Welcome to this week’s Postcard From – the feature where I chat to some lucky explorer about their recent travels. If you would like to take part please click here for more info.
This week, the Postcard has been brought to you in collaboration with the Breckenridge Tourism Office, who wanted to tell me all about their awesome town! I caught up with local B&B owner Niki to find out more. Andy and Niki Harris moved to Colorado in 2001 having travelled extensively with the British Army, and settled in Breckenridge at the Fireside Inn, Bed & Breakfast to make it their home with their daughter. Their love of the outdoors helped make Breckenridge a great choice.
Hi Niki! Why do you love Breckenridge so much?
The Town has plenty of character with it’s history going back to 1860’s. Lots of independent shops, restaurants and bars make visiting Main Street unique, fun and interesting. And then there are the mountains to hike and bike and admire.
What’s the weather like – and when is the best time to visit?
Winter brings plenty of snow and is a well known holiday destination. However the summers are described as “the best kept secret of the Rockies”. The altitude keeps the days warm and the nights cool so no need for air conditioning. Only the occasional slow flying fly wanders into the Inn but not a mosquito in sight.
Your home is also a Bed and Breakfast – what’s that like?
We made our home in The Fireside Inn which is located in the historic district of Breckenridge and is easy walk to Main Street, various hiking/biking trails and to the Gondola. Built in the 1870’s part of the Inn was a miners cabin, home to the Curtin family. It was extended in the 60’s to incorporate a family home and an antique shop and in the 70’s it was the first Bed & Breakfast in Breckenridge. As a B&B and hostel it has a variety of accommodations from hostel beds to suites with ensuite bathrooms it is a great place for individuals, couples or families. Owing the Fireside Inn has enabled us to live in Breckenridge and bring up our daughter here and enjoy all the wonderful hiking and ski-ing. We love meeting all our guests and it is so wonderful listening to their stories.
What are the best things to do in Breckenridge and the surrounding area?
The Blue River runs through the Town and the recreation path which runs alongside goes all the way to Vail so is a challenging paved trail to take. Tip is that if it all gets too much the free bus service runs all year round and can bring you (and your bike) back to town. Lake Dillon offers all types of boating and is considered very challenging sailing with the cross winds. A scheduled water taxi ride operates in the summer between Frisco and Dillon marinas which will take you and your bike if you have one to visit the Dillon Farmers market which is held on a Friday and enjoy the Tiki bars at the marinas and give your legs a bit of a rest. The gondola ride up to Peak 8 takes you to chair rides for hiking or biking or to enjoy the fun park with the alpine slide, Gold Coaster ride and heaps of other activities.
Breckenridge is a great base for discovering other parts of the Rockies on day trips including Aspen via the stunning Independence Pass and the Rocky Mountain National Park. Hot springs, train rides and white water rafting just to mention a few activities are also short drives away. The wild flowers cover the mountains from mid June and in September and October the “fall” colours are just amazing with the oranges and yellows of the Aspens against the blue sky. There is almost too much to do in the summer as all the towns in Summit County have events not only at the weekends from bike races, running races, art fairs, car rallies, classical and popular concerts, film nights, theatre shows, beer, wine and film festivals, many of which are free. 4th of July brings crowds and Main Street parades and fireworks and plenty of parties!
And what about in the town itself?
If you are not out hiking and biking there are many art galleries and historic tours of houses, ghosts and saloons to enjoy. To pick up some history on Breckenridge the Welcome Centre museum gives you the whole picture including the history of the ski area. Our favourite is the Barney Ford Museum. Located in Victorian style house where Barney lived with his family when he was part owner of a gold mine you can learn the inspiring story of his life.
Do you have any tips for anyone planning a trip to Breckenridge?
There are plenty of opportunities to part with money in Breckenridge but so much can be done for free or low cost. The bus system around town is free, the gondola ride is free, the museums are free and hiking is free just to cover a few!
And finally, where will people find the best food in town?
Breckenridge is home to close to 100 locally owned restaurants, which range from cheap and cheerful to fine dining. Our favourite is probably the Hearthstone housed in a lovely old building and serves just wonderful food. Giampettros is a great pizza and pasta place which is expanding this year (hurrah) and there are many burger, smoothie and bbq places too. The Warming hut is great for a lazy lunch on the outside patio. For our European taste buds we pick up French bread and pastries at the French Patisserie and the Breckenridge Cheese shop has delicious English cheddar and convenient wine shop next door.
For more information about Breckenridge and what’s on in the area, check out the GoBreck Facebook Page. You’ll find a ton of great inspiration for your visit.