Monday, September 9, 2013

Vail Friendships

The last time I saw Vail it was 40 years ago.  I remember, at that time, being surprised to see the amount of development that had taken place in the ten years from Vail's birth.  But holy cow!  What a shock to see it now.

The very first thing on my agenda was to look up old friends.  Marilyn Fleischer (above on the left), and Diane Lazier (above on the right), two alumni from the very first winter in '62- '63.  April Mabee (above center) worked with me in Monterey, Ca. in the '90s and she now lives and works in Vail.

The first thing these old friends did was stroll through the downtown Farmer's Market.

Only in a frou frou town like Vail would the market have blintzes

But moreover,  they had several dozen renditions of blintzes.

Marilyn and her S.O., Bill, share a lovely townhouse on Gore Creek--the perfect spot to eat our blintzes.

Later in the day Diane and I took a walk across one of the few landmarks I  recognized from 1963, The Covered Bridge. And then she introduced me to the truly lovely Betty Ford Alpine Garden. 

I was so pleased to see this lovely park area within a short walk of downtown, set aside, planted and preserved.     

Gerald and Betty Ford made their home here in Vail after he left Washington DC. The amphitheater is a favorite for music and theatre.

Diane and I remembered when Vail had no TV, no radio, certainly no theatre and the only music was an occasional folk band that was hired to play in one of the two or three bars in town.

As I made the drive a day or two earlier I was stunned to see the valley, from the edge of Glenwood Canyon all the way to the base of Vail Pass,  filled with subdivisions, townhouses, shopping centers, ride-share parking lots, miles and miles of bike paths and many great tall buildings.  

There were no longer any tiny little ranching communities, no  Dew Drop Inn Motel,  no sheep grazing on a hillside, no two-lane road winding along the river...

Every square mile of the valley is now a very sophisticated, well-planned and developed series of ski villages...

Any one of which would rival the very poshest Tyrolean Village.

Every lawn is manicured, the cobblestone streets are swept clean and pristine, and brilliant colored flowers cascade from hundreds of window boxes.

I was thrilled to see The Red Lion, the first restaurant in the village, still in its original spot.

The logo is the same though the building has more than doubled in size.

Vail was born because Pete Seibert and several other veterans of WW2 and the 10th Mountain Division trained for the war in the now-famous back bowls of Vail Mountain. Those few young soldiers foresaw the potential of a world-class ski area on that mountain and 20 years after the war that quiet little cattle ranch was swallowed up and that awesome mountain was opened for business.

Thanks Diane for taking the time to give me the tour.

To be continued...  

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