Girls' Trip to Aspen and The Little Nell - Skillful Cook
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Girls' Trip to Aspen and The Little Nell

Three women walking on a sidewalk.

Oh hayyyy web frands! Today is the day I've been looking forward to all week - the one where we're going to talk about the girls' trip and then give away some travel cash for you to use towards YOUR OWN TRIP at the end of the post. You down widdat?

I have sososo much to tell you about our girls' weekend trip to Aspen, as evidenced by the obscene (no I really mean it: OBSCENE) number of photos that are about to hit your computer screen if you are one of the brave souls who actually clicks the read more button. Think of it as a “see more” button today though, because I'm going to try to let the avalanche of Aspen vacay pictures do the talking and not get so overwhelmingly chatty. Which we all know is virtually impossible for my run-on-sentence-loving-self. So, uh, enter at your own risk.

Woman sitting at a table.

This trip was absolutely, without a doubt, hands down a Major Highlight of 2014. There were so many things that made this trip uniquely 24-7-365 FUN. Er, can that be a thing? A 24-7-365-days fun girls' trip to Aspen? I have a new life goal.

Ten years ago exactly to the date of our departure, my three friends and I met during our first week at college. How weird is it that it was literally to the date? Also, how weird is it that I can remember what they were wearing when we all met? Don't even answer. Also please don't look too critically at my 18-year-old self peeking out from the edge of the mysterious darkness. I don't think we had quite mastered the whole selfie thing back in good ol' 2004.

Friends Then and Now.

The three of us Minnesotans decided to trek down to meet up with our Colorado friend to celebrate ten years of sweet friendship with a mountain getaway. After a VIP pickup in the Denver airport (signs! we're special!), we hit the road in a Subaru - because Colorado - for a good 4 hour trek out to Aspie where we ate amazing food, drank lots of everything, did some mild “nature exploring”, told too many personal stories, generally acted like 7th graders, cried just enough to be real, and laughed till our tummies ached.

Collage of vacation images.

Yeah that? That was just a teaser. Here are five of the major highlights. Enjoy!

1. The Residences At The Little Nell

Sunset at The Little Nell in Aspen, CO.

There just are no words. (Okay, maybe I can come up with a few words.)

This place is INSANELY AWESOME, like I almost cried when we had to leave. When the Little Nell offered to host us for our girls' getaway, I was fist pumping and happy dancing like a wild one - and then we actually got there and saw that it was like something from a dream land -> cue: fist pumping and happy dancing like wild ones All. Weekend. Long. In case you aren't familiar, which I wasn't, the Little Nell is a year-round five-star, five- diamond destination hotel just steps from legendary Aspen Mountain and bonus! it's the only ski-in, ski-out hotel in Aspen. Whoayes.

We actually stayed at the Residences, which are more like little condos (let's be real - when I say little condos I mean definitely twice as big as my house) and these yummy private residences are PERFECT for a group of people looking to settle in to a little mountain oasis for a few days. Our room was a nice comfy-cozy two bedroom suite with my dream kitchen, a beautiful living and dining area, two fireplaces, and I can't even keep talking about it because I'm so vacation homesick now.

What really set the Little Nell apart for us, though, was the service. I have never met a more hospitable team of people in my entire life. I seriously want to be best friends with every person that we met and have it not be creepy, but I think it might be creepy. That being said, if you are one of the extremely awesome people that we met at the Little Nell that I'm secretly hoping to be friends with, just go ahead and click that little tab up there called “contact.”

Some of the pictures in this grid are from our “room” aka residence aka mansion - like this first one that looks like it's out of a rustic-chic home magazine. And some of the more modern pictures are of other rooms that we saw and loved around the hotel portion of the Little Nell.

The Little Nell, Aspen, CO collage of images.

2. The Element 47 Wine Cellar Tour

Aspen Girls' Trip.

Then came the posh VIP wine cellar experience that we somehow managed to snag, annnnd we might have let on a little too much about our lacking wine knowledge when, within the first two seconds of meeting our charming sommelier, we asked HOW TO PRONOUNCE SOMMELIER. And by we, I mean me. Honestly. Just a straight up dead giveaway of the non-fancy-wine-ness.

