Telluride is an absolutely beautiful small town nestled in the the heart of the San Juan mountains. The area has an incredibly rich mining history and was once a crucible of the wild west spirit. Admittedly, I don’t know the history of Telluride all that well, but Butch Cassidy’s first bank robbery is said to have occurred in Telluride in 1889. Thomas Pynchon’s opus novel Against the Day transports readers back to turn of the 20th-century Telluride’s literally explosive mining labor disputes. Then again one of the central characters of this section of the novel is an anarchist named Webb Traverse; so my imagination of what Telluride was like is probably just a bit skewed. Hyperbole aside, the mining days of Telluride were precariously hardknock and savage.
Well, Telluride still possesses a distinct spirit of adventure and remnants of the mining history remain. Although, it is hard to imagine the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman, Emma Stone, and Melissa McCarthy coming to visit back in the day! All of these actors (and many more) were scheduled to appear at the Telluride Film Festival which was being prepared for on our visit. As we enjoyed our breakfast street-side at The Butcher & The Baker (highly recommended!), trucks rolled into town to set up booths and get ready. Telluride seems to have a different festival every weekend during the summer as well: bluegrass, wine, comedy, jazz, mushroom, yoga, etc..
Regardless of if you are there during a festival or not, you will find plenty to keep you busy between the shops, restaurants, scenic gondola ride, skiing, and hiking. In fact, we regretted not having more time to just hang around Telluride during our trip. Although, I’m not sure how I would have felt about the influx of thousands more people into town for the film festival if we stayed a few more days. We enjoyed the quaint and quiet of Telluride without the flashbulbs.
Honestly, I’m not sure how we ended up with so few pictures of town; maybe we were too busying eating and trying every coffee shop in town! By the way, the Coffee Cowboy was our favorite by far! http://www.thecoffeecowboy.com/
The next day, we hiked up the road to Bridal Veil Falls (see my next post) and rode up the free gondola for some great views. FYI, there is a large parking lot in the Mountain Village so you can ride into town to avoid the issue with limited parking in Telluride. Most of the streets are permit parking or seemed to be limited to 3-hr pay parking. Our hotel had given us a permit which was nice. The views of the area from the gondola ride were great, but we found the Mountain Village itself to be underwhelming. The village was nice with lots of hotels, bars, and restaurants; but it also looked very similar to the villages around Vail or Keystone. Don’t get me wrong, those villages are very nice and I’ve enjoyed them, but the Telluride Mountain Village lacked the unique character we felt downtown.