December 9th, 2016 was definitely one for the books, but I’m already getting ahead of myself!
Our morning routine stayed the same our last morning in Denver and we got our usual complimentary breakfast at the hotel. When we had explored 16th street the last two days, we noticed a bunch of souvenir shops and we decided to head back to 16th street so that we can bring home presents to our families from our trip. After we found presents for everyone in our family, we headed towards the Convention Center because there is a HUGE blue bear that every tourist takes a picture with and I just had to do the same!
I’m not quite sure why there is a huge blue bear peeking into the Convention Center in Denver (maybe I should do some research on it) but it definitely catches everyones attention!
After seeing the big blue bear, we walked down 15th street in Downtown Denver then headed back up to the hotel to start packing for the mountains! We were so excited to get to the mountains that we checked-out an hour earlier than planned and headed for lunch in Lakewood, CO (which is west of Denver). We found another hole-in-the-wall place in Lakewood called Cafe Jordano. Cafe Jordano was actually an italian restaurant that is family-owned and located in a strip mall near a Safeway. Upon arrival, I didn’t know what to expect, given that it was located in a strip mall, but boy were we delighted with our food! I believe our food at Cafe Jordano was the cheapest meal we had in Colorado and it tasted SO amazing! Their staff was just as amazing as their food and we highly recommend this eatery!
After stuffing our selves with amazing italian food, we were back on the road to Dillon, CO where our resort in Keystone awaited us. After we were on the road for about 45 minutes, we were already surrounded by mountains. Big, beautiful mountains! And snow! Everywhere! As we got closer to Dillon, CO, we saw little towns in the middle of these mountains that reminded me of those snow globes that had little villages in them! They looked like something out of a Hallmark movie! When we finally arrived in Dillon, CO and approached our resort, we were in awe of our surroundings! We had never seen so much snow in our lives!
Since we left our hotel in Denver earlier than planned, we arrived at the Keystone Lodge and Spa early. I didn’t want to pay for another early check-in fee so I had planned for us to stop at the Keystone Sports Mountain House to pick up our ski equipment for the next day. We actually rented our equipment through Keystone’s website where I found a link to RentSkis.com. It was quick and easy to rent ski’s through the internet because all I had to do was enter our skill level, weight, and height, and they would have our ski equipment ready for us to pick-up when we needed it. What I thought was great was that we were able to pick-up our ski equipment the day before just as long as it was after 3 pm, for no extra cost. I planned for us to do just that because I didn’t want to have to rush the morning of our ski lessons to grab our ski equipment prior to ski school. After picking up our ski equipment, we headed back to our resort because it was finally time to check-in.
Keystone Lodge and Spa employees greeted us with warm smiles and even had a heated entrance where you unload the cars so you don’t freeze while unloading your baggage. Keystone staff also offered to keep our ski equipment in their ski storage specifically for resort guests – which was great! Thankfully Keystone Lodge and Spa had complimentary valet parking so we didn’t have to worry about going to find parking in the crowded Keystone parking lots after checking-in. Our hotel room at Keystone Lodge and Spa had cabin-like furniture and had an amazing view of the mountains from our balcony!
We planned to have dinner that night at Aplenglow Stube, an AAA four-diamond restaurant, atop a mountain in Keystone and only had an hour to rest before going to dinner. To get to Alpenglow Stube, we utilized the free shuttle that stopped at our resort entrance and rode it into River Run Village. Keystone is full of villages that you can visit and their complimentary shuttles stop at these locations so it makes it very easy to get around and enjoy everything that Keystone has to offer. While on the shuttle, we were met with numerous skiers and snowboarders that were finished with their runs on the mountains and heading back to their hotels/resorts/cabins for rest. We arrived to River Run Village within 10 minutes and followed the signs to the River Run Gondola. Part of the excitement of dining at Alpenglow Stube, is that you ride a gondola to the very top of the mountain where the restaurant is so you get to enjoy a beautiful scenic ride on your way to the restaurant.
Now this is where my favorite part of the ENTIRE trip occurs!
We approach the lines to the gondola and get to skip in front of all the skiers and snowboarders waiting to get onto the lifts since we have a reservation to Alpenglow Stube. We sit down inside the gondola and start our adventure up the mountain. Now the only downside about the gondolas is that there is no heating. Thankfully, they at least provide you with some blankets to keep warm but I’m naturally cold majority of the time so I needed extra heating and tried to sit next to Jesus to keep warm. BUT, he wouldn’t sit next to me! He kept trying to sit across from me and I was wondering WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?!?! Turns out, he was trying to make enough distance between us (by sitting across from me) so that he could kneel down on one knee and propose to me but ya know, I kinda ruined that for him. Anyways, he thankfully proceeded with his plan and took out the ring box and opened it. Honestly, I can’t recall what was said at that point. All I can remember is that as he showed me the ring, and he said, “I have a surprise for you…” And all I can recall was yelling “Yes!!!!!!!!” in return and quickly grabbing the ring and placing it on my finger. Y’all believe me when I say, I could not stop smiling! I was in heaven and so elated! Then I thought, omg, he never asked THE question. So I turned and told him, “You never asked THE question!” and he goes “Well you already said ‘Yes,’ I didn’t think I had to ask the question.” Long-story-short, I made him ask the question in which I responded with “Duh!” The entire ride up the mountain, I didn’t pay attention to the fact that we were hanging in a gondola on a wired rope, scaling up a mountain, and how deathly I am afraid of heights, because I had this beautiful engagement ring on my finger and this amazing handsome fiancé at my side!
When we arrived at the top of the mountain, we walked to Alpenglow Stube where we were greeted with warm air and someone to check our coats in. They offered to give us slippers, yes, slippers! Apparently they offer you slippers to wear while you’re at the restaurant so that you can be as completely relaxed as possible while dining but I wasn’t prepared for that, as I wore shin-high socks on the outside of my pants (that were covered by my snow boots) and didn’t want to look like an oddly dressed person, so I kindly declined.
We waited about 15 minutes until our table was ready and we were promptly greeted with our server. Our server at Alpenglow Stube was great and I hate to say it, but our food at Aplenglow Stube was okay. I really wanted to love the food at Alpenglow Stube since it is SO expensive, but the entire time I couldn’t help but think, Five Sixty in Dallas, has WAY better food than here and it doesn’t even cost as much. The food wasn’t nasty by any means, it was just okay-tasting food. For the cost of the food at Alpenglow Stube, I expected to be blown away by it.
While the experience of dining at Alpenglow Stube was great, I personally don’t think we will be back to Alpenglow Stube. When we come back to Keystone, I think we will probably try another signature dining location that they have to offer. After having dinner at Alpenglow Stube, we were exhausted and full, so we headed back to the resort to call it a night!
There’s still more to come with our trip from Colorado! Please feel free to leave any comments or feedback!