Day 4 (October 18, 2020 – Aspen, Colorado): “Marble Theme”
It was about 7:25am when we awoke to the daylight. Neither of us had an alarm to wake us up.
So we took our time having breakfast while I also wrapped up on my blogging from the very busy day yesterday.
Indeed, it wasn’t until about 9:25am when we finally left our condo and started heading out just as Aspen was starting to become active with traffic (both vehicular and foot).
As we drove out of Aspen, we noticed that the city actually had pretty good Fall colors, but when we looked towards the mountains and higher elevations, then the trees were bare. So that didn’t bode well for our visit to the Maroon Bells, which was booked for tomorrow morning just before we should be heading towards Las Vegas and Los Angeles to end the trip.
So the plan for today was to drive back towards Marble. Julie apparently checked out TripAdvisor and wanted to see the history there regarding the namesake marble.
The drive wasn’t trivial as it wasn’t until about 10:40am when we finally got to the Marble Historic Site. Along the way, we got a decent look at some Fall colors flanking the Hwy 133. But then when we got into the small hamlet of Marble, most of the trees looked like they had lost their leaves.
Anyways, we then walked around the Marble Historic Site, which featured quite a few marble slabs, tables, pillars, and even some buildings with marble facades.
We stuck around long enough for some people shots and examining some of the marble slabs more closely. Julie seemed more into this visit while I was kind of along for the ride.
I guess with our waterfall-centric and hiking/driving heavy excursions to this point, today was reverting back to the more subtle and non-nature excursions that were more TripAdvisor-influenced.
In one instance while we were at the Marble Historic Site, there was one lady who offered to take a picture for us while we were busy taking selfies. However, we politely declined given the COVID-19 concerns.
Anyways, we were done with our visit maybe roughly a half-hour later, and then we went to the Marble Gallery, where Julie picked up a gift that was made of marble. The shop had some interesting marble sculptures outdoors, but it was a pretty short visit.
Upon overhearing the proprietor talking about some things to see as well as the BBQ place in town, we decided right then and there to have a lunch in town instead of rushing back to Aspen for it.
So by about 11:45am, we stopped in front of the Groovin’ BBQ in town but they weren’t open until 12pm. So Julie waited first in line after figuring out what she wanted from here. In the mean time, I walked towards the town church and took some photos before walking back to the front of the line.
By about 12pm right when they opened, we made our order and then we sat in one of the outdoor tables. We ended up picking up a half-pound of brisket, a half-pound of pulled pork, some twisted potatoes (basically potato chips), and kale salad.
It was a good thing that they let us only order a half-pound even though the menu items had prices written in full pounds. So we wound up with a pretty full meal, and we left the place stuffed at around 12:50pm.
That pretty much concluded our visit to Marble as we then drove back towards the Hwy 133. Then, by about 1:10pm, we finally stopped for the Redstone Coke Ovens, which was those beehive kilns that we always kept passing by but never stopped for.
It was a brief visit where we checked out a closer look at the coke ovens, which were there to burn coal or something to make some kind of pure carbon or “coke”, which ultimately got shipped to some steel factory in Pueblo, Colorado.
I also crossed the busy Hwy 133 to go onto the bridge leading to the hamlet of Redstone, which offered more photogenic opportunities though the Fall colors were somewhat muted considering we were here maybe two weeks after the peak.
After our brief visit, we then returned to the car by about 1:25pm and proceeded to drive all the way back to Aspen. By 2:25pm, we made it back to the Chateau Eau Claire where we then chilled out in the room to unwind from the day. Julie wanted to have a bit of a siesta at this time.
By about 3:55pm, we then walked into town both to explore the walkable parts of the city as well as to check out some French Restaurant that Julie read about during our down time. So as we walked around and looked at some of the Fall colors in town during our walk, we did notice how masks were mandatory both indoors and outdoors in the main part of town.
The requiring of masks outdoors was unusual, but it seemed like Aspen was really trying to maintain a safe visiting environment.
Anyways, we eventually got to this place called the French Alpine Bistro at 4:20pm.
They did have outdoor seating, but because we didn’t have reservations, they sat us in some lounge chairs pretty much against a lot of foot traffic going by. I don’t know if that was COVID-19 safe (both for us as well as for the people walking past), but at least it was outdoors.
We wound up ordering some apple ciders that weren’t on the menu as well as having a terrine de foie gras (pretty much like a pate) as well as some escargot in some kind of orange sauce, which was totally unexpected.
For the mains, we got a Colorado rack of lamb, which was juicy and good. Julie got a classic galette (buckwheat crepe) filled with ham and topped with an egg. She couldn’t finish her food so we had to take it away on a to go box.
The dinner ended up being over $160 so it was yet another splurge, but this place was a bit disappointing as it was nowhere near as good as what we came to expect from places expecting to be French. I guess maybe we’re a pickier with age, especially after having had good French stuff in the past and after Julie has done a lot of cooking herself.
By about 5:30pm, we left the bistro (just as it was getting much colder as the sun hid behind the mountains towering over the town to the south). Then, we did a little more walking around just to check out the rest of the walkable parts of town.
Along the way, we ended up spending some more money at the Paradise Bakery, where we got some gluten-free chocolate chip cookies as well as some Black Diamond cookies and cream gelato.
The ice cream was ok, but Julie really loved the chocolate chip cookies. However, she doubted that they were actually gluten-free. So we’ll see if the would pay for it later on tonight.
Eventually by 6:30pm, we made it back to our room at the Chateau Eau Claire. This pretty much ended our light day of touring, and we ended up spending the rest of the evening unwinding from today and probably getting drowsy from our gluttony since we ate out for both lunch and dinner. Prior to today, we had gotten by skipping lunch for each of the last two days and having self-cooked dinners except for our splurge dinner in Crested Butte.
Tomorrow, we’ll exercise our parking permits to see the Maroon Bells after checking out of the Chateau Eau Claire. We did notice that we had the parking permit at the Nordic Inn from Crested Butte, so we’ll have to call them and snail mail it back to them though I wondered if they charged us already.