Posted on October 15, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Downtown Aspen on October 10, 2018 with a fresh dusting of snow. Photo by Craig Turpin/Rising Sun Photog
Glitter Gulch, Tony Town, Fat City, Canary City … ah, Aspen. The monikers for this rich-in-history former mining enclave are thanks to a glitz-and-glam reputation bolstered by billionaires on holiday, celebrities hiding out, luxury boutiques, fine dining, five-star resorts, a world-class arts scene and of course, jaw-dropping real estate. But it’s the full-timers—from hippies, ranchers and artists to families, farmers and athletes—who’ve given the ski town its true soul over the years and still help balance the high life with real life year-round.
As soon as the leaves stop falling in October, many businesses hang “Gone to the beach” signs on their doors signaling a bi-annual, well-deserved break before the lifts start spinning. The snow has already arrived, which means one thing: off-season has too.
While the scene is noticeably slower, if you’re thinking about purchasing a vacation property, scoping out a short-term rental or just booking a pre-holiday holiday, now is the perfect time to plan a visit to get a true sense of what life in this year-round, close-knit community is actually like.
Here’s a complete guide to living like a local:
EAT + DRINK
Heirloom eggplant with mushroom bolognese, chard and cauliflower at Element 47. Photo by Jamie Fletcher
It’s usually a guessing game when trying to find a place to eat and drink from now until the first week of December. But there are plenty of spots that stay open, many showing their appreciation for those who stick around town with deep discounts.*
Locals gather every morning for high-fives on the patio or catch up at the community table at Jour de Fête (710 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-5055, jourdefeteaspen.com), family owned and operated since 1988. Owner Olivier Mottier’s French roots shine through on the breakfast and lunch menus, but the chorizo burrito here is the go-to to-go.
Grab a signature Hillstone sandwich and a handcrafted cocktail at White House Tavern (302 E. Hopkins Ave., 970-925-1007, aspenwhitehouse.com), an always-bustling, cozy converted mining-era home that inspired its name.
Do the daily lunch special at Mezzaluna (mezzalunaaspen.com), where pastas and pizzas are $12 or the daily dinner special offering your pick of five $15 entrées or $8 appetizers with 25% off all bottles of wine.
Meat & Cheese (319 E. Hopkins Ave., 970-710-7120, meatandcheeseaspen.com) always makes for a special meal of award-winning “world farmhouse” cuisine, creative craft cocktails and too-pretty-to-eat charcuterie boards. Plus, they give everyone 15% off for off-season in the restaurant and Farm Shop through November 20.
Head just outside of town to Home Team BBQ (38750, CO-82, 970-236-2040, hometeambbq.com) for daily happy hour with a special menu from 4-6 p.m., “Friday Night Live” with Woody Creek Distillers drink specials and a rotating roster of local bands or Sunday brunch with NFL Sunday Ticket on the big screens.
Campo de Fiori (205 S.Mill St., 970-920-7717, campodefiori.net) offers 25% off the entire bill every night of the week (excluding bar menu) where you can chat up the regulars and warm up with authentic Italian eats.
Everyone loves Rustique Bistro (216 S. Monarch, 970-920-2555, rustiquebistro.com) for its “Fried Chicken Thursdays” including three courses for $27 and its nightly prix fixe for two courses for $36.
Duck into The Little Nell (675 E. Durant Ave., 970-920-4600, thelittlenell.com) for three courses for $47 in the luxury hotel’s signature restaurant Element 47 through October 31.
*For the full list of who’s open and who’s closed, visit eataspen.com. And always ask your server to confirm special offers.
The Limelight Hotel is lit up on a winter night. Photo by Jason Dewey
Take advantage of lodging deals like the Limelight Hotel’s Colorado Locals Rate which offers a standard or deluxe room from $160 per night with proof of residency (355 S. Monarch St., 970-925-3025, limelighthotels.com). Find a five-star stay for less at its sister property, The Little Nell, for $245 per night for a standard room through November 22. Aspen Meadows Resort offers a Leaf Peepers Fall Foliage Package, valid through October 22 for 20 percent off lodging with breakfast for two daily and a Colorado Local’s Special for up to 40% off a regular room rate through December 20 (845 Meadows Rd. 970-925-4240, aspenmeadows.com).
