Wall Street Journal
An estate near Aspen, Colo., that served as the longtime vacation home of Sen. Dianne Feinstein and her late husband Richard Blum is coming on the market for $29.9 million, according to the listing agent.
The listing follows Mr. Blum’s death in February at age 86. Known as Bear Paw Ranch, the roughly 36-acre property is located just outside downtown Aspen. It is owned by a family trust whose beneficiaries are Mr. Blum’s three daughters from a previous marriage, according to Michael Klein, the executor of Mr. Blum’s estate and a longtime friend of the family. Sen. Feinstein’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Records show a trust led by Mr. Blum paid $1.975 million for the land in 1996. Mr. Blum and Ms. Feinstein were married in 1980, when she was mayor of San Francisco, and Mr. Klein said the couple had stayed at his home in Aspen for a few years before deciding to build their own. The home was completed in 1998, Mr. Klein said.
included many foreign-policy experts, said Mr. Klein. An annual gathering of the Aspen Strategy Group, a policy program of the Aspen Institute, often concluded with Sen. Feinstein and the late Madeleine Albright leading the group singing cowboy songs, he said. Mr. Blum spent a few weeks in Aspen every year during the summer and ski seasons; Sen. Feinstein spent less time there in the later years, he said.
Views from Bear Paw Ranch span the Woody Creek Valley toward the Continental Divide as well as the Elk Mountain Range, according to listing agent Carrie Wells of Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. The home is built in traditional mountain style, with log and stone detailing, antler chandeliers and beamed ceilings. The main house spans about 8,850 square feet with five bedrooms and two home offices, each with its own separate entrance, according to Ms. Wells. A log-paneled living room has a large stone fireplace and custom shelving that showcases a collection of books and sculptural pieces.
The property also includes a pool and spa with views over the Woody Creek Valley, a two-bedroom guesthouse with an office and gym, and a caretaker’s quarters.
Mr. Blum founded the San Francisco investment firm Blum Capital Partners in 1975, and was chairman emeritus of the University of California Board of Regents. Mr. Klein said Mr. Blum was drawn to Aspen in part because of his interest in mountain climbing. A close friend of the New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary, Mr. Blum was a participant in the first American attempt to summit the eastern face of Mount Everest, according to Mr. Klein.
“I remember we went hiking once in Bhutan and the bottom of this sneaker fell off during a three-day walk,” Mr. Klein said. “And he just kept on walking: flap, flap, flap.”
Mr. Blum skied in Aspen until close to the end of his life, despite health problems, Mr. Klein said.
Mr. Blum also had a strong interest in Tibetan Buddhism, according to Mr. Klein, who said he was a personal friend of the Dalai Lama and an advocate for the Himalayas through his American Himalayan Foundation. There was a Tibetan monastery down the road from Bear Paw Ranch.
Mr. Blum had filled the home with Tibetan and Nepali Buddhist artifacts, Mr. Klein said. At the entrance to the property, there is a Tibetan prayer wheel powered by a stream.
Mr. Blum and Sen. Feinstein shared several other homes across the country, most of which will remain Sen. Feinstein’s, Mr. Klein said.
The Aspen market shows little signs of slowing amid a boom that started near the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, Ms. Wells said.
By: Katherine Clarke I The Wall Street Journal I July 2022