I’ll admit coming from a long history of alpine escapes in Austria, Germany and Italy, I wasn’t expecting Colorado to leave me particularly beguiled. But as always, the beauty of the United States surprised me.
Colorado is Colorado. The Rocky Mountains (which surpass the Austrian alps in altitude, to my shock) surprise any visitor with their standalone magic and inspiring grandeur. Combine the dreamy landscape with comforting echoes of western allure plus the occasion of partaking in the dreamiest barn wedding imaginable, Grand Lake proved to be a destination that fills the heart. Daniel and I have already dubbed Colorado this year’s spot for our annual ski holiday destination, and we’re thrilled to fall even more in love with Colorado in the coming months.
Grand Lake is an epicenter of American mining history and essentially the Stars Hollow of the Rocky Mountains (I credit my friend for this reference that didn’t disappoint). We had the pleasure of walking these lakeside streets during autumn and it couldn’t help but remind me of America’s version of Hallstatt, Austria. The lake was a fiery golden mirror of changing leaves and the autumnal air constantly on the cusp of winter.
We were only in Grand Lake for a few days so I’m a far cry from an expert, but here a a few must-dos we’ll definitely be repeating the next time we visit this grand Colorado escape:
Best Coffee Shop in Grand Lake
Jump Start Coffee I’ve lived in great coffee lands like Europe and New York City and caffeinated in over 25 countries, but little Colorado shop Jump Start Coffee was the summit of latte satisfaction. Their fall menu is unrivaled and I suggest drinking your way through each specialty; their Apple Pie Latte has my heart and their PSL is criminally addictive.
Where to Eat in Grand Lake
Blue Water Bakery I’m one of those gluttonous people who need sweet treats for breakfast so Blue Water Bakery (open only during the season, which is summer in Grand Lake) is this town’s spot for pastries, croissants and all sweet needs. Savory and hearty dishes also on the menu.
Squeaky B‘s Without doubt the best burger and curry cheese fries I’ve had in the mountains, all ingredients sourced from local ranchers and artisans in Colorado.
Best Activities in Grand Lake
Hot Sulphur Springs This was one of our bachelorette activities and despite the notorious smell of rotten eggs, the sulphur hot springs left my skin in a baby smooth happy state.
Rocky Mountain National Park Take advantage of early morning hours and visit one of the most picturesque parks in the country: Rocky Mountain National Park, which has a entrance in Grand Lake. Home of the Colorado River and endless wildlife opportunities (elk, moose, bears, deer, foxes, etc.) this park gently reminds visitors that no beauty comes close to what nature offers.
Kayak, Boat and Fish in Grand Lake The main lake season is summer but I spotted a few early morning kayakers on Grand Lake and it was postcard worthy to say the least. Grand Lake is brimming with options for nature lovers and sports types alike.
Indulge in Western History Grand Lake was the hub of mining and therefore the hub of western history. There are a notable walking tours in town that take you to the old houses and landmarks that will add vibrant color to America’s historical picture.
Oh, and Grand Lake during fall…
For those on the west coast looking for a glimpse of changing leaves, Grand Lake rivals New England and makes a perfect cozy, latte-drinking, love-inducing escape.