My best friend Malia and I began brainstorming places to go about a month ahead of time because we just happened to be planners down to the last detail. We came up with the perfect destination that was close enough for all of our friends to join us but far enough away to be a weekend getaway. That destination was Steamboat.
Steamboat is a three hour drive from Denver in the summer. It's billed itself as Ski town, USA but also prides itself on its being a cowboy town. It just so happened that the weekend of Chad' s birthday was also the Hot Air Balloon and Art Festival. Unfortunately, this meant that most of the cheaper places in town were booked up. So after some research I booked a condo at The Pines from The Lodging Company. There weren't a lot of dog friendly options that were available (of course we had to bring Bebe) and this one was advertised as having dog friendly condos. Buyer beware though, if you are going to bring your dog, don't try and be sneaky and NOT tell them you have a dog to avoid the fee or else you will end up in a condo that doesn't allow dogs like we did and end up sneaking yours around all weekend long. Luckily we weren't caught and evicted. Lesson learned!
Chad had no idea what he was in store for. He came home to the house on Friday after work where he was met by Jason and I who told him we were going out to dinner. Once we started heading on I70 West though he knew something was up and then it was just process of elimination to where we were going until we reached the point where it was either Kremmling or Steamboat...and nothing is in Kremmling so naturally Steamboat was the obvious choice. Our friend Jeff was about 15 minutes behind us in arrival so once he arrived (which was a big shock to Chad because he just thought it was the three of us) we went to dinner at Tequila's. After some awesome mexican food and margaritas we went to the Tap House for beers where we were soon met by Malia and Geoff, then Todd and Kelsey and Travis and Jill. Needless to say Chad was very surprised and the weekend was off to a great start.
On Saturday morning when we woke up we saw the hot air balloons being raised in the field right across from the condo and then they floated overhead in the area which was very cool to see. I've never seen anything but pictures of hot air balloons so to have them so close was a treat.
Malia and I had arranged 9 holes of golf for the boys at the Steamboat Golf Club (www.steamboatgolfclub.com). For 9 holes it was $28 each (add ten dollars if you wanted to rent a cart) and it was a great chance for the guys to all get together and goof around. There are three or so golf courses in Steamboat (one I believe that is exclusive to members only) but this one turned out to be perfect because it was more laid back (read: not for the serious golfer). While the guys golfed the girls all went to the farmer's market which is held every Saturday in the summer. They had everything from baked bread to elk meat, fresh produce and pork sandwiches and jewelry and clothing. We bought some cherries which were excellent and managed to kill enough time before meeting back at the condo for lunch with the boys.
After lunch it was off to tube the Yampa. Malia had found a place called the One Stop Ski and Sport (www.onestopskiandsport.com) where we could rent tubes so we made a reservation for 1pm. Now everyone except Malia and Geoff owned their own tubes as we traditionally tube in Golden or Boulder most every weekend of the summer. We bought some heavy duty tubes with handles a couple of years ago from Dick's sporting goods and it's turned into a favorite weekend activity. We however, told everyone not to bring our tubes because we had arranged tubing from this shop and they were provided to us. The cost was $17 to tube which included being picked up from the end spot (they have designated areas of the Yampa to tube due to fisherman) and brought back to the shop. We were all OK with paying the money seeing as it seemed hassle free but it wasn't until we arrived at the shop we realized the fee didn't include unlimited trips down the river. I guess the city limits the amount of tube trips the company can do a day thus limiting us. While it was cheaper than white water rafting for sure, and less of a pain to not bring the tubes up, wait to inflate etc. it def isn't something I'd pay for again. Bring your own tube to truly enjoy the float!
Right near the tubing rental shop was the park where the "Art in the Park" was going on so we decided after our 30 minute float trip we'd check the art out. There were some interesting booths, but for the most part it was the same things you see at pretty much any festival during the summer (People's Fair, Golden Art Fair, etc) but it was very nice to all relax in the park and enjoy some music.