After nearly a year of virtual schooling and finding new spots in our homes to set up pseudo offices, we could all use a break. But you don’t need to use up your vacation days to get it. Bring your work (and school, if you have kids) on the road during a weeklong stay in Estes Park. There’s no I-70 traffic to fight, and no ski resort translates to a quieter downtown. It also means tranquil trails await during your lunch breaks. And we do encourage plenty of breaks—because the whole point of going remote is to take advantage of what’s outside your front door. Here’s how to do it:
Set Up An Office Zone
First things first: You need to find a place that makes it tenable for your spouse to get in the Excel zone while you’re on a full-team Zoom meeting. The mountain-modern townhomes and condos at Fall River Village, some of which are dog-friendly, are a short walk from downtown—and include access to outdoor hot tubs (for screen breaks of course). The two-bedroom cabins at Rams Horn Village Resort are equally welcoming and are outfitted with fireplaces and private decks. Families should check out YMCA of the Rockies’ Estes Park Center for two- to five-bedroom cabins with plenty of room to spread out.
Take Coffee Breaks
No one expects you to start your day without some java. When you need a break from your in-house coffee machine, stroll to Kind Coffee, which brews organic and fair trade coffees and gives one percent of its sales to area nonprofits, or Inkwell & Brew, known for its slow-dripped cold brew and hand-pressed papers and cards. (Swing by Macdonald Book Shop next door to pick up some light reading about Estes Park and the surrounding area.)
Go Out For Lunch
Vacation means the joy of not eating lunch hunched over a laptop. Make some progress on those 10,000 daily steps by leaving your rental to pick up some midday sustenance. (Restaurants are currently open at 25 percent capacity, so you can dine in or opt for to-go.) Your options are endless. Among them: approachable but refined Colorado cuisine at Bird & Jim, which also has a heated patio; expertly cooked meats at Smokin’ Dave’s BBQ & Taphouse; stacked sammies from the Sandwich Mafia or Scratch Deli and Bakery; or tacos and burritos at Ed’s Cantina.
Plan Field Trips
Kids don’t get to have all the fun. Block out time for nonwork adventures—you want to actually see Estes Park while you’re there, after all. Want to get outside? Explore Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) by snowshoe or rent an ATV to maneuver around area open space. Too cold? Take a tour of the (supposedly haunted) Stanley Hotel or get crafty with Creativity Cabin’s to-go pottery kits.
Forget what that old adage says—you can teach an old horse (er, person) new tricks. And Estes Park is the perfect place to hone a new skill, whether it’s ice climbing or cross-country skiing or avalanche education. Kent Mountain Adventure Center and Colorado Mountain School both offer adrenaline-pumping classes. Looking for something mellower? Green Jeep Tours will take you on a circuit of the area’s breweries, winery, and distillery (if you’re 21 or older), while Estes Park Guided Tours’ trek through RMNP is an opportunity to sharpen your photography skills.
What you need to know about COVID-19 and travel to Estes Park: Restaurants, stores, and accommodations are all open, and everyone is required to wear a face covering inside shops and upon entering restaurants (you can remove your mask to eat and drink, of course). Rocky Mountain National Park is no longer requiring timed entry permits, but there are still area closures due to the recent wildfires; consult the park website before you visit. Read more about Estes Park’s safety response and find up-to-date information here.