Posted by toby | Saturday, October 22, 2016
Breckenridge may be a ski wonderland, but it’s still a worthwhile visit for non-skiers. The quaint town is chock full of amazing restaurants and lively bars that can keep you occupied during the entire duration of your vacation.
However, if you’re looking to add a little “oomph” to your trip, check out the following Breck activities you can enjoy without having to hit the slopes.
1. Shopping on Main Street
Breckenridge has its share of souvenir shops, but what makes the town truly exceptional is the fact that it’s also peppered with old buildings and houses converted into locally-owned shops selling handmade goods by local artists. Such items include soap, chainsaw wood carvings, chocolates, ornaments, paintings, Native American jewelry, art pieces, and many more. Even if you don’t intend to purchase anything, it’s still fun to stroll up and down Main Street and soak in all its shops have to offer.
If you’ve always wanted to check out the hiking trails in Breckenridge, you’re in luck. The trails may be blanketed in snow, but a pair of wool socks and snowshoes make it possible for you to navigate the paths less traveled in the winter. Did you know that Breckenridge has at least 30 miles of snowshoeing trails? Head over to the Breckenridge Nordic Center and rent a pair of snowshoes for only 20 bucks!
3. Ice Skating
The Stephen C. West Ice Arena located right off the south end of Main Street boasts an indoor ice rink and an outdoor ice rink. Admission is $8, and you can rent a pair of figure or hockey skates for $4. Twelve bucks for a full day’s fun? Count us in!
Bust out your winter gear, grab a snow tube or sled at the Walmart in Frisco, head over to Carter Park, and get to sleddin’. The sledding hill at Carter Park is something to write home about, as it is pretty high and about 300 feet in length. You can walk down to Main Street after you’ve had your fill of sledding and enjoy a nice cup of hot cocoa at Clint’s Bakery & Coffee House.
5. Touring a Distillery
The award-winning Breckenridge Distillery, also known as the world’s highest distillery, offers free tours with complimentary tastings of their spirits every day between 11am to 6pm. You can also splurge on an after hours VIP tour, which offers a more comprehensive overview of the art of distilling alcohol and the chance to sample any new flavor they may be working on at the moment.
6. Attending a Concert
Breckenridge is actually quite cultured with its Riverwalk Center just a block over from Main Street. The beautiful venue hosts many different concerts on a regular basis. Maybe there’s one right up your alley when you’re in town.
7. Get Pampered
Many folks love a good old fashioned pampering while on vacation. Get a massage, facial or manicure at one of our many top rated salons.
8. Sleigh Ride and Dinner Theater
Take a ride on a horse drawn sleigh through the beautiful snowy forests. Your ride will finish at a historic mining camp where you’ll meet some of Breckenridge’s most infamous characters. This dinner theater is something the whole family will enjoy!
You can also attend a festival, take a cooking class, play board games at The Crown, go snowmobiling, or pretty much anything else. While Breckenridge is most known for the adventure, that is far from all it has to offer.
The possibilities are endless!
The 4 Best Hikes to Experience the Aspens in Summit County
Posted by toby | Sunday, October 9, 2016
Autumn has arrived, and what better way to soak it all in than to go on a hike in the midst of a sea of Aspen trees?
Every year, autumn brings us a spectacular opportunity to watch the leaves of our Aspen trees turn from a vibrant green to stunning shades of red, yellow, gold, and orange against the clear blue sky.
You don’t have to stray very far from Summit County in order to enjoy the beautiful change of color. In fact, you can stay right here. Grab your best camera and embark on a hike on one of the following 4 hiking trails that are abundant with color-changing Aspen trees.
1. Eaglesmere Lake
7 miles round-trip / Intermediate
Located on the very north side of Summit County, this trail is nestled in the middle of a thick aspen forest and boasts wildflowers, fewer than 2,000 feet of elevation gain, and backcountry camping sites. The trail leads you to Eaglesmere Lake and offers stunning views over Lower Cataract Lake and Cataract Falls.
Directions to trailhead: Drive 16 miles north of Silverthorne. Turn left onto Heeney Road. Continue for approximately 5¼ miles to County Road 1725. Turn left at the juncture and then continue for 2 miles. The parking lot is located at the right fork.
2. Peaks Trail
15.5 miles one way / Beginner–Intermediate
The fall foliage is strong with this one. If you’re looking for an easy hike, start at the Breckenridge trailhead, as the trail goes downhill from there. If you’re looking for a more challenging hike, the Frisco trailhead is the place to start, because you’ll be going uphill most of the time.
