Excellent journey weekend getaway in Telluride, Colorado

“This view is, like, killer,” I overheard a 20-something say to his companions throughout a current go to to Telluride. We had simply walked by one another on the principle road of this southwestern Colorado mountain city, wedged right into a field canyon. The group was wanting towards the vertiginous cliffs excessive above, the place Ingram Falls plunged over a notch within the rock; under the falls, a thread of water adopted a steep, diagonal runnel, glinting silver, like the dear steel miners as soon as sought right here.

The remark was an understatement. Surrounded by hovering peaks within the craggy San Juan Mountains, Telluride sits in an virtually impossibly lovely setting. I’ve been visiting often from my residence close to Aspen, Colorado, for nearly 30 years, and each time I drive the ultimate stretch into city, my breath catches when the lofty panorama bursts into view.

Well-known for its ski resort, Telluride attracts loads of summer time and fall guests, too. A season-long slate of weekend festivals ranges from bluegrass to blues, mushroom searching to basic automobiles. For a time, some locals even designated one July weekend because the “Nothing Pageant” to offer a break from the hectic schedule. Later this summer time the star-studded Telluride Movie Pageant celebrates its fiftieth anniversary (Aug. 31 to Sept. 4).

Particular programming apart, summer time and fall (by way of mid-October, when many companies shut down till Thanksgiving) are the time to find not simply Telluride’s stellar surroundings, however the mountain climbing and biking trails scribed throughout these hillsides. There’s additionally a flourishing arts scene and loads of independently owned retailers and galleries alongside Colorado Avenue, the principle thoroughfare.

Regardless of the distant location, attending to Telluride is less complicated than it could appear. All through the summer time, nonstop flights from 4 cities — Denver, Chicago, Houston and Dallas — arrive day by day on the Montrose Regional Airport, an hour and a half drive away by shuttle or rental automotive. Denver Air Connection additionally affords day by day flights from Phoenix and Denver to the small Telluride Airport, on a mesa above the city. You possibly can simply get by with out a automotive for a weekend. A number of hikes begin from city, and free bus service loops by way of the group. A gondola, additionally free, runs day by day till midnight between Telluride and the pedestrian-oriented middle of Mountain Village, a city partway up the ski space purpose-built for guests.

Transition and Custom

Like many mountain resort communities which have felt the impression of a pandemic-driven surge in residents and guests, exacerbated by hovering housing prices and the ensuing worker scarcity, Telluride emphasizes sustainable tourism lately. The first message you’ll see on-line and in customer guides: Be acutely aware not solely of your environmental footprint but in addition of your impression on the group.

Amid the adjustments, a few of the issues that embody Telluride’s tight-knit ethos stay the identical. For nearly 40 years, the beloved group radio station, KOTO, has been broadcasting native information and eclectic music from a lavender-hued Victorian. For practically the identical period of time, downtown’s legendary Free Field has drawn treasure hunters who browse among the many castoffs — books, clothes, housewares — left inside the worn wooden cubbies. Some even discover serviceable skis and different sports activities gear.

Victorians, a Waterfall and Tea

Acclimate to the altitude — Telluride sits at 8,750 toes — with a day spent exploring the city, which was designated a Nationwide Historic Landmark District greater than 60 years in the past for its significance as a late-Nineteenth-century mining hub.

Begin out with breakfast on the Butcher and the Baker. For those who’re not diverted by the pastries on the counter — selfmade pop tarts, cinnamon buns, scones — go for a hearty breakfast sandwich on a selfmade English muffin (from $11) or home granola with yogurt and fruit ($13). The restaurant operates its personal farm, which provides contemporary produce.

At solely 12 blocks lengthy by eight blocks huge, Telluride is eminently walkable. I like strolling by the meticulously saved Victorians, their candy-colored shingles and gingerbread trim intact due to stringent preservation and design pointers (inside, they’re usually sleekly trendy). They’re not only for present, both, as stand-up paddleboards saved below a porch, tenting trailers parked within the driveway or mountain bikes propped up outdoors mirror mountain-town actions — and lovely flowers bloom in all places.

