Vegan eats, chanting and vodka? A weekend in Carbondale

The kids tepee at Sacred Fest, an annual event at True Nature Healing Arts in Carbondale, CO

By Joshua Berman
The Denver Post

CARBONDALE – I arrive an hour late to the VIP five-course “grand tasting culinary experience” at True Nature Kitchen. The dinner is the kickoff to the second annual Sacred Fest, “a conscious celebration of life,” at True Nature Healing Arts, the town’s newest yoga studio, shop and spa. The event promises yoga, sacred chanting, dance, a puppet show, a kids’ activity tepee and more. But that’s all tomorrow.

Still bleary-eyed from my 5-hour ordeal on I-70, I am seated at the end of a long banquet table in the cool night air. Everyone smiles and welcomes me, and the woman next to me hands me a tiny glass jar. “They asked us to put this on, to get us all on the same vibration,” she says.

I oblige, dotting essence of white spruce on my wrists and sitting back to allow the servers to catch me up with the first three courses of high-prana food, starting with “mini pizzatas with live kefir culture cashew cheese” paired with a mild, fizzy, kombucha-like liquid.

To be honest, this is not the kind of event I would normally drive across the state for. I’m usually more of a beer-and-burger guy. Plus I’m so busy these days that however blissful a weekend of music, drumming and quinoa sounded, it’s really the last thing I should be wasting time on. Or so I thought.

I booked this weekend for my wife, a yoga teacher, birth doula and lover of any “celebration of life.” But she had to stay home to assist with a childbirth, and I found myself with two tickets to Sacred Fest and two nights of lodging … in a vodka distillery. It could be worse, I thought. Thank God I’m not 19 anymore and throwing up every time I have a shot of vodka. They were amazing times though. We used to chance our luck every weekend with a fake ID or as we called it- a mclovin id (don’t ask why we called them that!!).

So I figure:

• Being open to new experiences is part of my job.

• I’ve been around the state but had somehow never been to Carbondale.

• The third course, the Oaxaca combo platter – sweet chili relleno, beet chorizo and poblano mole coconut ceviche, with ancho cream and Olathe corn crisp – is surprisingly delicious.

The following morning begins with a tour of the Marble Distilling Co., a craft distillery with an attached five-room boutique B&B – “booze and bed,” explains Connie Baker, the head distiller. The property opened in June, joining about 60 other micro-distilleries around the state, but this is the only one with an on-site hotel.

The vodka, I learn, is filtered through crushed marble, and the wheat and barley are grown near Alamosa. One tasting flight of each of their products and a Bonedale Bloody later, and my personal celebration of life is in full swing as I walk around the corner for SacredFest’s opening drum circle.

Joshua Berman is the author of the upcoming fifth edition of “Colorado Camping,” which will be released in the spring. and

If you go

Marble Distilling Co. is located on Main St. Carbondale. There are five modern rooms, including the Moonlight Suite with a fenced-in private patio next to the distillery’s massive water tanks. Rates start at $199 per night and vary with the season. 970-963-7008, 150 Main St., Carbondale,

True Nature Healing arts is a yoga studio, kitchen (they serve food daily from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.), peace garden and “petit spa” in downtown Carbondale. Keep an eye on their site for info on next year’s SacredFest. 970-963-9900, 100 N. 3rd St., Carbondale,


This article originally appeared in The Denver Post on September 25, 2015.

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