After a very exciting first weekend in Colorado [see part one] it was time for Jake to head back to Washington and my sisters to head home to Minnesota. The timing of this trip was perfect in the way that I was able to wrap two vacations into one, and next up was Aspen.
Living in various states throughout the country, some of my best friends from high school and I planned the weekend trip to reconnect. While we had been to Aspen together before, it was the first time most of us would be visiting in the summer months.
Without snow we would be hiking instead of skiing, biking instead of bussing and enjoying the outdoors free of our beanies and parkas.
Staying active, catching up and enjoying good food and drink we made the most out of our weekend. Below are things we did and places we went–creating my official list of 10 things to do in Aspen, CO | summer edition:
1. Paradise Bakery: the perfect spot to grab a quick, delicious bite to eat. For breakfast try one of their ham and cheese sandwiches served on a warm, flaky croissant [big enough to split between two people]. They also have fresh baked bagels and muffins–including gluten-free options. Come back later in the day for a cup or cone of gelato…s’good!
2. Mountaintop yoga: yoga…on top of a mountain…what more do I need to say? The hour-long session with breathtaking views is free and mats are provided, the only expense is the $20/person gondola ride to the top of Aspen Mountain. Do it.
3. Rent bikes: grab a bike from one of the local rental shops and ride the scenic Rio Grande trail to Woody Creek. The nine mile trip there is beautiful and relaxing as most of the trail is downhill. Grab lunch and a margarita or two at Woody Creek Tavern and unless you’re feeling ambitious [like we apparently were] take a shuttle back to Aspen. It’s a long, uphill battle by bike.
4. Hotel Jerome: It’s an Aspen staple located in the heart of town. Unbelievably charming, it’s the perfect spot to start off a night on the town with one of their signature infused lemonade cocktails.
5. Hike Ute Trail: One of the best views of Aspen is just a mile worth of switchbacks overhead–although I shouldn’t simplify the effort it takes to tackle this trail. Over the course of the 1.1 mile hike to the top you gain nearly 1,300 feet of elevation meaning you’re constantly climbing narrow paths and rocky slopes. Not to worry, the views from above are worth every step.
7. Shop: from Aspen originals like Pitkin County Dry Goods to worldwide names such as Rag & Bone and Prada, the town is dripping with dreamy merchandise. Be prepared to leave town with an extra long wish list.
8. Maroon Bells: this world renowned spot is home to the most photographed mountains in North America. For the most stunning views wake up early to get there before sunrise. As the sun debuts from behind the mountains it creates breathtaking color schemes throughout the clouds and on the surface of the lake. [Shout out to Katelyn–our only friend determined enough to get out of bed at 5am and take a solo trip to catch the sunrise]
9. Poppycocks Cafe: breakfast is served all day at this cozy dining spot. If I had known prior that they are ‘world famous’ for their oatmeal buttermilk pancakes I would have been tempted to order them; but I was perfectly satisfied splitting an english muffin with the works and a banana/chocolate crepe. Good food and super affordable.
10. 39 Degrees Lounge: located at the Sky Hotel at the base of the mountain you’re always getting a two-for-one: drinks + views. They have an array of signature cocktails to sip on the outside patio that also boasts a pool and hot tub.
So, have you started planning your trip to Aspen yet? I’m already antsy to go back. The town is always buzzing, there’s always something to do and the vibe is always right. Until next time…