The trail stretches between Breckenridge and Frisco, and it provides majestic scenery over Summit County, as well as plenty of aspen trees changing colors at the onset of autumn. The trail also passes by Rainbow Lake in Frisco, where you can take great photos of the fall foliage against the vibrant blue sky and the lake.
Directions to Breckenridge trailhead: Take Highway 9 to Breckenridge, and then make a right onto Ski Hill Road. Continue on Ski Hill Road to the top. Make a right at the Peak 8 base area and drive past the Grand Timber Lodge. The trailhead parking lot is ahead.
Directions to Frisco trailhead: Drive west on Frisco’s Main Street and then make a left onto 2nd Avenue. Drive to the end of the street and then park. Walk over the paved bike path and then you’ll see the trailhead.
3. Lower Cataract Lake Loop Trail
2.25 miles round-trip / Beginner-Intermediate
This trail has a waterfall, a creek, a bridge, a lake, and plenty of aspen trees that add a lot of color to the scenery. It goes around the Lower Cataract Lake, so there are plenty of photo ops along the way.
Directions to trailhead: Drive 16 miles north of Silverthorne. Turn left onto Heeney Road. Continue about 5.6 miles to Cataract Creek Road, and make a sharp left turn there. Drive to the end of the road, where the trailhead is.
4. Boreas Pass/Aspen Alley Trail
1 mile round-trip / Beginner
What better way to experience the Aspen fall foliage than to hike a trail named after Aspen trees? This short hike is a great way to soak in the fall scenery without too much planning, driving, and walking. There are so many Aspen groves along this trail that it is practically shaded the entire way. There is also an old mine dump you can explore. Not only that, but if you’re up for a scenic drive, you can drive up
Boreas Pass Road to the very top, where the fall foliage is stunning.
Directions to trailhead: Drive south on Main Street in Breckenridge. Take a left at Boreas Pass Road and then take the road all the way up the mountain. It will turn into a dirt road. When that happens, keep your eyes peeled for the trailhead parking lot on the left side less than half a mile up the dirt road.
The Top 5 Family-Friendly Restaurants in Breckenridge
Posted by toby | Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Eating out with kids in a new town can be a challenge. Not every restaurant offers an comprehensive menu for adults in addition to a selection of pizza, grilled cheese, and chicken nuggets for the pint-sized.It may be difficult to find such a restaurant that not only offers such an accommodating menu, but also serves amazing food worthy of a four- or five-star review. Luckily, Breckenridge has a lot to offer in the way of family friendly restaurants. After dining at one (or two, or all) of the restaurants listed below, the entire family’s going to want to come back for more.
1. Blue Moose Restaurant
Mom and Dad can enjoy some wake-me-up mimosas, Irish cream coffee, or Bloody Marys at this breakfast joint while the kiddos have tasty pancakes, French toast, omelets, oatmeal from the kid’s menu, and other breakfast classics to choose from.
2. Downstairs at Eric’s
Arcade games, wings, beer, pizza, and flat-screen HDTVs: this restaurant has it all. Kids, teenagers, college students, parents, and even grandparents would enjoy this place with its incredibly large menu that includes burgers, gyros, Philly cheesesteaks, sandwiches, salads, and more. Kids can find hot dogs, mac and cheese and pizza for lunch or dinner - if you can drag them away from the arcade games long enough to eat!
3. Empire Burger
With the incredibly fresh and juicy burgers, outta-this-world hand cut fries, full children’s menu, and outdoor area where families can hang out, you can’t beat Empire Burger for a family burger outing in Breckenridge. It also sports a gorgeous view of the mountain from its deck.
4. Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant & Cantina
Parents love the mango duck quesadillas, avocado fritos, and habanero bacon wrapped shrimp. Kids love the chicken quesadillas, nachos, and cheeseburgers. And then we have the delicious Mexican pastries, tres leches cake, Mexican chocolate-plantain bread pudding, and deep-fried ice cream. What more does a hungry family need?
5. The Crown
The Crown offers a diverse menu for adults and children, as well a fun night out for the whole family. In addition to their delicious breakfast and lunch menus, they offer coffee, ice cream, booze, free wi-fi, and board games. Stop by for an after dinner treat and a game of Jenga with the family.