SEE + DO
Lead With Love’s 3rd Annual Summit runs October 25-28, 2018. Photo by Alina Hokanson
Droves of visitors go crazy to catch the fall colors, which peak in Aspen in late September and although the snow is already falling, there’s still a little bit of leaf peeping to be had. Car restrictions up to the Maroon Bells (fs.usda.gov) ended on October 8 and the road stays open through mid-November, so now, you can take a leisurely drive up to sightsee around one of the world’s most photographed mountains or to Ashcroft Ghost Town (aspenhistory.org)—both sure to be much more serene sans the crowds.
The Aspen Art Museum (637 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-8050, aspenartmuseum.org) presents innovative exhibitions from the international contemporary art scene with admission free of charge thanks to its generous donor base. Its roof deck café is a favorite spot for coffee or lunch meetings, which also plays host to Movies at the Museum—an ongoing series of free film screenings.
Weather permitting, take a walking tour through the West End with the Aspen Historical Society (620 W. Bleecker, 970-925-3721, aspenhistory.org), which is focused on history, architecture and the little-known facts about the Victorian-era homes and the people who lived in them. By appointment only, you can also go for a guided tour of downtown Aspen in AHS’ new electric vehicle—complete with a visit to both the Wheeler/Stallard Museum and the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum.
Listen to live music at the Belly Up Aspen (450 S. Galena St., 970-544-9800, bellyupaspen.com), which has local bands on the calendar with no cover mixed with headliners like Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket (October 30) and Michael Franti (November 11).
The third annual Lead With Love, a four-day retreat (October 25-28, ileadwithlovesummit.org) at the Aspen Institute, offers yoga and meditation, spiritual psychology sessions, self-care services, leadership seminars and an eco-friendly marketplace.
Get your ski legs ready with yoga at Aspen Shakti (535 E. Hyman Ave., 970-925-1655, aspenshakti.com), a pilates session at O2 Aspen (408 S. Mill St., 970-925-4002, o2aspen.com), or spin class at CycleBar (110 S. Spring St., 970-710-7398, aspen.cyclebar.com). Rejuvenate at the St. Regis Aspen’s Remede Spa (315 E. Dean St., 970-920-3300, stregisaspen.com) where you can spend an entire day in between the grotto, hot tub, cold plunge pool, steam room, sauna and oxygen lounge. A Local Love special is valid for a 60-minute massage or facial for $150 through October 18
Jour de Fête, White House Tavern, Mezzaluna, Meat & Cheese, Home Team BBQ, Campo de Fiori, Rustique Bistro, The Little Nell, Limelight Hotel, Aspen Meadows Resort, Maroon Bells, Ashcroft Ghost Town, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen Historical Society, Belly Up Aspen, Lead With Love, Aspen Shakti, St. Regis Aspen’s Remede Spa
Posted on July 19, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Whether you’re a budding collector looking to add art to a new home, a realtor with staging needs or an experienced enthusiast shopping for a new piece, there is no better time to visit Aspen than late summer.
In recent years, Aspen has solidified its position on the international scene as one of the leading art destinations in the world. But its high-brow reputation has roots dating back to 1949, with the start of one of design’s great movements—the Bauhaus.
Now, the Bauhaus movement is coming full circle thanks to longtime local Lissa Ballinger, curator for The Aspen Institute. In 2019, the world will collectively celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Bauhaus with a slew of special events to partake in locally.
Ahead of official festivities next year, the 1978 sculpture created by renowned Bauhaus architect and artist Herbert Bayer, was unveiled on Aspen Institute’s West End campus. Bayer hand-selected the Carrara marble from Central Italy for this seven-piece geometric sculpture that measures 32 x 8 x 8 feet. The sculpture was acquired from the Denver Art Museum in 2017, through the support of Melony and Adam Lewis, Aspen-based philanthropists and members of the Aspen Institute Society of Fellows.
