Local Insights: Aspen Summer 2014

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Chef Concierge Stephanie Madrid shares her recommendations for experiencing the best of summer in Aspen.

By Tess Eyrich

 

peaches
Peach’s Corner Café boasts organic fare.

Come summer, Aspen’s seemingly ever-present blanket of snow melts and wildflowers bloom in sun-dappled meadows, creating a picture-perfect environment to experience the season. Whether hiking the area’s rugged peaks or perusing downtown’s luxury boutiques, there is always an adventure to be had in this mountain playground. The St. Regis Aspen Resort Chef Concierge Stephanie Madrid reveals her selections for the best places to play, relax, dine and shop.

 

Best Breakfasts

An ideal summer day in Aspen starts with a hearty breakfast, and Madrid knows just where to steer guests who seek memorable meals.

Inside The St. Regis Aspen Resort, TRECENTO QUINDICI DECANO serves breakfast from 7-11 a.m. daily. The generous spread includes a buffet and a menu of gourmet standards such as French toast topped with cinnamon mascarpone, buttermilk pancakes and omelets made with cage-free eggs. (970-920-3300; stregisaspen.com)

Nearby MAIN STREET BAKERY & CAFE also offers home-style classics like eggs Benedict and bananas Foster. “They serve hot breakfast items as well as fresh pastries and bakery items,” Madrid says. (970-925-6446)

A third option on Madrid’s radar is PEACH’S CORNER CAFÉ, which has perfected a range of all-natural, organic dishes for breakfast and lunch. “They do great pressed juices, fruit, yogurt—definitely on the healthier side,” she adds. (970-544-9866; peachscornercafe.com)

 

Scenic Splendor

Aspen is known as a winter wonderland, but the area offers just as many opportunities for outdoor activity during the warm-weather months.

Madrid recommends that guests rent bikes from the resort’s on-site sporting goods shop, ASPEN SPORTS, for a ride along the Rio Grande Trail. “If they stay on the trail for about 7.5 miles, they get to this quirky cabin called the Woody Creek Tavern where they can have lunch, and then bike ride back,” she explains. (970-925-6332; aspensports.com)

Blazing Adventures offers trips for all ages and skill levels.
Blazing Adventures offers trips for all ages and skill levels.

Whitewater rafting is another popular summer activity in the Roaring Fork Valley, and Madrid encourages locals and guests alike to book a tour through BLAZING ADVENTURES, which arranges half-day and full-day excursions on several local rivers for participants of all ages and skill levels. (800-282-7238; blazingadventures.com)

For a more leisurely adventure, consider exploring the MAROON BELLS wilderness area in the White River National Forest. “A lot of people come here in the summertime to see and hike around the Maroon Bells,” Madrid adds. “At the base is Maroon Lake—a really beautiful lake. A lot of people hike up to Crater Lake, which is about two hours round trip and a moderate hike.” (970-925-1940; aspenchamber.org)

 

Refreshing Sips

Few pleasures in life yield the same level of satisfaction as savoring a quality cocktail at the end of a day in Aspen. For crisp drinks and outstanding service, Madrid recommends the resort’s on-site SHADOW MOUNTAIN LOUNGE, an elegant space that specializes in sparkling Champagne cocktails, Prohibition-era drinks like The Sazerac and, of course, a personalized version of the bloody mary. (970-920-3300; stregisaspen.com)

The White House Tavern serves up traditional cocktails.
The White House Tavern serves up traditional cocktails.

Even more refreshing sips can be found at THE WHITE HOUSE TAVERN, a quaint restaurant housed in a historic property that was originally constructed in 1883. “They have a great cocktail list and a bar area where you can get a small bite to eat,” Madrid says. Cocktails at The White House Tavern also skew toward the traditional rather than the experimental, with martinis, Manhattans and Negronis all making appearances on the menu. (970-925-1007; aspenwhitehouse.com)

 

High-Fashion Finds

This stylish town places a premium on fashion, and the community’s sartorial instincts extend all the way to resort wear.

Visit Pitkin County Dry Goods for trendy apparel and fine leather items.
Visit Pitkin County Dry Goods for trendy apparel and fine leather items.

For women, Madrid gives her stamp of approval to two boutiques: DISTRACTIONS and NUAGES. “Both stores have more high-end designer labels,” she says of the shops, which also offer footwear, handbags and jewelry, among other treasures. Distractions’ selection features major names like Balenciaga, Lanvin and The Row, while Nuages carries pieces by designers including Alberta Ferretti and Azzedine Alaïa. (Distractions: 970-544-9946; distractionsaspen.com) (Nuages: 970-925-6569; nuagesaspen.wordpress.com)

For both men and women, Madrid recommends local favorite PITKIN COUNTY DRY GOODS for of-the-moment apparel, accessories and fine leather goods. The shop carries contemporary luxury labels ranging from Rebecca Taylor and Vince to Rag & Bone and John Varvatos. (970-925-1681; pitkincountydrygoods.com)

 

Child’s Play

A family-friendly retreat, Aspen offers a number of shops that cater to children, adolescents and young-at-heart adults. One such store, ASPEN ECLECTIC, carries an impressive selection of games and trinkets guaranteed to appeal to kids of all ages. “Aspen Eclectic specializes in children’s toys but also more upscale, Colorado-themed souvenirs,” Madrid says. (970-925-6217) She also recommends a visit to the second floor of CARL’S PHARMACY, the town’s central general store. Upstairs, the shelves are stocked with puzzles, board games, dolls, coloring books, costumes, trading cards and more. (970-925-3273; carlspharmacy.com)

For books, journals, stationery and unique gifts, head to EXPLORE BOOKSELLERS, Aspen’s premier independent bookstore. With both fiction and nonfiction books for avid readers of all ages, this charming shop inside an authentic Victorian house will satisfy any literary craving. (970-925-5336; explorebooksellers.com)