The Roaring Fork Valley is chock-full of spectacular culinary offerings. Nonetheless, if you are a serious foodie vacationing in downtown Aspen and find yourself short on time, there are only a handful of reasons to leave the Highway 82 Roundabout. Examples include a romantic dinner date in Snowmass, an evening sipping margaritas and munching nachos in the eccentric charm of the Woody Creek Tavern, and a late afternoon partaking in a rustic feast and scenic splendor of the Castle Creek Valley at the Pine Creek Cookhouse. Add one more to the list: The Willow Creek Bistro, just a short drive up Maroon Creek Road at the Aspen Highlands Ski Area.
It's that time of year again in our fabled mountain town. As the summer sun begins to wane and cast autumn's long, golden mountain shadows, the local high country black bruins are in a calorie-cramming feeding frenzy.
In addition to the Aspen Times, the Aspen Daily News, and a variety of Denver television stations, the bears have received considerable press in the Wall Street Journal and the Pique Newsmagazine of Whistler, Canada. Even the BBC has a great series of pictures showing a bear climbing out of the skateboard park in Snowmass.
Newsflash: Aspen, Colorado is expensive. As many ski vacationers discover whiling planning an Aspen winter getaway, cheap places to bunk up in America's priciest and poshest ski town are few and far between. Most vacationers cope with this bittersweet reality long before touching down at the Pitkin County Airport, usually while booking hotel or airline reservations. Nonetheless, the savvy and penny wise ski traveler may be surprised by the diverse array of relatively affordable hotels, motels, condos, and ski lodges for a comfortable, warm, and restful slumber. Like finding a fistful of quarters between sofa cushions, one just has to know where to look and book.
875 Star Mesa Estate, Aspen Colorado
This new 15,000 square foot estate on Star Mesa is situated at an elevation brushing the heavens. Aspen can only be described as "Heaven On Earth". Star Mesa Estate consists of 40 irreplaceable horse friendly acres just minutes from Aspen.
Aspen's breathtaking alpine backdrop is known to intoxicate, tempting visitors into staying in the Roaring Fork Valley much longer than originally anticipated. Many well-seasoned Aspenites call this geographical magnetism the "Curse of the Ute" and one of the reasons so many visitors-turned-residents have a difficult time returning to the rat race of their previous lives outside Colorado.
The first time I accidentally stumbled upon the Jerry Garcia shrine on Aspen Mountain, I felt as if I discovered a secret garden of pop culture iconography while skiing through a snowy and psychedelic Xanadu. While gliding in solitude through the peaceful tranquility of a forested ridge, I was not expecting to suddenly discover a grove of trees dangling with pictures, dried roses, memorabilia, and assorted miscellany of the legendary Grateful Dead front man. Thankfully, no one was within earshot because the odd discovery inspired a quiet Garcia refrain: “Going where the wind don’t blow so strange/Maybe up on some high cold mountain range.”