As in most years, Ruth & I spent a week in Aspen in summer, 2016. We found many changes. I finally divided them into categories–gone, new, moved, redone, and the same.
The biggest “gone” was Little Annie’s Eating House. It closed forever on April 17 after 43 years in business. We found this mostly sad. Unlike many other Aspen restaurants, Annie was opened all day and reliable. When we first ate there, we loved it because it was inexpensive and very casual. It was one of those places that probably looked on its last day as it did on its first. The menu was probably also the same on the 1st and last days. Still, we miss it, as does the community. The Meatball Shack also closed. We found no one who regretted this.
Bosq, a restaurant, is new in Aspen. It’s in the space vacated by the Meatball Shack. We ate there and liked it, but it’s not getting universal praise. There have been calls again for low-cost housing in town instead of down-valley. Whether this will happen is yet to be approved. The Audi FIS Alpine World Cup Finals will be in Aspen in March, 2017. This has been a European ski event since 1997. The International Ski Federation has OKed this for March 15-19.
Some local institutions have moved. The Aspen Times, this community’s free daily newspaper and voice, is now down the street from the Opera House instead of on Main. A spa seems to be in its old location. JAS ASPEN apparently isn’t at the Little Nell anymore. It’s now JAS CAFE and traveling. Downtown city services and the police have also been relocated.
A lot has been redone. The Pitkin County Library had a $15 million renovation. The stacks are now lower, there’s much more interior light, and there’s more of a family focus than before. The visitor center in the Opera House has been stream-lined. The Sky Hotel is getting a makeover. But the biggest and best redo is transformed Clark’s Market.
The same in Aspen are Explore Books, Jimmy’s, Belly Up, Carl’s Pharmacy, and attitude. House prices still basically range from 3 to 15 million. I read an article reporting a 13% surge in June’s retail sales with construction leading the growth.
These are just the major changes. There are others. Ruth & I heard violinist David Halen advise young musicians, “Let momentum carry you!” The same can be said for Aspenites.