Aspen, Colorado Summer
Aspen is not just a winter hot spot for skiing. It is also a picturesque summer destination combining outdoor adventures with top notch cultural offerings. Indeed, The Aspen Music Festival kicks off its 2014 summer season June 26th and runs through August 18th. This year the performers include Tony Bennett and violinists Joshua Bell and Midori, to name a few. Be Inspired and snag some tickets soon! If you plan to visit Aspen in August, the new home of the Aspen Art Museum is scheduled to open on August 9, 2014. The new museum building is being designed by Shigeru Ban, the winner of the 2014 Pritzker Architecture Prize. Let's not forget The Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, " a jewel of a dance company in the American West and beyond," which also offers a jam packed summer schedule of dance.
Once you have your fill of "traditional culture," it's on to American kitsch, and Wearever's Off the Beaten Path suggestion for Aspen. Visit a ghost town or two for a blast from the past! Who knows who you will run into... Two come to mind, Ashcroft Ghost Town, a former silver mining town, now stands eerily empty--but for its ghosts. Located about 10 miles from Aspen, the drive up the canyon is beautiful with the snow covered peaks in the distance, and the short hike along a creek into town is also lovely and scenic. The other choice is if you are driving from the east over Independence Pass (a scenic and spectacular drive into Aspen, with pull offs to take in the views), it is worth a stop at Independence Ghost Town. It is cool during the summer, with wonderful views, and you can get a real feel for the remoteness and living conditions of the early settlers. The town was deserted in the 1800's when supply routes were knocked out by a storm.
Now, for that famous John Denver memory~ "He climbed cathedral mountains, he saw silver clouds below, he saw everything as far as you can see...Rocky Mountain high, Colorado... " There are so many places to capture this feeling, but favorites include a hike or bike ride on the well-maintained Rio Grande Trail, of course with fantastic views. The John Denver Sanctuary is a peaceful and tranquil park to pay tribute to the singer. Fun fact, this is also the inaugural season of the John Denver Music Festival in October at The Wheeler Opera House which was built in 1889, and is worth a stop just to look at the beautiful and historic venue.
There are very comfortable hotels in Aspen to choose from. One favorite is the historic Hotel Jerome, recently renovated and conveniently located in town with a super spa. Other favorites include Little Nell (a five star property with mountain views), and The Gant (spacious apartments close to town and the slopes). A couple favorite local hotspots to try are Jimmy's American Steakhouse, Matsuhisa blending Japanese with Peruvian/Argentinian fusion (love the Dragon Roll), Aspen Over Easy for a hearty "sustainable" breakfast, and Zane's Tavern (happy hour and great wings).
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