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Hidden gems in and around Telluride - an insider's guide!

22 Mar 2013
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Insider Knowledge

I was just reading “99 Gorgeous Places in Colorado”, recently published by Colorado.com. Flicking through the list really reminded me of how many amazing places their are to visit in this sunny state. There is so much to see and do that I never knew about. Suffice to say I have added some things to my bucket list…

When I visit a new place, I often wish I had some local ‘insider’ knowledge. There’s nothing worse than when you find the perfect coffee on your last day. Or you realize you ate just one block from the best breakfast place in town. I thought I would publish my list of “10 hidden gems of Telluride”, to help guide you to all the right spots when you visit our gorgeous mountain town. No more wandering aimlessly to find the best coffee, searching day after day for the best breakfast, bailing up strangers to find out where the best hiking trails. Of course, my picks are just one opinion, but after living here for five years, I think I’ve had enough practice testing things out. My selections are in no particular area. Let’s start with food/drink because this seems to be what most activities in my life revolve around.

1. Best breakfast – Telluride locals FLOCK to the Butcher & the Baker, a cafe serving fresh, local, organic meals run by two lovely, hard working local ladies, Megan Ossola (The Butcher) and Cinda Simons (The Baker). The B&B is conveniently located next door to our Telluride Rentals offices on Main Street. They are famous for their pain au chocolat, Cinda buns and the best fried chicken you ever did taste!

2. Best Latte – this is a tough one because I love my coffee. I am going to make this one a dead tie because I have 2 favorite’s. There is a coffee shop in the back of Between The Covers bookstore called High Alpine Coffee Bar. If you are extra lucky, Mariah will be working the machine and she makes the very best lattes, mochas and espresso milkshakes! The second place I love is the Coffee Cowboy on Main Street. Hard to ignore this option on a gorgeous summer’s day as it’s an outdoor space with tables and chairs. Perfect for people watching!

3. Best Cocktails – ‘There’ Bar on West Pacific Avenue. Hands down best cocktails in town. An extensive, creative cocktail menu. Don’t have more than 2 if you are trying to avoid a major headache the next day. Gain a new perspective on a childhood phobia by trying the fried brussell sprouts – delish!!!

4. Best short hike from town – again, a tough one! There are quite a few. But if you only have an hour or two to spare, I love the Bear Creek hike in summer. It has a very gentle, steady, 2 mile incline right out of town which is perfect if you are woking on your altitude adjustment. And you are rewarded with an exquisite waterfall vista at the top of the trail. Sit and bask in the spray of Bear Creek Falls before heading back to town.

5. Best day hike from town – an extension of the Bear Creek Trail is the Wasatch Trail. This is not for the faint hearted but if you are really looking to get up into the mountains straight from town, this is a wonderful day of hiking.

6. The Observatory at Alta Lakes and the Gold King Basin House – if you are really adventurous, spend a night in one of these back country hideaways. In winter you can hire a ski guide or snowmobile and in summer you can drive or hike to these spots.

7. Wiesbaden Hot Springs – if you want to take a day trip, there is a really special place in nearby Ouray, about 1 hours drive from Telluride. The Wiesbaden Hot Springs have an original vapor cave and soaking pool . The hot springs of the Wiesbaden have been flowing from the San Juan Mountains for thousands of years. The Ute Indians who settled here and other tribes who traveled for days to reach the Wiesbaden waters considered them sacred and deemed them “Miracle Waters” because of their curative powers. Still, today, the Wiesbaden springs are used for ceremonial purposes. After you soak, stop at the Adobe House Inn in Ridgeway for delicious, fresh Mexican food and margaritas!

8. Best Festival – ok, so this is obviously very personal, and I’m sure there would be a heated debate about this if I threw it out there for discussion. There are several very big name festivals here in Telluride including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride Blues & Brews, and the Telluride Film Festival. My personal favorite is MountainFilm which is the maiden festival of each summer in late May. Living in the mountains and being a nature lover, I really appreciate the purpose that this festival serves. It is hugely inspirational and educational and definitely gives me a push to be a better human being each year.

9. Best fine dining restaurant – I lived here for 3 years before I ever went to La Marmotte. Not sure what I was doing before but since I first dined there 2 years ago I have never looked back. This French restaurant is so European you could be mistaken for thinking you were in the Alps. The food is sensational, the service is excellent and unpretentious.

10. Little Hawaii – if you can find it. That is all I will say.