Top 10: Colorado Mountain Towns

One of the reasons I moved to Colorado was for the mountains. The well-known saying is true:  “you move to Colorado to ski in the winter but stayed here for the summers.” These are my top ten Colorado mountain towns. Whether it is hitting the slopes in the winter or hiking in the summer, these towns make you fall in love with the outdoors. I feel so lucky to live in a state with sooooo much to do and so many places to explore.

1. TELLURIDE

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Having lived in Colorado for almost 17 years now, Telluride is at the top of my list of favorite mountain towns . It is completely worth the 6 1/2 hour drive from Denver to this magically place.

Telluride is tucked into a box canyon, surrounded on all three sides by 14,000-foot peaks making this mountain town one of the prettiest in Colorado. The town of Telluride is just eight blocks wide and twelve blocks long. The core area of Telluride was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1964. This listing is the highest level of historic status available from the United States Secretary of the Interior. With its colorful Victorian-era homes, clapboard storefronts, boutiques, art galleries, gourmet restaurants, historic buildings, Telluride was a joy to explore. I have fallen head-over-heels in love with Telluride’s small-town mountain lifestyle.

You get 2-for-1 deal in Telluride. There are TWO towns in Telluride. The historic “downtown” and the Mountain Village. Mountain Village is perched above the valley floor at 9,500 feet, providing access to the Telluride Ski Resort and Uncompahgre National Forest. The Town of Mountain Village was founded in 1987 and includes approximately 2,100 acres of rolling aspen and spruce-covered mountainside. This is more of the “resort” where all the luxury hotels call home in Telluride. This European-style village tempts guests with the best of everything in the Telluride region.

Check out our recent feature on a Girls Getaway in Telluride 

2. ASPEN

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A popular retreat to celebrities, Aspen is a mountain destination that has the small town attitude with big city amenities. Aspen is an incomparable destination with outdoor adventures from hiking to biking, kayaking to fly fishing, a passion for visual arts, music, and the written word, and some of the finest hotels and restaurants in the world. The sun shines in this part of the Colorado Rockies more than 300 days per year, making Aspen an ideal training environment for world-class athletes and those who just want to get lost in the mountains. Just in case you needed another reason to visit Aspen, it is home to the number one spa in the world (by Travel+ Leisure) at The St. Regis Aspen. It is the perfect combination of rustic and luxury. (photo of The St. Regis Aspen)

 3. BRECKENRIDGE 

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I may be a biased. Breckenridge was the first place I learned to ski…. over 20 years ago!

Prospectors discovered gold when they founded Breckenridge in 1859. Today’s riches come in the form of casual mountain charm filled with locally owned restaurants, bars, and boutiques. And of course, all that snow.

As one of the nation’s premier year-round destinations, Breckenridge offers an incredible selection of activities that help you unleash your sense of adventure or unwind from a hectic schedule. Either way, don’t be surprised when you make new friends that feel like old ones. After all, the community prides itself on its inviting nature. See it first-hand when you explore downtown Breckenridge. Still need motivation? Consider Breck’s 300 days of sunshine and 300 inches of snow! (photo credit: Carl Scofield / GoBreck)

4. VAIL

In 1966, the town was established and built as the base village to Vail Ski Resort. Vail Ski Resort now has grown to be the third largest ski mountain in North America since it’s first season 1962. Vail is a Rocky Mountain paradise. While Vail is more “resorty” than the other mountains town, this does come with luxury like The Four Seasons and The Arrabelle (one of my favs).

 5. BEAVER CREEKScreen Shot 2014-08-23 at 8.13.01 AM

 

Beaver Creek is Vail’s stylish little sister. It tends attract a more discerning crowd and is home to The Ritz Carlton.

In the 1970′s, the founders of Beaver Creek Resort tried to convince the Denver Organizing Committee to hold the 1976 Winter Olympics alpine events at the yet to be built ski resort. However, when Denver backed out from holding the Olympic Winter Games in November 1972, Seibert’s plans of building the resort collapsed. When Vail Associates was purchased by Harry Bass, an oil tycoon of Goliad Oil, he continued Seibert’s dream of building Beaver Creek. Finally in 1980, Beaver Creek held their first ski season.