Aspen Institute President and CEO, Dan Porterfield, shared in a statement, “The Anaconda sculpture is a wonderful addition to the Aspen Meadows Campus for the enjoyment of the whole community and to share in celebrating Herbert Bayer’s legacy. We are thrilled to install this sculpture as we gear up for next year’s celebration of the 100th year anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus School.”
Prior to spearheading the Bauhaus centennial exhibition, Ballinger worked with private clients, local galleries and non-profit organizations through her company, Walnut5 Art Advisory. Ballinger started her company in 2010 and offers services ranging from collection management and preservation planning to curation and placement consulting.
Photos courtesy of Aspen Institute and Lissa Ballinger
Before her “An Introduction to Bauhaus” art talk on Wednesday, July 25 at the Wheeler Opera House, we caught up with Ballinger to get tips for collectors, her favorite spots for finding art and learn what sets Aspen’s art scene apart from anywhere else in the world.
Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Real Estate: What first brought you to Aspen?
Lissa Ballinger: The reason that I came to Aspen [in 2002] is because there is literally no place on earth—that is also a mountain town—which has this range and quality of cultural opportunities. Period.
ASSIR: What sets Aspen art scene apart and how has it changed over the years?
LB: I wrote my thesis on the visual arts in Aspen [she obtained her Masters of Art Administration from Columbia University] and at that point, I was talking about this influx of second home owners and how that had changed the viability of it being a year-round community. But now, 15 years later, it’s so interesting for me to reflect about how much it has changed since then. Art is all over the Roaring Fork Valley, our artistic achievements are being recognized on a much higher level and we’re truly a cultural center destination.
ASSIR: Where are your local, go-to spots to shop for art?
LB: The recurring shows at the Red Brick Center for the Arts and the Aspen Chapel are stocked with work from local artists. Anderson Ranch’s “Lunchtime Auctionette” every Friday in the summer is the biggest gem! And I always find something at their Annual Community Picnic. Downtown, Maker + Place and the Skye Gallery are each owned by young women entrepreneurs and Aspen natives. And the level of art-making down valley is incredible! The ArtBase in Basalt has a fantastic rotating gallery of local artists. I also love The Launchpad and SAW [Studio for Arts + Works] in Carbondale.
ASSIR: And on the gallery side?
LB: Gallery Maximillian, Baldwin Gallery, Harvey/Meadows Gallery and Boesky West.
ASSIR: What trends have you observed in the past year? Do you think the societal shift in the preference of “shopping local” has affected the art world?
LB: I would love that to be an art trend, especially as prices continue to go haywire…the relationship between money and art fascinates me. While Aspen has a thriving scene, there just haven’t been many venues for local artists to showcase their work. I’ve seen that change recently, which is really exciting. Overall in contemporary art, there was this departure from photography for awhile—it can be ubiquitous and people seemed less interested, but it’s coming back around.
ASSIR: What’s your biggest piece of advice for new collectors?
LB: Entering the world of art collecting can be overwhelming, intimidating even. My first thing I tell new collectors is to do research and be curious. Find out what specifically you’re interested in to keep your search narrow. I also encourage people to study art movements, which can help influence decision-making. Unabashedly right now, it should be all about the Bauhaus! And for more serious collectors, art advisors can play a really important role in helping guide you to discovering your personal taste. If you’re just beginning to collect, there are so many unbelievable and affordable experiences here to discover art if you seek them out.
UPCOMING ASPEN ART HAPPENINGS
16th Annual Aspen Arts Festival
Saturday, July 21–Sunday, July 22
Rio Grande Park
An Introduction to Bauhaus: Lissa Ballinger Art Talk
Wednesday, July 25, 5:30pm
Wheeler Opera House
Friday, July 27–Sunday, July 29
Aspen Ice Garden
Aspen Art Museum ArtCrush 2018
Wednesday, August 1–Friday, August 3
28th Annual Art Auction and Community Picnic
August 4, 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Aspen Chapel Gallery Artist Talk
Wednesday, August 15, 5:30 p.m.
