DAY 3 — I spent all day in the kitchen—on vacation.
But maybe because it was my choice and maybe because it’s a spectacular kitchen at a Portico Club house overlooking the mountains in Snowmass, CO, I didn’t mind a bit.
In fact, because the kitchen was so well equipped—and the house so spacious—we decided to host a barbeque for folks we know who live here and who always are hosting us when we visit.
Increasingly cooking is part of the equation on a family vacation. It’s more relaxing than going out for every meal. And kids—whether they are eight, 18 or 28—often like to help cook.
I had my sister-in-law to help before my two daughters arrived just ahead of the dinner guests and we cooked up a storm—marinated flank steak and chicken, grill-roasted fingerling potatoes, green beans, a green salad and a quinoa salad. Desert was a stand out too—brownies, fresh berries and white chocolate sauce.
We had thought about going out to lunch but decided we were far too comfortable to drive down the hill. And since it’s vacation, you should be able to do what you like—whether go on a hike in the mountains, take an afternoon nap or cook all day.
The party was a big success. The next morning, we cooked up another big breakfast and headed off on a hike. But as is usually the case, things didn’t work out exactly as planned. We headed East of Aspen to the Grizzly Lake Trailhead but the last six miles of dirt road was so rough we decided we needed a plan B. First we went on a nature walk beside a beautiful river. Then we headed down the road to another trail head called The Grotto, where we hiked first to an ice cave (it’s covered with ice in winter) and then to a rushing river waterfall. These are great hikes with kids because they were short, exciting and there were plenty of rocks to climb on and water to pitch stones into.
We sprawled on a rock in the sunshine and ate the lunch we’d packed—salami and cheese, hummus, snap peas and carrots and some of the left over brownies from last night’s dinner.
Nice! On our way back, we stopped at ACES, the Aspen Environmental Studies Center, to say hello to the resident Golden Eagle (rescued 32 years ago) and catch up on all the programs that are offered—everything from guided hikes to ones that include lunch or dinner at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. Daily Free hikes on top of Aspen Mountain at Snowmass and the Maroon Bells , drop in class for visiting kids, to family tours of the Rock Bottom Ranch Farm.
We’re back at “our house” at least for a few more days enjoying the views.
Left overs for dinner!