The good news is that once the secret of our regularness was revealed, we had so much fun asking questions, learning about the award-winning wine list, signing our supercool hashtag on the wine boxes on the ceiling, and swooning over old, expensive bottles of wines with our sommie. Why does that name have to be so fancy, anyway?

I'm not even sorry that these low lit pictures are edited with some faded black and white because it gives them a rustic, romantic, vintage feel that is totally appropriate for representing the overall Wine Cellar Tour Experience. We heart the Cellar!

Award-Winning Wine Cellar at The Little Nell.

3. Dinner At Element 47

It lasted for five hours, you guys. FIVE HOURS. ON PURPOSE.

The talking and multi-course eating and drinking just completely took over and we could not bring ourselves to leave.

I won't get too extreme or dramatic (lie), but it was maybe in the top three most special dinners of my life. Partially because of the food that just kept coming: pea soup, farm salad, lobster, wagyu, tagliatelle with housemade ricotta, braised rabbit, lamb, and dark chocolate ganache.

But mostly it was so special because it was our first sit-down-and-talk meal of this trip, and really our first real, deep, catch-up time of the last five years. We just kept eating, and sipping, and talking, and at one point in the five hours we were all laughing so loud I was worried we were going to get sent back to our rooms, and the next hour we all had brimming eyes and tear-dripping faces as we shared the joys and sorrows that have been a major part of our real world lives.

Just totally unforgettable.

Dinner at Element 47, Aspen, CO collage images.

 4. Fly Fishing

Four girls holding fishing poles.

Yes. The girls went fly fishing.

The last time I've been fishing, was, like, never. This is a group of girls who shamelessly love food, makeup, shoes, yoga, boutiques, and a few other deeper things, but fishing is not one of them. As soon as we found out that this was actually a thing that was going to happen, I started to have nightmares about a) falling in the pond? river? lake? what is it, anyway? b) snagging someone's face with my hook, and c) actually catching a fish, and then what?! TOUCHING it?

Everything was set up by the Little Nell adventure team, and to our amazement, we were taken out to the most beautiful and serene spot in the mountains *in a Jeep* *heck yes* by two patient, sweet, rugged nature-mountain-guys that helped us actually make fly fishing miracles happen. That's right, friends. I caught and touched a fish.

Obviously the trip wouldn't be complete without snacks - one bite of goat cheese and honey crostini, one cast, one handful of trail mix, one cast, one sip of champagne, one cast... and that's how fly fishing went down.

PS. You may notice that some of us look beautiful while holding fish and others look wildly out of control. I guess you could say food is more my thing.

Fly Fishing at The Little Nell in Aspen collage images.

5. Exploring and Beyond

And then there's all the rest of it!

There was no shortage of fab eating, hiking, shopping, dog befriending, and just enjoying each others' company in beautiful Aspen.

Collage of images from vacation.

For more of my friends' pics and videos (like the one of us traversing a river in our Jeep!) you can check Instagram and look through the #LittleOnesTakeCO hashtag. Also, The Little Nell has some sweet Instas - check them out, too.

Alright alright I'm all done! Because this post is so long, by this point a little Rafflecopter widget should have loaded below so that you can enter to win $300 Travel Cash in the form of a VISA gift card to use for your very own little getaway this fall.

This giveaway is sponsored by just Bjork and me - we want to make sure that you guys feel the love this fall by spending some intentional time with people you appreciate the most. Of course, it's a VISA gift card so you could just buy a three month supply of salted dark chocolate and we'd never know, but then you'd miss out on the fun of a travel experience with your faves and that would be sad.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You, my friend, are a Champion Reader and Vacation Picture Looker. Thank you and TGIF XO!

