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Breckenridge, Colorado

June 2003

We are going to Breckenridge, Colorado for a family vacation this summer and it seems like a wonderful place, too good to be true from the vacation brochures. Any recommendations of ''great'' restaurants, activities (horse stables & fishing) and places that must be seen? We will be driving from east bay, so we are stopping at Reno, Dinosaur Nat'l Monument, Canyonlands, and Arches, so I would greatly appreciate any recommendations about those places, also (although our stops will be short). Thanks. Kerri

Sounds like a great trip. My sisters live in Breckenridge and I have visited many times. My brother-in-law owns the Great Adventure sporting goods store which is located in a strip mall on your right as you approach the town from the north. They are always helpful for any kind of outdoor, sporting type activity. (I'm not just promoting his business. Chris Hart is Mr. Breckenridge - always knows what is going on in town, and loves to tell people about it). While you are at his place you should have some soup at Mi Zuppa in the same mall. One of the better and cheaper food places. Restaurants in general are overpriced and not great. Look in the local papers for 2-for-one specials. You can take a gondola up to the top of one of the Copper Mtn peaks (in Dillon) and have a fun fondue meal in a German themed restaurant complete with lederhosened wait staff - expensive but different and great for kids. Supposedly the best restaurant in town is a place called something like the Hearthstone. It is very expensive and I don't necessarily agree with my sister's restaurant taste, but if there is some kid of special in the paper it might be worth it.

Things to do - Rent bikes, ride to Frisco (mostly down hill) and take the bus back if you don't want to ride back up. Country Boy mine - interesting tour of an actual gold mine, you can pan for gold at the end and find a tiny nugget. Hike up to the top of one of the Breck resort peaks - lots of wildflowers

There are several dude ranch/ trail riding places in the area. Don't expect them to let you do any real riding even if you are an experienced rider. Stop in at the little museum on Main Street for some historical photos.

Get day passes at the Recreation Center (on Main street at the north end of town) - it makes the Berkeley Y look like a swing set and a plastic wading pool. Fantastic pool with fountains and a large slide. Great classes. Climbing wall. Adults need a license to fish in CO. Most of the rivers and lakes in the area are regulated as catch and release. The are usually fly fishermen in Silverthorne on the Blue River as it runs along the main road through town. Lake Dillon is extremely low after several drought years and many boats are high and dry at the marina.

Many great hikes in the area - ask at Great Adventure. There are some (relatively) easy 14,000 foot peaks to climb south of Breck (My 70 year old father almost made it to the top) near Place Valley - Mt Lincoln is the one I can remember. The main movie theatre is in Dillon. There is an Alpine Slide at Breckenridge in the summer, but slide with caution. It is very easy to injure yourself - serious road rash, sprains, breaks - if you go too fast. I avoid the thing. We went to Dinosaur last year and had a great time. It is spectacular. I would recommend staying at the campground at the junction of the Green and Yampa rivers if you have a car which can make it down the dirt road. The quarry is very interesting, but there is a lot more to the park. Also, kids can get a workbook at the ranger station about the wildlife and habitats of the park. When they turn it in completed (more or less) they get a DInosaur National Monument Junior Ranger patch that is really cool. My 7 year old sewed it to his backpack as soon as we got home.

Along the road from Dinosaur to Grand Junction there are a lot of petroglyph sites - you can get a map/guide at the park. Also, along route 70 between Grand Junction and Breck there are some interesting/fun things to do. There is a great hike up to a spot called Hanging Lake which is a crystal clear lake that seems to hang on the edge of the mountain. There are fish in it, but you can't fish. Worth stopping for. Hope this helps. Laura Turiano Leah