By Melanie Yemma, Taking the Kids Correspondent
Assssssspen… A place where the beer flows like wine and where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano (yeah, we know, it’s a quote from “Dumb and Dumber”). This past weekend, Hank and I went on short spring getaway to Aspen. Although only 12 miles as the bird-flies from where we live in Crested Butte, in the winter it takes about 4 hours to drive around the mountains. The long way around does offer impressive views of Blue Mesa Reservoir and skirts near the Black Canyon of the Gunnison before passing through the lush and beautiful North Fork Valley including the towns of Hotchkiss and Paonia.
We decided to head over to Aspen to escape the busy Crested Butte spring break week and to see some music at the Belly Up, which is a great mountain town music venue. After the beautiful drive, we checked into the Hotel Aspen, which is conveniently located right off of Main Street and within walking distance to everything the town has to offer. I appreciated the convenience of this comfortable and affordable hotel, which had an incredible pool and hot tub right in front of our room, a complimentary apres-ski happy hour, and complimentary breakfast as well. By the way, Hotel Aspen is currently offering 20 percent off rack rates, or 25 percent off if you’re a Colorado resident
After stretching our legs, we moseyed through town and landed at the happy hour at Hops Culture, a craft-beer focused restaurant and bar on Aspen’s Hyman Mall. Although they have an extensive beer list of over 30 brews on tap alone, we opted for their house beer, the hops culture brew, which was refreshing with a noticeable hops taste. We also tried the pretzel bites with beer cheese dip, the hops chop salad, and the buffalo chicken wings…everything was delicious, and the atmosphere was great as well; a perfect place to watch some march madness basketball.
Later that night, we went to the Belly Up to see American rock band “Portugal. The Man.” The show was great, and the Belly Up is such a gem of a venue; small enough to feel close and intimate with the band, while also having an incredible sound and lighting system. The Belly Up typically has an impressive lineup of all sorts of different musicians throughout the entire year.
The next morning, we opted to head out to soak in some hot springs (in an undisclosed location) on our way home, rather than ski, since the weather was so warm. Although Aspen does offer fantastic spring skiing, we have already been getting our spring corn skiing fill back home in Crested Butte, and we wanted to take advantage of the beautiful weather. If you do choose to spring ski in Aspen, aside from the long and sunny days on the hill, Aspen also had a great roundup of spring events from rail jams to outdoor concerts.
We did have one last stop to make before heading back towards McClure Pass, and that was to Breakfast in America in El Jebel between Aspen and Glenwood Springs. This place is the best sort of hole in the wall breakfast restaurant, and it also has one of the breakfast burritos that I’ve ever had. I would definitely opt for the burrito and huevos rancheros—Christmas Style.
Overall, while a short getaway, we really enjoyed our quick jaunt to Aspen. I would love to return in the summer, fall, and winter to revisit all of these great places. No matter the season, Aspen has incredible views, activities, food, and adventures to offer.