Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Aspen’

My Gypsy Christmas Tree

Gypsy Christmas Tree

My Gypsy Christmas Tree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,

Thy leaves are so unchanging.

Alien from Roswell, NM helps bear trim the tree.

Alien from Roswell helps bear trim the tree.

My favorite Christmas decoration is the Christmas Tree. Each ornament brings back special memories made over the years.

As a child, my memories of Christmas always centered around a pine tree. Under the tree, wrapped packages magically appeared each Christmas morning. One of the first presents I remember was a chalkboard with the alphabet written around the edge – just in time for first grade. My parents obviously encouraged my writing at a very early age.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ride the ski lift at Aspen, CO.

Santa and Mrs. Claus ride the ski lift at Aspen, CO.

Those were the days when dad would take me in his pick-up truck down Hopewell Hill to a hillside of trees where we would pick out the very best one. Dad would saw it down, carry it down the hill, and place it in the back of the pick-up.  All the way home my eyes would be out the back window, making certain that tree remained on board.

Although mom wasn’t a big fan of decorating, she would put on the lights, then let me decorate the part of the tree that I could reach. Perhaps you can see why the Christmas tree became an important, fun part of the holiday.

A bear from Canaan Valley is my newest ornament.

A bear from Canaan Valley is my newest ornament.

Over the years, ornaments have been accumulated from various places. Once I began my Gypsy Road Trips, when I came upon a spot I truly enjoyed, my search for an ornament began.

Now my Christmas tree looks like a Gypsy Tree with ornaments from all over the United States. No pattern or special design adorns this tree, just pleasant memories. Sometimes it takes a week to decorate as each ornament brings back happy times spent on the road. Oh, there are still a few from long ago and even some received from students in my classes, but most of them are travel treasures.

Bear ice skates on Prince Edward Island.

Bear ice skates on Prince Edward Island.

As you can probably tell, bears have a special place in my heart and they are seen in many of the ornaments hanging on my tree. There are definitely too many to share at one time, so perhaps next year you will be treated to more of the special memories hanging on my Gypsy Christmas Tree.

Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends. May you find peace and happiness under your Christmas tree.

As Santa would say as he drove out of sight,  Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

My Gypsy Tree lights up the evening.

My Gypsy Christmas Tree lights up the evening.

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Snow on Aspen Mountain Creates Colorado Rocky Mountain High

ColoradoA “Colorado Rocky Mountain High” surrounds you while driving through spectacular mountains, which  open to the valley where ski resort town, Aspen, is located.  This town was first built during the late 1880”s on one of the richest silver lodes in the Rockies.  Aspen was the leading silver producer in the nation in 1891 accounting for a sixth of the silver output in the United States.  However, their boom was sort lived because in 1893, the US government returned to the gold standard, pulling the plug on the basis for their silver production.

Developing ski slopes seemed a natural, next step in this fantastic mountain region. That first ski lift acquired the name of “Boat Tow”. This very primitive lift, which was constructed partially from old silver mine parts, contained an old motor, two mini hoists, and two 10-person sleds. But that was then, and this is now!

Silver Queen GondolaToday this Rocky Mountain playground of the rich and famous is one of the world’s top ski resorts.  The mountainside aspen forests, which gave the town its name, still grow in abundance. Tourism is now where its treasure can be found. The Silver Queen Gondola gives an all-day ticket for skiers, as well as onlookers, to the top of Aspen Mountain and back down. Ski lifts being my idea of fun, several trips were made during the day.

Beginning SkiersThe ride to the top of 11,212′, about two and a half miles by ski lift, took about fifteen, breathtaking minutes. The gondola held quite a crowd and of course, many were carrying their ski gear along as well. They seemed to frown upon those going along just for the ride, so tried to stay back in a corner out of their way.

Somewhere on this mountainside a shrine has been built to John Denver, composer of “Rocky Mountain High”, which is now one of the two state songs of Colorado. Aspen was one of his favorite places to ski so it seemed natural to gather a collection of photos, posters, records and even wind chimes here on the mountainside at an undisclosed location, known and discovered by only a few.

At the top was a beautiful lodge, Sundeck, with a grand fireplace where you could sit with a cup of hot chocolate and watch the snow fly by the floor-to-ceiling windows.  Watching the skiers go down the trails through glades, bumps and steeps was great fun as well.  These trails were actually named according to their difficulty, for example, starting with the most difficult to the easiest: Sunset, Pussyfoot, One Leaf, and Slow.

Skiing through the snowflakesAt the top, snow started coming down heavily so headed back down one last time before finding a place to stay for the night. Had plans on going on east that evening, but the road had been snowed in for two months so had to backtrack just a bit.  The interstate was getting snow-covered also and the lighted sign across the road said, “Chains required 10 miles ahead.”  This was one of those nights when any motel looked like a great place to stop…no matter the price!

This snowy journey continued the following day as the interstate still called for chains. So I took a quiet, slow, snow-covered back road through the mountains. It was called “Top of the Rockies” at about 10,000′ with the peaks being about 14,000′.  Arrived the next day at the  slopes at Vail Ski Resort, which had 28″ of snow on the ground.  At Vail can be found another paradise for those who enjoy the slopes, and a great museum dedicated to skiers, Colorado Ski Museum and Ski Hall of Fame, where  “Skiing is a dance, and the mountain always leads”. These slopes fascinated me!

However, if snow is not your passion, come back in the spring for plentiful wildflowers in the alpine meadows. These mountains are beautiful any season of the year.

From I-70 in Colorado, take exit #116 south ,Colorado Highway 82. After about 40 miles, take a right on 7th Street in Aspen, then a left on Main Street.  You will definitely be able to spot the ski slopes!

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