Located on the Frying Pan River is the Lodge at River’s Edge. Riverfront access abounds on this two-acre gem and when the water doesn’t tempt you, a short walk into town for lunch or dinner might be on the agenda. Whether you are looking to stay in the 5-bedroom lodge, the Garden Room suite or the Cabin, this property boasts every accommodation option for you and your guests. Rates: Suite from $175/nt, Cabin from $225/nt, Lodge from $1150/nt. 970-927-4991
Nestled in the heart of Downtown Basalt, the Green Drake Motel offers reasonable accommodations with the easiest access to the best of Basalt. Perfect for a couple, family or a group of fly-fishers or sightseers, this property offers almost two-dozen different rooming options, from standard rooms to kitchenettes to two-bedroom suites. Rates: from $95 to $235/nt. 800-905-6797
Just across the street you will find the Aspenalt Lodge, the most efficient lodging choice with simple, efficient rooms. Ask to be on the river side, where your room overlooks the Frying Pan River. Your nightly rate includes a continental breakfast, although you may want to skip it and head around the corner for the best breakfast in town! Rates: from $99 to $219/nt. 970-927-3191
Where to Play
Along the stretch of railway that this town was originally settled for runs the Rio Grande Trail, an impressive paved path that stretches from Basalt to Aspen. Rent a bike at Basalt Bike and Ski (970-927-3460) for a morning ride to Woody Creek, where the locally famous and eclectic Woody Creek Tavern (970-923-4585) awaits you with tempting burgers and rewarding margaritas. Be sure to hire High Mountain Taxi (970-925-8294) to bring you back down valley!
Running from Ruedi Dam to Downtown, the Frying Pan River is just one of the two Gold metal waters that fly-fishers will enjoy in Basalt. Visit Taylor Creek (970-927-4374) in Basalt Center Circle to hire a fly-fishing guide or stock up on your equipment needs.
The confluence of the Frying Pan and the Roaring Fork River, another Gold medal treasure, is in the heart of Downtown Basalt. Rafters and kayakers will enjoy a trip on the Roaring Fork, especially if partaking in the adventuresome journey through Slaughterhouse, a class IV section of the upper Roaring Fork. Less intrepid visitors can opt to raft the middle or lower sections of the river, especially good for beginners or young children. Blazing Adventures (1-800-282-7238) can arrange your river excursion, as well as biking, hiking, jeeping and sunset dinner trips.
Where to Wine and Dine
For a quick morning bite and cup of joe to go, your best bet is Saxy’s (970-927-8585), conveniently located at the end of Midland Avenue in Downtown Basalt. They also offer tasty salads and panini sandwiches for a no-fuss lunch option.
The best morning buns in town can be found at Café Bernard (970-927-4292). Owner Bernard can be spotted doing the fine dinners in the evening, while his wife Cathy cooks up the breakfast and lunch fare. A small restaurant well worth the wait for morning nosh, the country French-inspired menu is sure to please sightseers and cowboys alike.
Looking for lunch to take with you on your daytime adventure? Look no further than Val’s Gourmet (970-927-3007). An appealing deli set on Midland Avenue, the sandwich options are foodie inspired and worth every penny. Don’t miss the BLT, a classic favorite that you’ll be craving long after your visit.
When it’s time to take an afternoon respite, lunch can be found at Bistro Basalt (970-927-2682). With a wide array of menu options and kid-friendly items, this is the perfect refuge on Midland Avenue. Missed the lunch rush? No problem, take a seat at the bar and order a glass of wine with your meal to make it a late afternoon affair.
After your river outing or hike about town, settle on the back deck at Riverside Grill (970-927-9301) with a cold one. Surrounded by local wildlife (both natural and human) this is the prefect spot to kick up those dusty hiking boots and dry out from the water with the Frying Pan river flowing just feet from your own.
Housed in an old house long standing in Downtown Basalt is Tempranillo (970-927-3342). A Spanish-Italian inspired restaurant serving lunch and dinner, the tapas, pastas and entrees will more than satisfy your epicurean desires. The extensive wine menu offers plenty of cocktail hour options as well, where you can sit at the community table and meet the neighbors of this quaint town.
Located just a few minutes down the road from Downtown Basalt, in the neighborhood of Willits, is Smoke (970-927-5158). Once you step inside, you won’t believe you are in the mountains anymore. A clean, modern, community restaurant serving the best BBQ this side of the Continental Divide.
Next door is the best Mexican food the valley has to offer. El Korita Restaurant (970-963-4600) recently expanded their space to this new building, yet most nights there is still a wait to be had and a worthy one at that! Put your name in, get a drink at the bar, and prepare to delight in another local favorite.
Where to Shop
Starting at the east end of Downtown Basalt, your first stop should be the Toklat Gallery. Once housed in famous Ashcroft, just outside of Aspen, this local fine art retailer presents some of the most unique artisan pieces from around Colorado. Stepping just down the street is Fraiche, a modern and simple home and lifestyle store offering beautiful gifts for you and your friends. Around the corner is the Kitchenstore, purveyor of everything kitchen! Any bon vivant will love to browse the tall aisles of equipment, accessories, cookbooks and tools. Caddy corner on Midland Avenue is Express Yourself, a fine stationery and gift boutique offering exquisite paper, unique gifts and cards and invitations. Peruse the plethora of wares for pure delight and order yourself a little something personalized. Next door is Midland Clothing, with the most unique garment and accessory brands for women, children and kids – surprisingly chic for this small mountain town. Down the street is Heirlooms, a consignment store offering a fast rotation of merchandise that often finds its way there from the merchants and homes of Aspen. Shop early and shop often during your visit. Finally, stop off at Midland Shoe for the perfect mountain footwear, from casual to formal occasions. Stilettos you will not find here, but rather quality leather boots, flats and sandals that can take you anywhere.
In need of more local resources and information for planning your trip to Basalt? Look no further than the local Chamber website, http://www.basaltchamber.org/, with links to all the dining, lodging and activities Basalt has to offer. Interested in planning a day trip to Aspen? Check out http://www.aspensnowmass.com/ or http://www.aspenchamber.org/ for inspiring daytime and evening activities.