TELLURIDE

April 11, 2016


One of our favorite places on the globe is Telluride, Colorado.   It is a very unique place and the anticipation of another visit brings a BIG smile to everyone’s face.   For spring break this year, my wife, our oldest son, our oldest grandson and I made the trip.  Getting there is a task for the stout hearted due to the remote location but it is definitely worth the time, effort, and money.  As you can see from the map of Colorado below, Telluride is located in the southwest part of the state.  Telluride has an airport but we felt the best plan was to fly into Montrose, then rent a car.  This is due to frequent inclement weather and cloud cover.   The trip from Montrose to Telluride is a little over an hour so, basically one long commute.

Telluride Map

THE TOWN

Telluride is the county seat and the most populous town of San Miguel County in the southwestern portion of Colorado. It is a former silver mining camp located on the San Miguel River in the western part of the beautiful San Juan Mountains. The first gold mining claim was made in the mountains above Telluride in 1875 and early settlement of what is now Telluride followed. The town itself was founded in 1878 as “Columbia”, but due to confusion with a California town of the same name, was renamed Telluride in 1887, for the gold telluride minerals found in other parts of Colorado. These telluride minerals were never located near Telluride, causing the town to be named for a mineral which never was mined there. However, the area’s mines for some years provided zinc, lead, copper, silver, and gold ores.   The Telluride Historic District, which includes a significant portion of the town, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of Colorado’s twenty National Historic Landmarks. The town population was 2,325 in the 2010 United States Census, but during the winter ski season and the summer the population increases substantially due to tourism.

The first ski lift was installed by Telluride Ski Resort founder Joseph T. Zoline and the Telluride Ski Corporation (Telco). Zoline bought the land for the development of the future resort in 1969 and at that time began to profile the slopes. Along with his mountain manager, Telluride native Bill “Sr.” Mahoney, slowly and thoughtfully put together a plan for sustained development of Telluride and the region. As you can see from the JPEG below, the ski slopes are well defined with everything from “green” to double-black diamond.

Ski Slopes--Map

Beyond the ski lifts, Telluride is now widely recognized as an all-season resort. Telluride Ski Resort is definitely the main attraction in the winter.   When summer comes around, Telluride transforms into an outdoor recreation hot spot, with tourists visiting to enjoy mountain bikinghiking, river rafting, sightseeing and more.  My family and I have visited in the winter and the summer and both seasons offer a remarkable and diverse variety of entertainment.  You do not have to be a skier to enjoy Telluride.

What I would like to do now is give you a tour using digital pictures I took during our visit.  Let us start with a great picture of our son and his son.

Nick and Greg--Gondola

Greg is a skier and Nick is the snowboard champion.  They hit the slopes each day from 0900 hours to 1600 hours —did not miss a minute of the great weather.  It snowed just about every day with accumulation one day amounting to approximately six (6) inches.  From the map above, you can see they had their choice of slopes.

Lift 7

Lift seven is across the street from the condominium we rented for the week.  It is a chair lift.  A block away, is the gondola ride to the Mountain Village.  From there, you can take additional lifts to greater altitudes and slopes with increased difficulty.

DOWNTOWN TELLURIDE

As I mentioned earlier, Telluride is one of the most unique towns you can imagine.  No fast food, no bowling alleys, no video or gaming arcades.  There is a theater, and when we were there, the kids and their parents were lined up to see Zoolander.  The JPEG below shows the main street, Colorado Avenue.

Mainstreet

If it were not for running water, indoor plumbing and store lights, you would think Telluride is right out of the late 1800s.  It is a remarkably well-preserved frontier town and the permanent residents want to keep it that way.  It’s really laid back and certainly casual.

Telluride Downtown(5)

The most prominent landmark is the mountain just north of the town.  It certainly marks the location as you can see from the JPEG below.  A huge peak that stays snow-covered nine months of the year.

Telluride--Downtown(2)

 

The buildings are rustic but well-kept.  You can purchase everything from a Band-Aid to a complete set of ski equipment including the lift ticket, but as I mentioned, no McDonalds, no Hardees, no Sonic Drive-In.   The number of SUVs in the town must be fifty to one in comparison to regular automobiles.  The residents are equipped for the ten to twenty inches of snow frequently had during from late December to mid-February.

