This past weekend we visited Steamboat Springs, about a 3 hour drive from Denver (our new home). The season’s first big snowstorm hit just as we were driving, and by the time we arrived in Steamboat, the town was socked in and blanketed in fresh snow. Beautiful. We had no plans whatsoever, we just wanted to explore the town organically and see what we could find. Below is a photo essay of our favorite things in Steamboat.
Emerald Mountain Trail System
We had our dogs with us, so we needed to find a place where they could run around, preferably off-leash. Our local friend suggested the Emerald Mountain Trail System, which is a super quick drive from 5th street in town. The system is an amazing 24 miles of non-motorized recreational trails owned by the city. It is frequently used by equestrians, bicyclists, dog walkers, and day hikers. We ran into a handful of AT skiers as well as fat tire bikers enjoying the trails. Our pups were psyched to zoom around in the snow in the below-freezing temps! Here is some info on the trail systems in Steamboat.
What is better than a bloody and some eggs benny on a Saturday morning? Pretty much nothing as far as we are concerned. Freshies is a locals favorite that prides itself on fresh ingredients and dishes made from scratch (they also have a full bar). The place was jam packed when we showed up at 9 a.m. Justin sampled the Florentine Benny with grits, and I tried the delicious Croque on sourdough with grits. Yum.
Dinner at Mambo Italiano
We got a recommendation to do dinner at Mambo Italiano, and man, was it good! We started off with hot mulled wine (weather was well below zero at that point!) and the Crostini Di Giorno (roasted red peppers and goat cheese, I believe).
I love cool, unique little shops, and this has got to be one of the best I’ve ever seen (it’s actually a chain – oh well). Located right on Lincoln Avenue, this shop is virtually exploding with every type of weird candy and soda you can imagine. They also have pretty awesome horse masks.
If you find yourself thirsty in Steamboat, definitely don’t miss The BARley. When we visited they had 30 beers on tap, including a surprising Chardonnay barrel aged farmhouse brew that was seriously awesome. Check out their lengthy beer menu here. If the proprietor, Chris, is behind the bar, don’t miss the chance to meet him. He may just let you sample one of his kitchen concoctions (we got to sample his barbeque pulled pork mac and cheese).
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
As a self-proclaimed chocolate snob, I nearly jumped out of a moving vehicle when I spotted this shop. Also located right on Lincoln Ave., the shop has fantastic little treats like truffles, peanut butter buckets, chocolate dipped potato chips and 16 flavors of ice cream (and obviously tons and tons of handmade chocolates).
Justin randomly saw that there was an oil infusion class being taught on Saturday evening at an herb shop. So, naturally, we went. If you’ve never been to an apothecary shop, you are missing out on a whole lot of herby, oily amazingness. Suzanne Tully is the shop queen, a certified nutritional herbalist and homebirth midwife. For about two hours we talked about carrier oils, essential oils, edible oils, and made concoctions like massage oils, facial oils and herb infused olive oils. It was bliss, basically.
Creekside Cafe & Grill
On Sunday morning, we met up with our friend Paige and her hubby for breakfast. The Creekside Cafe & Grill is a sweet little (and I mean little) joint located in 11th street beside a cute mini river running through town. Like all the sweet spots in Steamboat, this place was jammed at 9:30 (always a positive sign). We stocked up on some more eggs benny and coffee and left happy.
Strawberry Hot Springs
This is hands down the best thing about Steamboat (besides maybe the skiing). Strawberry Hot Springs is a remote, totally unspoiled, and seriously spectacular mineral hot springs with minimal build-up. To get there in the winter, you will need a pretty hearty vehicle, as it’s located up a steep and windy snow-packed road. But man is it worth it.