A Rocky Mountain Christmas

By Linda Wommack

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There is nothing as magical as a snow white Rocky Mountain Christmas. Several mountain towns, many within an hours’ drive from Denver, offer shopping, dining and seasonal entertainment. Golden – The charming community of Golden offers a month-long holiday celebration. The “Olde Golden Christmas” includes festive activities such as elf-themed 5k runs, parades and of course, shopping. Downtown Golden twinkle with holiday lights that illuminate the area. The charming stores are all decorated and many offer hot cider and cookies. Santa Clause is featured in the parades with bands, prancing horses, vintage cars and carriages.

Thousands of holiday lights sparkle in the trees along the banks of Clear Creek. The Candlelight Walks with carolers and free hot cider is not to be missed.

Georgetown – To experience the traditional Georgetown Christmas Market is to take step back in time. Then as now, the picturesque mountain mining town glistens with holiday lights and cheer. Take a stroll through town where the smell of hot roasted chestnuts fills the air. Or see the sites from a horse-drawn wagon. Here’s a little-known tidbit – the 1986 movie, The Christmas Gift, starring John Denver, was filmed in Georgetown.

Frisco – The quaint mountain town of Frisco offers holiday shopping, dining and caroling along the festive lit streets. For the adventurous, there are scenic or dinner sleigh rides available.

Vail – For those looking for a holiday vacation destination, Vail is an excellent choice. The alpine ski resort not only offers some of the best skiing in the state, the community also boasts several venues for dining and night-life entertainment.

Beaver Creek – The Winterfest at Beaver Creek is a spectacular seasonal event. Performances on the Village Plaza include ice skating, parades, children’s contests, photos with Santa, costumed carolers and much more, all free to the public.

Glenwood Springs – The historic Hotel Colorado is decked out for the holidays. For the 26th year, the annual Christmas Craft and Gift show will be held in three rooms of the hotel. Unique gifts, handmade crafts and one-of-a-kind items are displayed and available for purchase. The town also offers musical concerts including a symphony winter concert and the acclaimed Mountain Madrigal Singers Christmas Concert. The Winter Celebration Festival of Trees is a unique approach for charity. Trees of all sizes, make and creations such as paper, metal, wire, food or other creative materials are presented and sold at silent auction. The proceeds go to the support of the Silt Historical Park. Entertainment such as caroling, hayrides and bake sales round out the event.

Speaking of festive trees, there are several mountain areas that offer permits for cutting down your own tree for the Christmas holiday. Several within an hours’ drive from Denver include Pickle Gulch near Idaho Springs, Buffalo Creek near Bailey and Elk Creek, near Grandby. Permit information can be obtained from the US Forest Service at usda.gov or call 303-239-3838.

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