Winter Park, Colorado
Calling Rendezvous Home
Calling Rendezvous Home
By: Tyler Macleod
It’s a sunny, Sunday morning in Fraser, Colorado, and despite it being early September – Labor Day Weekend, in fact – the weather is unusually warm. The mid-summer-like temperature is a stark contrast against the surrounding aspens, whose patches of golden-tinted leaves have already begun to tease the chilly weeks that lay ahead. Town is bustling with visitors and families all hoping to squeeze in the last bits of summer before busy work schedules, school, and fickle weather all take hold. It won’t be long.
Among those visiting are the Milverstedts – a family from nearby Boulder comprised of Max and Sara along with their two boys, Sam and Charlie, who spend every feasible summer weekend at their townhouse in Rendezvous. The house actually belongs to Trish Fernandes – Sara’s mom – but it’s clear that the entire family sees it as their home away from home.
“We love the bunk room!” shouts nine-year-old Sam, as he bounces up and down on the living room couch with seven-year-old brother Charlie. “It’s a fun place to hang out!”Meanwhile, Dad and Mom (Max and Sara) are gathered around the kitchen island with grandmom, Trish (the boys call her “Tia”), who is chopping up some vegetables for a potluck gathering she has later in the day. The atmosphere is not that of a family on vacation, but that of a family – all three generations of them – simply spending time at home as summer draws to a close.
It’s been six years since Trish bought the house, and it’s clear that the charm of mountain living, particularly in Rendezvous, has far from lost its luster.
But for her, it’s the natural setting that really sets the house and the community apart.
“The main things of course are the expansive views and the feeling of open space just all around you; all the trails and how close they are to everything.”
It’s a sentiment echoed by the rest of the family.
“I can immediately get up and just go for a run,” adds Sara. “There’s a great network of trails and you never see a ton of people out there. You can go into town, grab a cup of coffee, go to the resort; you’re so close to anything you feel like doing.”
And often times, a lot of those things revolve around the boys, Charlie and Sam. At seven and nine years old, respectively, they’re starting to delve into a variety of hobbies and interests – everything from the simple pleasures of fishing at Mary’s Pond and climbing all over the Mountain Man Park, to cruising around the skate park on their bikes and ripping through Winter Park’s Trestle Bike Park.“My favorite thing is probably going outside and going to the skatepark,” says Charlie. “I like riding on the trails on the way to the park, and sometimes we get to ride Green Hornet at the resort.”
Both Charlie and Sam – whether they themselves realize it or not – are extremely advanced cyclists for their age. It’s no surprise, seeing as a plethora of mountain biking trails are just steps out the back door, and the family takes advantage of them on a regular basis.
“There are trails in and around the house with easy access to go in and out of town,” says Max. “We’re in the mountains, but it’s right next to Winter Park. In a couple minutes, you’re downtown with everything to do there. There are just all sorts of levels of trails, and the Fraser River Trail even runs right to [Winter Park] Resort. You really get the best of both worlds.”And being from Boulder, the Milverstedts truly appreciate having the best of both worlds – the combination of rustic, outdoor simplicity with an easily accessible “downtown” atmosphere. It’s especially vital in a day and age where most seven and nine-year-olds are more obsessed with iPads and video games than hiking in the mountains and riding bikes.
“The family thrives here in this environment,” says Sara. “They’re unplugged from their devices and just enjoy going outside, riding bikes, hiking and hanging out with one another. They don’t know what life is like without the mountains.”
As the Sunday midday sun rises higher above the Rendezvous neighborhood, it’s clear that Sara’s sentiments hold a lot of truth. With each passing hour, not once do Sam or Charlie reach for a phone or ask to go back inside. Rather, they eagerly take advantage of the open spaces that surround their friendly, neighborhood community. With Mom, Dad, Tia and Mona (Trish’s Portuguese Water Dog), the morning and afternoon is filled with bouldering at the nearby playground, skipping stones across the Fraser River and seeing who can make the biggest splash in Mary’s Pond (by throwing rocks, of course). It’s just another day for the Milverstedts – a day filled with time spent together in the beauty of the great outdoors.And while the increasing patches of golden leaves may have acted as a symbol of closure for the other families visiting Winter Park over Labor Day Weekend, the Milverstedts only see a welcoming sign of the adventures ahead. Summer may be coming to a close, but winter offers a new canvas of outdoor adventures for the Rendezvous community – and Max, Sara, Trish and the boys are certainly looking forward to them.
“In the winter, we’ll be up here every weekend from November to March,” says Max. “It’s fantastic.”
Lucky for them, it won’t be long.
An East Coast transplant, Tyler grew up just north of Baltimore, Md., where he studied Journalism and New Media at nearby Towson University. He moved to Grand County in the fall of 2011, and aside from a brief stint in Bozeman, Mont., has called the Fraser Valley home ever since. Currently, he is a freelance writer and photographer who spends the majority of his free time snowboarding, cycling, and hanging out at the local skatepark.