A birthday to remember at The Broadmoor

If you have done something two years in a row, does that make it a tradition? If so, I’d like to officially declare staying at The Broadmoor our annual Memorial Day/Hadley birthday tradition!

We can all dream, right?

Sure, the weather didn’t cooperate but we still had a fabulous time at this iconic AAA Five-Diamond Resort in Colorado Springs. I mean, how could you not? The gourmet food is divine at The Broadmoor’s elegant restaurants. When we dined at La Taverne on our first day, they brought Hadley a birthday treat.

“But it’s not even my birthday yet,” she weakly protested.
“Yes, but it is your birthday weekend!” our waitress responded.

She never looked back.

Whoopie Pie celebration while bowling at PLAY

“Mom, my goal is to get to Round 10 of the brunch because I’m 10 years old today.”
“You’ll be sick.”
“I know.”

Birthday brunch

Side note: she made it.

Dissection of a birthday girl: cute green dress from Aunt Lisa, cowboy boots for horse camp from Mom, volleyball from Dad, new purse and wallet from the family and some classic books from Aunt Sue.

And nothing says brotherly love like Bode who constructed a birthday “H” for Hadley on Minecraft.

The weekend was non-stop fun. There was Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and hiking Cheyenne Canyon. Then, we were the very first group to participate in The Broadmoor’s new summertime activity, Laser Tag, on the croquet lawn. Uncle Chris joined us for our vacation and the man will become legend in Broadmoor Laser Tag circles because, as one admiring tween stated, “That guy has to be a professional hunter.” Translation: he “killed” us all every time.

I was unsure how laser tag would work outdoors but we were outfitted with paint-balls guns that had CO2 canisters or battery-operated guns for the littles.

Laser tag with Uncle Chris

Is it just me or does Hadley look a little bit too comfortable with that gun?

Everyone had a blast except Jamie who had to leave early when an old pumpkin injury started bleeding.

I wish I was joking.

The pool was, as always, glorious!

Hadley playing the “you have to go down the slide because it’s my birthday” card with Uncle Chris

The highlight of our lives (not really exaggerating) is a poolside cabana but remember that uncooperative weather?  We weren’t able to spend very much time at the pool but still toughed it out.

If you can call anything at The Broadmoor “tough.”

We drowned our inclement-weather sorrows in a lot of food by trying their new Italian Ristorante and Bar Del Lago. With delicious family-style portions, we started with a selection of antipasti and finally stopped two hours later with Bombolini (fried pastries) and Cannoli.
Jamie is not smiling because this was taken near the end of the meal and he was literally too full to try.

Of course, we always pose for family pictures by Cheyenne Lake.

Roast s’mores.

Order room service for breakfast.

And relish every single moment at The Broadmoor as if it is our last.

Room with a view

Happy birthday, Hadley!

The mountain, the bear and the gun-toting Tennessean

Though I relish any time spent on The Broadmoor’s opulent grounds, I love escaping to North Cheyenne Cañon, a gorgeous red-rock, evergreen forest with scores of hiking trails.

Many of the trails start at the Starsmore Discovery Center, just over a mile from the resort so most of my explorations have been reserved for the gorgeous neighborhoods and Lower Columbine trail. But then, I learned The Broadmoor runs a complimentary shuttle to the discovery center, which would give me a jump-start on my desire to hike further up the canyon to the Upper Columbine Trail.

We had planned to spend an afternoon at the pool but when rain clouded our plans, I enrolled the kids in the resort’s children’s club, Bee Bunch, while Jamie booked a massage. That meant I had three glorious hours to explore!

But remember that rain? It would have deterred some but not me. I grabbed my waterproof gear and hopped on the shuttle. Within minutes, I was winding along the trail and ran into a family.

“Bear up there,” one of the woman casually commented as I hiked by.

“Umm, did she say there is a bear?”

