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Steamboat Springs Side Trip

August 19, 2013

My family’s recent visit overlapped with a work trip I had scheduled in gorgeous Steamboat Spring, Colorado. Always one to mix work and play, I invited my parents to tag along with me and enjoy one of my favorite ski towns. Most of my time was spent in meetings, but I did squeeze in some fun with them between hours in the conference room.

My meeting didn’t start until noon on the day of our arrival, so we took off early in hopes of squeezing in a quick hike beforehand. The drive from Edwards to Steamboat is about an hour and a half, and (I know I say this a lot) it’s one of my favorite scenic drives in Colorado. I loved showing this beautiful part of the state to my parents on our way up.

En Route to Steamboat

We got there with just enough time to take a mini-hike to Fish Creek Falls.

Fish Creek Falls Steamboat

Fish Creek Falls is one of the most popular attractions in Steamboat and one I had never seen before. It’s only a couple of miles outside of downtown, and it’s a recreation area with paved pathways to a gorgeous waterfall, parking and even restrooms.

Fish Creek Falls Trails

It only takes about 15 minutes to walk from the upper lot to the falls. From there, there are several trails – some paved and some not – on which you can branch out to explore the surrounding area. Not wanting to get dirty and sweaty before my meeting, we stuck to the paved area. It was definitely more crowded than a typical hiking trail but beautiful nonetheless.

Fish Creek Falls path

First we ambled up to the falls overlook to take in the view from above.

Fishcreek Falls Steamboat

Fish Creek Falls Steamboat

After walking around, hanging by the falls and snapping plenty of pictures, we made our way back to the hotel so that I could get to work and my parents could get to exploring.

Fish Creek Falls Steamboat

Fish Creek Falls Steamboat

After a seemingly never-ending meeting (I think the knowledge that my folks were out having fun made it seem much longer than it was), I was free to meet back up with my parents for dinner. We were turned away from our first-choice restaurant, Cafe Diva, because we hadn’t made reservations, so we headed downtown to Mambo Italiano. One of my friends is a Steamboat native and she recommended this restaurant for the food and the atmosphere. It delivered on both counts.

Too early to sit down for dinner, and still lacking reservations, we snagged three stools at the bar and got so comfortable there that we stayed for hours. It was damp and too cold to sit outside, but the bar had a massive open window overlooking the patio, so we got that indoor-outdoor vibe while staying warm. My mom and I both enjoyed a Vitiano red blend from Italy while my dad sipped a beer. Eventually we ordered a couple of appetizers that we scarfed down: a flavorful bowl of garlicky mussels and a massive order of calamari. I especially loved the fried banana peppers mixed in with the calamari. They brought a unique zing to the dish.

I also ate one of the BEST salads I’ve ever had. It’s like the folks at Mambo went into my brain, figured out my ideal salad and then served it to me. The Insalata Beet and Avocado had raddichio, spinach, goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts (so unique!) and a citrus vinaigrette along with plenty of beets and ripe avocado. I can’t wait to recreate this salad at home.

Mambo Italiano salad

For dinner we split an order of Spaghetti & Meatballs along with a “New Principessa” brick oven pizza. I can’t even tell you how long it’s been since I ate spaghetti and meatballs, and I was blown away by their simple goodness. The pizza was topped with veggies, mozzarella, arugula, prosciutto and truffle oil. There were so many mouthwatering options on the menu that we had a hard time narrowing it down. I’d love to go back for a few of the dishes we passed on.

The next morning, it was back to the boardroom for me. My parents took the gondola to the top of Steamboat mountain and had a relaxing afternoon up there. I was more than a little jealous.  Afterward, we met up and headed toward home, stopping for a fantastic dinner along the way that I can’t wait to tell you about.

Other fun things to do in Steamboat include…

Cycling – mountain biker or roadie, there are tons of great rides there for you.

A dip in Strawberry Park Hot Springs.  It’s a natural hot springs that’s the best I’ve ever visited.  Please note that it’s clothing-optional after dark to avoid awkward family vacation time.

Wandering around the adorable, old-western style downtown.

Skiing.  File this one under “duh,” but it’s a pretty great mountain.

Dinner and drinks at Mahogany Ridge Brewery, my usual go-to restaurant.  I was disappointed that we didn’t have an extra night to go there.

Floating the Yampa River during the summer.

Have you ever been to Steamboat? What do you like to do there?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2013 12:01 pm

    Wow- the pictures are just stunning! And I love your dress 🙂

    • August 19, 2013 12:11 pm

      Thank you so much! Steamboat is pretty darn photogenic! I get more compliments on that dress than just about anything I own, and it cost me about $20 last year at Costco. I love a good bargain!

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