Think Vail for music and art

You can watch the New York Philharmonic more than 8,000 feet above sea level

You can watch the New York Philharmonic more than 8,000 feet above sea level

You are watching pianist Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s fingers fly across the keys in an astounding rendition of Ravel’s Concerto in G Major. The orchestra is the New York Philharmonic conducted by Bramwell Tovey.  But you are not in New York at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall.

You have a glass of wine in one hand and a hummus dip chip in the other. But you are not at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park, Ill., summer home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, or Tanglewood in Lenox, Mass., summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Instead, you are perched on a tiered lawn space with a great view of the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater stage and surrounding mountains in Vail, Colo.

The concert is part of Bravo, an approximately six-week mid-summer series that brings the Philadelphia Orchestra and Dallas Symphony Orchestra and guest artists to Vail and band and pops programs to the area.

Between full orchestra concerts are soirees of quartets and quintets held in homes and other venues.

It seems Aspen doesn’t hold a monopoly when it comes to finding a good summer music festival in Colorado’s mountain resort spots.

Scenic Vail is also a music and dance festival destination

Scenic Vail is also a music and dance festival destination

If you time the visit right you can catch the last New York Philharmonic concert one night and the opening of the Vail International Dance Festival in the Ford Amphitheater two night later.

In 2011, the last full orchestra concert was July 29 and the New York City Ballet Moves opened the Dance Festival July 31.

Set in the Vail Valley along the Gore Creek, the town teems with art galleries, home and fashion boutiques and artistically decorated restaurants.

Indeed, culture here isn’t confined to the Ford Amphitheater. Vail is also about art.

Public art and on consignment sculptures dot walkways, take over plazas, tuck into stairway shrubs, sprout in parks and gardens and even find a home in a fountain.

Real children like to find water spout pedestals while bronze children watch from their towering pedestals

Real children like to find water spout pedestals while bronze children watch from their towering pedestals

A Steve Tobin sculpture from his Roots series whimsically sprawls above ground at the Betty Ford Garden in the park next to the Amphitheater. In the same area, trees ravished by beetles have been reconnected to the earth as a towering sculpture.  The park’s playground includes sculptures that are child-climbing friendly.

Vail is also a fine destination to admire Mother Nature’s art. A glassed in gondola takes riders up the mountain from its base in Lionshead Village on the west end of Vail.

The trip is an easy, sloping, non threatening ride that even visitors who don’t like heights can manage.  This is the place to hike, bike, horseback ride and enjoy scrapbook worthy mountain scenery.

 

If you go

Places to stay

Visitors often book a condo here but there are several fine hotels. Here are two places to stay on the free shuttle route that goes through the town from the Amphitheater on the east to Lionshead on the west:

The Sebastian – A preferred Hotel and Resort, the property features excellent service, pool, spa, casual snack and breakfast market, and impressive lobby and library furnishings and art.

Sonnenalp Resort – an all suite resort with good pool, spa, library, bar, charming breakfast space and fun casual pub.

Where to eat

With so many choices from every type of ethnic eatery to upscale bistro visitors can happily eat somewhere different each meal. Here are a few favorites:

A waiter at Vail Chophouse opposite the gondola recommends a pinot noir to accompany the steak ordered

A waiter at Vail Chophouse opposite the gondola recommends a pinot noir to accompany the steak ordered

Dinner

At the west end of Vail is The Vail Chophouse in Lionshead opposite the gondola. This is a good Place to sit outside while putting away a really excellent steak and great truffle fries. The Mac and Cheese is also good.

Terra Bistro is near the east end of the shuttle route and a short hike to the Amphitheater. The restaurant is a longtime local favorite so reservations are needed.

Lunch

Sapphire Sit outside Sapphire above Gore Creek. The seared scallops and spinach salad with mango salsa is worth ordering.

Getting here

Best rates are to Denver International Airport even though Eagle is closer. Rent a car or take the Colorado Mountain Express which regularly travels between DIA and Vail.

All photos by and copyrighted to Jodie Jacobs

Share