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Where Old West Charm Meets Modern Adventure

By Jody HolmanPublished 2 months ago 5 min read
Telluride, CO, photo by Holman Photography

Nestled in a remote valley of the jagged San Juan Mountains in Colorado, Telluride draws visitors from around the world with its blend of old Western charm, vibrant contemporary culture, and breathtaking scenery. Originally a mining town, Telluride boomed in the late 19th century with the discovery of gold, silver, and, you guessed it, Tellurium. It was in Telluride that Butch Cassidy and his gang robbed one of their first banks. Telluride played a huge role in the creation of the Labor Movement with its mining worker strikes in the early 1900’s. And it became one of the first towns in the world to have commercial alternating current electricity thanks to Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.

Post Office, photo by Holman Photography

In the last number of decades, as the mining industry waned, Telluride reinvented itself as a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and cultural connoisseurs. While, recently especially, Telluride grapples with the specter of exclusivity, private jets and multi-million-dollar homes, it remains a place to celebrate artistry, from music and film to food and wine. It hosts renowned festivals such as the Telluride Film Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. (If you are planning a visit during these times, be sure to book accommodations well in advance.)

Below are a few places to visit should you get the chance to experience this stunning place. Viewfinder travel will help you plan your ideal itinerary:


· Be sure to stop by Mixx Atelier and Mixx Projects for a dose of artistic inspiration. (I spent an hour perusing and could not resist the temptation to leave with a basket of gifts and art that now adorns my own walls.). Owned and curated by the visionary Pia Gedeon, who has a keen eye for artistic talent, these twin galleries serve as crucibles of artistic expression for the town.

The Atelier hangs works by local and international artists, and the Projects space offers a curated selection of artisanal crafts, jewelry, and home decor. Both establishments embody Pia’s dedication to showcasing diverse and thought-provoking artwork while fostering a sense of belonging within the community. The gallery and Atelier have become integral pillars of Telluride's cultural identity, enriching the lives of residents and visitors alike, regularly hosting events that foster connection and collaboration. Mentioned in esteemed publications such as The New York Times, Pia’s efforts have been lauded for their impact on both the local arts scene and the wider community.

Mixx Atelier, Photo by Holman Photography

Telluride History Museum

· A visit to the Telluride History Museum is a must. Housed in a historic building that once served as a hospital, this fascinating museum offers exhibits on the town's mining heritage, its vibrant arts scene, and its role in the development of the American West.

Telluride Cemetery, photo by Holman Photography

Telluride cemetery

· At the end of town lies a somber reminder of Telluride's past—the cemetery. Here, weathered gravestones bear witness to lives cut short. I was particularly touched by the occasional headstone that described the method of death, including one who perished saving his comrades in a collapsing mine.


· After working up an appetite on the trails, head over to The Butcher and The Baker for a taste of locally sourced cuisine. Housed in a cozy, rustic-chic space, this bustling eatery serves up delicious sandwiches, salads, and pastries made with ingredients from nearby farms. Take a seat at the communal table or grab a spot by the fireplace and savor the flavors of Telluride.

· If you have a sweet tooth, be sure to stop by Baked in Telluride for a treat. This charming bakery is a local institution, known for its selection of cakes, cookies, and pies. From classic chocolate chip cookies to decadent cinnamon rolls, prepare for a calorie overload.

· For a taste of Telluride's vibrant nightlife, look no further than The National. This laid-back bar welcomes visitors with exposed brick walls, vintage decor, and live music performances. Pull up a stool at the bar and sample their creative cocktails crafted with locally distilled spirits, or head out to the rooftop patio for stunning views of the surrounding mountains.

La Petite Maison restaurant

· For a taste of French-inspired cuisine, make a reservation at the cozy Petite Maison. This intimate restaurant exudes elegance, with its soft lighting, plush seating, and delicate floral arrangements. Indulge in dishes like savory crepes filled with gruyere and ham, or tender roasted duck breast with cherry compote.

· For craft beer enthusiasts, the Stronghouse Brewpub will be a draw. Located in a historic building dating back to the mining era, this brewery offers a rotating selection of handcrafted beers, brewed on-site using traditional methods. Pull up a chair in the taproom or soak up the sunshine on the outdoor patio as you sample their delicious brews.

· For a fine dining experience, head to 221 South Oak. This upscale restaurant is housed in a historic building dating back to the late 1800s, with elegant decor and a warm, inviting atmosphere. Dishes include seared scallops with cauliflower puree and truffle oil, or grilled elk loin with huckleberry demi-glace.Best Travel planner, travel advisor, travel agent, viewfinder travel, fora travel advisor, , travel recommendations, telluride travel, Colorado travel planning, where to go in telluride


· For a luxurious stay, consider booking a room at the historic New Sheridan Hotel, located in the heart of downtown Telluride. With its elegant decor, impeccable service, and stunning mountain views, it's the perfect home base for exploring all that Telluride has to offer.

· Hotel Telluride is a charming boutique hotel offering a blend of rustic elegance and modern comforts with stunning mountain views.

· For those seeking a more secluded retreat, the Mountain Lodge Telluride offers cozy cabins and spacious suites nestled in the tranquil beauty of the surrounding mountains. With its ski-in, ski-out access and luxurious amenities, it's the perfect choice for a relaxing mountain getaway.

· For those looking to hit the slopes, the Madeline Hotel and Residences, located in the Mountain Village, offers luxurious accommodations and easy access to the Telluride Ski Resort. With its heated outdoor pool, hot tubs, and ski valet service, it's the ultimate ski-in, ski-out destination for winter sports enthusiasts.


From the Falls, Holman Photography

Bridal Veil Falls

· Beyond its artistic enclaves, Telluride offers lush, wooded hikes with sweeping views in the summer. A hike to Bridal Veil Falls reveals not just cascading waters of one of the tallest falls in Colorado, but also an enigmatic house atop, owned by an eccentric recluse. The trail winds along a river, over rugged rocks, and under craggy peaks.

Telluride Valley

· Bear Creek Trail is a scenic path which winds its way through towering pine forests and alongside babbling brooks, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Whether you are an avid hiker or simply seeking a peaceful escape into nature, Bear Creek Trail is an easy hike which will leave you rejuvenated.

· No visit to Telluride is complete without a ride on the iconic gondola. This free transportation system connects the town of Telluride with the nearby Mountain Village, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys along the way.

· If you are driving into town, take an extra five minutes to drive up to the airport- I guarantee one of the most interesting runways you will ever see.

For more travel itineraries, recommendations, or help planning a trip visit Viewfinder Travel.

Telluride in summer, Mixx Atelier, photo by Holman Photography

Copyright ©2024 Holman Photography LLC and Viewfinder Travel

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About the Creator

Jody Holman

Wanderluster, wine drinker, pro photographer and travel designer. NorCal boutique studio for weddings and portraits, but I love to discover new corners to write about, shoot, and share through creation of unique itineraries.

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    Jody HolmanWritten by Jody Holman

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