Our friends Jill and Jeff rented a little apartment in Aspen and invited us for a sleepover and we said yes.
“Come ski, hike, hang- out. It will be fun.”
I was hesitant to broach the subject to Bill. I wasn’t going to start with 14 hours of driving for 44 hours (2 nights). Car time sounded too daunting…. we have gotten let’s just say overly settled-in to our winter routine and besides sleep-overs are a martial issue for us. I loved camp, love sleep-overs, and still after 60, cherish morning visits in PJ’s and organic unfolding of days with friends that only a sleepover can bring. Bill, loves his own bed.
“Hey honey, it’s a haul, no question, but it will be an adventure. We never regret showing up for family and friends. And, we are getting into a big ho hum here. Let’s shake it up! We are between virus outbreaks and scares – this could be our Covid break out window. What do you think? I know…. it’s a long road trip but if we leave at 6 am we will be there by 1pm and have the whole afternoon, a full day and the following morning. What do you think?”
I look at Bill’s sweet face, he is softening.
“Sound crazy?” I add. “Don’t you think it will be fun?”
“Yes, It sounds fun, but it’s tax season and I have a lot of work to do.”
“Ah, come on, let’s mix it up — we’ll get a great book on tape and enjoy the scenery.”
“If you really want to, fine, but it sounds exhausting.”
And that was the last of the push back I got. It was a go!
Finally, a break from the daily focus on the grueling news of the world. A road trip through the mountainous western drip castle formations on route 40, a spectacular drive connecting Utah to Colorado. No internet, the sunrise on our way out, the sunset on our way back. Plenty of horses, cows, ranches, mountains, plains, and big sky.
6 am Day of departure we threw all our toys in the car…skis, hiking gear and of course our technology.
That was it. We were off.
The New York Times has great travel stories about 36 or 48 hours in places so here’s our version … a BA50 /44 hour itinerary of awesome Aspen post-Covid with great friends.
Reader take note. Aspen is pricey, crazy pricey and full of attitude, full of frustrated workers, limited affordable housing and frankly, it’s got issues. But, the town still has got plenty of charm and awesome natural beauty. On this trip we managed to avoid the largest expense as we were guests in our friend’s 2 bedroom rental.
This late March’s 40 to 60 degree temps were in our favor,. The slopes still had plenty of snow, spring skiing conditions….crusty before 11 and slushy late afternoon.
We pulled in and got our big hugs and quickly turn hatched a plan to head to the slopes. “The Highlands have an extended ski day til 6pm — we can get some turns in if you are up to it,” our friends suggesed.
Yup, let’s do it —and within one hour, we walked to the Aspen free bus and were dropped right at the mountain. In a blink we were skiing big open dreamy runs until the light started to shift around 5:30 pm. Thank you day light savings!
Apres ski cocktails back at the apartment and a walk to what is now our favorite meal ever… the rotisserie chicken board at Meat and Cheese. Miraculously our friends got a table outdoors. They know the ins and outs of the town and were masterful hosts. We ordered what they did and it was fantastic…. the roasted chicken potatoes and fresh salad served on wood cutting boards were the best.
Their apartment was walking distance to everything. We stayed up past our normal 10 pm bedtimes and taught our friends (it takes 5 minutes to explain) the Quiddler card word game. Love sleepovers!
The next day was our only full day in Aspen and we took full advantage and logged 24K steps by days end. Our first hike was a river walk, the spring colors and crocuses peaking through between the last of the snow meandering the east side of Aspen’s zillion dollar homes and arts and crafts cottages. Back for coffee and a change of shoes and we went for the big ascent up Smuggler’s trail overlooking the town — 3 miles round trip.
By the hike’s end we were in tee-shirts, sweaty and hungry. We walked straight over to Spring Cafe and grabbed an outdoor table. All food options were fresh and vegan. My Caesar salad was incredible as was and Bill’s super burrito which was super healthy — no meat, fresh and not saucy on a gluten free wrap. Our friends had miso soup and vegan nachos which we all devoured.
My girlfriend and I headed to the shops for an hour of pent up retail therapy. I haven’t seen so many shops packed with merch in 2 years. Somehow the shops in Aspen didn’t seem to have any inventory issues. Spring pickings were in full bloom so we power shopped at a great store I would highly recommend….PE 101. The owner of the store for over 20 years Joan knows how to dress BA50’s. I scored some fresh spring tees, a little leather jacket and even a pair of great jeans. (I will share all on BA 50 Fashion Friday next week.)
The boys meanwhile texted us to hurry on over to the bike store as they scored 4 big tire electric bikes. We raced off to meet them and within minutes we were peddling around Aspen’s west side and had a full tour of the town. After an hour or so we were ready to sit for a bit.
Our friends took us for Prosecco at Little Nells to chill and people watch. The place was packed with hipsters, Hollywooders and over the top style. The music was thrumming slope side and apres skiers were 5 deep at the bar. We settled inside in the more subdued bar and watched the fashionistas saunter by.
Walking back home the boys popped into the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Aspen Museum and Jill and I hit the stores one last time.
Back home for some March Madness we watched a thrilling upset of St. Peter’s over Perdue. Horizontal and barely able to rally, our hunger dominated and our hosts managed to land a table at another Aspen gem….. Elena. Fantastic Italian food and plenty of ambiance.
Another late night to bed.
Somehow we managed to rally early enough for a 2 mile morning hike and then sadly, hugged goodbye — filled to the brim with adventure, love, gab time, laughs, and much needed hang out friend time.
I write this from the passenger seat as my Bill drives the first 3 hours back to Park City. Although fatigued we both agreed, it was a fantastic visit and a reminder to push ourselves out of our routines.
So glad friend time is back and Aspen was a blast!