We took a much needed screen-free trip to Center Hill Lake to “glamp” in a dome. 10/10 recommend! It was truly the sweetest experience and core family memories were made.
You can book directly from the Tennessee Glamping website HERE. Dome four at Center Hill Lake was the exact one we stayed in.
The dome was air conditioned, had a toilet and large shower, a king bed, a pullout couch, a microwave, sink & a grill. It was very comfortable. The outside had a large deck, a solo stove, a grill and a hot tub. (The hot tub was the star of the show for our kids!)
We went about a mile down the road and swam in the lake at a beach area and fished. It was located close to a marina as well.
A couple things that were hits with the kids:
– Oreo S’more (You just open up the Oreo and put the marshmallow/chocolate in between.) HUGE hit with the boys!
– A glow dance party! We brought a bunch of glow in the dark necklaces, bracelets, sunglasses, etc. We played some music and had a family dance party.
– Fishing… we used a tangle free kid rod. They LOVED it!
– Magnifying Glasses- The kids could check out the bugs, leaves, etc. Kept them entertained for a long time.
– Movie Projector- we brought a little projector to watch a movie on the ceiling of the dome.
We had the boys cuddle up in their sleeping bags and put them on the top of the pull out bed.
The property we stayed on had an incredible view, but it is VERY high up with a steep drop off. We had to keep our eyes on the baby at ALL times. Just an FYI!
Our family can’t wait to go back when the leaves change this fall for another little retreat. It felt magical!
Things We Loved Having:
Trey’s Western Cowboy Camp Breakfast Scramble Recipe-
** We prepped this all before we left and just popped it on the grill when we got there. With the eggs we wanted to make it right before we left & kept it refrigerated the night before. **
* 1 pack of 30 oz. of frozen shredded hash browns
* 1/2 on of diced ham – we used deli
* Dice 1 large bell pepper
* 2 -3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese, i like Philadelphia melted kind
* 8 eggs
* 1/4 cup of milk
* 1 tsp. of onion powder
* 1 tsp. Garlic powder
* Couple of dashes of hot sauce
* Salt and pepper to taste
* Top it with some parsley (optional)
** Mix it all in bowl, wrap with tin foil.
Put on grill at or around 400 degrees 30 – 40 min covered.
Take off foil, cook another 30-40 uncovered.
We headed over to Nashville’s Opryland for a staycation to celebrate the end of the school year and had the BEST time! The hotel is very family friendly and B-E-A-UTIFUL. It features 9 acres of indoor atriums, an outdoor pool, live music, special summer activities such as the atrium fountain show and live performances, scavenger hunts & hotel garden tours. And of course – SoundWaves!
Typically we venture all around the resort, but this trip we couldn’t drag our kids out of SoundWaves if we tried! After 8 straight hours there, we were able to pull them out to eat dinner. They both agreed it was their “best day ever.”
After three or so staycations a year since our boys were babies, we consider ourselves “Opryland experts.” I wanted to share some of our tricks that we’ve picked up over the years and answer some FAQ’s.
Atrium view rooms are SO fun. We love watching the twinkle lights on the balcony. Grab an ice cream at the end of the night and sit out on the balcony as a family. It truly has a magical feel! Since it was such a quick stay we did the regular atrium room. When we come at Christmas we will sometimes stay in the upgraded atrium view room. We chose the two queen beds (you can also chose a king) The upgraded atrium has two bathrooms, a living area and a kitchenette. In the living area is a murphy bed (the kids think that is so fun!) and a pull out couch as well. It’s a great option to have a separate space for the baby to sleep or if you are coming with another family and need a gathering place.
If you are coming predominantly for SoundWaves this summer, I would suggest booking the Garden section. It’s the closest area to the water park.
SoundWaves is the BIGGEST hit with our boys. We decided to get a cabana this time with the baby. It was nice to get a designated meet up spot and have somewhere that Cambre could nap. (We shut the curtains while she was napping.) A waiter comes around and you can order food/drink to the cabana. The cabana is an additional expense, but it really made our trip this time. If you are worried about shade.. there are umbrellas at some of the chairs outside as well as some more shady spots inside. You would need to get there early to save those on busy days.
The waterpark has both an indoor and an outdoor section. There was a baby/toddler splash area that Cambre just loved. Most of the slides were 42″ and up to ride. Our boys could go on everything if we were with them. There are indoor & outdoor play areas with a big bucket.. they spent a ton of time in those! Food is available and drinks (including cocktails!) inside of SoundWaves.
One of the questions that was frequently asked on Instagram was about leaving the resort. We personally do not leave the resort, but you totally could! With how many restaurants and shops are on property, we find it simpler to stay put.
Speaking of restaurants… Old Hickory Steakhouse is our favorite food on property. A bit more upscale than the others and on the pricier side. If you’d like the splurge just be sure to make a reservation for that one. Cascades (near the waterfalls) features a breakfast buffet that our children love. Ask if there are available seats in the booths under the cave. Just a fun little touch for the kids! They also have an Italian restaurant, Mexican restaurant, pizza spot etc. that are very kid friendly. If you venture down to the Magnolia area there are pubs and more adult style spots as well.
Each night we also go by the arcade. Just a quick trip since it’s not too big. Always a fun way to end the night out.
Local residents… be sure to check out the deals. Right now they are offering 40% off as a local discount.
Opryland has become our children’s favorite family tradition. The memories made here are priceless to us. We consider ourselves lucky to have something so special this close to home!
We refer to Vail as our “happy place.” You just can’t beat breathing in the fresh mountain air, the stunning views, hot tubbing with snow falling around you, the freeing feeling of skiing down the mountain…I could go on and on.
Strolling through the village feels as if you are walking through an Austrian village without having to cross the ocean. The Bavarian culture is evident in the food and architecture.
Each year we take a trip in either the summer or fall and then a ski trip in the winter season. You can check out our guide for summer months HERE.
This year was extra special because we brought the boys along to try their hand at skiing for the first time!
My husband had a brief stint where he lived out here and was a ski instructor for young ones. It just made it all the more special to be able to watch them with our own little guys.
HOW TO GET THERE
There is a local airport, Eagle County Regional Airport. However, there are limited flight options. We fly into Denver International Airport and rent a car. It’s a very scenic drive.
This time we stopped at the Ice Castles in Dillon along the way. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. It’s a bucket list type of experience and the kids absolutely loved it!
You can also take the Colorado Mountain Express ride shuttle.
Once you arrive in Vail everything is easily walkable. They also offer a free bus transportation service which can take you between Lionshead and Vail Village.
If you are staying at the Four Seasons (where we always chose to stay) they will give you rides anywhere throughout Vail, at your request. You can even take out one of their Mercedes Benz to cruise around Vail in style.
WHERE TO STAY
Hands down the best place to stay in Vail is the Four Seasons Vail The location is walkable to the gondola, bars, restaurants, streams, etc. We have tried out everywhere, but this is simply the best. The staff is so friendly and they make every possible accommodation for you. They greeted our boys with a bag of goodies and set them up a tent in the room. The bar, pool, Flame restaurant, etc. are impeccable. One of our favorite things to do is get the “haute chocolate.” They slow pour the most decadent hot chocolate over a chocolate grid on top of an oversized mug. It melts in and is then topped with a homemade marshmallow. Drooling thinking about it. If you are not a guest of the hotel… still go get that hot chocolate!
If you are choosing to ski the hotel makes it as convenient as possible to do so. You can rent your skis through Gorsuch located inside the hotel. It’s easy to get fitted right there at the hotel. They then send the correct skis, poles, helmets down to the ski concierge at the base of the mountain. Ski concierge will help you get your ski boots on and walk your skis right to the mountain for you. It truly couldn’t be a more stress free experience.
WHAT TO DO
Ski– The skiing in Vail is insanely good! The views are amazing and there are plenty of options of green trails up to double black diamonds depending on your skill set. There is simply nothing more freeing than being at the top of a mountain.
Vail mountain offers Ski School for children 3 years+ (and potty trained.) We highly recommend taking this route. They make skiing fun for kids, but more importantly they teach them proper technique, how to carry skis, how to put their skis on, etc. They take lots of breaks and play games, etc. Kids are never outside too long to get too cold.
Adventure Ridge-– At the top of the mountain they offer snow tubing, a coaster and other fun winter activities.
Shop- There are tons of local boutiques, art, jewelry shops and more. Everything is so walkable that you can pop in and out of each one. The boys loved the toy store and the candy shop. (Shocking, I know. HA!)
Spa- The Four Seasons Five-Star Spa can’t be beat.
Ride The Scenic Gondola- If you aren’t wanting to ski riding the gondola is a great way to explore the mountain and check out the views from the top!
WHERE TO EAT
It’s always fun to ride the gondola up the mountain and have lunch at the top. You just can’t beat the view! (It’s very casual.) There is also the 10th Restaurant at the top of the mountain. It’s a fun experience because you can take your ski boots of and wear slippers while you dine. We love to get fries and champagne for lunch as a fun little break.
The Remedy Bar- Located Inside the Four Seasons. Think really upscale “bar food.” They just hired a new chef and the food did NOT disappoint.
Garfinkles- You can sit outside and have a great view of the gondola and mountain.
Mountain Standard- The Colorado River Trout is insanely good. A local favorite.
La Nonna- A locals favorite!
Sweet Basil- We first found this gem during Taste of Vail. It’s a farm to table place with really fresh ingredients. Ask to sit out on the patio.
Almresi- The owners started this in Germany and it’s very authentic and unique. There are authentic Austrian dishes on the menu and it truly makes you feel like you are in another country.
Matsuhisa- This place is incredible! It’s a great sushi spot, but the 72 hour marinated miso cod is where it’s at!! It’s owned by Chef Nobu so you know it’s top knotch.
Flame- Located inside the Four Seasons. SO. DANG. GOOD. The food is excellent, but they were still extremely accommodating to the kids. The new chef created some table side experiences that are next level. The “CACIO & PEPE” table side was one of the highlights of the trip for us! They bring a parmesan wheel to the table and rotate in fresh pasta. They then top it with freshly shaved truffle. It is just divine!
WHERE TO DRINK
Vail Brewing Co.- It’s always fun to find a local brewery and this one has a laid back casual vibe.
The George- Fun fact… Trey worked here 20 years ago checking ID’s. HA! It’s the local hang out.
Bully’s Ranch- We have made it a tradition to grab a mudslide at the bar here. It’s got the true mountain decor and is always festive.
Root & Flower- They offer over 50 by the glass pours of wine, an extensive bottle selection, and lots of fun craft cocktails.
WHAT TO PACK
I’ve rounded up a very detailed list of everything to pack for skiing, winter clothes for walking around the town, travel gear and winter beauty essentials. You can check all of that out HERE!
There is nothing more relaxing than sitting on the side of a mountain for a little après ski after a long day on the slopes. If you have never taken a ski trip before… add it to your bucket list! There’s nothing like breathing in the fresh mountain air, sitting in a hot tub with snow falling all around your or strolling a perfect little mountain town all bundled up.
We take at least one ski trip a year and this year we added in the boys so that they could experience our “happy place” with us.
Knowing what to pack for a ski trip (especially if it’s your first time) can seem a bit intimidating so I’m breaking it down for you so all you’ll have to worry about is which mountainside patio you need to sip your champagne. Also, you can check out my Vail Travel Guide HERE for that info too. I really have ya’ll covered on this one!
** YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY ITEM TO SHOP. **
On The Slopes-
First, you can rent your skis, poles and helmet at the mountain. This way you do not have to travel with such heavy items.
You will somewhat have to play this by ear based on the weather of your trip. Most of the time I am fine in just a base layer, ski jacket, pants and gloves. When we go during the colder months I add a ski sweater on top. In extremely cold weather you will also need to add a face warmer or a neck scarf.
Off The Slopes- Winter Wear-
Hotel Hangs & Hot Tub-
There is nothing more revitalizing and relaxing than sitting in the hot tub with snow falling around you looking up at the mountain. It’s simply magic! Don’t forget to pack a suit and pool slides.
In The Room-
I always like to have a warm pair of flannel pajamas to have in the room. I Have THESE and love them. They run a tad big/long.
Winter Beauty Must Haves-
Between the flight, altitude, cold and dry air you will need to take extra good care of yourself and your skin on a ski trip. These electrolyte drops are a great way to fight against getting altitude sickness. (Don’t forget to also drink lots of water!!) SPF if a MUST on the mountain, along with on your lips to protect from chapped/burnt lips. I’ve also included my must have beauty mask, eye masks, and hydrators.
** Please note the Youth Serum can not be tagged, but you can find it HERE. It provides incredible hydration and I’ll never travel without mine again. (I actually use it everyday.)