Last weekend, when I attended the Artposium in Delta County, Colorado, I stayed with Priscilla GIbson-Roberts and Jack Roberts. The Artposium's topic was food, and we ate wonderfully throughout the official event.
Priscilla and Jack value the garden and the table as well, and breakfasts, before the official day began, were also delightful: oatmeal cooked with garden fruits, homemade grape juice, Icelandic pancakes rolled around jam made from homegrown strawberries. Priscilla attended part of the Artposium, but during other parts she was at home slow-roasting tomatoes from their garden, because they'd just had their first frost.
When I stopped back by the house to say goodbye before heading east again, Jack had made ice cream with more of their garden's strawberries (this year produced a more-than-abundant crop; they were talking about strawberries like most people talk about zucchinis). Fortunately, I hadn't eaten to capacity at the lunch: almost, but not quite. I initially said no to the ice cream, then, when I realized it was homemade, thought I might be able to handle a tiny bowl . . . exquisite.
I chose to drive from the Front Range to Delta County, scene of this Artposium, by way of the interstate only as far as Glenwood Springs, where I turned off onto the highways that lead to Carbondale, Redstone, and Paonia. This constitutes half of the Colorado Scenic Byway known as the West Elk Loop, and goes up over McClure Pass, reputed to be one of the best aspen-viewing locations in a state known for aspens (although they're only in the mountainous sections). And this is peak aspen (and elk-bugling) season.
I've loved exploring the less-traveled parts of Colorado, although I tend to do so only in the course of a need to be somewhere other than home (usually work). But I figure if you've got to be somewhere, you might as well enjoy the journey.
My most recent, and by far the most useful and beautiful, guide to the landscapes of Colorado is Colorado Scenic Byways: Taking the Other Road, with text by Susan Tweit and photos by Jim Steinberg. Jim takes fantastic photographs (and lets me see what the place I'm traveling looks like in other seasons, too). Susan's text takes me under the surface of the places I'm seeing with enough detail to be satisfying. On this trip, she especially helped me enjoy the rocks, which are extraordinary.
Colorado Scenic Byways is actually two books: both have text and photos, but the big one is for browsing and the smaller atlas is for use on the road. They stay safely in a slipcase when they're not being enjoyed. Great idea, beautifully accomplished. It won ForeWord Magazine's Book of the Year Award and the Colorado Book Award, and never did a book (or set of books) more deserve that type of recognition.
Getting back on track with the next post, after my rhapsodic outburst. . . .