Art and Walking Tour of the Aspen Institute hosted by Lissa Ballinger:
Herbert Bayer Mountains and Convolutions, 1944–1953
September 12, 11 a.m.
Meets at the Aspen Institute Resnick Gallery
Every Friday through September 21, 11:45 a.m.
Anderson Ranch Arts Center
Posted on June 8, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Aspen was the first-ever resort community in the country to adopt an official bike sharing system in 2013. Fast forward five years later and it’s hard to imagine Aspen and Basalt without WE-Cycle and its many docking stations around town.
And Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been along for the ride since the very beginning, supporting WE-cycle as its first corporate sponsor in a partnership that’s now in its sixth season. This year marks another milestone for the non-profit organization: it’s the first bike sharing program in the world to be completely free for all users (for rides 30 minutes or less).
Made possible from a $145,000 grant from the City of Aspen, $45,000 each from Eagle County and the Town of Basalt along with robust sponsor support, WE-cycle ridership has already soared since it’s reopening on May 1— ridership is up 197 percent in Aspen and 44 percent in Basalt during the same time period last year according to director and founder, Mirte Mallory.
“Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has been the most tremendous supporter from the very beginning. As our earliest adopters and believers, joining us as a system-wide sponsor has been transformative for what we’ve been able to accomplish at WE-cycle,” says Mallory.
Inspired by the benefits she saw bike sharing create for cities like Paris and Amsterdam, the Aspen native wanted the same solution available in her hometown. “Although we are a small community, we still face a lot of big-city challenges — traffic, air quality and especially parking,” she says. “Our hope is to continue to build on the bike culture that had already existed here and have both locals and visitors use WE-cycle as a viable transportation option.”
She credits Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty co-owner Ernie Fyrwald’s similar vision from having experienced bike share programs in cities he had visited over the years as the impetus for such a successful relationship. “He truly values the importance of supporting bike vitality and what it can do for a community’s livability,” says Mallory.
What started as a 12-station system in Aspen has since grown to more than 40 stations stocked with 190 bikes to work in conjunction with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA) bus system, plus the implementation of access in El Jebel, Willits and Basalt.
Under Fyrwald’s leadership, Aspen Snowmass Sotheby’s International Realty has aligned with the program way beyond just putting branded panels on the back of WE-cycle’s bikes. For many brokers, using the system is essential in their daily commutes and also in showing clients prospective properties around Aspen and Basalt.
"Doing most of my business in the downtown core and adjacent neighborhoods, WE-cycle has been a great way to get around. It's also a handy way to show clients a new neighborhood and how accessible it is,” says Lex Tarumianz.
Chris Klug, a passionate pedaler both on and off the clock, explains, “I have toured downtown and the West End together with my clients on WE-cycle bikes … they absolutely love it. Not only does it help reduce cars on our roads and lessens the impact on our spectacular natural alpine environment, but it’s also a far more efficient way to get around town during the busy summer months when you’re in a hurry. Overall, it just further sets our community apart and makes Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley such a special place.”
For Craig Ward, WE-cycle has been on his “must-support” list since the inception of the program. "I am thrilled that it is now publicly supported, so the bikes are free throughout the community!” he says.
Although she often tours clients around on WE-cycle bikes, supporting bike sharing for Tory Thomas isn’t just about “what it does for me and my business. What I love most about WE-cycle is what it does for our community and environment at large.”
If you haven’t already, sign-up for your free WE-cycle season pass and download the mobile app here: we-cycle.org.
Special thanks to Craig Turpin for photography of WE-cycle bike sharing in Aspen and Basalt, Colorado.
Posted on January 5, 2018 by Katie Shapiro
Looking back on a transitional year for commercial real estate in Aspen’s downtown core, one of the most inspiring stories to emerge is that of Maker + Place, an innovative retail showcase selling handcrafted home wares from around the world. The collective even caught the eye of the Sotheby’s Auction House, presenting an exclusive, online-only auction of contemporary décor.
First opening in a temporary location last summer, Maker + Place has a new home at 614 E. Cooper Ave.
