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Dallas Morning News: "Every day's a holiday in Telluride"



By Joanna Walters

Special Contributor

April 27, 2012


TELLURIDE, Colo. — Surely only a quirky mountain town like Telluride could have so many festivals crammed into the summer that on a rare weekend without official events, it’s declared the Nothing Festival. The Nothing Festival is scheduled at the last minute and chiefly involves eating, drinking, hiking and biking opportunities — of which there’s no shortage.


With spectacular peaks all around, a giant waterfall, rich mining history and beautifully preserved Victorian houses, you might think Telluride doesn’t need festivals to draw crowds. But this is Colorado, and when it comes to scenic hills and historic towns, there’s a bit of competition.

Telluride is tucked away in a remote box canyon that’s not on the way to anywhere. So when the last skiers depart and the trout streams swell again, Telluride gets its party on.

The summer calendar is bookended with two film festivals. The famous one that now lands A-listers and major premieres occurs in late August. The more independent, earnest festival is Mountain Film, known for showcasing inspiring documentaries, on Memorial Day weekend.

“It kicks off summer, though the weather doesn’t always cooperate. Sometimes it’s gorgeous and sometimes it’s snowing,” said Kiera Skinner of the Telluride Tourism Board.

A busy summer

The lively Bluegrass Festival on the third weekend of June definitely signals summer, especially because the gondola reopens. The gondola takes people — and any mountain bikes — on an exhilarating free ride up for breathtaking hiking and biking.

Mountain Village settlement, 13 minutes up by gondola, lacks Telluride’s charm but boasts quality hotelsand eateries and is a good perch for high-altitude adventurers.

Back down in Telluride, July means a boisterous Independence Day and festivals of art, playwriting, music and yoga, while August brings more music and pro cycling.

“August is also when wildflowers bloom and the asters, columbine and lupines are wonderful,” said local Ashley Boling. Boling leads walking tours around town, describing the mining history and the site of Butch Cassidy’s first bank heist, four years before he teamed with the Sundance Kid.

“His friends called him crazy, robbing a bank in a dead-end canyon with one road out, but he pulled it off,” Boling said.

A stroll into the red-rock canyon takes visitors past the brightly painted old houses to the remains of the silver mine that created boomtown Telluride around 1900. Beyond lies the towering cascade of Bridal Veil Falls at valley’s end.

There are few chain brands on Main Street. Independent eateries rule, from the New Sheridan Hotel’s Chop House to Butcher & Baker Cafe, which has scrumptious soups, sandwiches and cakes. The cafe catered the wedding at Ralph Lauren’s nearby ranch last summer of his son, David, to Lauren Bush, niece of George W.

Summer evenings cool down at altitude — time to hit the hostelries, the hot tub or maybe some hot springs.

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