After we were done skiing Vail Mountain for the day, we grabbed hot chocolate (and a cookie for me) at the concierge center then headed back to our hotel. After all, in my opinion, some of the best parts of a ski trip don’t always take place on the slopes.
The Four Seasons Vail has a heavenly outdoor heated pool flanked by a couple of Jacuzzis. I don’t know about you, but there are few things in life I enjoy more than sitting outside in a hot tub while it’s sub-freezing and snowing. And in typical Four Seasons style, there was a server who brought complimentary hot chocolate or other adult beverages upon request to guests in the tub so you didn’t have to get out in the cold. When you were all done, there was a heated locker full of warm towels with which to dry off. I’m not kidding: I could get used to this kind of lifestyle!
There was even a station serving up free maple candy over ice. The kids were going wild over this, and I attempted to sample the candy as well, but unfortunately, the candy-maker was gone by the time I made my way over to the Fireside Lounge—it was probably a good thing as I needed to save space for dinner (priorities, people).
Next up on my apres afternoon was a visit to the spa. If you ever have the good fortune of experiencing a Four Seasons spa, I highly suggest you take it. This was my first Four Seasons spa experience, and hopefully not my last. I arrived early to unwind in the lounge and stayed after to soak in the indoor hot tub, complete with a cold plunge pool beside it. I opted for a 50-minute Swedish massage, and while Swedish generally is a bit too gentle for me, this one was perfect. Nothing feels better than a massage after the soreness sets in from the slopes (particularly when you’re out of ski shape, as I am, and your calves and knees can’t keep up with your excitement to fly down the trail).
After my spa pampering, it was time to get cleaned up for our dinner dates: After years of online friendship, Kara Williams and I were finally to meet in the flesh. This was a pretty big deal, as I feel like we’ve always just missed each other during our travels in the past. Kara is one of those fellow writers I truly admire for her tenacity and work ethic: She runs a successful site, she has a very prolific freelance career (seriously, I’m always opening a random magazine and seeing her byline staring back at me!), and she has a husband and two kids. In my line of work, I’ve often thought it’s a good thing we don’t want kids, as I just couldn’t balance the long 14-hour days in front of a computer—not to mention the instability of this lifestyle and the weeks spent on the road—with a family bigger than SVV and Ella, but Kara manages it all. Superwoman!
And she’s one of those people who is every bit of charming and engaging offline as on. (She’s also really tall!) I’m sure we’ve all had online friends who we thought had the greatest personalities through their sites, only to meet them IRL and find out they’re kind of duds…I know I have! (None of you, of course.)
Luckily, our husbands had a lot to talk about to one another, as we didn’t pause for nearly four hours (plus, they would have required extensive footnotes to have a prayer at keeping up with our conversation).
Kara is a “local” of sorts (she lives a couple hours down the road in Aspen), so she knows all the good spots in town. She had recommended Terra Bistro in the Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa in , so we arrived there a half an hour before our reservation in time to catch the end of “appy hour” (my new favorite ski saying). For me, that meant a (OK, three) mojito-like concocton. For SVV, that meant a couple of pink drinks.
Picking our meal off the Terra Bistro menu was one of the tougher decisions we made all weekend, as there were quite a lot of my favorite foods on there (sweet potato, banana, pumpkin and butternut squash in case you were wondering). In the end, I opted for the sweet potato ravioli, followed by the jerk-spiced cobia, which was a fish I’d never eaten before. Truth be told, I probably would have opted for the apple cider pork chop instead had the cobia not been served over a bed of roasted banana sweet potato puree, with garlic spinach and citrus chili sauce on the side.
And I might have snagged a taste of SVV’s ahi tartare—that’s his staple appetizer; he orders it everywhere we go—as well as his steak.
Our poor husbands have been trained well; they both sat there patiently as we pulled out our camera (Kara) and phone (me) and snapped all of our courses, refraining from digging into the feast until we gave them the “OK.” Welcome to the world of being married to a blogger! (Kara has more photos of our feast. The lighting was a bit too dim for me to get much with the iPhone.)
Being a girl after my own heart, Kara wanted the pumpkin bread budding for dessert, so we shared a plate of it and stole a few bites of her husband’s bittersweet chocolate molten.
We then noticed it was after 11pm, and the restaurant went from being bustling to empty, so we took that as our cue to leave. I could have spent a whole week at Vail with Kara, but I’m glad we got our one night…for now!