The Washington Times - May 29, 2008, 10:07PM

Little more is needed.

However there is more.  Much more.  Speak to the Hotel Jerome’s concierge, Patsy Pelaia, a recipient of the prestigious Les Clefs d’Or Gold Keys award, and makes plans for golf at the prestigious Snowmass Club Golf Course, horseback riding or hot-air ballooning. Make an appointment for some guided fly-fishing or deep-forest hiking**.


For the very adventurous, a rollicking Whitewater rafting ride provides a new perspective of nature’s ways in the Rockies.

For those quieter days, take advantage of spa treatments, yoga classes or work out in the fitness center at The Aspen Club and Spa, which is available for use by guests of The Hotel Jerome.

Regardless of the time of year, there is plenty to keep one occupied until lunch.

Weather permitting, the destination of Aspen mid-day diners, be they guests or natives, is The Garden Terrace.  Nestled to the side of the Hotel Jerome there is plenty of wrought iron and umbrella seating on the deck or in the manicured courtyard.

Here again, Chef Keating does not disappoint.  A full menu includes a wide range of specialties that includes soups and salads, pastas, incredible sandwiches and entrees. 

Travis McLain, Radio Board Shop, and young concrete-slope boarders (Photo by Jacquie Kubin)

After lunch, the destination for the younger ones is the local Skate Park where skateboarding reigns and the King of the Vertical is local Aspen celeb Travis McLain who owns the Radio Board Shop.

McLain was recipient of the 2001 X-Games Gold in snow boarding and he can easily be found on the snow, and concrete, slopes of Aspen.

The Maroon Bells Mountains, whose famous image was captured by photographer Ansel Adams, are located just a few miles from The Hotel Jerome.  These majestic peaks are often used on motivational posters, inspiring t-shirts, even a USPS stamp showcasing that which is naturally awe-inspiring.

Our personal quest ended at their foothills, gazing in awe at the majestic snow covered peaks.  Even though it was June, it was heavy coat and gloves cold, breathtakingly beautiful and thoroughly refreshing. 

They are an Eden lost.

A hike next to a clear mountain stream is peaceful. One is propelled to stop and marvel at the clear shallow lake where even 30 feet out from the shore you can see the rock bottom and fallen timbers that lay there.  A fellow traveler stops for a bit of yoga practice among the wildflower and grass meadow. Geese swim, birds fly.

The mountains breathe and so do we.

Following the brisk mountain air hike it is back to the Jerome for a stop at the J-Bar, a very historic place where one can partake in a prohibition created cocktail the Aspen Crud. 

During prohibition the J-Bar was turned into a soda fountain however the 10th Mountain Division, which boarded at the hotel during WWII, added Jack Daniels to their milkshakes!

A snack and Aspen Crud and its to the room for a leisurely soak in the large Jacuzzi tub followed by a nap nestled in a lush robe before supper.

Dining in the Hotel Jerome’s Century Room is to step back to the boomtown years of the mid-1800s.  A 2006 winner of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Excellence Award” Chef Christopher Keating’s passion and skill shines even brighter, adding a further glow to this historic room.

Dinner at the Jerome (L-R) Trout, Salmon Salad, Butter Salad and Colorado Lamb(Photo by Jacquie Kubin)

Chef Keating’s appreciation for art and beauty is omnipresent in his foods. Growing up in the Mid-Atlantic region outside of Washington, DC he began working in restaurants as a young man when he realized that he could combine his passion for food and art attending the Culinary Art Institute in Hyde Park, N.Y. 

After time spent at L’Auberge Sedona, Arizona, and New York City’s tour de force Lespinasse, Chef Keating was drawn to the mountains and spent five years working at the famed Little Nell resort.  Aspen denizen and James Beard Award Recipient, Chef George Mahaffey has stated that “Chris has a remarkable sense of taste and his creation are pure pleasure for the senses.”

In his plating there is an artistic sense that is pleasing to the eye with foods perfectly paired for esthetic and culinary beauty. Add to this a ravenous appetite fueled by incredibly fresh air, outdoor activity and indoor opulence and you have a modern gourmand’s delight.

Dining next to the fireplace, a treat in June for one from a Southern environment, Chef Keating presented a whimsically fresh Kobe beef starter, followed by a salad course consisting of a simply elegant Butter Salad with roasted beets and a warm pancetta dressing. The fish course presented a mustard crusted trout with masked potatoes, sautéed tomatoes, wild mushrooms and lemon-sage jus.

But one comes to Colorado seeking lamb and Chef Keating does not disappoint with a roast course of a luxurious trio of lamb steaks served over a soft white polenta with rosemary sauce.

A day well sated. A day well served. A day well lived in Aspen, Colorado at The Hotel Jerome.

The J-Bar, at The Hotel Jerome (Courtesy The Hotel Jerome)

J-Bar Recipe  

The Hotel Jerome’s J-Bar has been a favorite Aspen stop since 1889.  Today the Bar has a lively and very authentic saloon feel and a wide selection of draft and bottled beer and casual dining options.

The J-Bar’s signature drink is the unique Aspen Crud, a blend of Jack Daniels and Ice Cream.  Story goes that during prohibition, the 10th Mountain Division made The Hotel Jerome their home, concocting the Aspen Crud, a nod to American ingenuity.

Aspen Crud Recipe

5 “perfect” 1 1/3 Scoops of French Vanilla Ice Cream

(Hotel Jerome’s preference is Haagen-Dazs)

3 “exact” 1 oz. Shots of Bourbon

(Hotel Jerome’s preference is Jack Daniels)

Place scoops of Ice Cream in a blender and add shots of Bourbon.  

Blended for several seconds until a perfect consistency is obtained.

Visiting the Hotel Jerome – some tips to remember:

The Hotel Jerome offers the utmost in luxury.  Ask for and anticipate paying for the best you can afford.  It will be worth it.

** Please, you are in the Rocky Mountains.  These mountains are very much alive and they always unpredictable.  Never take off on a nature excursion without leaving an itinerary and expected return time.  If you are going deep into the mountains, off the road or the well-traveled path, take a knowing guide.  No one wants to become a headline.

Temperatures are different.  We visited in June and it required warm coats and gloves one day while a light jacket more than sufficed on another.

Plan on making some side trips to see the silver mines.  A journey to the Continental Divide marker should include snow boots and gloves as well as a camera and sketchpad.

Jacquie Kubin is a writer and editor for Donne Tempo Magazine and a fan of the work of photographer, Ansel Adams.  Visiting the Maroon Bells mountains has been a lifelong dream come true.  Visit Donne Tempo for more of her Rockie Mountain photography.