How to Rent Your Second Home for Extra Income
Posted by toby | Thursday, September 1, 2016
If you own a second home in a popular vacation destination like Breckenridge, there are many benefits above and beyond just having a vacation retreat. Of the many different advantages that come with owning a second home in a popular area, one in particular is very exciting- rental income. Renting your second home can help offset many costs of holding the property and provide extra income to you, including:
- Renting your home can help cover your mortgage payments, insurance, and property taxes.
- You may have the ability to deduct your rental expenses on your taxes.
- Rental revenue can help pay for your HOA fees and assessments.
- You have the possibility of your property appreciating in value.
- Property maintenance costs can be offset with rental revenues, which increase your property’s value in the long run.
- Rental revenues can be applied to property upgrades and remodels, increasing your rental revenues and home value.
The average rental property brings in about $28,000 a year and including cleaning, repairs, guest relations, check in and out, and other assorted communication and preparation can take about fifteen hours a week to manage. This figure is higher than average here in Summit County, especially during our very busy winter season. Increasingly, guests are looking for a hotel experience and professional communications during their vacation, which can be a challenge for many homeowners to do well. When a guest is not provided with that experience, they will likely not rent the property again, or worse, leave a scathing review online to prevent others from renting the property. To succeed in renting your property, time and resources must be invested to provide the type of experience todays traveler demands.
Renting your property is a very challenging time commitment. If you’re interested in renting your second home for extra profit, here are some tips to ensure you are positioned for success:
1. Learn the laws and restrictions for rental homes in your state and town.
A good place to start would be to Google “[Your town] rental regulations”. You can also try calling your town’s community or tax office. You may have to apply for a rental permit, business license, pay taxes, and remit forms on a monthly basis to state and local authorities. Many towns restrict or outright ban rental activity. For those that allow rentals, regulations and tax remission are common, so don’t get yourself in trouble by not understanding the legal requirements. A professional management company is set up to take care of all these things for you, and keep in in legal compliance.
2. Read your mortgage agreement
Ensure rental activity is allowed on your property, and your insurance will not be at risk of being voided by the rental activity. Some mortgage agreements include restrictions on renting out the property. You want to ensure that yours allows it. If you’re part of a homeowners’ association, it’s always a good idea to find out if they allow vacation rentals, too. A professional manager will be aware of local HOA restrictions, and can help with ensuring you are compliant.
3. Find a Property Manager
Renting the property on your own is attractive for financial reasons, as there is no commission to pay. However, hiring a professional property manager can eaisly pay for iteself. Some property managers will request a percentage of the monthly rent as compensation. In the end, you will make more money. The professional property manager will pay for itself by reducing your time spent and burden, increasing rentals and decreasing vacancies, better guest service, and the convenience of having a valued manager just a phone call away. Most owners eventually come to learn that a professional property manager is worth much more than the 30-40% they charge.
4. Keep detailed records of your income and expenses for all rental activity.
Keeping a detailed record of every expense associated with the rental property so that you can potentially deduct them when tax season comes around. Most repairs and improvements can be deducted from your personal taxes, but asking your accountant is a good practice to ensure tax compliance. A professional manager can not only keep track of these costs for you, but also account for other items, and prepare reports for your tax professional.
5. Ensure your insurance is the correct type and level for rentals.
You likely have casualty insurance for your home, but ensuring you have rental and liability insurance will ensure coverage for you in the event of any sort of guest related issue. Guests can become injured, or sometimes injure your property, and being properly covered for that can protect you from a financial loss.
6. Prepare the property ready for guests, by providing the first class hotel experience they are looking for.
Removing your personal belongings is a good idea, for both their protection as well as the comfort of the guest. They want to feel like they are in a home, but not your home. Ensuring that the property has enough comfortable furniture will provide a relaxing and pleasurable gathering space for the guest during their time in your home. Stocking the property with a compliment of necessities and amenities will enable guests to relax comfortably, and will provide the type of experience that they desire. Fixing any hazards and deep cleaning the property will give the guest the first impression of an owner that takes pride in their home. A professional management company can take care of all these things for you, and do it at a high level to promote happy return guests.
7. Draft up a list of house rules for your guests to read.
Such rules may include no smoking, no pets, no loud music after 10:00 PM, and no big parties. Don’t forget to include local emergency phone numbers and your property manager’s contact information. Print out the list and put it in an obvious place where you know your renters will see it.
8. Ge ready for your first booking!
Good luck! You are on your way to increased revenue as well as helping other families make vacation memories!