An artist herself, Maker + Place founder and creative director Michaela Carpenter has already filled a much-needed void for the next generation of local go-getters. At just 23 years old, the Aspen High School alumna and graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design in London has created a thriving artisan collective over the past six months, which also offers an artist-in-residence studio, a lecture and workshop series, and mentorship opportunities.
Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.
The exclusive, collaborative e-auction with Sotheby’s Auction House ran from January 5th - 22nd, 2018. Maker + Place Presents: Contemporary Objects Online featured a curated collection from in-house artisans that Carpenter personally enlisted to commission pieces for this unique partnership including vessels, textiles, and furniture.
“The shared passions and values of the Sotheby’s Auction House and Maker + Place brands create an energetic collection,” says Carpenter. “We are so excited to be able to showcase the work of our makers, their skill sets, and their understanding of great design.”
For the Sotheby’s Auction House, 2017 was also a year of innovation with its digital auctions seeing a record number of new clients—its top lots spanning jewelry, contemporary art, old masters, furniture, books, and Chinese paintings. In total, more than $500 million of online bids were received.
This month, for the first time ever, the Sotheby’s Auction House introduces Maker + Place as a leading curator of contemporary pieces that have a connection to traditions and values of craftsmanship, and as a marker for the future of design.
“We’re delighted to partner with Maker + Place to present this auction which was specifically curated for Sotheby’s,” says Olivia Hunt, Sotheby’s Auction House eCommerce manager. “The sale celebrates the art of craftsmanship with pieces carefully selected from emerging designers.”
We caught up with Carpenter ahead of the auction launch for a sneak peek at some of her favorites pieces and their makers:
Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.
White Totem Collection - Giselle Hicks
“Giselle Hicks is a local and works at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village. A lot of her work can be found in our store and each is one-of-a-kind.”
Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.
Fawn Blanket Set - Clarity Fornell
“Clarity Fornell, daughter of developer Peter Fornell, is a born and raised Aspen local, who has devoted her study and life to weaving and is a maker-in-residence at Maker+Place. Everyone is welcome to come visit her while she works at her in-store studio and commission custom designs and products.”
Photo courtesy of Sotheby's.
The Cherry Chair - Carter Hopkins
Carter Hopkins also works at Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass Village and has collaborated with Maker + Place on various projects. “This piece is truly spectacular,” says Carpenter.
For an expanded interview between the Sotheby’s Auction House and Carpenter, click here to visit the Sotheby’s Auction House blog, “Discover Emerging and One-of-a-Kind Designers from Maker + Place.”
Click here to visit the Maker + Place website.
Posted on November 27, 2017 by Katie Shapiro
With a new resident performing arts center underway and two successful residential developments supporting local growth, Willits is the ongoing hub for culture and real estate mid-Valley.
From the Aspen Institute to Theatre Aspen, the Aspen Art Museum to Aspen Music Festival & School, our arts and culture scene in Aspen Snowmass rivals many major metropolises, bringing the world’s most renowned musicians, authors, artists, and thought leaders to town year-round.
Beyond the downtown core, mid-valley residents in Basalt and Carbondale have had to make the commute to enjoy high profile programming. But thanks to the Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW)—a non-profit performing arts center in-progress on a 2.3 acre parcel of land in the booming commercial and residential development—the longtime void for closer-in-proximity-performances is already filling up.
“One thing Willits is not, is a bedroom community with a long drive to go out. We want arts and culture fully integrated into the lifestyle here,” says Michael Lipkin, founder of Willits Town Center, TACAW board member and Lipkin Warner principal, the developers of the nearby Park Modern Willits. “And we just have to acknowledge the fact that living in Aspen is getting harder and harder to attain. Change is inevitable, which is why the growth of the mid-valley is so important. The measure for me is that I’m creating a place that my kids can live and learn in someday.”
After a four-year conceptual planning process (fundraising is ongoing), the first phase of TACAW is complete at The Temporary—a 2,500 square foot space that can accommodate up to 140 guests in the heart of Willits adjacent to the Element Hotel. Finishing touches like exposed brick walls, raw floors, and dramatic chandeliers make the space feel more Brooklyn than Basalt.