Filed Under: Giveaway Life Travel

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Jess! I have wayyy tooo many – I’m *almost* embarassed about it. But that’s the name of the game with blogging, right? 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        blogging is perhaps the most excellent excuse to take a million pictures and insist that everyone smile, because it’s going on the internet! 🙂

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay! This is the cutest thing ever!! I love that you guys did this 🙂 Molly, Tara, Becky, Abby, Katie and I have our very own roommate reunion planned for the beginning of October in Montana and we can’t wait!! This just makes me more excited!! You girls are the cutest!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hey Laurey! Molly told me about the upcoming reunion trip – you guys will have so much fun! Honestly this was THE best thing we could have done for our friendship – it helped us reconnect after several years apart and I think we will make it a tradition! Thanks for the comment! 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Did you have any trouble sleeping in Aspen (given the elevation?). If so, do you have any recommendations that helped?

        Thank you,

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yeah for you! Time with true friends, when you laugh until you cry and cry until you laugh, is a treasure, and you so deserved it. Xoxo
    P.s. The rafflecopter thing just spins endlessly… It says that it is loading., but it never does. 🙁 Help me, Obi-won Bjorkobi. You’re my only hope.
    P.p.s Yes, I am on POY during prep time.
    P.p.p.s I finally got brave and added cous cous with olive oil and lemon to my chopped salad. Holy moly… I’ve got to do this every day!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Eek! Thanks for letting me know about the Rafflecopter – I had it starting TOMORROW instead of today. Should be fixed! Also, prep time blog reading! <3 hope your first week has been fab!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Wow, so colorful and vivacious pictures! I’d love to take a trip with my college friends…perhaps Portland?

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Amazing friend time is soooo needed in life. Glad you got to experience a magical place!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    My dream weekend getaway would be to anywhere, really, with my three best girlfriends (one of whom lives in Germany!) We went to San Antonio last January and I need a sequel of that weekend, stat!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I recently decided that I’m not too sure about the whole plane thing. But I love roadtrips! How far is it from NC to Aspen??? 🙂

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Confession: I am not a very brave fly-er, so I was a little sweaty-palmed on the flight. I much prefer the ground. But if you gotta fly to make this happen… I’ll do it!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is a great post! I really enjoyed going through your pictures and reading what you wrote. Your weekend looks amazing and you’ve now inspired me to take a trip to Aspen!

    My dream weekend getaway would be to go to Montana with my boyfriend. We both love the outdoors – He’s dying to fly fish there and I’m dying to see the sights!

    Thank you both so much for sponsoring this giveaway. That’s really sweet of you guys!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    My dream trip would be backpacking the John Muir trail with my best friend and maybe a few others! Talk about some serious planning and in case you want some inspiration for that particular trail I would recommend watching Mile Mile and a Half.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Have you heard of the blog Greens and Chocolate? She is a blogging friend of mine, and she and her husband just hiked the John Muir trail and it looked amazing. Not sure if she did any posts on it but I know she has some stuff on Instagram!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Uhmmm no, but now i’m going to check her out! I just want to be outside and sleep under the stars. Always.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    thanks for sharing, lindsay! my dream getaway would be morocco with one of my best friends, ben!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    We just found out we’re expecting our first baby, so I’d got on a babymoon with my hubby! Possibly to Colorado, but more likely somewhere tropical!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo


    What a terrific post ! you reminded me of my college days now that I badly need a girly vacation to the unsen jungles.I love trekking and that too with my fav girls..!!Ok I will stop dreaming!

    I would love to go trekking in the Himlayans with my best friends!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    Your Vail trip looks beautiful! I would do the same trip with my girlfriends, but in the winter for some awesome skiing, apres ski snacks and hottubbing!

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Awesome trip!!! And super jealous! This would be really helpful on our trip to Hawaii in a few weeks!!! My husband and I are going w/ my best friend since high school and her husband! Can’t wait to make some wonderful memories!!!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would love to meet my best high school friend in NYC and spend a long weekend in some quaint mountain town in Upstate New York somewhere.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Dream destination: Hawaii.

    Seriously, we need to get away and focus on each other!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would love to take a long weekend to visit Iowa or Nebraska with my family this fall when the leaves are changing colors.

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I would go to Cedar City, Utah with my husband to see their Shakespeare Festival and make a side trip to Bryce Canyon. Gorgeous!