Colorado, for the uninitiated, is another planet, particularly when you drive through the state rather than limiting your visit to, say, Denver or Telluride.
The 32-mile Independence Pass, part of Colorado State Highway 82 leading into Aspen is open only from May through October, and it’s right up there with the Grand Canyon as far as sheer majesty, jaw-dropping scenery and “Let’s pull over and take another 100 selfies.”
It’s narrow, it’s steep enough to make you queasy and it’s twisty as corkscrew pasta, with few guardrails. It’s safe, however, if you take it easy and use common sense. There’s camping (for a fee at most places) but it’s offered free along Lincoln Creek Road, and numerous hiking opportunities abound.
The drive from Denver’s around 142 miles and should take approximately three hours depending on traffic and your driving habits. You can either pop out on the Aspen side and spend the night there, or, if you haven’t had your fill, just turn around and do the pass again.
But instead of heading back to Denver when you’re finished, a great weekend topper would be to head to Colorado Springs and the Broadmoor Hotel, a vast, chill, old-money estate that’ll shake the dust off your road-weary bones and provide you with plenty of activity – or none at all if you’re bushed, physically, mentally or spiritually.
You’ll walk outside and take deep, satisfying breaths while beholding the placid lake, a swan or two dipping beaks here and there, and dogs are welcome whether purebred or mutt, mastiff or Chihuahua.
The fare is sublime, particularly the high-end Ristorante Del Lago and the lower-key Natural Epicurean.
The property itself is comprised of a series of solid, stately dwellings originally put up in 1918 and aimed at heads of state, celebrities, professional sports stars and businesspeople, or all of them at once – there are 779 rooms, after all.
The spa has a full-service gym, too, with two pools and masseuses who’ll cheerfully shove fists into your back, shoulders and spine, pounding all of life’s woes out of your world-weary self.
For car lovers, any of-age guest may participate in the Broadmoor’s “Ride and Drive,” based on availability, taking one of the resort’s Cadillac fleet for a two hour spin – and the roads surrounding the Broadmoor are gorgeous, twisty, lush and suitable for even more selfies.