Around The Hoop

Five ways to unwind

By Troy Hooper
Real AspenJuly 7, 2011

It’s that time of year in Aspen where our heads are spinning.

There are so many parties, so many festivals and so much going on that it can get overwhelming. Here is a short list of activities to rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit for the second half of summer.

Hurst Theatre at Rio Grande Park.

1. Theatre in the park: The beloved musical “Annie” debuts Thursday, July 7, and runs through August 20 in Hurst Theater at Rio Grande Park. Cocktails are available during intermission and before and after shows. The stage is literally just steps away from the serenity of the Roaring Fork River.

2. Hike to Crater Lake: This trail is only 1.8 miles each way and climbs fewer than 500 feet in elevation, but it boasts plenty of dramatic views. It begins at Maroon Lake and snakes through stands of aspen, fir and spruce in the Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness en route to the sparklingly Crater Lake.

3. Check out live painting: This is the second year of Aspen Plein Air, which brings some of the nation’s top outdoor painters to town. This festival runs all week, but the highlight is a 90-minute painting competition on the Mill Street Mall that will go down Friday, June 8. Watch as these artists compete against each other for a cash prize — and consider purchasing one of the paintings for your home. Feel free to talk to the artists about commissioned pieces if there is a particular scene in the area you would like immortalized.

4. Explore the past: The Aspen Historical Society offers an array of specialty tours. Learn how Aspen transformed from a mining town into a world-class winter and summer resort while riding in an electric vehicle. Or do it on foot. Something in between? No problem. Bike tours are also available.

5. Get out of town: Leave the hustle and bustle of Aspen at the roundabout and drive 25 minutes down Highway 82 to the quaint town of Basalt. Food and drinks at the Riverside Grill is a peaceful and fun way to spend a sunny afternoon. This small town is full of wonderful boutiques and restaurants.

Feel refreshed? Good. Because there’s a marathon to run on Saturday and a Ted Nuget show Monday.

Good luck!

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