Telluride Mountains(2)

Telluride--Downtown

TYPICAL CONSTRUCTION

Typical House

Most houses and commercial establishments are frame-type with some brick found, but not that much in the downtown area.  You do find brick and stone in the high mountains around the Mountain Village complex.

We were there over Easter Sunday and attended the First Presbyterian Church of Telluride.  That church is shown below.  The membership is less than one hundred but the service was excellent.  The music was exceptional—really exceptional.  At the beginning of the service, the children are asked to gather around the bell rope.  They ring the bell signaling the beginning of services.  Ten o’clock sharp.

Presbyterian Church

We are now going from church to the Sheridan bar. Quite a leap but both are must-see when you visit Telluride.  The bar was initially designed for mine owners and high-level mine operators in the town.  The bar (and brothel) down the road was for the miners themselves.  Apparently they did not mix during after hours.  The bar is oak and mahogany and is huge.  The JPEG does not do it justice.  (Sorry about the lighting.  It’s very subdued. Hopefully you can get an idea as to the construction of the bar.)

Sherridan Bar--Telluride

Sherridan Bar--Telluride(4)

MOUNTAIN VILLAGE

When you take the gondola ride to the top of the mountain, the very first thing you see is “The Beach”.  This is the gathering point for all lifts going from the Village.   From the JPEGs to follow, you can see Mountain Village is an extremely modern collection of condos, restaurants, retail shops and other commercial establishments.  Not much in common with downtown Telluride with the exception of “tons of fun”.

The Beach

Mountain Village

As you can see, Mountain Village is extremely modern and caters to every personal need of the visitors vacationing in the facility.

Mountain Village(2)

 

One of the “coolest” places we found was the Black Iron Café.  This establishment serves gourmet meals to the hungry crowd seven days a week.  The fire pits are established to drive off the cold after hitting the slopes.

Black Iron Cafe

On the flip side, is the Diggety-Dog Café. It’s a hot dog place that’s over the top.  Greg and Nick met up with a home-town friend Duke Ritchie.  If you can see the menu, you will notice a sandwich called the heart attack.  (Stay away from that one.) Take a look.

Duke,Greg & Nick

RIDGEWAY AND QURAY

One morning we decided upon a field trip to the towns of Ridgeway and Quray.  Both are northeast of Telluride and about an hour’s drive.  Quray is noted for its natural hot springs.  You can tell when you are close; the steam coming off the springs is very discernible, especially when the air temperature is in the low thirties.   Both towns, as we will see below, are right out of the 1800s.

Rocky Mountains

As you can see from the digital photograph above, the scenery on the way is spectacular.  After leaving Main Street, most roads are dirt and gravel.

Ridgeway

True Grit Cafe

We discovered the movie True Grit was filmed in Ridgeway.  From that name came the True Grit Café. Notice they are now serving breakfast every Saturday and Sunday from 0900 hours till 1100 hundred hours.

Firehall

One very unique thing about the fire hall is the sophisticated telecommunications equipment behind the building.

Brewery--Ridgeway

Every town MUST have its own brewery and Ridgeway certainly does.

Quray(3)

As with Telluride, Ridgeway is tucked solidly in the mountains.

Quray(2)

Quray is much like Ridgeway as far as mountains and general topography.  Main Street is paved but most of the side roads are again dirt and gravel.

Quray(4)

Mule Deer

In driving from Ridgeway going back to Telluride, we stopped to say hello to one of the local residents.  We do NOT see many mule deer in downtown Chattanooga.

No Smoking

You have to love this one.  I think they mean it.

VIEW FROM THE DECK

The last night of our visit we were invited to dinner by a longtime resident of Telluride.  The following pictures were taken from their rear deck.  As you can see, the view is breath-taking.

Rocky Mountains(2)

We were told this mountain range is the most photographed range in the world.  It is shown on bottles of Coors Light Beer.

Backyard-Stewart House

Backyard-Stewart House(2)

I hope you enjoyed this post and certainly recommend you put Telluride, Colorado on your bucket list.  It is definitely worth the visit.

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