Platts: Downvalley Rendezvous |

Platts: Downvalley Rendezvous

by Barbara Platts

At times, we are all guilty of getting stuck in our ways. We have our selection of restaurants we frequent, where we typically have one or two dishes we consistently order. We stick to our favorite cocktail or glass of wine in the evenings at the usual happy hour spot. And we even tend to shop in the same places.

This certainly isn’t a crime. We all like what we like for a reason. We tend to be creatures of habit, which helps to make our lives more efficient. However, every once in a while, it’s important to throw a wrench into the ordinary routine and try something different. That is exactly what my boyfriend Matt and I decided to do the other weekend. We had been talking about having a weekend stay in Carbondale at the new Marble Distillery Inn for months. He had even given me a gift certificate to the new lodge/bar/distillery for Christmas. Then, on a recent Thursday, after a few glasses of wine, we spontaneously decided to book a couple of nights at the Inn. The next day, we packed up our bags, found a sitter for the pup and headed past the roundabout to ’Bonedale.

The two-day adventure was an absolute blast. We discovered new places and visited old favorites. We met new people and even ran into old friends (no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to be a stranger in the Roaring Fork Valley). If you too are looking for a deviation from your typical routine, I highly recommend heading downvalley for some exploration. Here are a few of our recommendations:

Where to procure that crafty cocktail

Carbondale has no shortage of watering holes, but some places are known for their mixology expertise. Marble Distillery Inn is one of those places. I especially liked their Marble-Rita, which is a revision of the typical margarita, made with the distillery’s own Gingercello and Stripped Margarita Mix. To top it off, they dip the top of the glass in honey and then again in crystallized ginger. You’ll be drooling over the concoction before it even makes it to your lips. Another favorite cocktail from the weekend, which I was not expecting, is the Cocaine Mustache from Town.

Where to enjoy a cold one

For a small town, Carbondale knows its brews. Newish to the area, Roaring Fork Beer Company is known for its ever-changing seasonal concoctions (they produce two or three per season). Every time I go into the tasting room there is a new flavor to be discovered. However, if you like to stick to a favorite, there are two that are permanently available for your enjoyment: Slaughterhouse Lager and Freestone Extra Pale Ale. Another good beer destination is Carbondale Beerworks, which is your typical neighborhood brewpub. The kind of place where, if you go enough, everybody knows your name. Many of the brews are seasonal.

Where to dine

Two of my favorite places to eat in Carbondale are Town and Phat Thai, both which are owned by Roaring Fork Valley local Mark Fischer. At these locations the food is high quality and typically sourced with local ingredients. But that’s not what makes these places so special. It’s the creativity in each and every dish that is served. Matt and I went to both of these places and ended up ordering just about every small plate on the menu because we couldn’t choose just one dish to enjoy.

Where to shop

There are lots of fun shops in Carbondale, but the one I always come back to time and time again is Luxe Nest. This home decor boutique has so many cute knick knacks from picture frames and candles to silly cards and funky coffee mugs. They also have a lot of larger pieces of furniture like couches, tables and chairs. I could spend hours going through the pristinely cluttered store.

Where to spa

True Nature Healing Arts is known for its yoga classes, raw food delicacies and outdoor Peace Garden, but I think a part of the center that is often overlooked is the petit spa. The treatments are very holistic, looking at the physical, mental and emotional state of the patient. Matt and I both got Ayurvedic massages in the spa’s beautiful treatment rooms. Afterward, we enjoyed some tasty peppermint tea and raw chocolate truffles.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our busy lives and our typical routines that we forget to branch out and try something different. Try deviating from the plan from time to time. Leave your favorite sandwich or tasty pasta dish behind for a night and give something else a go. You never know, you may find a new favorite habit to add to your typical routine.

Barbara Platts has found that new adventures are the best recipe for boredom. Reach her at