BRECKENRIDGE – Friendships made on trips add another layer of depth to the vacation experience.
Sometimes those friendships only last a couple hours at a bar, or the length of an extended weekend, but for one group of ladies, the friendships they made while visiting Breckenridge more than a decade ago, bring them back year after year.
The comforting baked aroma of scratch-made scones waft over champagne and teacups. A lemony custard sauce accompanies the treat, dripping like a neon version of honey. Laughter is the most common sound heard floating over the chocolate-covered strawberries and other desserts. On a mild Tuesday afternoon, a group of women whose homes are scattered across the nation, gathered once again for an annual tea party at the Elk Lodge condos in Breckenridge.
Crystal Weaver, of Louisiana, one of the newest members of the group, instantly fit in when she named the group the Cross Country Ya-Ya’s.
“The definition of ‘Ya-Ya’ is a close-knit group, and that’s what this is,” she said.
Thirteen of the women made the fourth-annual tea party. Their hats were as varied as their personalities. From tiny green top hats to broad-brimmed, lace- and floral-covered hats that wouldn’t be out of place at a royal wedding, all made an appearance.
And their backgrounds were just as different. They hailed from Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Arizona, Nebraska. There was even a token Coloradan. The amazing thing is, that besides two sisters from Alabama, they all met while vacationing in Summit County years ago.
“Fifteen years ago we were at the Blue Spruce and I saw Sue (Buford) and her husband walked in, and there wasn’t a place to sit,” said Sharon Powers of Minnesota. “My husband said she’s too pretty to have to stand and invited them over — I take in anybody.”
Before they knew it they became fast friends. The rest of the group met in similar ways throughout the years.
“We part ways and don’t see each other for almost a year, but as soon as we get back together, it’s like we were never apart at all,” Powers said.
The tea party idea didn’t emerge until several years ago when Sue Buford, of Alabama, serendipitously stumbled across a box of teacups.
“I was walking down Ridge Street, and I saw a box of pink teacups someone was giving away,” she said. “I picked them up, brought them home and thought we should have a tea party.”
Although the tea party accessories looked nice enough to be from the Victorian era, the group has acquired them all on the cheap.
“Everything here came from a garage or rummage sale or someone was throwing it out,” said Sue’s sister Martha.
And even though they aren’t permanent residents, they still act like it. They volunteer their time every year with the Summit Seniors Royal Rummage Sale, an annual fundraiser that garners as much as $50,000 each time for a charitable organization benefiting seniors.
“We come for the weather, the hiking, biking, skiing and fishing,” Martha said. “If you can’t find something to do here, shame on you.”
But they come back to Summit every year not just for the mountains and rivers and shops and restaurants but for the friendships made and cultivated here in the High Rockies.