Aspen Highlights

Summer Program in Aspen:  Hike First Then Leave Yourself Lots of Time to Shop and Wine and Dine

Best Summer Program in Aspen: Hike First Then Leave Lots of Time to Shop, Spa Go and Wine and Dine in the Chi-Chi Capital of The Rockies

Going to Aspen for a Tellurider is like going to the big city.  Actually the level of sophistication one can experience in Aspen is more than what most cosmopolitan cities offer.  I love checking out the shops, spas, restaurants and hotels and prefer to chince on my outdoor activities here in order to take in all the happening spots in this chic Rocky Mountain resort town.

Limelight's New Look

Limelight’s New Look

I was holed up in Aspen for nearly six weeks this past off-season, ample time to return to some of my favorite haunts and discover new ones.  I walked the streets some with my dad which is how I came to discover Limelight Lodge.  He had stayed at this family-owned long-established hotel eons ago but now it touts an entirely new look.  The original lodge was actually torn down and replaced by a sleek, new building that houses an expansive modern lobby/lounge area and style-y rooms outfitted with mini kitchenettes (fridge, microwave, coffee maker, silverware and plates).  Aspen has never looked so cool, comfy and contemporary.  I’m sure it’s quickly becoming the hotspot to stay in town.

Luxe and Convenience at the Limelight

Luxe and Convenience at the Limelight

Dad and I had a fair amount of lunches out, mostly at our two longtime favorites, Main Street Bakery and Jour de Fête.  The ambiance is great in both places but in terms of food, the quality is far superior at Jour de Fête.  (Mais bien sur.)  We had dinner at Rustique, another Frenchie address, and I was sadly disappointed by my choices and had to suffer through too much vinaigrette on the salad and a super salty steak frites.  (I should have piped up.)  Dad’s hamburger, however, was exceptionally good.  I tried The Wild Fig on another occasion and was immensely pleased.  Their bistrot-like ambiance was more authentically French than Rustique’s and the cuisine was excellent.  Sushi is very big in this town of super slim, botoxed blonds but I didn’t try any of those establishments this time around.

Boogie’s is a fun place to go for both food and shopping.  Sit out on their covered patio on the top floor of this large establishment weather permitting before or after your shopping spree for fun, up-to-the-minute T-shirts and jeans on their main level.  Pitkin County Dry Goods is another favorite for men’s and women’s clothing and accessories.  Most of their fashion forward items seem to be timeless.  I’ve bought pieces here that have lasted an eternity and it’s a good thing since prices tend to be steep.  Try to hit the end-of-the-season sales if possible.  Stop into Kemosabe just a flying arrow distance away.  Not much here is cheap either but I always find it fun to look around this Western-inspired store especially for a cute frame or knickknack.  I discovered a wonderful emporium for autographed items this time around that I’m sure I’ll retain as a must-see address in Aspen.  The Autograph Source offers an astonishing selection of memorabilia and photos signed by some of the world’s most famous actors, politicians, athletes, musicians and other prominent figures in history.  This is the place to shop for unique gifts for yourself and others.

Pampering at The Aspen Club & Spa

Pampering at The Aspen Club & Spa

My stay in this town punctuated by over-sized bronze statues of native wildlife and shops featuring everything from precious little girls’ party dresses from Japan and specialty cheeses, would not have been complete without a trip to a spa.  O.K., two spas (since I already had experienced Remède).  My sources told me that The Aspen Club & Spa was the next most obvious choice.  An Aspen favorite since the seventies and remodeled in 1997, the Aspen Club & Spa attracts families and world-class athletes, residents and visitors, interested in working out in a topnotch facility equipped with an array of machines, weights, exercise classes and more.  Their Sports Medicine Institute, in fact, is frequented by many olympic athletes that use it for physical therapy.  There’s no sloughing off here unless, of course, you’ve signed up for an exfoliation at the spa.  I actually chose the salon and was grateful to have found my way into John’s chair, certainly one of the most talented stylists in this tony mountain town.  We had fun chatting about hair extensions and boyfriends, just the sort of thing you want to share at the hair salon.  (I know a fair amount about the latter but have never experienced the former.)  In addition to his warm and fuzzy approach, John’s excellent with cut and color.  (Remède incidentally does not have a hair salon although John told me lots of women go there for their nails.)

I walked out of The Aspen Club all poufed and beautiful, somewhat sorry I didn’t squeeze in a workout but decided to make up for it with just a salad at lunch.  Oh, what fun it always is to have a taste of urban chic in my neighboring mountain town.

Limelight Lodge, 355 S. Monarch Street, 970-925-3025 or 800-433-0832,

Main Street Bakery and Cafe, 201 E. Main Street, 970-925-6446

Jour de Fête, 710 E. Durant Avenue, 970-925-5055

Rustique, 216 South Monarch Street, 970-920-2555,

The Wild Fig, 315 East Hyman Avenue, 970-925-5160,

Boogie’s, 534 E. Cooper Avenue, 970-925-6610 or 970-925-6111

Pitkin County Dry Goods, 520 E. Cooper Avenue, 970-925-2681,

Kemosabe, 434 E. Cooper Avenue, 970-925-7878,

The Autograph Source, 601 East Hopkins Avenue, 970-920-9996,

Remède Spa at The St. Regis Resort, 315 East Dean Street, 970-429-9038,

The Aspen Club & Spa, located at the end of Ute Avenue, 970-925-8900 or 866-484-8254;

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