It sounds like a PR pitch or a postcard greeting, so I feel a little ridiculous saying that Breckenridge is the perfect place to create picturesque, holiday memories — but it really is; there’s just no way around it.
So what are some of the best ways to capture that old-fashion, comfy-feeling holiday experience in Breckenridge? Let’s start with a quick overview and then “go to town.”
Breckenridge seems to magically transform into a near Thomas Kinkade painting during the holidays. (OK, so Tommy never illustrated park and pipe rats at Breckenridge Ski Resort or jam bands at three20south, but pieces like his “Christmas Lodge,” “A Christmas Story” and even “Christmas Miracle” smack of Breckenridge’s Victorian charm.) The lighting of Breckenridge (and Santa run) takes place Dec. 1, and voilá.
Breckenridge’s Main Street shops and restaurants blend a mountain-mining feel — complete with “rough-and-tumble” saloons — with the quaint feel of the historical town’s Victorian architecture. Duck into The Gold Pan Saloon, the oldest bar in Breck (you know: miners had priorities in 1879). For a more “refined” drink or a gourmet dinner, head to Hearthstone Restaurant, located in a 125-year-old, three-story Victorian house at 130 S. Ridge St.
Or simply stroll down Main Street and vote on the best holiday window displays through Dec. 14 in Breckenridge’s third annual Holiday Window Competition.
Take a step back in time by listening to Breckenridge’s historical stories and seeing their associated structures. The Breckenridge Heritage Alliance offers gold-mine hikes and low-cost tours (usually $10 to $15 for adults and $5 to $10 for kids); the museums are free. The Historic Walking Tour weaves tales of Breckenridge’s two dance-halls, 10 hotels and 18 saloons in the 1880s as it showcases the buildings that hosted gold diggers, soiled doves and elite members of society. The Haunted Tour arouses Breckenridge’s ghostly past, and The Saloon Tour stirs up some spirits.
Plenty of Breckenridge shops offer special Christmas ornaments as a holiday memento, but if you want to go back to simpler days when many people made gifts by hand, look into the Breckenridge Arts Districts’ classes. Workshops include jewelry making, painting and drawing classes, holiday art projects, and open ceramic studio sessions.
Breckenridge Arts District extends its usual Second Saturday gallery tour into a full weekend Dec. 7-9. The weekend includes ornament making, historical tours, workshops, live music and more. The Holiday Arts Market, from noon to 8 p.m. Dec. 8 at the Fuqua Livery Stable (110 E. Washington Ave.), offers paintings, photos, ceramics, jewelry, textiles and other handmade pieces — all fashioned by local artists.
The Breckenridge Music Festival’s winter concert features a group of Colorado Symphony Orchestra musicians including Justin Bartels, principle trumpet, from 4-6 p.m. Dec. 23 at St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church at 100 S. French St. The musicians perform traditional and contemporary holiday favorites. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door and include a holiday reception after the concert.
On Dec. 27, get a taste of Victorian times with the Holiday Tea with Katie Briggle.
And for the little tikes, on Dec. 14, from 6-8 p.m., the Breckenridge Recreation Center hosts an old-fashioned pajama party — specially designed for preschoolers. For $10, they’ll be engrossed in making crafts, playing games and making believe with their favorite characters.