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Mistletoe & Mountains

A Holiday Date Night Guide for Each Town in the Valley

Between its colossal snow-capped peaks and endless whimsical adventure, the romance of the Roaring Fork Valley exists in a league all its own. With the holidays upon us, this magical allure has turned next-level bright and merry. Harnessing the powers of community and joy year after year, each town in the valley brings locals and visitors alike out onto the snowy streets for some of the most unique seasonal events this side of the Continental Divide.

At the heart of such rich traditions is the valley's undeniable charm, and its ability to kindle that spark of ultimate holiday romance for couples. In celebration of this season of sparkle, we’ve done the planning for you and curated date night activities for each Roaring Fork town: Aspen, Snowmass, Basalt, Carbondale, and Glenwood Springs. So trim the mistletoe, don your holiday best, and hit the town with your honey this month. -ET

ASPEN

Nothing brings two folks together quite like live entertainment, especially when brought to life by the nostalgia of Christmas carols—and on December 18, 21, and 23, the iconic Hotel Jerome is the place to hear them from 6-7 p.m. Grab a hot cocoa or cup of homemade mulled wine from the Living Room and cozy up with your loved one as the Holiday Bell Tones carolers fill the hotel lobby with a medley of holiday classics. A romantic and storied Aspen landmark, the Hotel Jerome consistently raises the bar of excellence in hospitality, and the holidays are no exception. We recommend arriving 15 to 30 minutes early to grab warm beverages and peruse the luxurious holiday decor in the mezzanine, courtyard, and Living Room before securing a spot near the lobby for an hour of merriment in song. Afterward, stroll around the corner to French Alpine Bistro - Crêperie du Village for an unforgettably romantic French meal, followed by a nightcap zip around the Silver Circle ice rink at the base of Aspen Mountain. -ET

  • Attend...

    A performance in the Hotel Jerome lobby of seasonal hymns and carols by Aspen’s own Holiday Bell Tones.
  • Reserve...

    A table at Crêperie du Village, the Aspen staple founded on the principle of gemütlich, or German for friendliness and authenticity. Book online at FrenchAlpineBistro.com.
  • Enjoy...

    The bistro's Gruyère, Vacherin, Beaufort, Comté, and white wine cheese fondue for two topped with freshly shaved black truffles.
  • Try...

    To get your blood flowing post-fondue with a spin around the outdoor Silver Circle Ice Rink.

SNOWMASS

This month, beginning December 8, visit the ever-evolving and colorfully eclectic world of ice sculpture on the Snowmass Mall and in Snowmass Base Village. Bundle up with your partner and peruse a collection of sculptures including a full-sized gondola, selfie snowflakes, winged animals, and incredible stories brought to life in an experience that only the snowy mountains of Western Colorado could produce. Local sculptor Thomas Barlow does live demos and is regularly on stand-by to answer questions and explain the designs, which you can explore, discuss, and ponder at your leisure with your loved one in tow. When you've had enough of the cold, grab a corner table at local gem and best-kept secret Italian spot, Il Poggio. Watch the snow fall outside the window and split a bottle of wine and pastas while you discuss your favorite sculpture. -ET

  • Attend...

    Snowmass Village's ice carving demos and sculpture viewing on The Mall (December 8) and Base Village (December 29).
  • Reserve...

    A candlelit table for two at authentic Italian eatery Il Poggio. Call 970.923.4292.
  • Enjoy...

    Sommelier-recommended Italian reds paired with the veal, asparagus, and truffle butter gnocchi.
  • Try...

    A free s'more from one of the Snowmass S'more carts around town, after 3:30 p.m. every day, while supplies last.

BASALT

Wine and dine your significant other in Basalt and Willits, where Christmas lights and music ring through the streets most weekends, and couples have long found fabulous date night activities in the area's art galleries, venues, and unique dining options. Plan a date around the annual Merry on Midland, happening this year on December 10 at 4 p.m., when the spirit of the season kicks off with carolers, cookies, holiday color, and community. Or, skip over to TACAW in Willits on December 17 for "Holiday Jazz" with the Josefina Mendez Quintet, and expect an evening of delightful updated versions of well-known classic songs. Back in old town, dine riverside at Basalt's beloved Free Range, indulging in comfort food and valley-famous cocktails at their new location at Basalt River Park (starting mid-December). Wind down with a short walk to the always romantic Tempranillo, and savor a glass of wine on their heated porch. -ET

  • Attend...

