Carbondale comes into its own | AspenTimes.com

Carbondale comes into its own

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

CARBONDALE ” There’s a reason why Carbondale has been the buzz town of the Roaring Fork Valley in recent years. It has everything ” except for attitude.

For the outdoorsy set, Carbondale is a great place to start a Mount Sopris backcountry expedition, set out on a fishing excursion on either the Roaring Fork or Crystal River, or don cross-country skis for a tour of the Spring Gulch Nordic Center trails outside of town. Or, make the journey farther up the Crystal River Valley to explore the outdoor adventures that await in Redstone, Marble and beyond.

Turn off Highway 82 at Highway 133 to find Carbondale. Highway 133 holds Carbondale’s strip mall-style development; turn west from 133 onto Main Street to find the town’s old downtown core.

A stroll through the historic downtown district reveals Carbondale’s recent and ongoing renaissance, which has brought new life to the town with chic shops, restaurants and a fresh crew of locals.

Aided by the active Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities, Carbondale is also an arts center, with several galleries, the Carbondale Clay Center (the Roaring Fork Valley’s only nonprofit dedicated solely to the clay arts), and Thunder River Theatre Company’s new state-of-the-art black-box theater.

First Fridays have become a happening ” locals stroll through the downtown core on the first Friday evening of each month, taking in the galleries and gathering with friends for dinner or drinks at one of the various restaurants and watering holes on Main Street.

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Steve’s Guitars, at 19 N. Fourth St., just off Main Street, has become a hot spot for live music in Carbondale, particularly on the weekends (go to http://www.stevesguitars.net to see what’s coming up). The Black Nugget hosts the occasional rock band, as well.

About 10 miles south of Carbondale on Highway 133, you’ll find the historic hamlet of Redstone ” a one-time coal-mining town that is now a quaint burg of shops, restaurants and several motels, along with the historic and stately Redstone Inn on the upper end of Redstone Boulevard. Tours of the Redstone Castle, once home to coal magnate Charles Osgood, are also available on some days; check at the Inn to see if they’re being offered.

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