Thursday, December 22, 2011

Our kickoff to the holidays vacation to Aspen, Colorado!

 This is a three part blog series.  Please see PART 2 and PART 3 for more of our snowy adventures! 

Our family took a "kickoff to Christmas" mini vacation to Aspen, Colorado, the first weekend of December.  We had an incredible time and the atmosphere there instantly covered us all with the happy holiday spirit.  We had snowball fights, trudged through the new snow, went shopping, ice skating, hot chocolate and fire place stops, and even a sleigh ride!

Shopping is my first love.  I try to be a good person and like other stuff better but shopping always wins.  Lucky me, my super cool husband loves shopping too (Thank you God).  Christmas and window shopping the streets of Aspen is dreamy!

Every gorgeous building, 
every stone street, 
and every corner
was decked for Christmas. 

The buildings in Aspen are
a postcard of history 
and an art canvas for today.

The storefront windows were just stunning.  
I didn't photograph all of them 
but each window created a
dramatic and extravagant holiday scene. 

Inside of this store was an antique safe.  
The sales lady explained the fascinating history of it 
to our family and we were captivated. 

 Little shoppers

As we were shopping 
we spotted some GIANT mountain dogs.  
Huge and intriguing!

We treated our patient little shoppers
to a small bite of sugar in the candy store.

My four boys SURPRISED me 
with a BEFORE (!!!) Christmas gift.
Lucky Mama.

Kotah getting warmed up by a store's fireplace. 

We took a warm winter lunch break 
at cozy Little Annie's Eating house.
We enjoyed hot soup, baskets of popcorn, 
and Shirly Temples for the boys. 

Every table was set with red and white check cloths
and candlesticks. 

Back to shopping!

I also wanted us to visit the renowned Little Nell Hotel for a hot chocolate break in their lounge.  Sooo, we paid over $30 for 3 cups of hot chocolate (crazy big gasp)! Welcome to Aspen.  

It was "special" hot chocolate though.  
The chef adapted the recipe from a restaurant in Vienna, and uses their fine chocolate. 
It is also made with fresh, homemade marshmallows and whip cream.  

Pure Luxury.
Giant mugs,
little sippers

This may have been some of my favorite moments of the vacation.  
We all just relaxed for awhile in the Little Nell's lounge talking and hanging out.

{Thank you Chris for always giving your family forever memories}

We ended our day with ice skating! 

The ice staking rink was absolutely beautiful with the 
twinkling white lights. 
Truly picture perfect. 

But it was sooooo cold!



And we saw a lot of this...



We warmed up to a late night dinner in their burger shack. 

 The next day was for the boys! No more shopping. Santa and his reindeer did a quick touchdown in Basalt during our visit.  The boys lined up with their little lists.  
Cameron had socks on his list for Santa!??!


After whispering their Christmas wishes to the jolly old elf, 
we joined in with the small town community celebration
in Basalt with cookies and festivities. 

There were firepits scattered throughout the park
for people to roast hot dogs and make s'mores. 

 Christmas carols
and mountain Christmas trees...

Back in Aspen, we drove the quiet neighborhoods.  We admired the beautiful homes and their holiday lights.  We noticed a trend there was to light up the homes with spotlights instead of traditional Christmas lights.  Then, the traditional Christmas lights were adoring every tree in the yards instead.  It was so lovely.

On our last night, we gathered together for the annual tree lighting.  Aspen's tree at the Sardy House is rumored to be the biggest living lit Christmas tree.  Over $250,000 was invested in preparing the tree's lights! Umm wow.  The tree has over 100,000 lights that are programmed to change colors, giving us all a spectacular show!

As the small crowd waited for the lights to be lit by a 4 time snowboard Olympian, we sang carols and huddled close.

Santa and Mrs. Claus made an appearance as well!  It really appeared as if he had just touched down in his sleigh as he belted out loudly for all to hear: "ho, ho, ho...Merry Christmas!".

The moments were magical. 

A small choir sang Handel's Messiah and it was breathtaking. 

 At this moment of Handel's Messiah, I actually felt as if I was just thrown right into the scene of a Christmas card perfect movie scene! 

My heart was singing.  

This was THE Holiday Experience!    It was surreal and I will remember it for always.  

I'm thankful of my little family of 5 
who share these experiences with me. 

I encourage YOU to seek out the season's magic.  
Make it.  Find it.  Create it. 
Wherever you are. 

Next year, JUST before the Christmas season hits,
prepare a mini getaway to a place nearby
that will transport your family to live some holiday magic.

This is a three part blog series.  Please see PART 2 and PART 3 for more of our snowy adventures!

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Miller Racing Family said...

What an amazing trip. The lights look so beautiful. The ice skating looks like a blast. I hope your family has a fabulous Christmas.

caveman said...

When did our kids get so big? This truly was an amazing trip to a Christmas dreamland. I can't wait until next year!

Anonymous said...

What a fabulous memory for your boys..It looks magical..
Have a Blessed Christmas..

Jane said...

and a wonderful time was had by all...

What a way to begin the winter season and the Christmas holidays.
Wishing you and your gang the merriest Christmas ever!

b. said...

Loved this post. Everything was sooo magical. I must go there for Christmastime!!! It's officially on the list to do now. Loved the boys hats and I love that picture of them all sipping on their hot chocolate, too cute! I also love the pic of you and Chris... super cute and love your hair like with the side bangs.. LOVE it! I want those mountain dogs by the way. Everything looks so beautiful there.. cant wait to go!!! Looking forward to Part 2. said...

I am beyond jealous! It's GORGEOUS there! WoWOWoW!!!! What an incredible trip! Love those hot chocolate cups!

Here in Pennsylvania we've had unseasonable rainy weather (50 degrees) and no snow :(

You and your family are truly TRULY blessed!

Merry Christmas!!

ShanaM said...

Looked like so much fun! And wonderful photographs!!

Heather Nelsen said...

Hey Lisa! I found you through Somewhat Simple. I love your blog! We have similar blogging styles... let the pictures do the "talking"! :) I love your blog and am glad I found it. I'm a new follower and would love for you to stop by and visit, but totally understand you may not have the time right away! Happy New Year!

Jenn said...

That is a dog? Wow!

Muddaritaville said...

Just confirms my belief that Aspen would be perfect for Christmas!

Dianne said...

Looks like a wonderful family time together. I so love Colorado. We have friends with a house in Basalt and visit often. Thrifting in the Aspen stores was quite an experience last summer. Prices were higher than some department stores! Thanks for sharing. Happy New Year! Dianne

Marlis said...

So many beautiful photos.. Such a fabulous time with family. Happy new Year! xo marlis

Unknown said...

Beautiful photos! You are quite the photographer! Found you from tatertots and jello and am now following this lovely blog-stop over to visit!!

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Unknown said...

This is an interesting article. I always worry about what to wear during my family vacations. I either bring to much or don't bring enough. Me and my sister share cloths so that is always helpful. This winter we are going to Nantucket for Christmas. Since these pictures show a lot of snow I want to make sure to bring enough cloths for every occasion and every weather situation. Thank god we are renting a condo so I will have more closet space for all my clothes. I told my dad to see if it was possible to rent a condo because my sister and I would both have more space for all our accessories. I feel really bad because he was researching Nantucket Summer Rentals on the internet for days just to find a rental. I guess that's the price to pay for when you have 2 daughters.

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Unknown said...

Aspen is really a beautiful place, I remember seeing this place when I was a kid in dumber and dumber. I told to my self that one day I will also go to Aspen. A friend of mine has been to aspen and she told me that the condos there are lovely and romantic. She even compare Marina Bay Residences and the condos in Aspen.