    "Holiday Jazz" with the Josefina Mendez Quintet at TACAW on December 17 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($20 advance) at TACAW.org. 
  • Reserve...

    A table at Free Range's spectacular new location at Basalt River Park. Reservations at FreeRangeBasalt.com.
  • Enjoy...

    Free Range's ever-popular pork belly and polenta appetizer for two, followed by chef’s staple Colorado Elk Bolognese.
  • Try...

    A tall, warm glass of namesake Tempranillo on the restaurant’s heated front porch to end the night.

CARBONDALE

After public New Year’s Eve festivities were largely cancelled last year during the height of the pandemic, heading out on the town to ring in 2022 with your sweetheart will feel extra celebratory this December 31. Get tickets for the 7 or 9 p.m. Cabaret with Beth Malone at Thunder River Theatre, and bid adieu to 2021 in the presence of Broadway talent. (Tip: Proof of vaccination is required by the theatre for entry at this time.) Malone, the Tony Award-nominated actress and powerhouse vocalist, has long-standing ties to the Roaring Fork Valley and will deliver an evening of exceptional entertainment. Complete the night with drinks at Marble Distilling’s Marble Bar and a sumptuous dinner at Brass Anvil. Discuss Malone’s vocal artistry over the restaurant’s indulgent Bacon-Wrapped Nieslanik Beef Tenderloin or Northern Atlantic Lobster Tails with Champagne Garlic Butter, and top it all off with one of their signature desserts. Stroll through downtown, soak up the last night of December’s holiday merriment, and—especially if you’re planning to have a few more drinks—don’t worry about driving home. Plan ahead and have a room booked at The Distillery Inn, The Way Home, or one of the town’s numerous vacation rentals. -CC

Attend...

  • New Year’s Eve Cabaret with Beth Malone at Thunder River Theatre. Tickets at ThunderRiverTheatre.com.

Reserve...

  • An in-town hotel room or vacation rental. Book early; they fill up fast. 

Enjoy...

  • Taking in the festive sights of New Year’s revelry on Main Street while walking to each date night spot.

Try...

  • A Marble Bar cocktail made with Moonlight Expresso, the distillery’s dark coffee liqueur.


 

Glenwood Springs

Holiday dreams are made of twinkling lights and old-fashioned fun in Glenwood Springs, especially on Christmas Eve. Start things off with holly jolly hilarity at the Glenwood Vaudeville Revue’s matinee performance of their holiday show at 12:30 p.m., with plenty of time to enjoy drinks and appetizers (or a full lunch) before the comedy troupe’s hijinks begin. After the show, walk along Grand Avenue and make your way across the pedestrian bridge, where the grand spectacle of the Hotel Colorado will soon come into view. Over half a million colored lights adorn the 1893 structure and its grounds, making for a truly magnificent sight. Step inside to admire the hotel’s holiday finery, which includes towering Christmas trees and a dizzying assortment of holiday figures and sensational decor. Head to the Devereux Ballroom for your reserved seating at the extravagant annual Christmas Eve dinner buffet, featuring prime rib and honey glazed ham. Once your tummy feels as round as Santa’s, sip a cup of after-dinner cheer beside one of the lobby’s two grand fireplaces—or bundle up and move outside for snuggling by the courtyard fire pits. -CC

Attend...

  • The Glenwood Vaudeville Revue’s Christmas Eve matinee show. Tickets ($25/adult plus food & beverages) at GVRShow.com.

Reserve...

  • Spots for the Hotel Colorado’s Christmas Eve Buffet ($65/adult), with seatings from 2-9 p.m. Call 970.928.3785.

Enjoy...

  • The nostalgia of holidays past inside the Hotel Colorado lobby. Don’t miss its historical photographs and displays.

Try...

  • New England Clam Chowder by Juicy Lucy’s, which is one of several items provided by favorite local restaurants on the pre-show menu at the Vaudeville.

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