Beaver Creek Village

Last week’s post talked about how I found a last minute Labor Day Deal to Beaver Creek, a ski village next to the town of Avon, CO and only 8 miles away from Vail. Despite living in Denver now going on 5 years, it was my first visit to Beaver Creek. We arrived at our destination, The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. The drive in being relatively smooth with sparse traffic and the occasional brief rain shower to cool things down and give an autumn-like feel to the air. Even some of the trees had began changing colors, which is quite early for this time of year. I attribute this premature phenomenon to the rather hot and dry Summer we have had and are still experiencing. 
Upon pulling up to valet at the Park Hyatt (which was included free in this smashing deal), the attendant welcomed us and advised us that we still had a few hours left to enjoy Beaver Creek’s rendition of Oktoberfest. What an added bonus! My wife and I thought as we surrendered our car to the attendant,grabbed our bags, and gave the gentleman a small tip for his services. My wife waited in the lobby as I checked in at the front desk. The front desk attendant, a nice young lady, found my reservation instantaneously but was trying to assess me the $25 resort fee, contrary to what the travelzoo deal had offered. Thinking ahead of time that this may occur, I pulled out documentation of the offer displaying in print the waived resort fee, with which the attendant happily obliged. My wife and I took the elevator up to the third floor, locating our room with ease. While freshening up and getting ready for the Oktoberfest, I took pictures of the room and of the view for this blog. Nowadays I make sure to do that first as it is a hassle to make the room look presentable later on. 
It was so great to eat German street food! The little village square was littered with booths selling everything from bratwurst to Göstl, a sort of hot salad with potatoes, pork, and cabbage. There were also traditional German pastries of which I cannot recall the names at this time and of course hundreds of people carrying around traditional steins of German and local Colorado beer. For those that don’t know, Colorado is a mecca for great local craft beer!
In the center of the square a covered stage appeared, where traditional German music and dances were being held. Many in the crowd danced to their heart’s content and the general vibe was one of tranquil enjoyment I must say. I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up this Summer season. The most amusing part of the festival for me happened when children competed to make the best sound on the long Swiss horn, called an Alphorn. It surely looked like you needed a lot of wind to make that thing blow! The culminating event of the Oktoberfest involved a performance by the Bon Jovi cover band called Bad Medicine. I am not a cover band aficionado per se, but to me the band played well, sounding and looking eerily like John Bon Jovi. I wonder if they were local or actually toured nationally as a cover band. So all in all the Oktoberfest was a great kick-off to our Beaver Creek Labor Day Weekend festivities. Next time I will discuss our accommodations at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. I leave you with this question to ponder; When and where was a memorable Oktoberfest you spent? 

New York, Baby! Pt.3: The New York Public Library

Front Entrance of the New York Public Library Schwarzman Building between 40 and 42nd St and 5th Avenue

When most people thing of the top tourist spots of New York, they are immediately consumed with images of the Empire State Building, Central Park, Rockefeller Center, Grand Central Terminal and the like. Having a solid three weeks to reflect upon my personal touristic highlights of Manhattan, one particular experience rises above the rest. In the waning hours of my first expedition to the Big Apple, my wife and I paid a visit to an awesome place of learning known as the New York Public Library.

One of two lions guarding the front steps and entrance

What an unbelievable structure! When facing the entrance from the 5th Avenue sidewalk, one instantly notices two larger than life lions guarding both sides of the front steps. The massive building is done in a classical style, resembling a great structure from Ancient Greece or Rome. There were also absolutely ornate ceilings through out the library and rooms decked out with all types of canvas paintings, mostly old portraits by American standards by even a few artists I had heard of before. The library also showcased an original Gutenberg Bible, considered to be the oldest one known of in the New World. Despite being an older structure, the library was light an airy, providing a welcome reprieve from the humid August heat on the busy streets outside.

Main Hall of the library

If the library itself wasn’t enough to impress, a really cool free exhibit lay in wait on the main floor directly past the front entrance. The exhibit, called Lunch Hour, was a tribute to the history of lunch in New York City. It had relics and photos demonstrating street foods such as hot dogs and pretzels, the influence and spread of ethnic foods across the metro, and even the first type of “vending machine” dining that New Yorkers utilized for a quick meal on their lunch breaks. You may not think that a subject like lunch could captivate your interest, but my wife and I spent a good hour or so walking through the exhibit while learning a lot and being thoroughly entertained.

Ethnic Foods become more wide spread for lunch

The vending machine New Yorkers used in the 1st half of the 20th century

This last installment concludes my posts about my initial visit to New York. I must say going there I didn’t know what to expect but upon leaving I couldn’t help but wondering when I would return again. There is so much left to see and experience in the Big Apple. The next time I hope to get farther into Brooklyn as we only made it as far as Dumbo. So I would like to begin gathering ideas about what to do and see for my next visit there. What places or experiences are the most memorable for you regarding your travels to New York? Stay tuned for my next investigation into the Rocky Mountains once more for a little Labor Day Weekend R&R to a town that shall be revealed later.