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archive for crested butte

crested butte: camp 4 coffee

Monday, February 17th, 2014

The first time I set foot in Camp 4 Coffee was late September 2010. It was dark out because I wanted to shoot sunrise somewhere outside of Crested Butte. My shooting partner needed his morning caffeine fix before heading out and knew just the place to go. At 6 am, we stood in line in front of this tiny shack covered in old license plates. I know nothing about coffee, but as Jason stepped outside and took a sip of his quadruple shot latte he purred, “Oooooh yeah. THAT is good stuff.” The following year when Jeremy joined me over the weekend on my solo fall shoot in Crested Butte, I took him to Camp 4 for coffee, and he’s been smitten ever since.

camp 4 coffee in crested butte

Like Crested Butte, Camp 4 has a friendly, laid-back vibe. Tourists and locals alike line up each morning for their cuppa. Dogs saunter onto the pleasant little patio and wait patiently (and obediently) while their people step in to grab coffee and breakfast, say hi to friends, and snag a little dog treat for their four-legged companion. While the pups are outside, they receive a good deal of attention and loving from passersby and other patrons. It’s all routine.

any given summer morning outside camp 4

The space inside is limited to room for five to six people to peruse the boards, admire the baked goods, order, pay, and dress their beverages. To your immediate right as you walk in is a little bar space for four people to sit and read the paper or shoot the breeze. It’s tiny, yet incredibly popular because their coffee is exceptional – touted as the best coffee in Colorado according to the Denver Post. There is no drip coffee here, just espresso drinks made from Camp 4’s own beans roasted right in Crested Butte. Jeremy notes that their beans are also excellent for drip coffee at home.

decisions decisions…

perfect doughnuts: crisp outsides, fluffy and tender insides

In addition to the traditional coffee drinks, Camp 4 offers a selection of teas, bottled things (juices, water, soda, sports drinks), smoothies, milkshakes, hot cocoa, chai, as well as breakfast burritos (with REAL green chiles), breakfast sandwiches, and some of the most delectable pastries in town (super flaky awesomeness). The selection includes fresh doughnuts, filled long johns, danishes, croissants, filled croissants, cinnamon rolls, muffins, scones, cookies, brownies, quick breads… The pastries don’t last long on any given day, so if you have a hankering, get ye there in the morning before they’re picked clean.

the friendliest service

a treat for your pooch, because crested butte loves dogs

**Jump for more butter**

crested butte: magic meadows yurt dinners

Sunday, February 9th, 2014

I’m convinced the reason so many people dislike winter is because they live in a place with crappy winters, don’t know how to do any winter activities, or both. Winter can be slushy, dreary, icy, awful. But winter can also be fluffy, powdery, sunny, fun, and invigorating. In Crested Butte, Colorado – winter is a dream.

Some of the finest skiing and riding in the country can be had up the road at Crested Butte Mountain Resort. And there are loads of backcountry routes into breathtaking high country mere minutes from town. But did you know that Crested Butte also boasts an incredible network of 55 km of groomed nordic trails managed by the Crested Butte Nordic Center?

the nordic center based in town

inside: rentals, ticket and pass sales, equipment, information, friendly people

I know Crested Butte is the Wildflower Capital of Colorado, but I didn’t know it is also the Nordic Ski Capital of Colorado (according to the Nordic Center, but I’ll give it to them). Adjacent to the center is a large outdoor ice rink which abuts a sort of sled park (it is a skate park in summer). The center rents ice skates, snow shoes, skate skis, cross-country skis, and assorted accessories. They also offer lessons, free clinics, and sponsor several night ski/five course dinners at the Magic Meadows Yurt throughout the winter.

jeremy enjoys exploring the trail network

the trail to the yurt in daylight (there are designated dog-friendly trails in the network)

On a friend’s recommendation, Jeremy and I signed up for the winter solstice yurt dinner. It’s a 1 mile ski or snowshoe on the nordic trails to the yurt after sunset. Dinner goes from about 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm (roughly), and then you ski back at night. As season pass holders, we each get a $20 discount on the dinner (was $70/person at the time, now is $75). Our friend, Erin, visited us over the solstice and signed up for the dinner too. Anyone attending the dinner has the option to bring their own skis/snowshoes or get a free ski/snowshoe rental from the Nordic Center. We all ski, but you don’t have to know how to ski to enjoy this tremendously fun evening.

