September is an absolutely stunning time to be in Colorado. The Aspen trees turn gold and shimmer. When the sun shines and a slight breezes hits the trees, arranged in and around the rich green evergreen trees and red rocks of the mountains, it is breathtaking.
Recently I visited Basalt, a sleepy little town, not too far from Aspen. In fact, it owes its current popularity to its proximity to the fancy ski town. As Aspen attracted folks with really deep pockets, got more high end, expensive and celebrity laden, the down to earth folks fled to this former railroad town, just down the road.
I’ve heard it said that “Basalt is half the price and no attitude.”
What I liked is that there were no national hotsy totsy retailers like Gucci and Dior and other high rent shops on the short main street. It’s the kind of place where you find a sign on the door of some quirky little shop filled with inexpensive jewelry, paper goods and trinkets that says, “Back in five minutes.”
The owner had gone to the post office or to get a cup of coffee.
Yes, there are a couple higher end galleries, a space for really good artists to show and sell their work in Basalt. And a couple of spots to eat. My favorite store typifies the spirit of the town—Bristlecone—a large retailer selling all kinds of clothes and shoes and gear for the many outdoor activities in the area—hiking, biking, skiing, rafting and so on.
The locals thinking nothing of hopping on a bike and zipping along the beautiful bike trails 8 to 10 miles to meet up for breakfast. The people in Basalt look healthy and they are. Colorado has been rated the healthiest state in the country. It shows.
Visually what I liked were the old mining and cowboy buildings with extensive use of huge rocks and log. Even the more contemporary style homes use these materials to warm up a starkness of a minimal aesthetic.
Makes me want to buy a pair of cowboy boots, a wide belt with a great silver buckle and stay a while.