Colorado food / Colorado Travel / Food trends

Vail’s First Artisanal Cheesemaker; Minturn’s hip new hostel

By John Lehndorff 11/22/2016 at 1:25pm Published in the Holiday 2016 – 2017 issue of Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine

Most Eagle residents have washers, snowshoes, storage bins, and Christmas decorations piled in their basements. But not Ann Kurronen.

The proprietor of AnnaVail Cheese doesn’t have room for any of that stuff now that she has a 1,500-square-foot licensed cheese making and aging facility, the only one of its kind in Eagle County, which until recently was an artisan cheese desert.

It’s the logical next step up from the Vail Farmers’ Market stall where, for the past two years, she’s been selling—and selling out of—her signature Timberline cream cheese laced with currants, walnuts, basil, and garlic. With room to grow, the AnnaVail lineup includes Tomme de Vail (a semi-soft sheep’s milk cheese with a nutty, buttery flavor), and new a chèvre-like cheese aged in grape leaves marinated in wine or bourbon.

“I really like the flavor, it’s so rich and creamy,” gushes the valley’s sole cheesemonger. “I’m so excited to finally be making all these cheeses.”

As are we all. 

Annavail Cheese
1182 Hernage Creek Road
Eagle Ranch, Colorado

By John Lehndorff 1/10/2017 at 2:00pm Published in the Holiday 2016 – 2017 issue of Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine

If you a) sleepwalk, B) are claustrophobic, c) are intensely private, then you may not be the ideal guest for The Bunkhouse, the cool new “boutique hostel” for grownups in Minturn.

On the other hand, if you are gregarious, adventurous, and/or hip and would rather splurge on fine dining than an overpriced resort village hotel room, this surprisingly affordable (from $68 a night) lodging alternative may be for you, especially if you were the youngest sibling who never got the upper bunk. 

“We don’t get a lot of introverts here,” says innkeeper Nancy Richards, who operates the hostel with her husband, Ryan, and has hosted guests from teenagers to septuagenarians from as far away as New Zealand since the business opened in May. “These are people who are looking for great experiences. They want to spend their money on cool adventures, not on a hotel.”

Accommodations vary from Japanese-style soundproofed pods (equipped with heavy privacy curtains, plush bedding, lamps, USB ports, and noise cancelling sound machines to drown out snores from neighbors) and two private rooms that sleep up to four family members or friends.

In addition to a common area with a full kitchen and a flat-screen TV, amenities include free Wi-Fi, parking, ski gear storage, morning coffee, and confidence that you’ll sleep soundly knowing you’ve just scored one of the valley’s best deals.


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