comment.

Watch for upcoming posts about our

experiences in Vail during Taste of Vail 2014.


  1. Thanks for the inside scoop Heidi. I too have been reluctant to visit both Vail and Aspen so far for the very same reasons. Fret no more! I will add them both to my list, and maybe even get to visit each sometime in 2014.


  2. y’all gotta just love the Mayor for her honesty!!!


  3. I am a colorado native and I havent been to Vail – I have the same preconceived notions about Vail. I will take this review into consideration. It looks beautiful and I would love to visit!


  4. I definitely have a preconceived notion about Vail but will have to give it a second look. Maybe a summer trip is in order. I also felt this way about Rapid City, SD. I thought it would just be a place to stay at night as we explored the surrounding areas but we kind of fell in love with the downtown area and all that Rapid City had to offer.


  5. Thank you for all the comments!

    I travel all over Colorado and I’ve been surprised by a place before, but this trip was a refreshing and much more unexpected surprise. There may be a high end clientele who fly in from Europe, etc., that I probably don’t quite fit in with… 🙂 but for the most part, the Coloradans in Vail are just like the rest of us!

    I have yet to visit Aspen, but I’ve already met a number of locals from there (at conferences, etc), so my stereotype of that town isn’t quite as strong, although I know there’s definitely a celebrity atmosphere there at times.


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