How to Prepare Your Second Home for Vacation Renters
Posted by toby | Thursday, August 25, 2016
So your second home has been given the green light to be rented out to vacationers. Now what?
It's time to whip your home into tip-top shape for your first group of vacation renters.
If you're not sure where to start, we have you covered. Here are five steps to take to prepare your home for vacation renters:
1. Remove your personal items.
The first reason for doing this is to reduce clutter, and make the home comfortable and welcoming for your guests. You don't want your guests to feel like they're staying at somebody else's house. They want to feel like it's their home away from home. Reducing clutter involves removing any personal items or objects, such as picture frames and your favorite art fair sourced stuffed mountain squirrel, which will only cause discomfort to your potential guests.
Secondly, removing your personal items is a good idea because you don't want to leave behind anything that's precious and irreplaceable. Make sure everything you leave behind would not be noticed if it was lost. Everything in the home should have no personal attachment for you, just in case any accidents happen. We suggest keeping your personal and valuable items in an owners closet, so you can display them when you come out to visit.
2. Make sure all of the furniture is clean, comfortable, and presentable.
Todays vacationers have high standards, and expect the 5 star hotel experiences, even on a three star budget. It will be a financial and operational benefit to offer your guests new and comfortable furniture and high-quality bedding. Cleanliness and comfort should be your top priorities. The more comfortable the guest, the more he or she will enjoy the experience and return to your home year after year.
3. Repair any potential hazard.
Homes are full of failures waiting to happen, and accidents just around the corner. The last thing you want is for the water heater to quit working in the middle of a guest's stay, or a rip in the carpet to trip up a guest. Have a professional property management company thoroughly inspect your home prior to guests staying to make sure all the appliances, steps, wiring, and plug outlets are in working order. If they find a potential hazard, they are capable of getting it repaired as soon as possible, and saving you any headaches down the road. A good property management company will inspect prior to every guest, and will act quickly to anticipate and remedy potential issues for you.
4. Have your home deep cleaned.
Cleanliness is the #1 factor in the satisfaction of guests to your home, and is the one thing that can turn a vacation into a trip from hell for many travelers. Your best bet would be to hire a property management company that has an experienced and capable cleaning service. You want your home to start as a clean slate in order to give your guests the perfect experience. You also want your management company to preform 1-2 deep cleans per year, to detail your home, and clean all the areas that are difficult to budget in on a back to back vacation rental clean.
5. Stock your home with the basic necessities.
To ensure that your guests are happy and comfortable, follow this checklist while stocking your home (remember, this is just a start. A good management company will customize a list for you and your home):
|____ Plates, bowls, glasses, and flatware (double the number of guests you sleep)||____ Comfortable seating (enough for the number of guests you sleep)||____ High-quality sheets (two sets per bed)||____ High-quality bath towels (two per guest)|
|____ Coffee maker||____ Large TV||____ Pillows with pillow protectors (four per bed)||____ High-quality washcloths (four per guest)|
|____ Pots and pans||____ Basic cable||____ Extra blankets||____ High-quality hand towels (two per guest)|
|____ Cooking utensils||____ DVD player||____ Mattress pads||____ Hair dryer|
|____ Napkins & paper towels||____ Cards and board games||____ Alarm clocks||____ First Aid Kit|
|____ Dish towels||____ Coffee table||____ Reading lamps||____ Travel-sized toiletries|
|____ Knife set||____ Throw pillows and blankets||____ Feminine sanitary products|
|____ Condiments||____ DVDs|
2016 Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts
Posted by toby | Wednesday, August 3, 2016
BreckCreate, the town of Breck’s organization to promote the arts, culture and creativity, is putting on the second Breckenridge International Festival of the Arts (BIFA) this August 12-21. This event will be 9 days long, jam packed with creative performances such as circus and acrobat performances, installation arts and workshops for adults and kids and film. There will be something for every member of the family at this festival! This year’s theme is Adventure + Play + Creativity.
Here’s a few highlights of what to expect.
Dance, Circus and Acrobatics
STREB Extreme Action Company combines extreme sports, dance and circus acrobatics in one gravity defying performance. In their performance, they do acrobatics with a 21 foot ladder while it rotates. I, for one, had to watch the video to understand this as words cannot do this performance justice! You just have to see it. See the video here.
There will also be a one man circus by Swiss performer, David Dimitri. His performance includes a high wire, a human cannon ball, music and dance.
