How Are We Kicking the Quarantine Blues?
Everyone has had various ways of coping and keeping busy while sheltering in place over the past two months. Maybe you need some additional inspiration or perhaps you’re just curious about what others have been up to. Here are a few things that the editors of Aspen Sojourner, Park City, and Vail–Beaver Creek magazines—sister publications—have been doing during this unprecedented spring in the mountains.
How Does Your Garden Grow?
Usually I’m too busy putting together our summer issue in April and May and getting ready for a summer full of events to think much about gardening, which includes reading up on ways in which to keep turning my black thumb a little greener. But this spring I’ve actually had time to think ahead and—in a first for me—start plants indoors from seed, getting a jump on veggies and herbs while the nights were still frosty. My son and I planted pots of basil, cilantro, and dill and placed them on the windowsill above our sink. Next up were peppers, beets, and green beans, which we sowed in empty egg cartons. Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll transfer the starters into raised garden beds and plant other seeds outside—lettuce, carrots, spinach, corn—as well as some of these. I’ll also eventually venture out to the local garden centers to buy hanging baskets and annuals. But for now, seeing the tiny leaves sprout through the soil and grow, tilting en masse toward the sun, has given me hope, a reminder that life continues in this very uncertain time. —Cindy Hirschfeld, editor-in-chief, Aspen Sojourner
Yoga, Picnics, and Screen Escapes
The secret to my sanity during socially distant times (other than coffee and wine) is two-pronged: YouTubing Tara Stiles’ seven-minute morning yoga and setting off on weekly picnic adventures with my three kids. The first ensures that I don’t pull a hammy while playing an inevitable game of tag-hide-and-seek (it’s a thing), and the latter not only keeps everyone occupied, exercised, and entertained but also banishes omnipresent screens for a solid couple of hours. The dog prefers the hike-to-picnics, like “summiting” the PC Hill, while the kindergartener digs the bike-to-picnics on the paved trails to Park City’s iconic White Barn. And “picnic” is a loose term. Usually the kids and I hastily throw goldfish, PB&Js, orange slices, and cookies into my pack; occasionally we score some sourdough starter and step it up to crusty bread topped with mascarpone and jam. The best part is that the kids lose themselves in old-school play—the kind we all used to have. It’s fun, plain and simple. —Jane Gendron, editor-in-chief, Park City
Spirit of Adventure
Before the pandemic, I wasn’t much of a bourbon drinker. But after a particularly long week in quarantine, on a whim (and on the advice of a friend who’s a self-avowed “booze pro”), I bought the last bottle of Jefferson’s Ocean on the shelf at my local purveyor (Riverwalk Wine & Spirits, riverwalkwineandspirits.com; $80; also available at reservebar.com; $85). Nearly double the price and several thousand miles ahead of the brand’s entry-level, small-batch Kentucky bourbon, Jefferson’s Ocean comes with an actual pedigree: a little folded card bungeed to the bottle’s neck. Mine read, “Voyage 17: Ship’s Log.” You see, that hefty surcharge reflects not just the quality of the spirits within, but the fact that the bottle’s contents literally sailed around the world while aging.
As an experiment to see what would happen if he cast his bourbon to sea, distillery founder Trey Zoeller (the son of a bourbon historian and descended from a family whose matriarch was arrested in 1799 for the “production and sales of spirituous liquors”) loaded three barrels onto a friend’s oceangoing research vessel. When the ship returned to port weeks later, Zoeller discovered that the cumulative effects of the thrumming of diesel engines, the rolling of the seas, the fluctuations in temperature, and the salt air finished a bourbon like no other, imparting a caramel hue and flavor reminiscent of rum, along with a briny hint of Islay Scotch. Now Jefferson’s sends thousands of bottles on round-trip voyages aboard commercial freighters, each batch typically transiting the equator four times—visiting five continents and more than 30 ports of call.
According to my bottle’s manifest, gleaned from the actual ship’s log, “Voyage 17 was smooth sailing from start to finish.” Temperatures never dropped below freezing and hovered in the mid-80s for most of the trip, without so much as a single storm, not even in the notoriously tempestuous China Sea during typhoon season. But as the ship steamed back to North America, the officer on watch spotted something odd: hundreds of rubber ducks bobbing on the waves, toys that had been disgorged from a container that months earlier broke loose from another ship during a tropical cyclone off the coast of Japan, “bringing all hands on deck to see the spectacle and have a good laugh! This smooth journey resulted in an exceptionally smooth bourbon.”
To that I can attest.
After eight weeks of quarantine, at the end of each long day, I drop a single square cube into the crystal tumbler I purchased in November at the Yamazaki distillery in Osaka and, vicariously through my bourbon, travel to another place in time. —Ted Katauskas, editor-in-chief, Vail-Beaver Creek
Revisiting Big-Screen Classics, Popcorn and All
On the veg-out and escape front, we’ve dipped into good ol’ mindless flicks from the 1980s and early ’90s. Nothing highbrow. We’re talking John Candy classics like Uncle Buck and The Great Outdoors. The winners in our living room so far: Brewster’s Millions, The Three Amigos, and Crocodile Dundee. We tee up movie night with ample supplies of popcorn and cozy blankets. Occasionally, we treat ourselves to curbside pick-up from a local eatery for a pre-movie dinner. Quick confession: I might have snuck off to another room to binge-watch Suits (yes, Princess Markle, I’m a laggard) when the Raiders of the Lost Ark series hit our TV. Can you blame me? —J.G.
The Best Quarantine Shoes Ever
I already had a soft spot for my Glerups slippers. These Danish-made felted wool booties are cozy, versatile (thanks to a non-slip natural rubber sole), and durable. So durable, as it turns out. I’ve been wearing them every single day since starting to shelter at home mid-March, and they still look as if they just came out of the box (I’ve actually owned them for a couple of years, but never have they been in such regular daily rotation.) The felt hasn't pilled, and, believe it or not, they don’t smell (no small feat given my, um, relaxed quarantine shower schedule). Now that spring temps have been inching up the thermometer, I thought I might have to switch out my beloved footwear—for more mundane flip-flops, perhaps—but the wool is breathable and my feet have stayed comfortable. I have the Glerups boot; the shoes also come in two other, lower-cut styles for women, men, and kids. At a price range of $76–$155, they’re an investment, sure, but these days, a basic that you can count on has another infinite value.—C.H.