Checking in at Aspen’s Crown Jewel: Hotel Jerome
On my current trip to Aspen I stayed at Aspen’s crown jewel, Hotel Jerome, where I was delighted to see how charming and beautiful the magnificent renovation is. Previewing the hotel for the benefit of future guests was the main reason for my timely visit.
This particular hotel is truly extraordinary, with all of its significant surroundings: scenic bike trails, exquisite restaurants, unique shops, etc.
One of the exciting opportunities during my refreshing stay was the terrific 4th of July parade, unlike any other I’ve seen. People dressed up in very imaginative costumes for the 4th; whether they were on motorcycles, horseback, or showing off colorfully painted bodies, it was quite a sight, especially as fire engines showered the crowd with refreshing water, which they thoroughly enjoyed.
A premier 5K race with over 600 enthusiastic runners highlighted the holiday morning, as these athletes challenged the high altitudes, steep local streets, and a long Roaring Fork Rd.
Lester Crown’s sensational 4th of July party stole the spotlight; attended by many friends, family, and Aspenites, all the while enjoying breathtaking views from the top of Aspen Mountain ….
In 1889, a brilliant vision by pioneer Jerome Wheeler came to life and became the crown jewel of Aspen; and that legacy lives on even today in the form of the Hotel Jerome. Modeled after the prestigious Claridge Hotel in London, this very accommodating inn makes the impression (to a 1st time visitor) of being a wonderful discovery: intriguing, luxurious, and historically significant all at the same time. Absolutely captivated by the sight of the mountains in 1882, Jerome Wheeler along with his wife Harriet moved to Manitou Springs, Colorado (from New York) and boldly invested a mind boggling $6,000,000 in silver mines and other Aspen ventures.
Originally conceived by inn keepers Bixby and Phillips from Kansas to parallel the Savoy Hotel in London, (considered to be Europe’s most luxurious in 1889) Jerome Wheeler donated the prime section of land at the intersection of Main and Mill St. and loaned Bixby and Phillips $60,000 to start construction. With electric lights shining in every room, a spectacular grand opening party took place the night before Thanksgiving, (in 1889) attended by society’s elite from Chicago, New York, and Europe. With the advent of the innovative Pullman sleeping car in 1890, train travel and the Hotel Jerome became the center of attention as Aspen’s silver trade flourished and the surrounding community prospered.
All the dynamic qualities the hotel has to offer came to life and were celebrated on our nation’s birthday- Independence Day. Visitors from across the country and around the world were pampered in Hotel Jerome’s hospitality while indulging in the 4th of July, Aspen style; with an extravagant parade, terrific picnics, and a multitude of activities.
More than once this flamboyant extravaganza felt like Mardi Gras in the mountains- only in vibrant red, white, and blue decorations everywhere I looked. With the passage of time, traditions were developed and passed down from generation to generation, with the annual 4th of July celebration being one of the best examples. There is virtually something for everyone on this festive day, including family fun activities such as kid’s carnivals offering everything from engaging, jovial clowns to face painting and bicycle decorating.
Indeed, the legacy of Jerome B. Wheeler has endured and prospered for over a century and generations of visitors have enjoyed all the significant elements that this unique mountain town has to offer; from the highest mountain peak with its world class skiing to the rich, red brick crown jewel of Aspen located at 330 E. Main St. ….