Pick Ups and Drop Offs at the Wheeler Opera House for the new Aspen Marble Detour

Since first we decided to launch the Aspen Marble Detour Kris and I have grappled at length to determine exactly how and where we were going to pick up each day’s quota of Detourists

At first it was our intention to go from one hotel and lodging to another, picking people up along the way. But it soon became apparent that while this model worked well for us with Garavance First Class Tours, back in Portland in the nineties, this same business model would not fly here for many reasons, but namely congestion.  Aspen’s hotels are immensely busy places – day and night, it doesn’t matter which.  And so, in no way wishing to add to the problem, in fact taking vehicles off the road is precisely what we are about, immediately we set about revising our plan, and turned our attentions instead to finding that one single spot in town that could, by its very centrality and iconic status, serve as the perfect loading and unloading point for the fledgling Aspen Marble Detour.

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While the candidates for ideal loading and unloading point were plentiful, for Aspen is somewhat of an iconic town, after due consideration Kris and I were in full agreement that without a doubt, hands down, the loading bay situated directly opposite the Wheeler Opera House would serve the purpose superbly – for the reasons I am about to relay.

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Just as all Roman roads lead to Rome, then all Aspen roads lead to its undisputed jewel in the crown.

Wikipedia: “The Wheeler Opera House is located at the corner of East Hyman Avenue and South Mill Street in Aspen, Colorado, United States. It is a stone building erected during the 1890s, from a design by Willoughby J. Edbrooke that blends elements of the Romanesque Revival and Italianate architectural styles. In 1972 it became the first property in the city to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and the second in Pitkin County. The upstairs auditorium hosts a number of events every year, ranging from nationally prominent music and comedy acts and some of the Aspen Music Festival’s events to productions by local community groups.

It is one of two buildings in town named after early developer Jerome B. Wheeler. Originally, the opera house was located on the third floor, with retail space at street level and professional offices on the second floor. An early 20th-century arson fire damaged the interior, and in its wake the theater fell into disuse. The building became property of the city due to tax default. Later in the century it was renovated several times, twice from designs by Herbert Bayer, to bring it back into full use. For a while the Pitkin County Library was located in the building as well.

Today it houses retail space and a restaurant in addition to the auditorium space, and is one of Aspen’s most prominent landmarks.” Wikipedia

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Much beloved by everyone, visitors and locals alike, this most majestic sandstone monument to culture presides regally over a veritable landscape of life, liberty and the active pursuit of happiness. While children frolic in the fountains, and bicyclists amble by, lovers stroll arm in arm, old people too! Families ramble along, striding several generations,  in a bundle of joy, energy and confusion. Quite a galvanizing effect this lively little corner has on the throngs to be seen visibly enjoying its vibrant atmosphere at any given moment throughout the spring, summer and autumn seasons.

And so where better to begin a tour that will live on in every Detourist’s memory as One Memorable Day than in one joyful place? Please continue scrolling and hopefully some of this magic will reveal itself through my snaps. For once we had come to our senses, and picked this spot out as the undisputed winner, and undeniable ‘Best Place to Begin the Detour’, we promptly headed the bus down there to feel things out, test the waters, and take a few pictures.

Yep. This is the place alright.

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As an assembly and exit point, the spot could not be more amply equipped, with a wide sidewalk, broad vehicle bay, and the excitement of people having fun to set the scene.

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Not that we will be occupying this spot for too long; five or ten minutes perhaps each day at the very most, and perhaps considerably less. For if everyone arrives on time then we will be off and away in a flash.

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The rampant youthful energy, excitement and enthusiasm displayed around the dancing water jets I found quite inspiring in an age of hand held devise obsession, and lends a lively carnival air to its surroundings.

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In fact, upon reflection, this familiar corner (for me), now taken as an entity in itself, appears to lend a certain infectious energy to such routinely mundane tasks as simply crossing the road and such. Certainly a good sign, if yet one more were needed, that the newly hatched Aspen Marble Detour has found a home in keeping with its own philosophical mandate to ensure that, whatever happens, a good time is had by all.

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There is even a very good pub, excellent in fact, for post Detour drinks and spirited conversation, right there as you step off the bus; as One Memorable Day segues seamlessly into the Cool Aspen Night.

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Job done! Hopefully. Is this the final, final piece of the Aspen Marble Detour, or will there be more? Personally, I doubt it, for with all of our paperwork in place, the route refined and the tour timed to perfection, our promotional material on the way, and all of the i’s dotted and t’s crossed, I really think that within a very short time – a few days or a week, we will be finally, at last, up and running throughout both the months of August and September. Hopefully I will be back with some very good news, very soon, and so please stay tuned.

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Pick Ups and Drop Offs at the Wheeler Opera House for the new Aspen Marble Detour

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thanks for visiting martincooney.com

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