Her traveling companion divulged there was, indeed, a brown bear directly off the trail about a half-hour ahead. “He didn’t bother us,” he assured me. Gee, swell to know.

I kept hiking and each subsequent hiker issued the same warning. By this point, I was starting to get paranoid. I was, after all, hiking by myself and I had just polished off The Broadmoor’s tasty 10,000-calorie brunch. I’d be some good eatin’ for a hungry bear in the rain. Plus, I’ve never run into a bear in Colorado’s backcountry.

As I was forging up the mountain, I was passed by a 30-something, fit tattooed hiker from Tennessee who was a bit rough around the edges but friendly. I informed him about the bear and he nonchalantly said, “I’m not worried. I’ve got a pistol in my backpack.”

Now, any other day such a confession would have steered me in another direction but it became one of Bode’s famous “would you rather” games: Would I rather hike by myself under threat of a bear OR hike with a gun-toting, tattooed Tennessean?

I opted for the latter and we quickly fell into a good clip up the mountain.

I may-or-may-not have snapped this picture as evidence in case my dead, lifeless body was found.

The trail was steep, the views stunned, the rain dripped, the sun persisted, the conversation entertained and it was one of those beloved hikes where  I felt powerful and never wanted it to end. When we reached the Upper Columbine trailer marker four miles later,  we parted ways as he continued going and I reluctantly headed back to pick up the kids.

View of The Broadmoor from the Upper Columbine Trail

The bear was long forgotten on my return trip but I had a new-found fondness for gun-toting Tennesseans. Just your average day in Colorado’s backcountry.




The Glorious Broadmoor: In Pictures

Sometimes I’m way too verbose for my own good so here’s a pictorial glimpse at our Labor Day weekend at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs’ AAA Five-Diamond resort.  I was on-assignment to write about their new Ranch at Emerald Valley through a child’s eyes (read about it here). It was one trip that would’ve made me wish I could be a kid again…if I wasn’t having the time of my life.

Hands down, our favorite activity at The Broadmoor is hanging out at the glorious infinity pool.

Usually we paddleboat around pristine Cheyenne Lake but this time we took the electric boats for a spin.
Apparently it was a very serious matter for the Boy Captains.

Sometimes you just need a break from the water for some Magic Treehouse moments.

We usually spend at least an hour in The Broadmoor Children’s Shop.

Everything is bigger and better there.

We also did some very serious gaming.

And we just had a wonderful time hanging out together.

Did I mention The Broadmoor’s coffee shop Expresso’s has wisely replicated the cronut craze (think: half-donut, half-croissant) that is sweeping New York City? This was their basic cinnamon-sugar Broadmoor Donut, which was melt-in-your-mouth amazing. I may-or-may-not have almost started weeping when, on the drive home, they announced their new flavors for fall: Pumpkin Spice & Apple Broadmoor Donuts.

We first took the kids to The Broadmoor when they were 3 and 1 and one of their favorite things to do is play on the elevators.

I love this shot. Doesn’t it look like it could have been taken out of their archives?

One afternoon while Jamie got a massage and I hiked the Upper Columbine Trail (details on that tomorrow), the kiddos went to the resort’s Bee Bunch kid’s club.

They had a great time. I think. This picture could go either way.

We can’t go to The Broadmoor without partaking in their legendary brunch.

Bonus: no children threw tantrums during this photo shoot (unlike last time in Tearing Families Apart and Bringing Them Back Together).

And why would they freak out when they have a spread like this?

Lest you think our trip to The Broadmoor is all about food, you would be correct. Cases in point: room service.

And we instituted a new family tradition at PLAY, The Broadmoor’s luxury retro six-lane bowling alley, game room and eatery: we started with desserts first, followed by the main course topped off by appetizers.
Upon returning home, I spent hours and hours writing about our experiences and was relieved when their magazine editor loved it. As payment for their writers, they give us a return trip so we can stay and play at our leisure.

Because we didn’t do enough of that during our latest visit.