Jonny and I both grew up in Colorado. I would say Denver, but he would correct me and remind me that he grew up in Denver and I grew up in Golden (which to him is the mountains... although its really the foothills) about 20 minutes west of Denver... this is an ongoing discussion in our household ;). We had been planning to do a little getaway sometime this summer, since a lot of our travel has been based on celebrating friends and family, we haven't had much time to ourselves.
We looked at a weekend trip to Napa, Arizona, Seattle and few other places and finally decided on Aspen because the best times are spent with the whole family, right? And Mr. Brown completes ours. Aspen was the perfect place! It is the most dog friendly town and The Little Nell treated him like the little prince we think he is (I know, I can't imagine the mother I am going to be either).
Even though Jonny and I have both spent our entire lives in CO (other than a short time in DC and Jonny's time away for college) we rarely make it past Vail. Aspen is 3 1/2 hours from Denver so in the winter we tend to stop at the other resorts before we get to Aspen. This made our visit extra special. We drove through Leadville and over Independence Pass which was a new experience for me. This is where we saw the most amazing sunset I have ever seen.
After our pretty drive over Independence Pass we finally arrived to The Little Nell; an absolutely heavenly hotel to pull into after 45 minutes of switchbacks. For people with queezy tummies or new mountain drivers I would recommend the I-70 route... about 20 minutes longer, but easier all around. It was so nice when we pulled in the driveway and were immediately greeted by smiling faces, bottles of water, and someone offering to walk Charlie Brown while we checked in. One of the big draws for us was their "Petiquette" program, including a doggy menu and even a jet lag kit for international pooches (Mr. Brown obviously didn't need that).
We all made ourselves right at home... A fluffy king sized puppy bed awaiting Mr. Brown and champagne for Jonny and me. It was such a wonderful start to the perfect getaway weekend.
Saturday morning we planned to get up early to head up to Maroon Bells for a hike... if any of our friends are reading, I am sure they are shaking their heads. Jonny and I don't do early very well, him mostly (sorry honey), but on vacation time doesn't exist for either of us. So 10 am came and went and we wandered down the street to an adorable coffee shop. To my surprise, excitement, joy :) and Jonny's dismay, horror, sadness :( we stumbled upon a FARMERS MARKET! My favorite thing. I could spend hours, upon hours perusing any farmers market... sampling breads, olive oils, people watching.
We were smack in the middle of the mid day dash for the Maroon Bells bus shuttle (there is a shuttle that runs back and forth to keep traffic away from where the hikes begin). If we could, I would recommend getting there early and taking an earlier shuttle to avoid the rush. Either way it is a gorgeous hike and some of the most stunning views I have seen in CO... a baby moose even crossed our path.
One of the highlights from our little trip was taking a tour of all of the beautiful gardens at The Little Nell. Arrabella Beavers, the resident gardener, could not have been more lovely and gave us some wonderful tidbits about the property including samples of the fresh herb garden (where we got the mint for these giant mojitos!). Also, she explained the design of their first living wall which mimics the Rocky Mountains... see if you can see it!
Jonny and I love live music so we decided to eat a late lunch/early dinner Saturday so we could enjoy the music at Ajax Tavern - food was delicious and we got to watch wedding goers load the gondola for a wedding (another thing I love!). For brunch Sunday, we continued the live music theme and had a yummy brunch at Element 47 while we enjoyed some awesome jazz on the patio. I really wish we could just do this whole weekend again and again...
When we are able to make it up to Aspen, I always tend to go to the same spots for drinks and/dinner. I absolutely love The White House Tavern - the food is always delicious and set inside the sweetest little house. And Campo De Fiori is a another favorite! We had such an incredible weekend, we are already planning our next trip! Can't wait to go back :).