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Meet MP’s 2021 Basalt Staycation host



Father of three
Executive Director
The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW)




I have to confess that my wife, Amy, and I have been pretty terrible over the years about date nights (even before we had three kids). Having built a life in the theater business together, we’ve been fortunate to get invitations to lots of openings, galas, and other fun shindigs over the years. However, there is always a bit of work going on at these events so we don’t really count them as date nights. Amy and I view this as a chance to articulate a week of awesome midvalley dates that we should actually do. And by committing them to the written word, we may actually end up enjoying some of them.

6:00 PM

What about sending the stresses of the workday downriver? Head to one of the public-access spots along the Frying Pan River. But first, stop at BLT Taqueria for a BLT Salad and their Shrimp Po’Boy. Next door at Jimbo’s Liquors, Gonzo will help you choose a bottle of vino to match your mood and the menu. Both are located off of Midland Avenue in Basalt Center.

Before 5:00 PM

If you’re blessed enough to get a weekday hall pass  for two in time to leave the office for a one-hour Float Therapy session at Fahrenheit Spa, go for it. A full-body soak in warm water and epsom salt with your tunes plugged into a private sound system – yes, please. Afterward, we’ll swing by Holly Ann to buy Amy something fun before our dinner reservations at Ocean.

5:00-8:00 PM

Keep Wednesday Night Live in mind for your mid-week planning. This ongoing series kicks off on June 23 and runs through August. It features buskers (street performers) ranging from musicians, poets, comedians, magicians, circus shows, theater artists, kid performers, and whatever curious acts TACAW can pull off the streets of Colorado. Performers will be scattered throughout downtown Basalt and Willits town center. So walk around, follow the music. You never know where it will take you or what you might find. 

If the music takes you to Basalt, be sure to stop by Heirlooms for ice cream before 6:00 PM. Dessert first, then later, try Mod’s Thai House for a crispy Duck Spring Roll, Mieng Tuna, or Laarb Tofu.

Or, if you end up in Willits, it’s El Korita for dinner. Family-owned, authentic Mexican food with all the classics. Well-known for Augachil Ceviche and generous margaritas. We like the Skinny Marg made with all fresh-squeezed juices.

5:30 PM

When the day starts to cool down, start with a couple of laps at Crown Mountain Park. Walk the one-mile loop around the complex of ball fields and other rec amenities. Take a detour along any of several nature paths that go down to the river.  Or, check out the nationally-renowned bike park that features the kinds of jumps and banks we dreamed of as kids. Just be aware before you drop in that there will likely be an eight-year-old who can out-pace you. 

You cannot go wrong at Thai House Co. & Sushi. Look for multi-course, themed pop-up chef events. And be sure to try the Shiitake Sea Bass.

Sometimes you’ve just gotta make it a big night and go for Karaoke and a few frames at Bowlski’s in El Jebel.

6:00 PM

Visit the tasting room at Woody Creek Distillers, which is only open from 3:00 – 7:00 PM. The beautiful tasting room on Sunset Drive is a destination in itself. Rye, Bourbon, Vodka, and Gin poured how you like it. If you’re up for something unusual, try the Bacon Old Fashioned.

Then we’ll head to Midland Avenue in Basalt and walk around downtown to see what’s happening. There is always a Western artist on exhibit at the Ann Korologos Gallery.  

The Art Base’s new  facility will be hub of activity, often with events and visiting artists on Fridays. 

We’ll meander until time for dinner at Free Range. Seasonal favorite: Pork Belly and Watermelon. Gluten-free, crispy pork belly with lime-compressed watermelon,  mint, cilantro, sweet tamari, and pop rocks. (Yep, those candies that sizzle in your mouth. Trust me, it works.) 

8:00 PM

Plan a sunset hike up a short, but fairly steep and rocky Nancy’s Path for great western views of the midvalley area. This 1.6-mile out-and-back is popular with trail runners. Get there by taking Emma Road to the bend at Happy Days Ranch. Turn left onto a private, dirt drive. Just behind a red-roofed barn, you’ll find a small parking area and the trailhead. Bring headlamps if you plan to watch the sunset.

Now, head to Willits to The Contemporary for live music on the lawn. Starting July 3, TACAW will present live music, dance, and theater in an outdoor performance space every Saturday at 7:00 PM. Performers will include some of Denver’s best acts as well as touring artists from around the country. Bring a blanket or chair and sip on hand-crafted cocktails from TACAW’s backyard bar.

9:30 AM

Technically speaking, this isn’t a date for Amy because she teaches a Barre class at TAC Fitness on Sunday mornings. Afterwards, we can plan a brunch date at the Weinerstube for the Willits White Omelette.


The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW)

Basalt Chamber


Aspen: Summer Berg
Snowmass: Carlie Umbarger
Carbondale: Aly Sanguily
Redstone & Marble: Oriana Rebecca Bier-Moebius
Glenwood Springs: Michelle & Jason Smith

About Ryan Honey

Father of three children and Executive Director of The Arts Campus at Willits (TACAW), a performing arts nonprofit that creates exceptional experiences at The Contemporary in Basalt. Before starting a career in arts administration, Ryan worked as an actor and producer in Los Angeles. Now, he and his wife Amy try to find time for everything, from work to kids’ activities, and even, occasionally, date night.