Eating outside with friends during Aspen’s early days was so popular that during the late 1800s and early 1900s local newspapers reported on the different groups heading into nature to eat, drink and recreate during the summer months. These outings were referred to as “picnic parties.”
Among those noted were church organizations including Catholics, Methodists and Christian Scientists. The Fraternal Order of Eagles was known to picnic, along with the Order of the Sons of Hermann. Miss Mae Robinson reportedly took her dancing class to dine al fresco near Pierson’s Grove on Maroon Creek in 1908, an affair that lasted until 7:30 p.m. with “music, games, singing and an elaborate spread.”
On another occasion, members of the Smuggler Tin Band drove up Maroon Creek, built a bonfire and enjoyed themselves while “the good wives vied with each other in preparing the spread.” It was the “time of their lives,” according to the Aspen Democrat Times.
In 1908, 20 Aspen High School graduates trekked up Hunter Creek to fish, drink coffee and eat beefsteak. But perhaps the most amusing anecdote came in 1907, with the headline “A Jolly Picnic Party.” A group of nine women and their children headed out for a Sunday picnic and a “most enjoyable time was had, owing largely to the absence of ‘men’ critters.”
Edible Traditions is produced by the Aspen Historical Society. For access to the full online archives, including more than 10,000 historic images, visit AspenHistory.org or call 970.925.3721.