One of my favorite things about living in Colorado is the amazing weather. We always brag about having 300 days of sunshine every year but it’s also quite amazing how quickly the weather can change from one day to the next and that, my friends, keeps things exciting. I remember texting my Mom a picture of myself in my winter coat with a blizzard in the background last November. The message said something along the lines of, “it was 80 degrees yesterday”.
This weekend Jacob and I experienced something similar when we ventured up to Steamboat Springs to celebrate his 30th birthday. Steamboat (or “the boat” as locals like to call it) is a small-ish mountain town that has the most adorable main street, fun outdoorsy activities and a great restaurant scene.
We headed up mid-morning on Friday to beat traffic and get an early start to the day. We were up there within a few hours and made our first stop outside of town at the Steamboat Golf Club to play nine holes. Funny thing is, we drove by skiers coming down Loveland Ski Area on the way up, but it was nice enough to get out and golf too. Reason number five hundred that I love Colorado. The golf course was a little pricey and neither of us played very well, but it was still so much fun to kick off our vacation outside in the sun.
A Friday Night In
After we finished at the course we made our way to our “home” for the weekend (a condo we rented through Air B&B) and got settled in. Our place was absolutely perfect for what we needed and I would absolutely recommend it and stay there again in the future. It had a full kitchen, a hot tub, an outdoor patio for enjoying morning coffee and the host even left us a bottle of wine (it’s easy to “woo” me).
We had planned on going straight out to dinner but opted for ordering in from Soda Creek Pizza, watching a movie and drinking said wine instead. The pizza we tried was really unique and had elk sausage, mushrooms, red onion, garlic, roasted cashews and mozzarella cheese. It was so nice to not be on a schedule and just relax. Side note: we watched Nocturnal Animals and it was dark but interesting at the same time. Have any of you seen it?
Saturday: Shopping & Strawberry Hot Springs
On Saturday we had a slow morning and woke up to fresh snow! Like actual, accumulated snow on the ground and not just a small dusting. Our plans of doing a hike got scrapped and instead we went for a late breakfast downtown and shopped around for most of the afternoon.
We ate at Winona’s which seems to be a local staple, and for good reason. In addition to a sit-down restaurant they also have an impressive bakery case and apparently their cinnamon rolls have been featured in both Gourmet and Bon Appetit. I think I ordered one of these before the server could even introduce herself and it did not disappoint. We did order some other food in addition to this but no photos were taken because, let’s be honest, this was really the main event.
Thankfully even though the weather was on the cold side, we had enough layers to be comfortable while strolling around town and it was actually kind of refreshing. Mountain air is tough to beat. I really loved the uniqueness of all of the stores on main street and commented several times that every store we visited had a completely different feel and a variety of stuff. Instead of the usual t-shirt and souvenir shops you typically see in touristy mountain towns, these had all sorts of interesting gift-worthy items and really nice clothing. Basically I wanted everything and could have browsed here all day.
When we got tired of shopping, we switched gears, went back to our place to re-group, change and headed up to the Strawberry Park Hot Springs which is a must-visit if you’ve never been. This was actually our second time here, but it’s a really pretty drive up and fun to sit in natural hot springs, in the middle of the woods. I kind of liked going when it was chilly outside too, but this makes it harder to sit outside of the actual pools so we didn’t stay for quite as long this time.
By this point in the day we were both getting hungry so after getting showered and ready to hit the town, we ventured out to find dinner. One of the many cool things about Steamboat is that they have a free bus service that runs around town which is perfect if you plan on having a couple of drinks and don’t want to rely on Lyft or Uber when there’s probably very few drivers in town. Our condo was right near one of the bus stops, so we used that to get to and from dinner which worked great.
Dinner at Salt & Lime
We chose Salt & Lime because we had heard positive reviews, and margaritas sounded good (when don’t they?). Luckily we were able to get right in without a wait and we grabbed seats at the bar per our usual dinner routine.
I have to say, the food and drinks were just excellent here. We both ordered tacos and loved everything, including the warm chips and tomatillo salsa that came out first. My favorite item was the Vegetale taco, which had cauliflower and tempura battered avocado among other things. It reminded me how much I love cauliflower on tacos. The other one I ordered was fish and had slaw and pineapple pico on top. We hung around for a while after finishing our food and really liked the atmosphere too. If I was a local, I think this would be my go-to spot!
Sunday morning we started packing up our stuff and headed out on the early side so we could make it back to town in time for some other plans. We made a quick stop at the Colorado Bagel Company for sandwiches and coffees and then hit the road.
It would have been nice to have one more day to explore and possibly do a hike or check out the mountain because the weather was absolutely gorgeous when we were leaving. Don’t you hate when that happens? Either way, we both really enjoyed our time in Steamboat and agreed that we want to go back sometime soon! Maybe next time we’ll have to make it a 3-night stay.
Have you ever taken a mountain vacation and if so, where did you go and what was your favorite experience while visiting?
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