Oh hayyyy web frands! Today is the day I’ve been looking forward to all week – the one where we’re going to talk about the girls’ trip and then give away some travel cash for you to use towards YOUR OWN TRIP at the end of the post. You down widdat?
I have sososo much to tell you about our girls’ weekend trip to Aspen, as evidenced by the obscene (no I really mean it: OBSCENE) number of photos that are about to hit your computer screen if you are one of the brave souls who actually clicks the read more button. Think of it as a “see more” button today though, because I’m going to try to let the avalanche of Aspen vacay pictures do the talking and not get so overwhelmingly chatty. Which we all know is virtually impossible for my run-on-sentence-loving-self. So, uh, enter at your own risk.
This trip was absolutely, without a doubt, hands down a Major Highlight of 2014. There were so many things that made this trip uniquely 24-7-365 FUN. Er, can that be a thing? A 24-7-365-days fun girls’ trip to Aspen? I have a new life goal.
Ten years ago exactly to the date of our departure, my three friends and I met during our first week at college. How weird is it that it was literally to the date? Also, how weird is it that I can remember what they were wearing when we all met? Don’t even answer. Also please don’t look too critically at my 18-year-old self peeking out from the edge of the mysterious darkness. I don’t think we had quite mastered the whole selfie thing back in good ol’ 2004.
The three of us Minnesotans decided to trek down to meet up with our Colorado friend to celebrate ten years of sweet friendship with a mountain getaway. After a VIP pickup in the Denver airport (signs! we’re special!), we hit the road in a Subaru – because Colorado – for a good 4 hour trek out to Aspie where we ate amazing food, drank lots of everything, did some mild “nature exploring”, told too many personal stories, generally acted like 7th graders, cried just enough to be real, and laughed till our tummies ached.
Yeah that? That was just a teaser. Here are five of the major highlights. Enjoy!
1. The Residences at the Little Nell
There just are no words. (Okay, maybe I can come up with a few words.)
This place is INSANELY AWESOME, like I almost cried when we had to leave. When the Little Nell offered to host us for our girls’ getaway, I was fist pumping and happy dancing like a wild one – and then we actually got there and saw that it was like something from a dream land –> cue: fist pumping and happy dancing like wild ones All. Weekend. Long. In case you aren’t familiar, which I wasn’t, the Little Nell is a year-round five-star, five- diamond destination hotel just steps from legendary Aspen Mountain and bonus! it’s the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Aspen. Whoayes.
We actually stayed at the Residences, which are more like little condos (let’s be real – when I say little condos I mean definitely twice as big as my house) and these yummy private residences are PERFECT for a group of people looking to settle in to a little mountain oasis for a few days. Our room was a nice comfy-cozy two bedroom suite with my dream kitchen, a beautiful living and dining area, two fireplaces, and I can’t even keep talking about it because I’m so vacation homesick now.
What really set the Little Nell apart for us, though, was the service. I have never met a more hospitable team of people in my entire life. I seriously want to be best friends with every person that we met and have it not be creepy, but I think it might be creepy. That being said, if you are one of the extremely awesome people that we met at the Little Nell that I’m secretly hoping to be friends with, just go ahead and click that little tab up there called “contact.”
Some of the pictures in this grid are from our “room” aka residence aka mansion – like this first one that looks like it’s out of a rustic-chic home magazine. And some of the more modern pictures are of other rooms that we saw and loved around the hotel portion of the Little Nell.
2. The Element 47 Wine Cellar Tour
Then came the posh VIP wine cellar experience that we somehow managed to snag, annnnd we might have let on a little too much about our lacking wine knowledge when, within the first two seconds of meeting our charming sommelier, we asked HOW TO PRONOUNCE SOMMELIER. And by we, I mean me. Honestly. Just a straight up dead giveaway of the non-fancy-wine-ness.
The good news is that once the secret of our regularness was revealed, we had so much fun asking questions, learning about the award-winning wine list, signing our supercool hashtag on the wine boxes on the ceiling, and swooning over old, expensive bottles of wines with our sommie. Why does that name have to be so fancy, anyway?
I’m not even sorry that these low lit pictures are edited with some faded black and white because it gives them a rustic, romantic, vintage feel that is totally appropriate for representing the overall Wine Cellar Tour Experience. We heart the Cellar!
3. Dinner at Element 47
It lasted for five hours, you guys. FIVE HOURS. ON PURPOSE.
The talking and multi-course eating and drinking just completely took over and we could not bring ourselves to leave.
I won’t get too extreme or dramatic (lie), but it was maybe in the top three most special dinners of my life. Partially because of the food that just kept coming: pea soup, farm salad, lobster, wagyu, tagliatelle with housemade ricotta, braised rabbit, lamb, and dark chocolate ganache.
But mostly it was so special because it was our first sit-down-and-talk meal of this trip, and really our first real, deep, catch-up time of the last five years. We just kept eating, and sipping, and talking, and at one point in the five hours we were all laughing so loud I was worried we were going to get sent back to our rooms, and the next hour we all had brimming eyes and tear-dripping faces as we shared the joys and sorrows that have been a major part of our real world lives.
Just totally unforgettable.
4. Fly Fishing
Yes. The girls went fly fishing.
The last time I’ve been fishing, was, like, never. This is a group of girls who shamelessly love food, makeup, shoes, yoga, boutiques, and a few other deeper things, but fishing is not one of them. As soon as we found out that this was actually a thing that was going to happen, I started to have nightmares about a) falling in the pond? river? lake? what is it, anyway? b) snagging someone’s face with my hook, and c) actually catching a fish, and then what?! TOUCHING it?
Everything was set up by the Little Nell adventure team, and to our amazement, we were taken out to the most beautiful and serene spot in the mountains *in a Jeep* *heck yes* by two patient, sweet, rugged nature-mountain-guys that helped us actually make fly fishing miracles happen. That’s right, friends. I caught and touched a fish.
Obviously the trip wouldn’t be complete without snacks – one bite of goat cheese and honey crostini, one cast, one handful of trail mix, one cast, one sip of champagne, one cast… and that’s how fly fishing went down.
PS. You may notice that some of us look beautiful while holding fish and others look wildly out of control. I guess you could say food is more my thing.
5. Exploring and beyond
And then there’s all the rest of it!
There was no shortage of fab eating, hiking, shopping, dog befriending, and just enjoying each others’ company in beautiful Aspen.
For more of my friends’ pics and videos (like the one of us traversing a river in our Jeep!) you can check Instagram and look through the #LittleOnesTakeCO hashtag. Also, The Little Nell has some sweet Instas – check them out, too.
Alright alright I’m all done! Because this post is so long, by this point a little Rafflecopter widget should have loaded below so that you can enter to win $300 Travel Cash in the form of a VISA gift card to use for your very own little getaway this fall.
This giveaway is sponsored by just Bjork and me – we want to make sure that you guys feel the love this fall by spending some intentional time with people you appreciate the most. Of course, it’s a VISA gift card so you could just buy a three month supply of salted dark chocolate and we’d never know, but then you’d miss out on the fun of a travel experience with your faves and that would be sad.
You, my friend, are a Champion Reader and Vacation Picture Looker. Thank you and TGIF XO!