People go to Aspen, Colorado to ski in the winter, and to hike and enjoy the mountain landscape in the summer, fall and spring. We were there for a skiing trip, and as is usually the case, all we did while there was go up and down the gorgeous mountains for days. I was slightly disappointed, then, when we got to the last day of our trip and we hadn’t really taken any time to see the city or check out what it’s like to actually live in a place like Aspen. I suddenly got that chance when my flight home was canceled after I had already gotten to the airport and said goodbye to my friends. I had two choices: I could either hunker down at the airport and try to catch a flight before tomorrow or I could spend a day in Aspen exploring.
I decided to see what could be done about staying for another day. Renting a car was no problem, as I was already at the airport and there were options available. What I needed was a last-minute hotel room in Aspen. That seemed like something that would be difficult to find, but then I found HotelTonight. They provided all sorts of choices for Aspen hotels, and the booking process was incredibly fast and easy. All of a sudden, I was all set. I rented a car and drove to my Aspen hotel. After asking the staff about where to go around town, and getting some valuable input, I started off on my day of exploration.
I’ve always felt that the best way to get a feel for a city is to spend some time in its downtown area. Downtown Aspen is about as picturesque as any city you’ll ever see in the world. The attractive buildings line the snow-covered streets and clean sidewalks, active, happy people are walking around everywhere and whatever you could want to do, buy, eat or drink is all right there in front of you. I walked around a bit and just enjoyed the overall vibe before embarking on the next step of my day-long journey.
If there was such a thing as a residential neighborhood near downtown Aspen, it would be the West End. This is a beautiful neighborhood that’s filled with multi-million-dollar Victorian homes and homes of other design genres. It’s also home to a lot of community activity, non-profit organizations and artistic influences. Most of the homes here, I was told, are only occupied for a short time every year, but you’d never know it with all of the activity that seems to be taking place at any given time.
I crossed town for my next stop, the East End. Unlike the West End, this is an area where the architectural styles are quite varied. You’ll see enormous new homes, housing where locals do tend to live and older condominiums. You’ll also see an enormous park where, even in the snow, kids were out playing and having a great time. You’ll also see a few good restaurants nearby, which was fortuitous because I was ready for a nice lunch. A nice couple recommended a local joint just down the road, so I stopped there. I was glad I did. The lunch was incredibly tasty, filling and satisfying. I was full, refueled and ready for an afternoon of more exploring.
A bit further from town, I found a truly residential area. Cemetery Lane sits near the Aspen Golf Course, which of course was not open during skiing season. There was a nice mix of different styles and sizes of homes, and the people who live in Cemetery Lane are quite diverse as well. I found myself walking quite a bit, which was nice in the beautiful snow. One thing that this neighborhood had a lot of was hiking trails, so I took advantage and worked off that delicious lunch.
My final stop of the day was Red Mountain. I’ve been in some high-end neighborhoods before, but this one was about as exclusive as any I had ever seen anywhere. I did some quick searches on my phone as I walked around, and every home here is worth several million dollars. All of this gawking was once again making me hungry, so I decided to head back into town for some dinner. There are a lot of options for eating in Aspen, but I wanted something local and understated. I found such a place and once again enjoyed a very satisfying meal. I was done in more ways than one.
As I went back to my hotel, I thought about all that had happened that day. I had gotten a chance to see Aspen outside of the ski slopes and our lodge. I had a chance to talk to some local people and try some local cuisine. I got a sense of what it was like to live here, which is something I value when I travel. I also got to book an Aspen hotel room within a matter of minutes, which I never thought would be possible when I was standing there at the airport. I owed that to HotelTonight. They provided me with quite a few Aspen hotels and easy and secure booking. I’d be back here someday, but wherever I went in the future I’d do so with HotelTonight.