Finding the Real Aspen
I am ashamed to admit that an iconic Colorado town has been missing from my HeidiTown travels and it’s entirely my fault. After six years of traveling the state, up until this month, I had only ever been to Aspen for an afternoon.
To be honest, I was intimidated by Aspen.
I’m a laid-back, West Coast girl. I grew up in small towns in Oregon and Washington, far from the glitzy streets of LA or cultured avenues of NYC. I’m all about jeans and t-shirts. I get a manicure once a year, and I’ve only ever had one French manicure and that was for my wedding.
I was truly worried that I’d feel out of place.
We finally visited Aspen for a three-night stay earlier this month during Wintersköl, and while the town was all the things that I’d imaged it would be — women in fancy fur, high end shops catering to the mega rich and $20 cocktails — under the glossy surface, Aspen is a real town, with real people and real Colorado charm. It is, in fact, much more laid back than I expected.
So where did we find the real Aspen?
We found it sitting on the bar stool at Aspen’s oldest restaurant and bar, the Red Onion. We found it while watching local kids dance their hearts out to hip hop tunes during Wintersköl. We found it at Aspen Brewing Company. We found it in the architecture of the Victorian homes around town. And we found it while visiting with shopkeepers at various art galleries and shops around town.
Without a doubt Aspen is pricey and can be posh, but it’s also really fun and surprisingly friendly. When it comes to wait staff and others in the service industry, I’ve never met a nicer group of people in all of my travels. The genuine welcoming attitude of every waiter, bartender and barista we ran into in this busy tourist mecca is a real credit to the town.
Let’s face it, Aspen is the home of the $17 burger, but I’ll bet you a hundred bucks it will be one of the best burgers you’ll ever eat. You see, in Aspen, you really do get what you pay for. The bar has been set high here for service, for food and for accommodations.
This isn’t a place for a bargain vacation, but you’ll find real people, a real town and you’ll have real great experiences. I’m looking forward to sharing some of ours with you over the next few weeks.
Thank you to the Aspen Chamber for hosting us.
And thank you to Allison & Jillian for being fabulous guides and pointing us to all sorts of fun!