To truly appreciate the Aspen experience, one must shop Aspen. Note that I say "shop" (meaning browse) rather than buy, because if you're not careful, you just might blow next month's mortgage payment on some Western fashion accessory. No one ever brags about the great bargain they snagged last season in Aspen.
On the other hand, quality is usually tops, shop clerks are friendly, and your neighbor probably doesn't already have one. Having said all that, I suggest you lock up your credit cards, put on some good walking shoes, and spend a few hours exploring the galleries and shops of Aspen. The following are a few of my favorites, and several are grouped together in a minimall at 525 E. Cooper Ave. For original art, check out Aspen Grove Fine Arts, 525 E. Cooper Ave., upper level (tel. 970/925-5151; www.aspengrovefineart.com), featuring paintings, graphics, and sculpture. When it's time to pick up a gift, Chepita, 525 E. Cooper Ave. (tel. 970/925-2871; www.chepita.com), is an attractive store with jewelry, sculpture, and home accessories; and Curious George Collectibles, 426 E. Hyman Ave. (tel. 970/925-3315), has silver buckles, belts, and Western artifacts that (allegedly) used to belong to notorious cowboys. For clothing, try Kemo Sabe, 434 E. Cooper Ave. (tel. 970/925-7878; www.kemosabe.com), for wonderful hats and other Western wear; and Gorsuch, Ltd., 611 E. Durant Ave. (tel. 800/525-9808 or 970/920-9388; www.gorsuchltd.com), for outdoor clothing.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.