Monday, June 23, 2014

A Weekend Getaway in the Mountains

A few weeks ago Woody and I got away for a long weekend to celebrate our 7th anniversary. It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for seven years already, although looking back we’ve been through a lot together and I know there is a lot more ahead of us. Buying a house this spring has focused most of our disposable income in one direction, so we decided to cash in some points and celebrate in style.

One of the many reasons why I love Woody is because he is good with money and we have the same basic philosophy about it – we don’t spend beyond our means, we save for retirement (and a house, check!), and we pay off our credit cards each month. We also love to travel and like to get something for all the money we’re spending. Back when he worked for American Express he signed us up for one of their charge cards – the Starwood Preferred Guest – and we build up points that can be cashed in for hotel rooms at properties around the world. Starwood’s portfolio of hotels includes The W, Westin, Sheraton, Le Meridien, and other great hotels. When we stayed at The W Hotel in Seattle back in 2011 for 6 nights, 5 of those were because of our SPG points. Not bad. This time we cashed some in for the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon, CO, just across the river from Beaver Creek and down the road from Vail. With an unexpected upgrade we ended up with this beautiful suite:

Westin Riverfront Suite

Westin Riverfront Suite Bedroom

It was fantastic and luxurious, to say the least. The entire resort, with amenities including a full-size, well-equipped gym, lap pool and three hot tubs, two restaurants, one bar, and an incredibly helpful staff, was just perfect for our weekend away. We also enjoyed a few delicious meals in Avon, including an anniversary dinner at Vin48.

Westin Riverfront Spa


While in the mountains, we focused on relaxing and exploring. Unfortunately the weather didn’t want to cooperate with our plans on our one full day, but we did get out for a hike. There are likely thousands of trails throughout Vail Valley, but we chose one close to our resort so we could sleep a little later and wouldn’t have to drive far to reach the trailhead. The river we hiked along for most of the way was almost bursting over its banks because of the snowmelt from record snowfall through the winter. It kept us cool and we kept watch on the sky because the clouds were pretty dark except for a few peeks of sun. We also ran into a few piles of snow along the way. Colorado in June!Hiking Beaver Creek

On the hike

Snow on our hike

It was raining and cold, but we made our way over to Vail to check out the GoPro Games (from what I can tell, these were like the X Games for the mountains in the spring). When the rain started to pour, we took shelter in a crowded coffee shop and ended up playing a few game of checkers using sugar packets (the only acceptable use of sugar packets, if you ask me!)

GoPro Games

Sweet & Low Checkers

Unfortunately we had to head back early Monday morning as Woody was scheduled to fly out early afternoon for a business trip. The sun was finally out and we had to say goodbye to our little slice of heaven in what’s been a hectic few months. If only we had known then that Woody’s flight would be cancelled, as would his trip, and he’d be able to join me for Jamie Cullum’s concert at the Arvada Center after all!

Westin Beaver Creek Resort

Jamie Cullum concert

This was definitely a fantastic way to celebrate our anniversary and I hope we use our points for this resort again soon.

By the way, my parents are retiring on Tuesday! While it has nothing to do with this post, my heart is bursting for them because I am just so happy that they finally get to enjoy life without the worry of work. They have devoted decades of their lives to other people and it’s about time they get to really enjoy each day. I can’t wait to see them in a few weeks.

Dad, Mom, Me Rose Bowl Pep Rally

What are your plans for the first week of summer?


Lisa said...

What a great getaway!! I always wonder what tricks people have for affording great travel. I might have to look into more of the rewards cards.

Lisa said...

Hi Joanna, thanks for dropping by! I highly recommend checking out rewards cards like SPG. I also have a Delta card and usually get one free round-trip flight back to Michigan each year (plus a few upgrades & other perks like a free checked bag, which is awesome these days!)

Lisa said...

I'm a loyal SPG member as well. My Delta points help with travel as well.

So glad that you guys were able to enjoy your anniversary in style. I've always admired how you guys are so good with your resources/money. It's definitely not easy, but worth it.

Congrats to your parents!!!

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Lisa said...

I've had a United Visa since I got my first credit card (it's what my parents have always used), and it is really nice to get some perks! I'm always interested in what else is out there since I've been a little unhappy with United as of late. Looks like you got an amazing use out of your perks...happy belated anniversary!