Elisabeth Brigham Elisabeth Brigham | October 18, 2021 | Food & Drink Lifestyle Food & Drink
Sitting under Mount Sopris, this town boasts everchanging colors and a one-of-a-kind art scene.
Just 30 miles downvalley sits Carbondale, a mountain town overflowing with an exemplary culinary and entertainment scene, topped off with a view to match. Sitting at 12,953 feet, this mountain town earns its title with Mount Sopris (aka “mother mountain”) looking over the locals.
Taking it back, the valley’s original inhabitants were the Ute Indians, who were eventually displaced by settlers and miners searching for gold and silver near Aspen in the late 1800s. Soon after, hunters and farmers made this town home and “hit gold” in the late 1880s when potato farming took off. This was Carbondale’s economic mainstay crop for more than 50 years, and in honor and celebration of the prosperity of the crop and town, Carbondale’s Potato Day holds the record for the longest-standing annual community event.
Home to Carbondale’s Creative District—one of 23 in the state and the only one in the valley—the town boasts more than 200 creative organizations and businesses, shining the spotlight on its local artists and creatives. For inspiration, check out the Studio for Arts and Works and other creative entrepreneurs on Dolores Way.
Don’t worry, adventure junkies, Carbondale has just the thing for you too. Brave the waters for an unbelievable adventure of whitewater rafting on the Crystal River, or keep it casual with one of the numerous hiking trails Carbondale has to offer.
For Carbondale’s main event, make sure to make it down in the summer for Mountain Fair, which features over 145 vendors from across the country, live music, performing arts, creative children’s activities, local food, pie-baking competitions and more.
This perfect mix of adventure and culture is something Carbondale has perfected over many years, and there is truly nothing in the Roaring Fork Valley quite like it.
CARBONDALE INSIDER: ALY SANGUILY, Owner of Batch Provisions
Aly Sanguily is woman who wears many hats—from owner of Batch Provisions with her husband, board member for KDNK community radio (not to mention DJ on the Flow Diggity show every other Tuesday), band liaison for the Mountain Fair and more, she has made her mark on Carbondale. “Owning and operating a business in Carbondale really keeps me on my toes and keeps me thinking creatively,” tells Sanguily. “We have a deep connection with our community, and I am always looking for ways to elevate that and also keep it fresh. We host space and events for many artists and makers, nonprofits, and we love representing our local artists’ work, which you can find a lot of in Batch from paintings to pottery to woodworking and beyond. I am consistently inspired by the talented people we have right here in the valley and love collaborating with them.”
As for upcoming Batch projects?
We are really excited to get back to our popups this fall and winter. We traditionally host pop-ups starting October through Christmas on Thursday evenings, where we transform Batch into a store-meets-gallery of sorts and feature three artists of different mediums to set up mini shops. It’s the perfect way to get holiday gifts done and support locally. We often have special drinks for the evening and show a fun film too. You can find dates and artist information on our website or social media.
What motivates or inspires you?
Thinking ahead. I am not one to sit still, so I am always thinking about what can we do next, how can we make this experience better? I am constantly changing things in Batch from art to glassware to vintage findings, to create a really unique aesthetic experience. We are always rotating our cocktails, wines and craft beers and our artisan pizzas. They say if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but you can keep it lively and keep it fresh while sticking to the roots of your vision too. I often feel like we are a gallery of sorts that happens to just serve really good drinks.
Where can we find you for happy hour?
If I am not at my own bar, I am usually at Phat Thai or Marble Distillery. I love their rotating cocktails and creations, and both spaces have great ambiance and service. They also serve non spirit drinks so we can take our daughter. What’s your favorite place to grab a sweet treat? Most definitely SILO on Dolores Way. Lacy Hughes and her team make all pastries from scratch, and sometimes she has an amazing raspberry ricotta cake by the slice that is to die for. Her French toast is also heavenly.
What will surprise visitors the most about Carbondale?
How much we have going on. We have seen more tourists than ever in the last two summers, and I love when people walk in the door at Batch for the first time and are so surprised by the dynamics of it or by how eccentric our little mountain town is—tons of art, murals, great food, fun trails and unique people.
What are your favorite cultural activities?
I love checking out anything from Folklorico Ballet—their creative dances are always so fun to watch—or music at Steve’s Guitars. Anything the Carbondale Creative District is working on, which usually has many volunteer opportunities, and any special exhibits by the Carbondale Clay Center, Carbondale Arts and Powers Arts Center. You can usually always find something going on in Carbondale almost any night of the week. We are far from a boring, sleepy town.
Photography by: From top, photos courtesy of: Kevin Wenning/Unsplash, Brent Moss Photography, Sarah Overbeck, Adam Rineheart/Unsplash