I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to visit Aspen, but since it was on our way, we decided to stop there and walk around for about an hour.
It is exactly what I expected: numerous upscale shops interspersed with mountain gear stores such as Marmot and North Face. There is also a variety of eateries, from McDonalds, to snack shops (chocolate, coffee, ice cream), bars, and restaurants. It is a little too chichi for my comfort, but it was a fun place to walk around for a little bit. And I have to admit that they do make an effort to make it accessible to everyone – the buses are free, there’s a nice park in the middle of the downtown area, and the public bathrooms are among the nicest I’ve ever seen. There was also a nice string quartet playing classical and pops selections not far from the McDonald’s.
We walked to the base of the mountain to get a sense of it. I can appreciate how convenient it is to ski right off the mountain and be one block away from all the restaurants and shops. A Starbucks is opportunistically located less than 100 feet from the bottom of the lift.
During the summer, they do offer gondola rides for $25 a pop, which was a little more than we were interested in paying (not to mention that we had only paid for an hour of parking).
We stopped in to the Paradise Bakery for gelato-style ice cream. This made Dave extremely happy, especially since I had made him eat peanut butter & jelly for lunch.
Unfortunately we headed out of Aspen just after 5 pm, giving us the opportunity to experience rush hour traffic from Aspen to I-70. Who puts HOV lanes on the right side of the highway??