When you cross the threshold of the Black Bear Inn, you half expect Jack London to be warming himself at the fireplace, clutching a cup of steaming, black coffee, caught up in a book. The two-story log structure catapults you back to a time when adventurers sought respite from the wild in backcountry lodges and cabins.
This 12-room B&B feels familiar and inviting, an atmosphere that is carefully cultivated by innkeepers Jessie and David Edeen. "We think guests should feel at home, so we make the inn feel like one," explains David. "Since there's so much wood, it's soothing and comfortable."
The inn, which was pre-built using standing dead Englemann Spruce logs, was assembled on a spot of land about two miles west of Vail off I-70, along Gore Creek, then moved.
The 250-year-old rough-hewn logs team with an antique potbelly fireplace, a plank ceiling, log beams and oversized lodge furniture to set a comfortable tone. Bear icons (candleholders, coasters, throw rugs) are everywhere, paying homage to the inn's namesake.
A log stairway leads to the top floor, which features four guestrooms with vaulted ceilings, and the main floor holds another eight rooms. Decorated in a Ralph Lauren-meets-Santa Fe style, the large rooms have hand-textured stucco walls, private baths, hand-crafted pine furniture, sitting bays and beds laden with goose-down comforters. Come morning, guests are enticed by German apple pancakes, omelettes or a John Wayne casserole, a tempting combination of eggs, cheese, peppers and sour cream.
After a hearty breakfast, hop the Vail town bus, which stops just two blocks from the front door. Enjoy an invigorating day on Vail's 5,000-plus skiable acres, and head back home, where more treats—hors d'oeuvres and desserts—and a rejuvenating fire await.
Winter rates range from $120 to $200 per night ($225 during holidays), based on double occupancy. Contact: Black Bear Inn, 2405 Elliott Road, Vail, CO 81657; 970-476-1304; fax 970-476-0433; www.vail.net/blackbear.
—Kim D. McHugh
In 1999, the U.S. Department of Transportation reported that the odds of a bag being lost or misdirected on any flight were 1-in-200. So on an average flight, at least one passenger will come up short.