A delicious way to savor summer

Here at ML, we really love summer. And while we tend to be glass-half-full type folks, we are well aware that there are but 42 days of summer left.

Last week, as we sat here pondering how to make the most of the remaining warm-weather days, inspiration struck â courtesy the St. Julien Hotel & Spa in Boulder, Colorado. The hotel’s new “Bon Vivant Boulder” experience packs a handful of the things left on our summer to-do lists (dance to live music, eat a late breakfast on a sunny patio, take a scenic hike, stroll through a farmer’s market) into one weekend. We decided we just had to check it out â and art director Loneta Showell won the game of “rock paper scissors” that determined who would go. Here’s how her weekend went:

My weekend began with a decadent five-course dinner at the hotel’s onsite restaurant, Jill’s. First up was the biggest charcuterie plate I’ve ever seen, piled high with cured meats, cheeses, fresh and dried fruit and nuts. Next, a Caesar salad, made the way it should be: prepared tableside and exactly to my taste (no anchovies!). Then came a perfectly cooked fillet of salmon served atop a bed of quinoa, followed by a delicious steak, cooked tableside. And just when I thought I couldn’t eat any more, there was more: an amazing peach melba, made tableside by our waiter, Antoine (shown above).

After drinks and dancing to live music performed on the terrace by local Brazilian band Sambadende, followed by a good night’s sleep in my beautifully appointed guest room, it was time to eat again! Breakfast was served al fresco on the patio at Jill’s Restaurant (check that off the summer to-do list) and the “Boulder Style Breakfast” menu included plenty of healthful options. I chose oatmeal topped with lots of fresh fruit.

After breakfast, a few fellow guests and I met up with Jill’s Chef Laurent Mechin and headed to Boulder’s weekly farmer’s market (another check on the to-do list!). With orders to fill up our baskets with ingredients for Chef to incorporate into our lunch, we headed off to browse the stalls. I couldn’t resist these bunches of multicolored organic carrots and some fresh arugula.

As promised, Chef Laurent transformed our farmer’s market finds into a multi-course feast right before our eyes, answering our questions and offering helpful tips as he worked. Our five-course lunch included a zesty gazpacho, julienned carrots wrapped in cabbage leaves, an arugula salad with hazelnut-agave vinaigrette, seared Moroccan-spiced tuna and caramelized peaches served atop scoops of vanilla ice cream.

At this point, we were really full and really happy. But we weren’t done yet. Next up: a guided hike into Boulder’s beautiful foothills, during which we burned off a few calories and took in some amazing views of the town and surrounding wilderness.

Then it was back to the hotel for our last stop, the spa! The 10,000-square-foot facility offers a variety of treatments, from scrubs and wraps to manicures and pedicures. But after the hike, a massage sounded just right. The St. Julien offers a handful of massage options, from deep tissue to aromatherapy to my favorite, the “Rock On” hot-stone massage.

After melting off the massage table, I headed back up to my room for a few more minutes of rest and relaxation on my private terrace â and a last long look at my view of Boulder’s iconic Flatirons.

But enough about me. Here’s how you can get in on the fun: The St. Julien Hotel & Spa’s “Bon Vivant Boulder” package is available August 31-September 1, and again September 14-15, 2012. Total package pricing starts at $989 per couple based on double occupancy. A 2-night stay minimum is required and packages are based on hotel availability. To learn more, visit stjulien.com.

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