Photo by TACAW.
The transformation of the blank space was a “true community effort with volunteers putting in countless hours” according to Lipkin. The project was finished in five short weeks and was spearheaded by Dick Carter, a TACAW board member, longtime valley resident, and artist.
“He worked in Los Angeles for years as a film production designer. So when we said we needed a space to preview our programming, he got it done,” says Lipkin. “I can’t say enough about his vision and ability to execute in a town where it seems to take three years to build a house! What he and our entire team did is a performance piece in itself.”
On the heels of a busy inaugural “soft opening” summer season featuring comedy, music, dance, film, and theater, managing director Ryan Honey sees a bright future ahead.
“Since opening The Temporary, the response from the community has been tremendous. We've enjoyed packed houses ever weekend and our Kids Kulture! series on Saturday afternoons has been especially well received,” says Honey. “The success we’ve seen with this program has been extremely gratifying as the Board of Directors, Artistic Director Marc Breslin, and myself are all committed to building the next generation of artists and audiences. Doing so starts with exposing children and students to get access to great art at an early age.”
Photo by TACAW.
There’s no shortage of offerings for adults, too. Ryan Honey disclosed a few of Honey’s highlights for the season ahead:
“We have a great play, Molly Ivins, coming on January 26 and 27, our first hip hop act, The Lique, is performing on February 18, and the amazing Tinsley Ellis is singing on March 8. These acts, and all of the performances at The Temporary, are a stepping stone for us to achieve our ultimate goal of a permanent performing arts center in Willits. I have no doubt that, with the continued support of the community, we will achieve this goal in the coming years.”
Save the date for The Temporary’s official grand opening featuring a performance from La Pompe Jazz with special guest Jeremy Mohney on Friday, December 15. For the full winter schedule of events and more information on TCAW, visit the events calendar at tacaw.org.
Living in Willits is in high demand – there are only a handful of homes and condos for currently sale. Here is a quick tour of the two premier developments in the Willits Area:
Park Modern Willits is an urban loft development featuring dramatic valley-wide views, contemporary design, dedicated underground parking and private terraces located just a short walk to Whole Foods and the shops and restaurants in Willits. 1, 2 and 3 bedroom single level lofts range from $535,000 to $1,175,000.
The Park Modern Willits developer inventory is listed by Jana Dillard and Ted Borchelt. 102 Evans Road, Unit 206 is listed for $535,000.
102 Evans Road Unit 206 is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath 2nd floor loft in Park Modern Willits featuring the development’s signature clean, contemporary palette, floor to ceiling windows and open living spaces.
The Park Modern Willits developer inventory is listed by Jana Dillard and Ted Borchelt. 102 Evans Road, Unit 204 is listed for $1,060,000.
102 Evans Road, Unit 204 is a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom ground-level loft with high ceilings and large windows.
Shadowrock is a mountain contemporary townhome development also within walking distance to the amenities in Willits, as well as Crown Mountain Park and the RFTA Bus Rapid transit system. Three and four bedroom townhomes range from $689,000 to $1,250,000.
The Shadowrock Luxury Townhomes developer inventory is listed by Tom Banner. 230 Overlook Ridge is listed for $1,205,000.
The Residences on Overlook Ridge are the newest top-tier offering at Shadowrock available for pre-sale. This completely new mountain contemporary design is like nothing ever built at Shadowrock.
230 Overlook Ridge features over 2,900 square feet of luxury living, sweeping views of Mount Sopris, and soaring 13-foot ceilings.
The Shadowrock Luxury Townhomes developer inventory is listed by Tom Banner. 114 Juniper Trail is listed for $1,205,000.
The Juniper Trail Townhomes are nearing completion and just two of these six homes remain available. Thanks to an innovative and modern design, every Juniper Trail Townhome lives like an end unit. The design allowed the addition of windows that make the living spaces in each home light and bright.
114 Juniper Trail has 2,230 square feet of living space with three bedrooms including a private upper level master suite with a 10-foot deep covered terrace.