the yurt, nestled in the trees and snow

“come forth into the light of things, let nature be your teacher” – william wordsworth

We picked up Erin’s skis from the Nordic Center at 5:00 pm (they won’t loan them out earlier than that for the dinners) and drove to the Gronk trailhead. It takes 30 minutes (on average) to ski out there. The friendly fellow working the desk suggested we arrive at the yurt around 6:00 pm when they start with appetizers. It was getting dark when we headed out, but the trail to the yurt is marked with lit tiki torches and it was super fun skiing in the dark and passing all of the snow shoers. Of course, everyone on skate skis flew past us.

The Magic Meadows Yurt is only accessible in winter, which makes it extra special. Park your skis or snowshoes outside on the racks and head inside to the warm and cozy yurt. We had no idea what to expect inside, but it was far cushier than we imagined it would be. The interior had rustic mountain-style decor alongside lovely local photography. A wood stove heated the entire space from the east wall and the whole place was romantically lit.

erin and jeremy outside the yurt

the interior

**Jump for more butter**

crested butte: secret stash

Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Ask me what there is to do in the mountains around Crested Butte – the last great Colorado ski town – and I’ll rattle off a list of activities to get your heart pumping or sights to open your eyes wide with wonder. But when you’ve had your fill of stunning Colorado scenery and riveting outdoor adventure, you will need to refuel. One of my favorite stops in town (and in Colorado) is Secret Stash. We take all of our visitors here and love to pop by after a long hike to quench our thirst and load up on some of the best pizza around.

secret stash

Secret Stash (or The Stash) used to sit at the top of Elk Avenue (Crested Butte’s main drag) in a small funky house with two ovens and a line of patrons out the door. Your typical wait for your order at lunch, apr├Ęs ski, or dinner would land you north of 45 minutes. This summer, The Stash moved to a new location in the heart of historical Crested Butte on Elk Avenue and Third Street. It’s much bigger than the old house, offering outdoor deck dining, sidewalk patio dining, several booths, tables, high tables, bar seating, and the uber fun sunken seating at the picture windows in front.

inside the stash

The wait staff – like almost any other wait staff in Crested Butte – is hipster with tats. They may not be the most professional servers, but they are super friendly and aim to please. As you step up to the hostess podium you’ll find a gift shop (t-shirts, bling, candy) to your left, the bar to your right, and the restrooms straight ahead at the back. Once seated, take in the details of the eclectic and funky decor before you begin perusing the entertaining drink menu.

The Famous Stash Volcano Bowl is just plain fun to read about. It serves four people 48 ounces of “a bunch of booze mixed with tropical fruit juices served on fire.” I’m too chicken to order that, but someday I might with three of my besties. My favorite summertime thirst-quencher is the frozen strawberry lemonade. You can get that with booze or without booze. And an even more delightful twist is when they add basil to that mix. Jeremy loves the Vegas Brainstorm a.k.a. The Best Gin and Tonic You Will Ever Have (Hendricks gin, Fever Tree tonic, fresh lime, juniper berries). In addition to The Stash’s creative drinks, they offer a decent selection of beer and wine – both on tap even!

frozen strawberry lemonade (with or without vodka)

the vegas brainstorm (gin and tonic, but awesomer)

After you’ve rattled off your drink order, have a looksee at the appetizers or consider the salad bar. But really, you ought to try some appetizers. There are two items that we order again and again. The truffle fries (a.k.a. crack fries) are french fries with white truffle oil, Parmesan cheese, green onions, and cracked black pepper served with garlic aioli. I know, you’re thinking, “French fries at a pizza joint?” Yes. Order them. The Stash wings are the other must. They grill the wings and baste them in their excellent house barbecue sauce, then top them off with green onions and sesame seeds with ranch and blue cheese dressings on the side.

the truffle fries (aka crack fries)

stash wings

**Jump for more butter**