Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Valentine’s Shrine (Aspen Mountain)

The Valentine’s Shrine (also sometimes called the William Shakespeare Shrine or the Shakespeare Swing) is a wooden swing hung by rope and wires in the trees on Aspen Mountain.  The rope is red and white and the seat of the swing is also red and white.  There are red hearts carved in the wooden seat.  Also carved in the seat is a Shakespeare quote, "The course of true love never did run smooth," from A Midsummer Night's Dream (I, i, 134)

Plot summary:  Lysander and Hermia are in love in this whimsical tale of love and magic in the woods outside Athens. Hermia's father, however, insists that Hermia marry Demetrius, and goes to the Duke of Athens, Theseus, to complain that his daughter is disobedient, and to demand that Theseus invoke the law requiring a daughter to obey her father or else die, or enter a nunnery. Theseus tells Hermia that her father's authority over her is complete and absolute, and she must obey him in this regard. Once left alone, Lysander and Hermia ponder their situation, at which point Lysander reminds his beloved that true love is always beset with obstacles. He suggests that they elope the next night. The theme of true love not running smoothly (and the problems this brings) repeats again and again in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.


How now, my love! why is your cheek so pale?
How chance the roses there do fade so fast?

Belike for want of rain, which I could well
Between them from the tempest of my eyes.

Ah me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth:
But either it was different in blood,--


The trail leading to this shrine is marked with a wooden sign which says “Hyman Ave.” and that sign also has a red heart on it. 


A New York Times article of January 9, 2004 referred to this as the "Shakespeare Swing" and described it as "a painted two-person swing with better views than any presidential suite in town."  See:


Photos of the shrine are below.


If you have any photos of or information about this item that you would like to share for use on this page, please send to the author at [email protected].


This shrine is covered in the book, "Sanctuaries in the Snow--The Shrines and Memorials of Aspen/Snowmass."  The book may be purchased on this page on this site:



Click on images to enlarge.

Sanctuaries in the Snow

The Shrines of Aspen/Snowmass (Including Plaques, Memorials, Displays and miscellaneous items) All rights reserved. No part of this site may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the express written permission from the author. For any such permission contact [email protected]

  • David C. Wood
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