We all have our madeleines. For Marcel Proust, in Remembrance of Things Past, it was tea and cookies. For me, it was aspen trees and the mountains beyond. We had just checked into our suite at Aspen Meadows Resort in Aspen Colorado. I looked out the wall of windows in the living room and saw a meadow with a stand of aspens with the mountains as a backdrop. I found myself remembering….
I was back at Goat Hill, a small summer camp between Woodstock and Saugerties, New York. I was six years old. Substitute birch trees for aspens and a verdant mountain for the rocky one, but sense memory is an elusive thing. Who knows what creates these connections?
Because, it took me back to a time and place that was so special to me, I immediately fell in love with Aspen Meadows. Its Bauhaus-influenced mid-century buildings and corresponding décor and art all harked back to my childhood in the 50s. And, there was a decided summer camp feel. This resort that plays host to household names from A-list Hollywood stars to world-famous musicians, artists, intellectuals, scientists, financiers and more, started life as a bit of a summer retreat for adults; Goat Hill for grown-ups.
Aspen Meadows was designed by Bauhaus architect, Herbert Bayer in the early ‘50s. The rooms are filled with built-in furniture and pieces from design icons of that era. One of the stark Ferenc Berko black and white photos on our wall was of two aspen trees. Again, memories of Goat Hill and the birch trees returned. I’m not the photographer in this outfit, but I grabbed the camera and went out the patio door and began shooting.
That day and the next, when we toured the extensive grounds the resort shares with the prestigious Aspen Institute, my mind kept going back to Goat Hill and my childhood summers spent in and around Woodstock. Fifties era (and later) sculptures scattered around the grounds, the closeness with nature, the beauty, even an original Buckminster Fuller dome; Aspen Meadows Resort claimed a place in my heart. We shall return.
A bit about Berko and the Aspen Institute:
Ferenc Berko was a Hungarian-born photographer with connections to the Bauhaus movement. Walter and Elizabeth Paepcke brought him to Aspen in 1949 to photograph the event they hosted to celebrate Johann Goethe’s 200th birthday. The event was a great success. Over2,000 people from around the world attended, including Albert Schweitzer, Jose Ortega y Gasset, Thornton Wilder, and Arthur Rubinstein. The following year, the Paepkes started the Aspen Institute; the “ideal gathering place for thinkers, leaders, artists, and musicians from all over the world to step away from their daily routines and reflect on the underlying values of society and culture.” Berko moved to Aspen and lived there for over 50 years. Aspen Meadows Resort began as the dorms for the Institute. It became a year-round resort in 1992.
We were guests of Aspen Meadows Resort. Their generous hospitality did not influence this post in any way.
This post is part of a blog carnival Travels Down Memory Lane.