Cease in on the Telluride Historic Museum ($9), housed in a former hospital, for extra perception in town’s previous; a brand new exhibition celebrates 50 years of festivals, beginning with the Telluride Bluegrass Pageant that takes place every June and attracts some 10,000 music aficionados.

For those who’re close to the north finish of Aspen Road, search for the quarter-of-a-mile steep path that results in Cornet Falls, an 80-foot-high cascade that plummets off a lip of red-hued sandstone right into a small pool. (Relying on water ranges, you might have to cross a small facet streamalong the way in which, so watch your footing.)

Again downtown, cease by the Stronghouse Brew Pub for Bavarian-style pretzels with beer-cheese dip ($13) and an elk jalapeño cheddar bratwurst ($11) amid a buzzy beer corridor vibe. The constructing’s stone partitions (inside and outside) give it a European farmhouse really feel, however the setting is definitely a renovated warehouse courting to 1892. Out of the 9 or so beers brewed on website, I sampled the petite saison ($8 for a pint), which was gentle and tart.

After lunch, stroll to the north finish of the block to peek into the Telluride Switch Warehouse, an arts middle within the making. The one-time hub for commerce and storage, in-built 1906, sat empty for nearly 40 years after the roof collapsed below heavy snow in 1979. Telluride Arts, a nonprofit group, purchased the constructing six years in the past and launched a fundraising marketing campaign to revive it as a efficiency and exhibition venue, with a placing design by the Seattle structure agency Olson Kundig.

Diagonally throughout the road, the longtime Ah Haa College for the Arts just lately reopened in a brand new constructing that features studios and exhibition area (closed on Sundays); among the many choices are an annual buildingwide immersive artwork set up that was simply accomplished and farmers market-to-table lunchtime cooking lessons on choose Fridays.

Head as much as Colorado Avenue to browse shops and galleries. Amongst them, Western Rise affords tech pants, shorts and merino T-shirts for males, designed by a husband-and-wife group who’ve an atelier within the again. Crossbow Leather-based focuses on domestically made baggage and equipment. Mixx Tasks has artisan jewellery, work, blended media artwork and furnishings. Jagged Edge Mountain Gear carries mountain climbing attire, footwear, backpacks and equipment. Telluride Arts has two adjoining gallery areas; one hosts rotating exhibits, whereas the opposite has a brand new long-term exhibition that focuses on Switch Warehouse’s historical past and art work impressed by the location. If it’s a Friday, wind down the afternoon with a gondola experience as much as Mountain Village for Music on the Inexperienced, a free weekly live performance collection (5 p.m. to 7 p.m., by way of Sept. 8) that spotlights Americana, roots and bluegrass performers.

Make your dinner reservation at Petite Maison, a jewel field of a restaurant opened final 12 months by the group behind the Nationwide, one other standard spot. The menu options basic French bistro fare like coq au vin, moules frites and steak tartare (entrees from $34). The nightly bar menu particular affords a cheaper choice.

Then amble again as much as Colorado Avenue and the Trip Lounge within the historic Roma constructing, which has welcomed live-music lovers since final summer time. Native bands jam within the unpretentious venue amid a gallery of images that includes musicians who’ve performed on the town, together with, on the bar’s namesake, the annual Trip Pageant.

Hikes, a Ghost City and Native Spirits

Reap the benefits of Telluride’s mountain setting with a morning journey: mountain climbing, going for a four-wheel-drive tour or tackling the through ferrata.

Earlier than heading out, cease by Baked in Telluride for espresso and raised doughnuts the dimensions of small plates ($2.80), foot-long maple bars ($3.30) or a bagel breakfast sandwich ($8). Take alongside a sandwich and possibly a sea salt darkish chocolate chip cookie ($2.95) to eat on the path.

