Aspen is a life to liveSee how much there is to give See how strongly you believe See how much you may receive (John Denver) I have always dreamed of going to Aspen, Colorado. Stories of mountain air and winter magic from John Denver songs have beckoned to me for years. And here I am finally, in the dead of summer, dealing with altitude sickness (see previous post). I was a bit worried it wouldn’t come up to my sentimental expectations. The landscape on the way reminded me of the Nevada high desert with sagebrush and scruff pine. But as I pulled into my hotel I was excited to see tall pines and high mountains all around. It was as beautiful as I had always imagined.
I decided to take it very easy and stay at the hotel, do laundry and sit in the jacuzzi in the afternoon and continue to drink water, to keep the high altitude malady at bay. At around 6pm I was ready for action and bought a ticket to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s Momix in Botanica. It was simply astounding, I was speechless. The beauty of the movement, mixed with costumes, puppetry, amazing fabrics, videography and story telling was epic. I heard a woman say on our way out, that she was in sensory overload, and that about explains it. It was about nature, life cycles, with flowers, worms, centaurs, huge silky fabrics that swept around as wind, waves and wings, and everything danced with amazing technique. I have never seen props used with such perfection in a dance performance. The set changes were almost silent, made with impressive sleight of hand. I wish I could explain it better, but because dance is so visual it is difficult. In fact, from here on out this adventure gets harder and harder to share. I have put off writing it as recounting it is so tricky. But here is a YouTube clip of the ballet if you want a taste.
After the ballet I took my first foray into downtown Aspen seeking food. It was almost 10pm so I was hunting in the dark. I had read about a few places that sounded good so when I came across The White House Tavern I popped inside. It turned out to be an incredible evening. I ordered this amazing salad that my waitress recommended. It had chicken, dates, goat cheese, almonds, corn, lettuce, avocado, cornbread croutons all tossed in a vinaigrette. I was so happy with it, all I could do was sigh after each bite. It was one of those “better than sex” moments. With such great healthy food I was completely satisfied.
The restaurant general manager and my waitress were so sweet, and spent time to chat with me about my travels and the things I should do in Aspen. When the waitress brought the container for my leftovers she said that they were treating me to dinner. I looked at her dumbfounded. She assured me that they liked me so they were just going to buy my dinner. I was stunned, literally, deer in the headlights. I have never had a meal comped for me before. Maybe a dessert or something, if there was a reason, like the service being slow, but never a whole dinner. Just because they thought I was “nice”?! She assured me later that they do this for people they like. I walked out of there floating on a cloud of gratefulness and feeling very special. I couldn’t wait to go back and try something else and maybe have one of their specialty cocktails. Yum.
The restaurant is housed in a darling old white house and I loved the neclectic decor. There was a crystal chandelier, as well as a cool little fireplace, and large candles on all the tables, a mounted deer head up in the rafters, and beautiful artwork on the walls. I am sure that comping my dinner was a good thing for them, they know that I am going to tell everyone I know to go there and I ended up tipping almost the full amount of the meal anyway, but just to walk around with an aura of “they think I’m comp worthy” was such a delight. What a welcome to my first night in Aspen!
Smiling faces all around Laughter is the only sound Memories that can’t grow old Winter snow Aspenglow
(…TO BE CONTINUED…)