Monday, August 13, 2012

Summer in Aspen

An invite from some dear friends, a much needed family vacation, and a free place to stay landed us in Aspen, Colorado over the week of July 4th.  And what a gift it was!  I had no idea what to expect as I could only envision Aspen in the winter -- snow covered mountains, ski resorts, elaborate homes, and fine dining with celebrity sightings.  So, what does Aspen look like when it is not all decorated in white?

In a word - SPLENDOR.  In another word - BEAUTY.  Aspen in the summer is a magical place.  There are still luxurious homes and celebrity sightings, but what I could never have imagined was the glory of the colors of nature's beauty painted on the summer landscape.  It is simply exquisite. The rich blue sky seemed to be changing in the depths of its rich hue all the time. In magnificent juxtaposition, creamy white clouds sat like poufs in the brilliant sky.  Green leaves of thriving trees reaching for the sky.  The rich salt and peppered colors of the Aspen tree's bark.  Vivid flowers everywhere.  And those mountains!  Glorious.  For all of us design junkies, it is a humbling and inspiring thing - to take a step outside and see what nature does all on its own.

In addition to the majestic scenery, Aspen was filled with art galleries, unique shops, restaurants, hotels and, of course, an old fashioned 4th of July Parade.  Here are some photo's of our trip. Now, I can't imagine not going in the summer.


Ahhh, to wake up to this every morning. What a dream.

One thing I adored about Aspen is the liberally planted flowers everywhere.
In front of almost every home in town, homeowners planted flowers (outside their gates) next to the sidewalks  for all to enjoy. The flowers were all colors and kinds and were intentionally planted to look like wildflowers.
At times I felt like I was in Switzerland.

The trees lining the brick walkways provided beauty and shade.
This stream running through the town kept our kids entertained for hours. Yellow ducks, hair bows, and shoes all  dropped in to see how far and fast they would go.

Getting ready for the 4th of July Parade.
Old timey car to go with Old Fashioned Parade!
Kids & parents alike took to decorating bikes for the parade. The best bike wins!

 All aboard the parade. By bike, by foot, or by kayak!

I love the red mullion's on this cabin-like home. I wonder if they paint them green on St Patty's Day.

One of the town parks. Perfect and pet friendly.
During our trip, I wandered away to scout out the decor of some of the hotels & restaurants. The Little Nell is a boutique hotel that has that cozy feel with all the needed luxuries. The Sky Hotel is supposedly the Hot Spot to see and be seen. The decor is very hip and modern.

Foyer of the Little Nell Hotel.  Love the single piece wood console.

Artwork inside siting area of Little Nell.
I loved this piece. The artist used several different hides for texture. Perfect for an elegant mountain villa. 
The foyer of the Sky Hotel.

Love this custom runner in the lobby of the Sky Hotel.
After a day of hiking and site seeing, we had to take a rest and rehydrate at the Sky Hotel Bar. Of course, I loved the sputnik chandeliers. 

The Ajax Restaurant was one of our favorite spots. Located in the middle of Aspen and at the base of the mountain, it is a great spot to people watch.

The last day our host took us to the Pine Creek Cookhouse for lunch. Located in the Ashcroft Valley in the White River National Forest, the views were breathtaking.
Although I recommend outdoor dining for the views, the inside was very Aspen! 

Gallerie Maximillian, one of the many art galleries in town.
 I had to stop in at Daniels Antiques. Unique antiques from all over the world.

McHugh Gallery was my favorite design spot in Aspen. Filled to the brim with unique accessories, paintings, and furniture.  Loved his style. Want the coffee table below.

After I make my millions, this will be one of my vacation homes. This lovely estate over looks downtown Aspen with clear views of the surrounding mountains. 
Complete with pond, a guest house, and stables.
But, the spectacular view was priceless.
Dear Friends, thank you for the gracious hospitality and fond memories.  We are forever grateful!

                                                            Farewell Aspen!