5 Great Photography Locations in Aspen

It always amazes me how much technology has advanced over the last few decades. Going back to my university days (in the mid to late 80s), taking decent photographs involved an immense amount of effort. In those days, everything was recorded on film, which was very restrictive. Unless you had a decent darkroom, processing was often expensive and time-consuming.

Fast forward to the present day, and we live in a digital Instagram age, where images can be edited and shared instantaneously. Most smartphones are now equipped with a decent camera and are exceptionally portable. Therefore, any budding photographer can document all their precious moments.

I wouldn’t profess to be the most seasoned traveller; and as a student, I sacrificed vacation time to pay off debts (incurred by social activities). However, in the last decade, I have been fortunate to visit some wonderful locations and also got the opportunity to emigrate from the UK to Australia and now have dual citizenship.

For those touring the United States, I cannot recommend enough that you take the time to visit Aspen. This region is synonymous with its picturesque beauty and therefore attracts aspiring photographers from around the globe. Here are five great locations that illustrate this point perfectly.

Maroon Bells

Maroon Bells is a series of wine coloured bell-shaped peaks that climax at an imposing 14,000 feet. This majestic sight is a favorite among photographers around the world because of its amazing views. Highlights include colourful meadows, aspen trees, and six incredible scenic hiking trails.

Smuggler Mountain Observation Deck

Smuggler Mountain Observation Deck offers avid photographers breathtaking panoramic views of Aspen Mountain, Independence Pass, and the Roaring Fork Valley. This scenic trail is approximately 1.5 miles away from the trailhead, and attracts enthusiastic hikers, runners, mountain bike riders, etc.

Dancing Fountain

I have always been mesmerised by the aesthetic of water, and it is (in my opinion) what makes Dancing Fountain so appealing. This amazing art installation was created by Nick DeWolf and Travis Fulton in 1979. Photographers love the symphony of synchronised jets that almost appear as if they are choreographed.   

John Denver Sanctuary

The John Denver Sanctuary is situated in the heart of Aspen, next to Rio Grande Park and near the Roaring Fork River. Ultimately, this is why aspiring photographers delight at taking images to share on their social media sites. The Song Garden pays homage to the legendary singer by etching his lyrics into circular positioned native river boulders.

Red Butte Trail

Red Butte Trail is a 0.9-mile long nature track that is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and scenic picnics. Optimum times are between May and October. However, because of the magical ever-changing views, I could envisage this would be a photographer’s delight during any season.

10 Reasons to Visit Aspen in the Summer

To most people (including myself) Aspen is synonymous for skiing and winter resorts. This amazing region attracts tourists from around the world along with countless celebrities. However, for those of us that are not obsessed with snow, this city is also a highly attractive summertime destination. To illustrate this point, here are 10 great reasons to visit Aspen in the Summer.

1. Silver Queen Gondola

If you want to enjoy delicious fine dining and breathtaking views this summer, then riding on the Silver Queen Gondola is a prerequisite. These amazing lifts elevate to a staggering height of 12,000 feet.

2. Maroon Bells

If you are an Instagram fanatic or just love amazing scenery, then a visit to Maroon Bells is a must. This epic mountain range comprises two peaks (Maroon Peak and North Maroon Peak) which have a summit of 14,019 feet (4273 m).

3. Aspen Art Museum

As an artist, I always love adding a cultural element to my holidays. That is why a visit to Aspen Art Museum during a summer getaway sounds like a great idea. This gallery (designed by architect Shigeru Ban) has a broad range of drawings, painting, sculptures, and multimedia installations.

4. Roaring Fork River

Roaring Fork River is 70 miles long and is one of the main tributaries of the Colorado River. During summer months, tourists can enjoy many activities such as rafting and kayaking. The river also attracts keen fisherman because of its abundance of trout.

5. Aspen Brewing Company

On vacations, I tend to love hiking through nature trails and experiencing local scenery. However, it’s also nice to enjoy some down-time, and that is why a visit to the Aspen Brewing Company seems very appealing. With an exclusive range of craft beers, it will certainly delight purists.

6. Independence Pass

Independence Pass (formerly known as Hunter Pass) is situated in the Rocky Mountains between Aspen and Twin Lake. At the summit, it climaxes at 12,095 feet (3,687 metres) and therefore offers spectacular views of the surrounding area, which attract hikers in the summer season.

7. Rio Grande Trail

If you are an adrenaline junky who’s obsessed with exercise, then the Rio Grande Trail is definitely worth a go. Spanning 42-miles from Glenwood Springs to Aspen, this scenic trail is ideal for summer mountain biking.

8. Glenwood Springs

What makes vacationing so enjoyable is the freedom to do the things that you want. Aspen has many high octane activities to burn off all those excess calories. However, if relaxing is your thing, Glenwood Springs (the world’s largest) Hot Springs Pool offers the ultimate chill-out experience for guests.

9. Dancing Fountain

Dancing Fountain is one of the jewels in Aspen’s crown, and that is why summer tourists flock in their droves. This sculptural water feature created by Nick DeWolf and Travis Fulton is enjoyed by all ages. Even though the fountain is nearly 40-years old, its allure hasn’t diminished in the slightest.

10. John Denver Sanctuary

Located in the heart of Aspen John Denver Sanctuary is a favourite picnicking spot for families. Named after the legendary musician, there are several boulders (positioned in a circle) inscribed with the singer’s lyrics. This makes the sanctuary place ideal for meditation, whilst viewing the beautifully manicured gardens.

Why You Should Visit Aspen this Fall

At the moment, it is Autumn in Australia; and as an artist, I am really captivated by the vibrant rustic tones on display. Certainly, this is why many Adelaidians (South Australia) gravitate towards the hills. In particular, there is a marvelous village called Stirling, which attracts tourists from around the world. Considering the scorching temperatures in the Summer months, this time of year offers visitors a pleasant bit of relief.

In the Northern Hemisphere, the Autumn months take place from September to December. This season is also referred to as Fall in Aspen, which is really a tourist hotspot at this time of year. Even though this vibrant city is renowned for skiing activities, not everyone is obsessed with snow. As I have mentioned in various other articles, Aspen has a wealth of different pursuits for people of all ages.

A lot of people favour the autumnal months because the weather is more bearable. I also find this season quiet magical because of the array of different rustic hues. In Aspen, visitors can enjoy a variety of different cultural, energetic, and gourmet experiences. There is also some extraordinary historic and contemporary architecture dotted around the city, including Aspen’s modern art museum.

Visiting Aspen in the Fall

If you visit Aspen in the fall, I would highly recommend that you go on a hike or different bike ride each day. Popular scenic routes include the Rio Grande Trail or a challenging ride to Independent Pass. However, spending a day at the Maroon Bells, enjoying a picnic and taking in the magnificent Autumnal views would be hard to beat. Additionally indulging in a bit of kayaking or whitewater rafting is both an immense amount of fun, and also readily accessible.  

Even though I absolutely adore outdoor pursuits, not all of of them have to involve strenuous exercise. Therefore, a magnificent diversion would be to spend a couple of leisurely days at the Snowmass Wine Festival, which traditionally takes place on the 14th and 15th of September. The main highlight occurs on Saturday, with a comprehensive tasting session that showcases wines from around the world.

As a final touch, I wouldn’t leave Aspen without experiencing the world’s largest hot springs pool at Glenwood Springs. In my opinion, this would be the perfect way to end a perfect holiday.

The Best Ski Areas in Aspen

Over the years, I have met many people who will travel to the far corners of the globe to find the best skiing resorts. In a previous article, I mentioned destinations like Whistler Blackcomb (Canada), Zermatt (Switzerland) Val d’Isere (France) and Niseko. All of these resorts offer five-star facilities and state of the art equipment. They are also suitable for all skill levels including beginner, intermediate and advanced. However, in the same review, I mentioned Aspen, which takes luxury to a whole new level.

One of my favourite topics to write about is architecture and properties in general. That is why a city like Aspen is so fascinating to write about. This picturesque area is situated in a remote region of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Even though Aspen was originally a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom, it is now one most sought after locations in the world. Primarily, it is associated with winter sports and in particular, skiing activities. To illustrate this point, here are some of the most popular ski areas in Asen.

Aspen Mountain

Aspen Mountain (affectionately called Ajax by locals) is located above Aspen and is 11,212 feet (3,417 metres) high. It was discovered by Walter Paepcke 73 years ago (in 1946) and is the smallest of the four ski areas. However, from Silver Queen Gondola (near the summit) enthusiasts can enjoy breathtaking views of the entire city.

Aspen Highlands

Aspen Highlands was originally developed by Aspen resident, Whip Jones in 1958 and is now owned/operated by the Aspen Skiing Company. The mountain is synonymous with its intense steep skiing trails. Possibly the most attractive feature is Highland Bowl, which can only be accessed by hiking to Loke Peak.


Buttermilk is considered to be one the easiest ski areas of the main four, and elevates to a height of 9,900 feet (3,000 metres). It comprises three ski areas: Tiehack (advanced), Main Buttermilk (intermediate), and West Buttermilk (beginner). Impressively, the base (The Hideout) also hosts activities for children ages 2 ½ to 6 years old.


Snowmass is situated in Snowmass Village near Aspen and is the largest of the four ski areas, spanning 3,128 acres. This area is renowned for being family friendly because of its numerous restaurants and cafes. However, it also has some challenging runs that are designed for the most extreme ski fanatics.

2019 Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

The 2019 Edition of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic (Image: Food & Wine).

Whenever I plan a vacation, amazing food and wine is always a serious consideration. Although Aspen, Colorado is renowned for its Winter sports, the weather is absolutely beautiful during the Summer months, and offers visitors a diverse assortment of warm-weather activities. One of the highlights of Summer in Aspen is an event called the Food & Wine Classic. As you would expect, the festival is an extravagant affair that attracts discerning gourmets and celebrity chefs from around the globe.

The Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is considered the ultimate authority on the best new foods, drinks, designs and entertaining ideas. Should you want to attend, you can purchase your tickets by visiting the event website RIGHT HERE or by calling 877-900-WINE.

The Aspen Food & Wine Classic

Set to take place from June 14th – 16th, this year’s Food & Wine Classic marks the 37th anniversary of the event. Join celebrity chefs, renowned winemakers, and epicurean insiders for a spectacular and educational weekend of workshops, cooking demonstrations, wine tastings, and panel discussions (more than 80 to choose from), led by a team of world-class experts.

Attendees will have the chance to participate in numerous tastings (Image: Food & Wine).

Inside the Grand Tasting Pavilion at the Food & Wine Classic, you will be able to participate in a variety of cooking demonstrations, along with numerous wine and champagne tastings to tantalize your taste buds.

The event also features numerous cooking demonstrations (Image: Food & Wine).

This year, the celebrity chefs in attendance that will delight foodies with their amazing culinary skills include:

  • Martha Stewart
  • Andrew Zimmern
  • Alex Guarnaschelli
  • Geoffrey Zakarian
  • Marcus Samuelsson
  • Andrew Carmellini
  • Jacques Pépin (plus daughter Claudine)
  • Barbara Lynch
  • And many more of the industry’s most highly-regarded names
The Aspen Food & Wine Classic is as educational as it is fun (Image: Food & Wine).

At $1,700 (for a 3-day pass), tickets might seem pretty pricey; however this multi-day event is definitely worth the investment. Not only will you be able to sample some of the finest foods and wines on this planet, but you will also learn valuable tips and skills from some of the most respected names in the industry.

A number of celebrity chefs will be in attendance (Image: Food & Wine).

To burn off all those indulgent calories (consumed over the 3-days) you might consider the Celebrity Chef 5K Charity Run. This $35 event gives you the chance to run down the streets of Aspen with famous chefs and winemakers. In addition to being enormous fun, all the proceeds go to the Wholesome Wave (established by Chef Michel Nischan) and the Jacques Pépin Foundation – two non-profit organizations that are involved in sustainable and social economic programs.

10 Things to Pack for Your Aspen Winter Getaway

Everybody gets excited about holidays, and planning forward is part of the overall experience. Some friends of mine are meticulous about preparation, and even compile a spreadsheet with their itinerary. However, others are more relaxed and leave things until the last moment. This strategy might work well for sun worshippers, but not for an exclusive skiing holiday. If you are preparing to travel to an exclusive destination like Aspen in Colorado, then certain things are essential.

Aspen really is a location like no other, and there are three main ski areas (Buttermilk, Aspen Mountain, and Snowmass). For a vacation at this exclusive area, it is crucial that you have the right equipment and apparel to optimise your vacation. Certainly, you don’t want to be ill-prepared, as this could seriously impact your overall experience.

Another pertinent point to mention is that Aspen is a very glamorous city full of wealthy clientele and celebrities. Après-ski and nightlife is an important component of the vacation, and should be treated accordingly. Taking all of that into consideration here are 10 things I would highly recommend for your Winter vacation.

1.  Goggles & Helmet

Even though it might look cool to ski with a pair of sunglasses, it isn’t necessarily practical or safe. Therefore, it is advisable to bring a decent pair of goggles and a helmet if you plan on hitting the slopes.

2.  Lip Balm/Moisturiser

On a personal level, I would always take a decent lip balm for those chapped lips, and a quality moisturiser to replenish my dry skin.

3.  Ski Jacket & Pants

If you want to make a bold first impression on the slopes, then I would suggest investing in a couple of matching Ski jackets and pants.

4.  Ski Gloves

It might seem like I am stating the obvious, but purchasing a quality pair of ski gloves will pay dividends – especially on those cold Winter days.

5.  Socks

Like most people, my feet get really cold, especially in damp conditions. Therefore, it would be a wise move to purchase a pair of specialist winter/ski socks.

6.  Ski/Snowboard Equipment

Most seasoned skiers/snowboarders have probably invested in some pretty decent equipment of their own. However for novices, there are specialist companies for hire that will serve your requirements.

7.  Sunscreen

Unless you want to look like an antique piece of leather, it’s imperative to bring along some sunscreen and the higher SPF the better. Even on those cold winters days, the UV rays can be pretty damaging, and the reflection off the snow can give you a nasty burn.

8.  Sunglasses

After a hard day on slopes, you will probably want to enjoy some indulgent après-ski time. Therefore, a really cool pair of designer sunglasses is a perfect accessory that will also help protect your eyes from those harmful UV rays.

9.  Tailored Blazer

Aspen is a really exclusive destination, so you will want to make the right impression. I would pack a tailored blazer in a neutral colour, which can be accessorised with a variety of different trousers or designer jeans.

10.  Swiss Mechanical Watch

I am obsessed with Swiss mechanical watches, and would always take at least one on vacation. For me, the more distinctive the better, as they can always be great conversation starters.

A Closer Look at the John Denver Sanctuary

Like most people that I know, music is a key component of my life. Every day, I walk several miles (immersed in my own world) with my noise-cancelling headphones on. This helps me to relax and devise concepts for books, magazine articles, etc. Music is also now used in various clinical trials, and in particular for Alzheimer’s sufferers. Magically, our favorite tunes can transport us back in time, and even evoke special memories. That is why it is particularly nice to find a sanctuary in Aspen that is dedicated to the legendary singer/songwriter, John Denver.

John Denver

John Denver (born Henry John Deutschendorf Jr.) was one of America’s most acclaimed recording artists, selling over 33 million records worldwide. During his career, he released approximately 300 songs. He also was an actor, activist, humanitarian, and record producer. Tragically, his life was cut short at the youthful age of 53, and that is why the sanctuary in Aspen is a perfect tribute to his immense talent.

Normally when people visit Aspen, it is to enjoy the world-class ski runs and vibrant nightlife. However, as I have explained in previous articles, Aspen is much, much more than just a winter destination. During summer months, tourist can enjoy many pursuits like mountain biking, hiking, and kayaking. There are also many historic architectural buildings and a phenomenal modern art museum. For those who enjoy peace, tranquillity, and reflection time, visiting the John Denver Sanctuary is an absolute prerequisite.

The John Denver Sanctuary

Situated next to the Rio Grande Park in the heart of Aspen, the John Denver Sanctuary is an ideal place to visit during late May or early June. This is when the gardens start blooming, and the sanctuary becomes a perfect venue for weddings. Tourist’s from around the globe flock to this retreat to remember the legendary singer and celebrates his impressive legacy.

The Song Garden is the main attraction, as it displays native river boulders (positioned in a circular formation) that are etched with lyrics from the some of John Denver’s most famous songs. Other highlights include man-made wetlands and relaxing streams. Certainly, this is a natural choice for those who enjoy meditation and lazy afternoon picnics.

5 of the Best Bars and Pubs in Aspen

Many, many years ago when I was only 19-years of age, I left home to earn my degree at Manchester University (England). At this time, the city was undeveloped and still had a plethora of abandoned buildings. However, during the mid to late 1980s, Manchester had one of the most exciting music scenes in the United Kingdom. Iconic bands like the Happy Monday’s, New Order, The Stone Roses, and the Smiths were regularly performing at the legendary Hacienda club. Certainly, this was a very enjoyable time in my life, although these days I desire something glitzier.

For anyone who has ever visited Aspen (either for skiing activities or a summer vacation) nightlife has to be an integral part of the holiday. This vibrant city offers privileged tourists the ultimate five-star experience. There is always the chance that you might run into a Hollywood movie star, as many own luxurious vacation homes in this region. Here are five of the most popular bars and pubs that are definitely worth frequenting.

Ajax Tavern

Situated at the base of Aspen Mountain, Ajax Tavern is the ultimate destination for glamorous occasions. With a spectacular outside terraced area overlooking the mountain, this is the ideal venue to sip cocktails and people watch. The establishment also serves a variety of gourmet food.

Hops Culture

For those who love the liquid amber nectar, Hops Culture is a natural choice. This exciting venue offers discerning clients an impressive variety of craft beers from around the world. In fact, for those who enjoy new stimulating experiences, they offer 30 draft beers and over 200 bottled beers.

Zane’s Tavern

Sometimes when you’re on vacation it is great to visit a bar to get a real local experience. Zane’s Tavern prides itself on offering the client a friendly and unpretentious atmosphere. At this bar, you can kick back, relax, and enjoy a pitcher of beer served with wings, burgers, or fish tacos at a reasonable price.

Element 47

Element 47 is situated in the heart of Aspen on Durant Avenue, within The Little Nell Hotel. This amazing bar/restaurant is renowned for its five-star fine wine/dining and relaxed atmosphere. Fortunately, there is no dress code and all food allergies are catered for.

Red Onion

If you like historic Landmarks, then Red Onion on East Cooper Avenue is an absolute must. This iconic Victorian establishment (1892) was built by Tom Latta in the height of the Silver Boom. Today, this saloon-style bar serves a variety of craft beers, pub food, and occasional live music performances.

An Art-Lover’s Guide to Aspen

Over the last few years, I have developed a solid reputation as a writer and a global author, and these days most people associate my name with this profession. Certainly, I am very privileged to have been afforded these amazing opportunities, and I really enjoy my job. However, my degree is in illustration, and I am absolutely fanatical about art. Recently, I have started painting again (after a long hiatus) and it has reignited my passion for art. That is why whenever I travel – either global or domestic – I make a b-line for the nearest gallery.

For an art-lover wanting a cultural experience, Aspen – a destination most known for its luxurious ski slopes and phenomenal nature settings – maybe wouldn’t be the first place that springs to mind. However, this vibrant city has an abundance of notable historic buildings along with a rapidly increasing art scene.

Additionally, due to the buoyant economy (mainly due to tourism) it has received a lot of media attention. This has attracted a large contingency of celebrities who have built the most amazing contemporary homes. There is also an installation titled, ‘Dancing Fountain’ that was created by Nick DeWolf and local sculptor Travis Fulton. Most impressively, this ski-vacation city also has an incredible museum designed by a world-class architect.

Nowadays, the architecture of a gallery is nearly as important as the artworks inside. Certainly, a perfect example of this is Aspen Art Museum, which relocated on August 9, 2014, to 637 East Hyman Avenue. The new building was conceived by acclaimed Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban, who was the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Prize for Architecture. This incredible modernistic structure has four-levels and an internal footprint of 33,000 square feet. In total, there are eight exhibition spaces, six gallery spaces, and a spectacular rooftop sculpture garden.

Even though Aspen Art Museum has some phenomenal architectural features, it also is a functional gallery attracting artists from around the globe. Certainly, this must be one of the most progressive art galleries I have ever encountered. If you like thought-provoking (potentially controversial) modern art, then there is a broad range of paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations to reflect on. The majority is non-conventional and therefore opinions will be divided. In addition to exhibitions, the museum has lecture’s and also runs various social initiatives.

Glenwood Springs

Until I reached the ripe old age of 45, most of life was spent residing in Northern cities in England. Certainly, this was a great experience as I enjoyed the vibrant nightlife of Manchester and all of its cultural amenities. However, as I spent my childhood living by the sea, there was always a sense of longing.

That is why I love South Australia, and in particular the beach life. I have always gravitated towards the water, and it is always a factor in the holiday I choose. For the aquatic-minded like myself, I highly recommend you visit the magnificent Glenwood Springs in Colorado that boasts the World’s Largest Hot Springs Pool.

Glenwood Springs

Like most people, I had heard of Glenwood Springs but didn’t know much about its heritage. Apparently, Ute Native Americans discovered these mineral-rich springs, which were later claimed by Walter Horace, James Devereux, and a group of British investors around 1880. In 1888, these entrepreneur’s harnessed 3.5 million gallons of naturally hot mineral water to create the World’s Largest Hot Springs Pool.

It is amazing to think that therapeutic spring waters crammed full of minerals have been bubbling under the Earth’s core for millions of years. The Ute Native Americans coined the phrase ‘Yampah’ which literally means “Big Medicine.” Nowadays, Glenwood Springs (located between Aspen and Vail) is a luxury resort that doesn’t even resemble its humble origins. This amazing sanctuary offers clients a variety of standard and premium rooms, and there is also the option to splurge on one of the resort’s opulent suites.

As I am writing this review I can still visualise the sensation of plunging in this mammoth Hot Springs Pool. The temperature is regulated at a pleasant 90°- 93° F for the main pool and 104° F in the smaller therapy pool. Just imagine soaking in those invigorating minerals that soothe muscle and joint pain…

Highlights of Aspen Architecture

In the next few months, my 6th book will be published and distributed worldwide. Interestingly, it is specifically about modern Australian architecture, and has a really insightful foreword by Professor Phil Harris. Ironically, I am English and my publisher is based in Pennsylvania. Therefore, it was very important to find credible local connections to give the project integrity. I apply the same dedication to articles published on my website or for other magazines. That is why I was excited when my editor suggested I write an article entitled ‘Architectural Highlights of Aspen.

Most people associate Aspen with winter activities like skiing and snowboarding. However, as I recently discovered, this amazing cosmopolitan city has an abundance of prime real estate. It also is a hot spot for contemporary architecture. Here are some highlights that are designed to make a really bold impression.

Paepcke Auditorium

The Paepcke Auditorium is a landmark property, which presently operates as Aspen Institute’s main building. This amazing structure was originally created by Herbert Bayer in 1962 and subsequently renovated in 2010. Impressively, the building features a 400-seat auditorium, library, gallery, and several offices.

Wheeler Opera House

Wheeler Opera House is an imposing stone building based on a design by legendary American architect, Willoughby J. Edbrooke from the 1890s. The property is a fusion of Romanesque Revival and Italianate architectural styles, which ultimately gained it recognition on the National Register of Historic Places. Primarily, it hosts prominent musical events, comedy, and local community group productions.

Aspen Art Museum

Aspen Art Museum is a gigantic 33,000-square-foot, a four-level facility located in the heart of Aspen, Colorado. This formidable modernistic structure is the brainchild of renowned Japanese architect, Shigeru Ban – the recipient of the 2014 Pritzker Prize for Architecture. The building comprises eight exhibition and six gallery spaces. Other highlights include a Moving Glass Room Elevator and stunning roof garden.

Lundy House

Lundy House pays tribute to the legendary Bauhaus architect Victor Lundy’s iconic West End home. Built around the original structure, the new residence is the epitome of style and panache. To describe this home as luxurious would be a massive understatement. With an internal footprint of approximately 10,099 total square feet, this residence is presented to the highest possible standard. Features include 6 substantial bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and immaculately manicured landscaped gardens.  

The History of Aspen, Colorado

A few days ago, I celebrated my seven-year anniversary as an Australia resident. The move from England was quite monumental, and the outcome could have been completely different. As a family, we have embraced the move and never regretted this life-changing decision. However, we do miss elements of the UK – in particular, being in proximity to Europe.

Countries like Spain, Italy, and Greece are steeped in history and offer some truly amazing architecture. This type of history and culture makes them very interesting places to visit on a regular basis. However, another location that has a very intriguing history is Aspen, Colorado.

Normally, people visiting Aspen are focused on skiing activities and the extravagant nightlife. As I have mentioned in previous articles, this beautiful city has a wealth of different activities throughout all of its seasons. It also has a very exciting history that dates far back to the 1880s, and in particular, the Colorado Silver Boom. Certainly, the origins of Aspen really illustrate why this resort is so popular with tourists today.

The History of Aspen

Aspen was originally a mining camp during the Colorado Silver Boom, and received its name due to the abundance of Aspen trees in the region. At this point in time, the city had the most profitable silver mine in the United States. Impressively, It also had banks, a hospital, a police department, two theatres, and an opera house – all of which were illuminated by electric lights.

After 1893, when the silver market collapsed, the population vastly decreased, and Aspen experienced quiet times. However, Aspen’s fortunes were revived when industrialist, Walter Paepcke bought several properties and developed Aspen Mountain as a ski resort.

Since the early 1950’s, Aspen has thrived beyond anyone’s expectations. The city rapidly gained recognition when it first hosted the prestigious FIS World Championships in 1950. Subsequently, the region became renowned as a high-end ski resort for celebrities and exponentially expanded thereafter.

In 1958, Buttermilk and Aspen Highlands opened with a third resort called Snowmass, which was developed in 1967. During the 1970’s legendary singer/writer Denver settled in Aspen and commemorated it by penning two songs. After his premature death in 1997, the city paid tribute to his talent by opening the John Denver Sanctuary in his name.

Your Guide to Visiting Maroon Bells

Prior to emigrating to Australia seven years ago, I was fortunate enough to live in a place called Buxton. This historic spa town is located in the picturesque Peak District and has the distinction of being the highest town in England. Therefore, as the name of the region might suggest, there are many challenging hiking trails. When I was younger, these activities didn’t appeal to me at all, as it involved a certain amount of exercise. However nowadays, I love connecting with nature and make it an integral part of my holidays. That is why places like ‘Maroon Bells’ in Aspen, Colorado are hugely appealing to me.

As I have recently discovered, Aspen is far, far more than just a glitzy ski resort. Certainly, this city has become synonymous for its luxurious winter offerings; however, if you are not a snow lover, this historic location has an abundance of other enticing attractions, making it a fantastic vacation destination during all times of the year.

Maroon Bells

One of the many highlights for hikers and non-skiers is Maroon Bells, which consists of two peaks called ‘Maroon Peak’ and ‘North Maroon Peak’ in the Elk Mountains. The distinctive maroon color of the peaks is a result of their mudstone composition (which has hardened to rock like substance over millions of years). With a summit of 14,163 feet (4317 metres), these impressive major peaks are listed as the 50th highest in North America.

In a previous article, I focused on some of the most photographed hot spots in Aspen. Unequivocally, ‘Maroon Bells’ is a tourist favorite, especially due to its close proximity to downtown Aspen (roughly 12 miles). In fact, approximately 300,000 people travel to this wonderful destination each season. The peaks have become so popular that a regular bus service is now operational from mid-June to October. Judging by some of the amazing Instagram images posted online, pre-dawn seems to be a crowd favorite.

At 9,580 feet (2,920 metres), tourists can enjoy the splendour of Maroon Lake. This is accessible via a scheduled bus service from Aspen Highlands every 20-minutes. Alternatively, for the more adventurous, there are a variety of hiking trails (long and short). The scenic area of ‘Maroon Bells’ is a great picnic area for families and attracts a lot of campers, who desire peace and tranquillity. Certainly, these majestic peaks are a must for discerning nature lovers, and those who are pursuing an unforgettable experience.

World’s Best Ski Destinations

In the spirit of disclosure, I have to admit that skiing has never really appealed to me. Maybe, I prefer warmer climes and that is why South Australia is where I choose to call home. However, I can certainly still appreciate a phenomenal ski destination, and the majority of my friends are passionate about this activity and plan at least one trip a year. Obviously, Europe has many exclusive resorts, but more adventurous vacationers will travel the globe to pursue this thrill seekers activity. To illustrate this point, here are some of the world’s best ski destinations.

Whistler Blackcomb

Whistler Village is a highly exclusive resort situated at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, located two hours from Vancouver. The resort is a vibrant hub of trendy cafés, bars, and restaurants. With 200 runs accessed by 37 lifts, the terrain is suitable for all skill levels. It is also open 12 months of the year, which makes it exceptionally popular with tourists.


Most people (including myself) would associate Switzerland with precision-made mechanical watches and delicious chocolate. However, this beautiful country also has some of the world’s most prestigious ski resorts. A great example is Zermatt, which is the highest winter sports area in the Alps. It also is scheduled to have the highest 3S cableway, which will carry a staggering 2,000 skiers (per hour) to the iconic Matterhorn Glacier.

Aspen Snowmass

Aspen Snowmass comprise four exclusive ski areas surrounding Aspen and Snowmass Village. This expansive terrain (Snowmass, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, and Buttermilk) spans over 5,500 acres, making a favourite with enthusiasts. Most of the runs are only suitable for intermediate and expert skiers as the declines are rated black or double-black.

Val d’Isere

As well as appealing to energetic thrill seekers, most ski resorts also have breathtaking views. A good example is Val d’Isere, which is situated in the picturesque Parc National de la Vanoise, Southern Eastern France. This amazing destination is a prerequisite for advanced skiers. Impressively Val d’Isere and Tignes offer some of the world’s most professional trainers and a dozen rigorous black runs.


Niseko is comprised of four interconnected ski resorts, which have an astonishing backdrop of Mt. Fuji. This highly exclusive resort is situated approximately 90 kilometres from Sapporo on Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido. Impressively, the terrain is suitable for all levels including beginners, intermediate, and advanced skiers. As well as exciting skiing and snowboarding activities, Niseko also offers travellers relaxing hot springs.

The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Aspen

The Best Places to Eat and Drink in Aspen

Everyone knows Aspen is one of the world’s most exclusive and desirable skiing destinations. Still, you’re probably not going to ski at night and you have to eat sometime. So, what do you do when you’re in the skiing capital of Colorado and you aren’t skiing?

Eating and drinking.

That begs the question: where are the best places to dine in Aspen?

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. I’m proud to present to you, in no particular order, the best places to eat and drink in Aspen.

EMP Winter House

At $135 a person, this isn’t the most cost effective dining option on the mountain. But you’re not exactly in Aspen to worry about money now, are you? Chef Daniel Humm, formerly of Eleven Madison Parks and NoMad, has taken up a “residency” (pop-up) within the St. Regis Chef’s Club and is serving up smart, decadent dishes with his usual attention to detail. Good food, good drinks, chalet vibes – what’s not to love?


Chances are, if you’re in Aspen you have probably heard of Nobu. What you probably didn’t know is that the LA-based sushi mecca also has a sister location in Aspen called Matsuhisa. Known for their epic Victorian era home they operate out of, there are food and drink options at a variety of price points. Check out the upstairs bar for casual drinks and eats.

Steak House No. 316

Don’t let the name fool you, this ski-chalet turned steak house serves up the best salad in town. That being said, if you turned up to Steak House No. 316, you’re probably not worried about the vegetarian options. Their steaks can come topped with everything from lobster to bone marrow butter, and their portions are generous to say the least.

Bad Harriet

“Craft cocktails and small plates are aptly titled after other strong women in history” – thus reads the official description of the speakeasy located at the bottom of the Aspen Times building. If you’re into exceptional spirits, this is a must-see. If we’re talking about the best places to drink in Aspen, Bad Harriet needs to be in the running.

Element 47

Winner of the Grand Award from Wine Spectator 20+ years running, this restaurant inside the Little Nell hotel is one of the most incredible restaurants in town. If you’re there with a large party, and are really nice, ask for a tour of their wine collection (which runs about 24,000 deep).

Bamboo Bear

Of all the places in the world to boast quality asian cuisine, finding superb Vietnamese food in a snow-capped resort town might most unlikely. Items of note? The Pork Bahn-Mi, the fried chicken, and the Beef Pho. As far as budget friendly contenders for the best places to eat in Aspen are concerned, this tops the list.

Top Things to Do During Your Aspen Vacation

Things to do in Aspen
Things to do in Aspen

Aspen vacation rentals are a great choice year round. If you are going to Aspen for your next vacation there are many activities you can enjoy. One of the most popular pastimes in Aspen is skiing. Snowmass is Aspen’s most popular and largest ski area. It is located approximately 8 miles west of the city. Snowmass is a great choice because it offers more than 3,100 acres of highly skiable terrain. This includes 17 chair lifts and, for those who enjoy diversity, 88 different runs. Continue reading Top Things to Do During Your Aspen Vacation


MyAspen’s guide to finding the ultimate summer getaway.

Aspen outdoor-patio-on-luxury-aspen-home-rental (1)
aspen summer home rental

Amazing scenery. Fresh air. Biking, fishing, hiking, golf, tennis, horse back riding, white water rafting, and lots more.  Aspen music festivals, Aspen Institute events.   And dinner parties  It’s all here in beautiful Aspen Colorado.  Come for the winters to ski but stay for the summers.  It’s definitely the best kept secret in Colorado.

Renting an Aspen  summer home has all the ingredients of a decent beach read, but when it comes to vacation homes, there’s a lot to consider: location, amenities, number of bedrooms, age, décor, price,  just to name a few. So how do you know you’re getting nice enough lodging at a great deal, with a little luxury?  Should you go direct to vacation rental sites like www.vrbo.com or use a broker where you’ll pay 50% more?

My Aspen Rental-Feel The Comfort Of Home While On Vacation With An Aspen Home Rental
My Aspen Rental play room

Luxury home rentals can be just as practical, if not more, as luxury hotels, and offer a better value overall” says JP Sullivan of Aspen Vacation Rentals Properties.  “Property management companies act like 24 hour concierges, ensuring every aspect of your stay is perfect, but you’ll pay considerably more in rental fees.”  That’s why in recent years folks are increasingly renting vacation homes direct from owner using sites like homeaway.com and vrbo.com ( vacation rentals by owner )

Whether you’re looking for an oceanfront home in Hawaii to host a family get-together or a private hideaway in the mountains for just the immediate family, there’s a lot to consider.

my aspen rental kitchen
kitchen view at myaspenrental.com

But how do you find that impeccably stylish vacation rental that will accommodate all your needs, and ensure a hassle-free vacation? Sorting through the thousands of potential properties can seem intimidating, but here are a few tips to help you find the perfect summer rental house property:

  1. Start Early: The best properties tend to rent much faster than others unless you get very lucky so start your search as soon as possible.  We suggest starting as early as winter to book a summer vacation rental.  This allows you all the best options in terms of availability and price.
  2. Location: Of course, do your homework.  After you decide where you want to go, then explore around online for the different locations as to that destination.  For example, In Aspen, there are a number of different neighborhoods from the West End, to Aspen Central core ( mostly condominiums ) to the East End, Aspen Highlands, to Snowmass.  And each one offers a slightly different appeal.
  3. Ask all the Right questions: From how many bedrooms and baths to does the price include cleaning.  Also be sure to ask what the weekly rental  rates are versus the daily.  Often times its less expensive to rent the whole week than just 4-5 days.  Do you have to do the dishes before you depart? Who supplies the toiletries? Are linens included? There are no questions off limits when you’re renting someone else’s home. Find out everything, from how you’ll get the keys to how many cars will fit in the garage. Ask about the damages policy as well as insurance coverage, and make sure you understand the cancellation policy, too.

vacation rentals pool table

“Luxury doesn’t always have to cost more,” says HomeAway.com Senior Vice President, Jon Gray. HomeAway.com recently launched their new luxury portal, Luxury Rentals by HomeAway.com.  Often times a private rental home direct from owner is less than the cost of a luxury hotel.  And you get an entire house with a living room, kitchen, yard, etc.   Many of our vacation rental listings are less than $500 per night.

Goggles - My Aspen Rental

How to gear up for a winter in Aspen

With the first official day of autumn upon us, it’s clearly time to start thinking about winter. When the snow starts to fall, people from far and wide travel to Aspen, Colorado for a winter getaway. For those of you who regularly hit the slopes, packing for your ski trip is a breeze- you may even have a bag already packed and ready to go. But for ski trip virgins, preparing for such a trip seems like a daunting task, which is exactly why we’ve compiled a list of helpful clothing tips that will make your life easier while keeping you warm on the slopes. We know what you may be thinking, but preparing for a ski trip doesn’t have to break the bank. We’ll tell you what is best to borrow and where it might be best to invest:

  1. Helmet: Safety is always first, and it’s no different while flying down mountains covered in snow. We suggest not buying a helmet if you’re not planning on becoming a frequent skier. New ones typically go for about $100, but high end helmets can leave you missing over $200. If you can borrow one that fits your head and is comfortable from a friend or family member, then great, but the most popular option is to rend from the resort or lodge for about $5 a day.
  2. Goggles: Have you heard of snow blindness? If not, it’s okay. Snow blindness occurs at high altitudes when UV rays are more intense and can reflect off of the white snow and straight into your eyes. This is why goggles are so important. Sunglasses can work to an extent, but goggles are more secure and offer more protection. If you can’t borrow a pair from someone, we suggest buying a pair for about $20 or $30.

    Goggles - My Aspen Rental
    Flickr: Heath Alseik
  3. Layers: When out in the snow, layers are key. Typically you want to have about three to four layers.
    1. Starting with the first layer, underwear, we suggest buying a ski specific pair from a sporting goods store since underwear may not be something you want to borrow.
    2. The base layer is extremely important. A clothing item made of wool works best- you might even already own something that would work.
    3. The mid layer comes next. We recommend a fleece jacket that zips so it can be easily removed if it gets too hot.
    4. The jacket is one of the most important components of your outfit, next to the pants. A waterproof jacket is a necessity, but make sure it is not too snug in order to allow room for your other layers. Borrowing or renting a jacket is ideal, since they can get rather expensive.

      Ski Jacket - My Aspen Rental
      Flickr: Impossible Imports
  4. Pants: Your pants will be coming in contact with the most snow, so a good pair is pertinent. Borrowing, renting, or finding a second hand store that has them for cheap is the best way to make sure you don’t break the bank. Brand new pants can cost a pretty penny. Make sure to wear pants that are made from a waterproof material.
  5. Gloves: Don’t underestimate the power of gloves. You want to avoid frostbite at all costs, especially on areas of your body that are prone to frostbite like your hands and fingers. Insulated gloves made of leather are a popular choice, but they can get pretty expensive so we recommend finding a less expensive pair for about $25.

    Ski Gloves - My Aspen Rental
    Flickr: Emi Yañez
  6. Socks: Like gloves, socks can be easily overlooked- but take care not too. Ski specific socks work best, but make sure that you find some that fit well because no one wants to be constantly pulling up their socks. Be sure not to buy wool socks, they’ll get wet and stay wet.
  7. Boots: The wrong pair of boots can make or break your skiing experience, so we suggest renting a pair from the resort or lodge. The professionals there will be able to best help you find the appropriate boots.

Hitting the slopes is an amazing experience, and we want you to call My Aspen Rental home when you visit Aspen, Colorado.

Maroon Bells - My Aspen Rental

Top 10 Places to See Fall Foliage

We’re counting down the days until the official start of Autumn- 8 days to be exact! Fall is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful times of year. The colors are changing, the air is crisp, and apples are finally in season- and you don’t have to go far to see spectacular fall colors up close and personal. Here are the 10 best places to see fall foliage in the United States:

  1. The Catskills, New York. Located in southeastern New York, the area consists of six major river systems and 35 mountain peaks, all taller than 3,500 feet. The Catskills are home to the town of Woodstock, which hosted the iconic Woodstock music festival in 1969. With densely forested hills, fall colors are vibrant and abundant. The foliage is at its peak coloring from late September to mid October.
  2. Aspen, Colorado. Named after a tree known for its rich fall coloring, Aspen, Colorado is the premier destination for those wanting to get a good look at some beautiful fall sights. From mid September through the first week of October, the foliage is stunning all around the Maroon bells area. The deep gold and red hues of the Aspen trees contrast perfectly with the evergreens and breathtaking mountain peaks. After spending the day in the crisp Autumn air, My Aspen Rental wants to keep you warm and comfortable at night.

    Maroon Bells - My Aspen Rental
    Flickr: Greg Willis
  3. Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. Located in the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia River Gorge is home to a variety of different trees. The maples, cottonwoods, and Oregon ash trees all turn vivid reds and oranges. Take in the sights on a scenic drive, while hiking or biking on the trails, or while rafting down the river. The best time to view the fall foliage and the 208 ft. Wah Gwin Gwin waterfall is between mid September and mid October.
  4. Great Smoky Mountains, North Carolina and Tennessee. As one of the most visited national parks in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains is host to over 100 different native trees, including scarlet oaks, hickories, and sweetgums. The trees turn an array of golds, scarlets, purples, and oranges from early October to early November.

    Great Smokey Mountains - My Aspen Rental
    Flickr: Phil Varney
  5. The Berkshires, Massachusetts. The Berkshires are a highland geological region that is a part of a mountain range in Massachusetts. It features narrow, winding roads that offer up close and personal views of changing leaves. When taking a break from the magnificent colors, The Berkshires have a plethora of art galleries and antique shops. The best time for fall foliage is between late September and mid/late October.
  6. Green Mountain Byway, Vermont. Color-changing trees line this eleven mile route that cuts across the state of Vermont. The beautiful drive connects Waterbury- which is the home of Ben & Jerry’s- to the famous ski resort Stowe. Rich golds and crimsons can be seen throughout the entire eleven miles, stunning drivers and passengers alike. The leaves begin to change the second week of September, but peaks during the first week of October.
  7. Upper Peninsula, Michigan. With over four million acres, the Michigan state forest system is home to more than twenty forested state parks on the Upper Peninsula. Located between three Great Lakes, the azure water is a picture-perfect contrast to the warm-toned and vibrant leaves.
  8. Glacier National Park, Montana. If you like to be alone with the great outdoors, then Glacier National Park in the fall is the place for you. By the end of September all of the park’s concessions have closed and most of the guests have left. This leaves just you and the abundance of larch trees, whose needles turn a bright gold. Set against the peaks of the Continental Divide, the colors are picturesque.

    Glacier National Park - My Aspen Rental
    Flickr: GlacierNPS
  9. Lake of The Ozarks, Missouri. While the Lake of The Ozarks is a popular summer getaway, the surrounding forest turns into beautiful shades of scarlet, gold, crimson, and orange in the fall. Popular ways of viewing the fall foliage include hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding. If you want to spend a little bit more money, you can take in the sights on a yacht or while sipping wine at one of the nearby wineries.
  10. Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway, New Mexico. While most people would not think of New Mexico when thinking of fall colors, the Enchanted Circle Scenic Byway is an 83 mile loop that is riddled with Aspen trees. When their leaves change in late September or early October, the Byway sees an array of vibrant reds and oranges. The loop circles Wheeler Peak, the highest peak in New Mexico.
Mountain Biking - My Aspen Rental

It’s Not Too Late for More Summer Fun

We love Aspen in the fall, and are very excited for the approaching season, but it is not too late to squeeze in another quick last-minute summer vacation. While the start of September usually connotes changing colors, crisp weather, and chunky sweaters, summer doesn’t officially end until Wednesday, September 21st, 2016. So make the best of it and visit Aspen for 75 degree weather and a final summer vacation!

While the summer activites on Aspen mountain have come to a close in preparation for the winter season, there is still a multitude of other summer activities still being offered:

Mountain Biking - My Aspen Rental
Mountain Biking at Snowmass Flickr: Aspen Snowmass

  1. Biking: One of the most popular summer activities for outdoorsmen and thrill seekers alike, ground and mountain biking tours are offered through October. If you’re looking for a more independent experience, there are trails throughout the Maroon Bells area that are available exclusively to bikers.
  2. Hot Air Balloon Rides: Enjoy the beautiful morning air while looking at breathtaking views. Hot Air Balloons take flight at sunrise and provide you with an opportunity to see Aspen and the surrounding mountains like you’ve never experienced them before. If the unbelieveable vantage point isn’t enough to sell you, then stay for the delicious provided brunch and souvenir.

    Hot Air Balloon - My Aspen Rental
    Flickr: ricketyus
  3. Whitewater Rafting: If you’re looking to cool off, get wet on a whitewater rafting trip. With beginner, intermediate, and advanced trips, whitewater rafting is great for families, friends, or individuals. The trips can span from 4 hours to full day excursions and are offered through October.
  4. Sunset Dinner Tours: Looking for scenic views and a delicious meal? The Sunset Dinner Tour has both! Take a four-wheel drive tour to a secluded and beautiful location, followed by a traditional country meal served by a cozy campfire. You can’t go wrong with an evening under the stars.
  5. Fly Fishing: Unwind on the lake or in the rivers while fishing for trout. With expert guides helping you along the way, you’ll learn a multitude of angling tips and tricks. There a half and full day trips available with lunch provided.

    FryingPan River - My Aspen Rental
    FryingPan River Flickr: Curt Smith

The fun never ends in Aspen, but the seasons do! If you’re looking for a final summer trip, stay with My Aspen Rental for a great time.