Sila: The Breath of the World is an experimental form of music where each individual musician plays a tone at his or her own tempo. The only condition is that the tone they play must be played for the length of one full exhalation of breathe. The musicians are dispersed throughout an area and spectators can wander about to enjoy one artist or the combination of all playing together. It promises to be unique, haunting, intriguing and like nothing you have ever heard before.
There will also be 24 pop-up performances throughout the festival, called the Trail Mix Concerts. In short, artists will have concerts on the hiking and biking trails of Breck, allowing you to experience the music in an entirely different setting.
If you prefer the more traditional musical arts, there are also performances by an internationally renown cellist, violinist and an alt-country band with a Spanish flair called Calexico.
Get your creative juices flowing by participating! STREB Extreme Action Company will be hosting a workshop for kids, ages 5 and up, to learn about stunts and acrobatics. Installation artist, Tasha Lewis is also hosting a workshop to create and install her art installation, Swarm, consisting of fabric butterflies. Read more about Swarm here.
This street theater group is sure to be a favorite with the kids. Actors on stilts will don 19 foot dinosaur costumes and perform throughout the streets of Breck. On alternating days, the company will also do a choreographed drumming performance on stilts.
Check out installation arts at your own schedule. Tasha Lewis will have 2 installations, Herd and Swarm, with sculptures of her animals and butterflies in motion. Artists Andrew Dentate and Robert Wertz will also have installations. Most installations will be at the Old Masonic Hall, and will be available for viewing through the festival.
The Breckenridge International Festival of Arts has something for the whole family and is sure to be an experience to remember. Most events are free, but be sure to check the schedule and individual events for more details.
What's the Best Place to Stay in Breckenridge?
Posted by toby | Saturday, July 23, 2016
When it comes to choosing the best place to stay in Breckenridge, there are no wrong answers. From secluded mountain homes, quaint Victorian style homes to ski-in/ski-out condos, Breck has something to offer for every type of vacationer. Nonetheless, choosing the right neighborhood can be daunting if you've never explored Breckenridge.
To help you figure out the best area for you and your family, we put together a list of the Breckenridge neighborhoods and the attributes of each.
The Peaks / 4 o’clock Rd
Most people stay around the Peaks or on 4 o’clock Rd for the access to the resort. This is the biggest selling point for this area. It has close proximity to several chair lifts and borders the trail 4 o’clock. You can ski within a few feet of your front door and many vacationers come back for lunch mid-day.
The downside to this is that town can be a good walk or a bus ride away. Since you are paying for the location, you can sacrifice space, luxury and the rustic atmosphere. Nonetheless, if you are looking for the traditional ski-cation, this is the perfect place to stay in Breck.
Breck Historic District
The town of Breckenridge has an adorable historic district with heaps of atmosphere. The houses are in the traditional Victorian style and the main strip features quality restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The gondola is on one edge of town, a beginner’s chairlift on the other and both a relatively easy walk for most, so access to skiing isn’t a chore. If you are looking for a well rounded vacation experience, with options for even the non-skier in the family, Breck’s historical district is your best bet.
Many prefer the quiet of a neighborhood. Warrior’s Mark is located on the south edge of Breckenridge and is set back from the main street. One one side, it borders Peak 9 and the Village, so ski access is nearby. It is also bordered by National Forest, giving access to the backcountry and great hiking.
This area is a quieter, more traditional mountain feel and just removed from the thick of things. You’ll likely want to take advantage of Breck’s transit, Summit Stage to get to and from the restaurants, shopping and nightlife. The buses stop between 12-1am so if nightlife is your priority, this area may not be your top pick. It is perfect for families looking for proximity, but a quieter experience.
Blue River is the perfect place to stay for the nature lover. This area sports the traditional rustic mountain experience. You are likely to see moose, elk, deer and even bear running through your backyard in this neighborhood! The houses tend to be more “retreat-style” and are nestled in the forest, with lots of space inside and out.
This neighborhood has the Goose Pasture Tarn and a stream for fishing, kayaking and other waterfront activities. You'll want to have your own car in this area, as it is located a few miles outside town.
Baldy Mountain is located on the hill opposite the ski resort. This area is popular with the local community for its amazing views and quieter atmosphere. We have several houses up here that are the quintessential snowy mountain retreat, with all the luxuries and comforts you could ever want.
The majority of the houses are above 10,000 feet, so you will want to be aware of the high altitude conditions. The buses run regularly up here, so access to town and the gondola is simple. This area is perfect for large groups, who want luxury at a decent price and need to appeal to a variety of guests.
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