Bev Fearis and family discover the delights of Aspen
It"s one of the world"s top winter destinations, but speak to any local and they"ll tell you that Aspen is at its very best in the "fall". For just a few weeks in late September and early October the leaves of the trees change colour and transform the surrounding mountains into a carpet of glorious reds and golds. The resort"s famous Aspen trees, with their distinctive white bark, come into their own, turning a beautiful bright shimmering yellow. If you think Aspen is beautiful in the winter, you just have to see it in the autumn.
This former silver mining town shouts money from the moment you see its private airport. With mountains rising majestically around it and its pretty, red-brick, buildings with wrought-iron verandas, Aspen is so perfect it seems slightly unreal, almost Disneyesque. Behind its picturesque facades lie designer stores, glamorous restaurants and trendy hotels, including ours - The Limelight Lodge. With a stylish lobby-bar-pizzeria, ultra-contemporary pool area and street-facing gym, it has Aspen written all over it.
We had lunch at Ajax Tavern, an Aspen institution, right at the base of Aspen Mountain where the main gondola starts. Its terrace is where you come to see, and be seen, after a hard day on the slopes. Specialities include Colorado Lamb Bolognese, Crispy Kurobuta Pork Belly, and The Ajax Double Cheeseburger. With a hike planned for the afternoon, I plumped for a Moroccan salad, but Warren mistakenly went for the cheeseburger - a move he would later regret. Freddie wanted chips (surprise, surprise) and the portion was bigger than his head!
We only had 24 hours in Aspen and wanted to get into the mountains for a hike. We braved the 30-degree temperatures on the steep windy track up Smuggler Mountain (which is when Warren started to wish he"d also had the salad). From the viewing deck at the top, we admired Aspen from above, splashed with the golden yellow of the Aspen trees. Our 90-minute hike, across Hunter Creek Cutoff Trail and down Hunter Creek, looked easy enough on the map, but somehow we managed to get lost and ended up on a road back into town, admiring the multi-million pound homes on the way and deciding which one we would prefer. To be honest, though, I"d be happy to live in Aspen in a shed.
For more information, see Visit Colorado
Wednesday, October 12, 2011