Category Archives: Travel

Winter fun for families at YMCA of the Rockies

Recognizing the need for balance in the seasons, the YMCA of the Rockies invited my family for a winter weekend at its Winter Park location, as it did half a year ago for a summer stay at its Estes Park location.

And once again, we had an exhaustingly good time. YMCA of the Rockies really excels at offering good clean varied family fun in the stunning Rocky Mountains.

Located 80 miles from Denver, between Winter Park and Grand Lake, Snow Mountain Ranch is breathtaking in the winter.

Snow Mountain Ranch sceneryContinental Divide as a backdrop

We stayed in a comfortable and quiet lodge with no TV. After a hearty buffet breakfast Saturday morning we started with inner tubing down a hill and ice skating at the pavilion.

sledding fun at YMCARunning start

YMCA innertubingBelly flop

Chillaxing on innertubes at the YMCAChillin’

family ice skatingSkating in a winter wonderland

After lunch we took aim at the archery wolf. Later, the kids were literally climbing the walls.

YMCA archeryTessa Katnessa

Aiming at the beastWe slew the beast

Snow Mountain Ranch rock climbingReed got a grip

Between those activities and dinner Roger went cross-country skiing, I went to a yoga class and the kids went swimming. THAT was just Day 1.

The next day we went to the gym for a morning of hoop-shooting and rollerskating.

YMCA winter fun

Snow Mountain Ranch roller skating

Some of the activities we’re saving for next time include dog sledding, sleigh ride, crafts. All too soon it was time to return home.

Are you envisioning your own winter vacation? Accommodations include yurts ($89 ), lodge rooms (from $119), cabins ($209 for 2 BR) and vacation homes ($349 for 3 BR). There’s enough winter left to plan your own stay at Snow Mountain Ranch. To get more ideas about families and Snow Mountain Ranch, read what other moms have to say about their experiences.

The Superbowl beckoned and it was time to head back down the mountain to get home. Now that we’ve experienced the summer and winter, the northern YMCA camp and the south one, the Y in its wondrous yin and its glorious yang, we have declared both visits extra-ordinary. We all agreed we’d love to have more weekends like this and make more family memories like these in the future.

Disclosure: My family was hosted for a weekend at Snow Mountain Ranch, which included lodging, meals and activities for purposes of writing an honest review.

Perfect Moment Monday: Big Easy

I spent much of December* channeling Maria von Trapp (or, rather, Julie Andrew’s version of her). So many of my favorite things came together I wanted to burst into song as if on top of a mountain at several points during the month.

One weekend in particular, I enjoyed a convergence of some my favorite things: time with with my husband, time to myself, and travel to a place that’s new to me. A place that has good food and good music, to boot!

Roger and I had a chance to travel to New Orleans, just the two of us, for a long weekend. The afternoon we arrived we walked through the French Quarter and had a late lunch at a venerable Bourbon Street restaurant. We returned to a different restaurant the next evening for dinner. My handsome husband started the meal with a Sazerac, a New Orleans cocktail, while I indulged in a Lavender Champagne. Superbly matched to my senses. Dinner was divine.

champagne cocktail

My husband was in New Orleans for a conference, so while he worked the rest of the weekend, I walked. I visited the National WWII Museum downtown and leisurely explored the French Quarter, delighting in the sights, sounds, smells and tastes.

Perhaps the peak moment of perfection for me was brunch alone at the Courtyard of Two Sisters. A huge buffet yielded bacon, the best grits I’d ever had, spinach and bread pudding, all with Creole accents (sadly, I had to stay away from shellfish). I was seated outdoors in the courtyard, right in front of a three-piece New Orleans jazz band. Just me and my very-pleased senses, augmented by perfect weather and a good book on my Kindle.

Jazz brunch in New Orleans

A blast of bliss. So glad I noticed it.

* Yes, December was also a tragic month, collectively, and a pall was cast. Still, perfect moments exist for each of us, ready to be noticed.

~~~~~

Perfect Moment Monday is about noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between.

On the last Monday of each month we engage in mindfulness about something that is right with our world. Everyone is welcome to join.

To participate in Perfect Moment Monday:

  • Follow Write Mind Open Heart.
  • Write up your own Perfect Moment and post it on your blog (or other site).
  • Use LinkyTools below to enter your name (or blog name), the URL of your Perfect Moment post, and a thumbnail image if desired.
  • Visit the Perfect Moments of others and let the writers know you were there with some comment currency.

Once you make a Perfect Moment post , you may place this button on your blog.What Perfect Moment have you recently been aware of? Visit these moments of others and share your comment love.

The next Perfect Moment Monday event will begin January 28.

(Cross-posted on BlogHer.)


Family fun at Colorado’s YMCA of the Rockies

The bad news: Tessa and Reed noticed immediately that there was no TV in our room.

The good news: They never mentioned it again.

Last week a group of Colorado bloggers was invited, with our families, to enjoy all the fun that the YMCA of the Rockies Camp has to offer. My extended family had already been to the YMCA camp near Winter Park years ago (for a family reunion at Snow Mountain Ranch — don’t ask about the melted TV, which is, perhaps why there are no longer TVs in rooms) but this was my first time at the camp near Estes Park.

We arrived about an hour before the summer solstice. I was thrilled to find that there is a labyrinth on the sprawling grounds, so at the moment the earth reached its extreme point toward summer (northern hemisphere) and began its 6 months slide toward winter, I walked a labyrinth to mark the change. It was a calm start to a whirlwind couple of days.

For the next 42 hours we biked, tie-dyed, saw a Godspell performance from a traveling youth group, ate 5 square meals (very good for cafeteria food), sang karaoke, shot arrows at the archery range, played ultimate frisbee and flag football, went swimming  and enjoyed games night with the other bloggers and their children.

A few of the things we had to forgo were the zipline, the sing-along, mini-golf, hiking, the skate park, wall climbing, massage, fishing, a scavenger hunt, yoga, horseback riding, animal classes and history workshops. And about a chamillion other activities.

There was so much offered that our orientation packet was 25 pages long. Chock full, with something for everyone.

Which is why the Y is famous for multi-generational family reunions. Grandma can play bingo while Gramps goes fishing, the kiddos play games and Dad ziplines. Mom? Massage, of course. If you go in the winter, you might even gather around a cozy fireplace. (It’s all fun and games until the TV melts).

We thoroughly enjoyed hanging out with Crazy Bloggin’ Canuck, Mama Bird’s Blog, Lifenut, Denver Parent, Eat Play Love, Greeblemonkey, and Julie Marsh and our 21 children, Our hostess, Laura, definitely had the mostest. Here are just a few shot to share:

If you ever get the chance to visit YMCA of the Rockies (and you don’t mind the emphasis on the “C” part of “YMCA”), my children and I heartily suggest you take it.

Disclosure: We were guests of the YMCA camp for purposes of experiencing it and writing a straight-up post about it.

Here are some posts by my colleagues about our YMCA adventure: