No Skiing, No Problem in Summer Breckenridge | Colorado Main Street | Travel

It’s hard to imagine the 1960s Breckenridge we once heard of. It was from the man who put Nordic skiing on the map here, Gene Dayton.

“The streets were dirty. The dogs were sleeping in the middle of Main Street,” he recalls. “There were no red lights. There were junk cars everywhere, overturned caravans, collapsing houses.

So it was, about 100 years after the discovery of gold along the Blue River, sending great waves of people into those mountains. Colorado’s largest known gold nugget was unearthed here, in 1887. It weighed 13½ pounds and became known as “Tom’s Baby”, for the man who cradled it in town as a precious new -born. Tom would have crossed a busy main street.

Then came the bust, the decades of economic depression and degradation that Dayton found. Then came fame – largely thanks to his ilk on skis in the 60s.

Fortunes reversed with Breckenridge Resort. It’s the cornerstone of the city today, a world-class destination in the winter that turns into something of a theme park in the summer.

There are many more diversions in town.

Main Street is now cobbled, with red lights to control the traffic that sometimes feels heavier than those gold rush days. Busy busy. Dogs couldn’t sleep here if they tried.

And while a posh afternoon scene has taken over many of the buildings lining Main Street, you’ll also get a glimpse of gritty history as you stroll among them. The discoveries seem endless.

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A Main Street staple has lasted more than three decades, thanks to a simple joy. It’s the Joy of Socks, which also offers jewelry, handbags, scarves and gag gifts. Other unique favorites: books at Ole Man Berkins and Peak-A-Boo Toys.

Trendy clothing and gifts from several boutiques, such as Valleygirl, Beloved and Moxie Clothing. You’ll feel like you’re walking through a renovated barn browsing Marigolds Farmhouse Funk and Junk, specializing in vintage styles and decor.

Several galleries celebrate local artists who, of course, draw inspiration from the landscape. Breckenridge Gallery bills itself as the oldest art dealer in Summit County; you might feel like in a museum inside.

Family-owned Raitman Art Galleries also shares space on Main Street, another showcase of local talent. “Local, affordable and portable” is the motto of Portfolio Gallery.

There’s no shortage of ski shops in town, but Rocky Mountain Underground stands out.

Soak up the nearby tavern while watching the skis being built.

Also lots of recognizable retailer names including Lululemon, Patagonia and Columbia.

Food and drink

Daylight Donuts on Main Street has been a staple for over 60 years, also known for its quick burritos. The family-run Blue Moose has been serving up old-fashioned breakfast since 1987. The Columbine Cafe is another Main Street classic, with morning specials like trout and eggs.

On the ground floor of Eric’s is the popular beer and bar food haunt. Above ground is the Breckenridge Brewery and Pub. The Blue Stag Saloon elevates the food in a warm, cabin-like atmosphere. But for the best affordable burger, locals and visitors alike swear by Empire Burger, which cooks all-natural beef and cuts fresh daily fries and onion rings.

Take your pick from the trendiest tacos along Main Street: Sancho Tacos and Agave Y Tacos. If you’re in the mood for Thai and sushi, Bangkok Happy Bowl has a location on Main Street, having developed its reputation in Hawaii and Aspen.

Blue River Bistro is a place for the kind of culinary swag that populates ski resorts. Filet mignon meatballs, honey cashew brie, scotch salmon and buffalo short ribs were among the options when last checked. Find fondue at Swiss Haven, paired with absinthe from the downstairs bar.

Nearly 40 beers on tap at Breckenridge Tap House. Main Street is home to a tasting room for the Breckenridge Distillery, popular for whiskey. Continental Divide Winery at Main Street Station.

You’ll likely join a line of sweet and savory crepes at Crepes a la Cart. Other sweet solutions at Mountain Top Cookie Shop and Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory.

Entertainment

The local arts district, BreckCreate, offers several workshops throughout the summer. One of the band’s hubs is the Riverwalk Center, just off Main Street, where you might be able to catch a concert.

For easy exercise, fresh air, and a break from the hubbub, the Blue River Recreation Path skirts downtown and continues to Frisco and Dillon. It is worth renting a bike.

If you haven’t tried ax throwing, Main Street’s Mtn Ax might be the place to start. How about an escape room? There’s one a block from the main street. More fun and games at the arcade located on the ground floor at Eric’s.

You can start at the sprawling visitor center for a taste of history; the center operates partly as a museum with exhibits and short films. Near Main Street, the Barney Ford House Museum preserves the former home of an influential entrepreneur-turned-slave. Beyond the town center there are mine tours and gold panning opportunities.

Breckenridge is the center of the festival. The Food and Wine Festival is scheduled for the weekend of July 29 and the Bourbon and Bacon Festival for the last weekend in August.

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