Aspen: A Rainy Day Recap

It’s raining outside today which is a good thing because I feel relieved of my obligation as a new local to ski. Not that I don’t want to ski (tomorrow, I swear), I’m just tired.

The last four days have had me on a roll being new to town and all.

On Wednesday, after running lots of errands and getting sticker shock when I learned that an oil change in the valley is three times as much as I’m used to paying (a whopping $53), I moseyed on down to the tried and true BB (Bistro Basalt) to have ONE glass of wine and hear the infamous Wednesday night band. After all, I’d spent a wonderful evening in town the night before, dining at Matsuhisha of Aspen and meeting lots of interesting new people, including a fabulous and kind movie industry exec (at age 28). Born in Venezuela with time spent in Germany and NYC after college, Kira now splits her time between Miami and LA when not “on set” with the likes of Robert DeNiro, although she’s considering a re-lo to Aspen.

While at BB, I got to meet another one of “my” downstairs bartenders, Brad. Although I’d forgotten that he was the one who kindly welcomed me to my new home when he handed over my key, he remembered me…another endearing characteristic of living in a small mountain town. It’s nice to be recognized by new friends, even if I’ve only been here a week. I wonder if that feeling will change over time. At any rate, come to find out, Brad’s main gig is lead singer of a band called “Soul Feel” which was ranked as one of the best in the Valley for the last two years. I vowed, although I broke that promise, to attend his show last night at Stubbles about two blocks away. During this Wednesday night evening though, I did get to hear some great music.

One glass of wine turned into three after the two man band started to play. I’d forgotten how great the music is here. When the backup singer for Hall and Oates belted out a funky version of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On,” I was hooked. I met up with Joe’s two friends. One of his friends works only three months a year because he makes a killing as a Halloween Store Owner in Salt Lake City. Yes, Mormons dig Halloween. Joe’s other friend trades IPO’s in Denver. Both were incredibly nice, but I’ve already forgotten their names. I’m meeting so many new people, it’s hard to keep them all straight (although I have to admit, I’m cheating now by blackberrying my friends’ names, alongside the joint where we met, so I’ll remember them.) Genius!

The good news about going out in Aspen is that the town really does shut down around 11:00 to midnight, so you still manage to get in a good night’s sleep, thank Heavens.  I certainly can’t keep up this pace, but I’m an adrenaline junkie for now since I’m a newbie who’s excited to explore.

Thursday, I made it into town to get my haircut and dyed. In true Aspen fashion, which makes me laugh now thinking about it, I managed to get my hair dyed, but need to come back next Thursday for the cut. Time ran out, and being laid back and all, it seemed like no big deal to only receive half of my services. Plus, Claudia is my friend, so she’s dedicated to giving me a great cut before we hit happy hour next Thursday.

Britt called and wanted to meet up after my do was done, so we did. First, we met at Bentley’s, a true local hangout where Darcy, the friendly bartender works. I met someone named Mick who works in the Sheriff’s department (good to know.) Then we went to Bruenelleschi’s, an old-time favorite local hangout still here; it’s one of the few that has survived since the 80s. 

I ran into Doug Pearson, an old friend from my last stint in Aspen, and we agreed that what happened in the 80’s, stays in the 80’s. Actually, after sharing more stories about what we’ve been up to, we agreed that what happened in the 20th century, stays in the 20th century! He mentioned something about the wild times we had at his house parties, but honestly, I don’t remember ever being at his house?

I also met a guy named Donner who’s a construction foreman, but I’m not sure if we’ll be friends. He didn’t like my comment about having a brother named Dasher. Oh well, some jokes flop. Gil and his expecting wife, are true Aspenites, and I visited with another new friend from Tennessee: “Nash-Phil-le” (he used to work at Bruno’s until he broke his arm three weeks ago when a skier ran into him).  I thought this would be our last stop, but Britt suggested one more: Takah Sushi.

I love Takah. I used to go there every Sunday night with the gang in my early 20’s. It’s still a fun place to go, but it has certainly lost some of its ambience when it moved to its new spot. At any rate, after eating a few scrumptious sushi dishes (yellowtail was just delish!), meeting many more friends (can’t wait to hang with Mark on Highland’s last day celebration), consuming a bit of saki courtesy of Will (a New Jersey transplant who’s big-time into bike racing when not bartending), and engaging in dynamic conversation with a local newspaper editor Carolyn (sorry, it was late…I neglected to blackberry her last name) regarding the book “The Secret,” and learning that The Secret panel will be making an appearance soon in Aspen (something I anxiously await), I called it a night.

Thursday was a whirlwind afternoon happy hour ~ turned evening adventure ~ but that is what Aspen is all about. No worries all the time. It’s nice for a change (at least for one night).

Friday night, after a productive day at work which was admittedly long overdue, Claudia stopped by to see my new pad and then we decided to go to Phat Thai for dinner. I have to say, it was some of the most amazing Thai food I have ever experienced, even beating out Sawatdee in MPLS. The pumpkin/curry soup and curry shrimp entrée were to die for. We sat at a communal table where we met three more new friends: Ryan, Joe, and Jim – all three do custom electronic installations in those million dollar homes (also good to know, since I’m now dreamin’ bigger). All three were cute, nice, and funny, and I can’t wait to see them again soon.

After dinner we walked two blocks to a dive bar where another great band was cranking and a sign hung over the bar which read “CAUTION: Our waitresses can go from zero to Bitch in 4.1 seconds.” Classic.  We danced a bit with a 25 year old, model-looking cutie from Ohio who kindly paid our cover charge after walking with us those two blocks. I don’t remember when he joined us on the hike, but then again, people always just seem to be popping up here and there, here.

After a twirl or two, he whispered in my ear “Do you like pharmaceutical speed?”

Being the old fogey that I am, I replied “huh?” while simultaneously he slipped a pill in my hand, and then I got it. Some things never change in Aspen.

But then again, some things do. I threw the pill out the window on the way home. I’m too old, my friend. I’m delighted to say that sleep will always win over speed at this point in my life.

Today, I’ve been watching the clouds move over the mountains, lounging in my nightgown, drinking lots of water and just chillax-in’. Since I’m on my fifth HGTV show in a row, I think I may just motivate and walk across the street to the Town Center Bookstore (my favorite book store in America), plop myself down in a leather chair and read some books by the roaring fire.

I love this town.


About Constance Hammond

A fun-loving, hard-working bootstrapper...with guts.
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