Remembrance of Vail Past

Tell us about a sensation — a taste, a smell, a piece of music — that transports you back to childhood.

I don’t normally make New Year’s Resolutions. I’m not really into the failure/guilt trip cycle that they represent. But this year I accidentally made a resolution. My mom texted me on New Year’s Day to ask what my resolution was and I texted her back “I’m going on vacation this year, dammit.”

I haven’t been out of town for at least three years.

I want to get out of town, and I want to be by myself. No dog, no planned schedule, no traveling companions who desire to nap the days away in our hotel room.

So I am going to Vail, Colorado this summer. By myself. Vail is where we used to go every summer when I was a kid. It’s a magical place where every building looks pseudo-European and the parking structures are landscaped within an inch of their lives so that they don’t look like parking structures. It’s a fake Alpine village in the middle of the Colorado Rockies and it is magical, I tell you. As magical as anything in the Harry Potter universe.

I’m not a skier so I’ve never been to Vail in winter, but it can’t have anything over Vail in summer. The hotels are cheaper in the summer, which is absurd but advantageous for me. You can still ride the gondolas and chairlifts, which I plan to do. You can sit outside and have a glass of wine in the afternoon without being uncomfortably baked by the sun while wearing your ski gear.

And perhaps most importantly, somewhere at the end of a street, at the bottom of the ski slopes, grows a plant that smells like creosote. At least, I think it’s a plant. All I remember are multiple occasions (different days, different years) of walking up some street near the town center and it always smelled like tar.

When I was a kid I found that smell repugnant, but now I think about it all the time. Whatever it is I hope it’s still there, behind the Lodge at Vail or somewhere nearby. Hopefully near a cafe where I can drink wine and have a Proustian experience.

3 thoughts on “Remembrance of Vail Past

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