Two half-day hikes begin on the town: From the highest of Aspen Road, the Jud Wiebe path loops for nearly 3 miles by way of discipline and forest above Telluride, with 1,200 toes of elevation achieve. The closely trafficked Bear Creek path begins on the south finish of Pine Road and follows an previous mining observe for somewhat greater than 2 miles to Bear Creek Falls, gaining some 1,000 toes.

A less-busy choice: the 2-mile Ridge path on the ski space. Trip the gondola from Telluride to the San Sophia Station. The view contains Lizard Head Peak (a particular vertical rock formation) and two 14,000-foot-plus-high mountains, Wilson Peak and Mount Wilson. Comply with the path indicators to hike downhill, detouring to soak up the chook’s-eye overlook of city. The route winds by way of aspen groves and meadows, ending in Mountain Village.

Telluride Exterior’s half-day, four-wheel-drive tour ($120 per particular person) up a highway to the highest of Imogene Cross is breathtaking each for the surroundings and the elevation (13,114 toes). It features a cease at Tomboy ghost city, the place gold miners eked out a hardscrabble life within the early 1900s, as vividly recounted in Harriet Fish Backus’ e book “Tomboy Bride.”

Telluride’s through ferrata was below the radar, however now three native information providers, together with Mountain Journey (from $189 per particular person), lead outings on it. Because of completely connected metal cables and rungs, you’ll be able to traverse this cliff face a number of hundred toes above the bottom — supplied you don’t worry heights. You’ll get a definite vantage of Bridal Veil Falls, Colorado’s highest free-flowing waterfall.

Publish-adventure, go for the summer time model of après-ski at a trio of spots round Mountain Village. On the bottom flooring of the Franz Klammer Lodge advanced, Telluride Distilling Firm serves up $5 mules, made with housemade ginger beer and vodka, and different moderately priced whiskey, gin and agave cocktails. Subsequent door, the Communion Wine Bar, which opened final summer time, has been getting enthusiastic opinions for its lesser-known wines by the glass. Telluride Brewing Firm pours its refreshing IPAs and different ales at a brewpub within the Lodge Madeline constructing (the brewery’s authentic faucet room simply west of Telluride stays a hub for locals who stream in after biking and kayaking.)

End up with an off-the-cuff dinner again in Telluride. La Cocina de Luz is my go-to for tamales and large burrito plates, accompanied by the requisite margarita (entrees from $22). Newer is the Wok of Pleasure, a Thai spot opened in 2021 by Pleasure Itthithepphana, who earned followers for her pad Thai and spicy curries whereas working a meals cart in Mountain Village. Now that devoted clientele packs the small eating space of this counter-service restaurant for these dishes and extra (entrees common $20).

The place to Keep

The Telluride space has no scarcity of luxe resorts, with the most important focus in Mountain Village. Final 12 months on the Madeline Lodge and Residences (rooms from $599), an Auberge Resorts Assortment property, the 155 rooms and suites had been redone in a contemporary chalet model. An emphasis on wellness contains meditation stools in each room, chlorophyll-enhanced water within the foyer and nightly turndown service with facilities like CBD lotion. The advanced additionally has a spa, out of doors pool, restaurant and cocktail lounge. Each afternoon at 4 p.m., Bryan Woody, the resort’s common supervisor, performs the alpenhorn throughout a complimentary Champagne toast, as his St. Bernard, Cheyenne, greets friends.

On the west facet of city, the Lodge Telluride (rooms from $369) is a dependable choice, with pleasant service and a relaxed vibe. The 59 rooms, all with balconies, are furnished in mountain lodge model, and the on-site restaurant serves breakfast and dinner. The resort is inside a couple of blocks of the business district and affords free shuttle service round city and cruiser bikes for mortgage.

When you have a automotive and a restricted price range, think about the Bivvi Hostel Telluride, open since 2020 in Placerville, about 16 miles down the valley. Personal and shared rooms, all with their very own bogs and continental breakfast included, begin at $55 per particular person in a dorm room.

This text initially appeared in The New York Occasions.

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