Love is in the mountain air! Following a tumultuous journey on The Bachelor, Matt James and girlfriend Rachael Kirkconnell soaked up plenty of quality time during a romantic summer vacation last month.
The pair jetted off to Aspen, Colorado, on June 29 for a short getaway. An eyewitness caught the couple relaxing at the Little Nell, a five-star and five-diamond hotel near Aspen Mountain and Aspen Snowmass Ski Resort.
“Rachael was excited to experience Aspen for the first time,” the insider exclusively tells Us Weekly. “They toured the gardens and pool courtyard at the hotel, sipped champagne and celebrated with a toast.”
They were later spotted getting cozy at The Nell’s new wine bar, where James, 29, “leaned in affectionately” toward Kirkconnell, 24. “This was only a glimpse of the affection they’ve been giving each other the entire time,” the onlooker says. “And they certainly weren’t hiding it.”
The couple also dined on the outdoor patio of Ajax Tavern, The Nell’s mountainside restaurant, and even posed for a photo on a chairlift decorated with blooming wildflowers.
“They snuggled next to each other, and he was very endearing towards her,” the insider tells Us, adding that the “big foodies” later “indulged” on an impressive lunch spread, including truffle fries, the double wagyu burger, bolognese, ricotta tartine and cauliflower gratin.
On day two of their trip, the ABC Food Tours founder joined Kirkconnell on Snowmass Mountain in the Lost Forest. The pair rode up the Elk Camp Gondola, “canoodling” the entire time. At the top, they completed the Treeline Trial Challenge Course, attempting rappelling, zipline and bridge-and-ladder ropes course challenges throughout the day. The real estate agent is an “adventure seeker,” the source notes, and his fearlessness “has rubbed off on Rachael.”
The off-on Bachelor couple were in good spirits during their vacation, despite their rocky history. “[Their] Aspen getaway was very romantic,” the source reveals. “Both were bright-eyed, easygoing and in a very joyous mood. It’s very obvious to onlookers that they are definitely headed in the direction of an engagement. … They were very close and acted as if they had been dating for years.”
The former Bachelor and the graphic designer met during season 25 of the ABC reality series, which premiered in January. The duo briefly split in February when her past racially insensitive photos resurfaced on social media. The former football player reconciled with the Georgia native in April, and one month later, he described the effort they both put in to heal their relationship.
“It was honestly a commitment that we made to each other that we were going to work on the relationship,” James said on the “Pomp” podcast at the time. “There came a point in time where it was evident that my working on the relationship looked different than Rachael’s because I wasn’t really honoring that commitment that I made to working on the relationship.”
Keep scrolling for images from James and Kirkconnell’s romantic Aspen getaway: