Saturday, September 10, 2011


Dan and I at the Sundeck of Aspen - or Ajax -
Mountain, 11,212 feet high

Just after I graduated from college, I made my first trip to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This past week - FORTY YEARS LATER - I went back. It was good to be on a Rocky Mountain High again.
I won't bore you with a travelogue, per se. I'll just give a few impressions of my trip.

Boulder and Aspen are both such dog-friendly towns. I saw more dogs - and more different breeds -  in a few short days than I do in a year in Bismarck. I'm not exaggerating. Dogs are everywhere - on the plazas, in outdoor restaurants, even welcome on the gondola going up Aspen Mountain. To name just a few, I saw cocker spaniels, an Airedale, a papillon, a drooling Labrador with a bib, Maltese, a bichon frise, an Irish Wolfhound, a Gordon setter, many black labs and even more golden retrievers. Plus, a lone German short hair pointer, which made me lonely for Gracie, stuck back home in a kennel.

Taking the gondola ride up Aspen Mountain was one of the highlights of our trip, which was a mini-family reunion for the Fredericksen boys of Williston, ND. (I say mini-reunion because one brother didn't bother to come, and there were no kids or grandkids, just the "boys" and their wives.

From the top of the mountain, you can see the Continental Divide, the Elk Mountain range of the Rockies and a glimpse of the famous Maroon Bells. Called "fourteeners", each of the Maroon Bells is over 14,000 feet high.

The Maroon bells are the farthest-back, deep
blue mountains just to the left of Dan's cap

Boulder and Aspen are both Colorado mountain cities, but they are so different. Boulder is a funky college-town, full of youthful students, runners and bikers, old hippies and tree huggers of all ages. Aspen is a town for old money, new money and newer celebrities. Instead of New Age shops, there are expensive art galleries and very high end stores like Prada.

Since my Achilles tendinitis was really bothering me, I knew I couldn't do much shopping in Boulder, but I had hoped to check out some shops that I had Googled. I only made it into two. But I did find some lovely garden ornaments at one, West End Gardener.

Pearl Street, Boulder, CO

I had much the same problem in Aspen, compounded by trying to keep up with Dana and Bonny, my two fitter sisters-in-law, and the high altitude which made me huff and puff even more than usual.

We enjoyed an outdoor dinner one evening at the
lovely Italian restaurant, Campo Di Fiori, in Aspen

I knew most Aspen shops would be off limits budget-wise. The shops there are so expensive that you don't even dare venture inside. However, Dana brought us to a place she knew I would love, the very charming Explore Booksellers, shown below.

Explore Booksellers

The newly-restored Victorian splendor
of The Hotel Jerome in Aspen

I was to find another great shop, however. After we had lunch in the outdoor restaurant at the resplendent Hotel Jerome, we walked across the street to find the little "Old Hippie Antique Shop" in a bright yellow clapboard house with dark green trim. There, I found a gorgeous, tall (and heavy) blue and white Italian vase for a great bargain. Bonny and Dana were gracious enough to carry it back to the van for me!

The six of us stayed at The Timbers Club at
Snowmass Village, just a few miles from Aspen

The Gathering Room at The Timbers

The night before Dan and I left (we had to leave earlier than the others), we all did get to have a down home, meat and potatoes dinner: steaks brought from ND by Dan and me, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, toasted bread and salad. And afterward, the six of us hunkered down before the fireplace to listen to the "boys" - Dickie, Danny and Scotty - reminisce about their grandparents' homestead,  their boyhood days, their parents and other beloved relatives. It was a great ending to a great trip.

In front of the fireplace
at The Timbers Club


Kath said...

That looks like the most perfect holiday, blue skies, stunning views, welcoming interiors and the company of your best darling.

Robin Larkspur said...

What a wonderful trip for you and your husband! So beautiful, those mountains. Let the rich have their snooty shops; a book store and a nice antique shop with bargain prices, those are the true good shopping!!! Your hotel looks amazing and the dinner you shared sounds scrumptious!! What great memories!

Odette Bautista Mikolai said...

that was breathtaking - literally and figuratively coz you were huffing and puffing upon reaching the mountain top. but i bet you have enjoyed the trip... would there be a 3rd trip in the future?

Leanne said...

glad you had a good holiday julie, you deserved it! those mountains are breath taking, I am with Robin, posh shops dont appeal but a bookshop... yes!! your last meal, with family and memories, sopunds fab!

Leanne x

Pondside said...

I don't know how I stumbled on your blog, but I was intrigued by your profile and then drawn to your post. I'm glad I found it! What a wonderful trip that must have been.

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

Oh it sounds just fabulous - and how great that you got to listen to memories - those should be written down for grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Your photos are fabulous.

Shopgirl said...

I hope you had a wonderful time, it sounds and looks like you did. I love the pictures...You are a very sweet couple. Hugs, mary

Lila Rostenberg said...

A beautiful place in the summmer, the Rockies!
It sounds like almost every moment was a good memory!
We visited out there in July and loved it! A great escape!
I think I would have enjoyed browsing those shops with you...not the posh but the interesting ones!