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Cheer up, Aspen

Just a brief local’s note from the tourist scene, given all the unhappiness with respect to our urban core and the very tough year.

We had occasion to visit Laguna Reach/Newport Beach in California and Martha’s Vineyard on Cape Cod this summer, and found both packed with upscale tourists. We loved these places (we suffer from time to time from ocean deprivation), but wish to report that from the tourist perspective, the Aspen summer scene is even better.

In addition to the mountains, the wildlife, the Music Festival, the Physics Institute and the Given Institute, Aspen has a larger, wider range of excellent restaurants (some even with good food, good service and reasonable prices – Little Annie’s, Wienerstube, Cantina, L’Hosteria’s bar – and a lively sidewalk cafe scene, next to and including La Cocina on East Hopkins and Gusto and Asie on Main Street), good bars, great after-dinner strolling, architecture with charm and variety, beautiful views, wonderful classical music in the streets, dancing in the streets on Fridays (thanks to City Council), world-class lectures (Tom Friedman at the Institute), terrific window shopping (even though we have lost a number of our local favorites, we still have one of the best leather/baggage shops on the planet – Baggage Claim, Le Tub, Les Chefs, Curious George for unique shopping, Explore bookstore, as good as Politics and Prose in D.C., plus food, and one of the most luxurious Prada outlets outside Manhattan), a cosmopolitan, international people-watching scene and, very good-looking dogs.

Then, on Saturdays, the town has a quite entertaining and friendly street market and week-night tango lessons in the mall. Most bike-friendly resort, too.

So, cheer up a bit, Aspen, we definitely have not lost the tourist competition and we are still working with determination on affordable housing, open space, transportation, politics and our commitment to community.

Camilla Auger

Aspen


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