A fun fact about Beaver Creek and one of the perks of skiing is there is there world famous chocolate chip cookies. They are served daily to skiers and snowboards. AND they hold a contest each year to select the best recipe.

6. CRESTED BUTTE

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This former coal mining town is now called “the last great Colorado ski town.” Crested Butte is a destination for skiing, mountain biking, and a variety of other outdoor activities.  The four and a half drive from Denver is worth it to this charming remote mountain town.  Photo Credit: visitcrestedbutte.com

7. WINTER PARK

Winter Park Resort is Colorado’s longest continually operated ski resort featuring over 3,000 acres of award-winning terrain including groomers, terrain parks, bumps, steeps, trees, and most definitely deeps. Winter Park Resort averages 329 inches of snow, much in part to its ideal location amidst the Rocky Mountains. Just 67 miles northwest of Denver, Winter Park Resort is the closest major destination resort to Denver International Airport and offers its guests an abundance of activities and events for the young and the young at heart.

 8. STEAMBOAT SPRINGS

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Steamboat is the oldest ski area in Colorado. Norwegian Carl Howelsen, who started ski jumping in the United States with Barnum Bailey Circus, introduced skiing to this small ranching town in 1913.

SKI Magazine recognized Steamboat as one of the Top 10 Family Ski Resorts in North America in its Top Resort Guide. For more than 15 years Steamboat has been featured as one of the premier family destinations by the readers and editors in this industry barometer. The resort has earned a reputation in the industry as the leader in family programs with the original Kids Ski Free and Kids Fly Free programs, its dedicated children’s center with day and evening programs, its location system Steamboat MountainWatch and kids’ specific terrain/lifts.

Real Town. Big Mountain. Whether you’re stepping foot into a local pub, one of the charming boutiques, or stepping off the gondola, the reception is the same–genuine and warm. But the down home friendliness is only half the reason people choose to vacation here. With 165 trails, 3,668 vertical feet, and nearly 3,000 skiable acres, Steamboat’s six peaks are filled with world- class groomed cruisers, bumps, steeps, meadows, legendary trees & Mavericks Superpipe. (photo credit: steamboat.com)

 9. GLENWOOD SPRINGS

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Glenwood Springs was named the “Most Fun Town in America” by Rand McNally and USA Today in their 2011 Best of the Road Rally contest.

At the confluence of the Colorado and Roaring Fork Rivers, the historic resort town of Glenwood Springs is famed for the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, Glenwood Canyon, Yampah Vapor Caves, and Sunlight Mountain Resort.

Explore underground caverns, pedal miles of riverfront trails, paddle the whitewater, sample local produce, shop in unique boutiques, or focus on relaxation. Home to the largest mineral hot springs pool in the world, Glenwood Springs has a deep-rooted heritage in the hospitality business. Visionaries of the late 1800’s built an internationally known hot springs resort. Travelers from around the globe soaked in the thermal waters, stayed in a luxurious hotels, and explored the wonders of subterranean caves. (photo credit: hotspringspool.com)

10. ESTES PARK

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Just 90 minutes from Denver and nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountains, Estes Park offers seemingly endless activities for outdoor lovers, nature enthusiasts, active couples and families of all sizes. Surrounded on all four sides by nationally protected land, including Rocky Mountain National Park, year-round pursuits fueled by “leg- power” include everything from hiking, horseback riding, fly fishing, wildlife and bird watching, to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and much more. Named “Top Ten America’s Scenic Roads – Trail Ridge Road” – Travel + Leisure, 2011 and

Not surprisingly, mountain exploration remains a mainstay. Outdoor adventures run the gamut from hiking and snowshoeing to rock climbing and ice skating. Scenic drives show off the area, with Trail Ridge Road rising through the national park to more than 12,000 feet and several others wending through the valley, past historic landmarks and parallel to the fish-filled picturesque rivers.

Wildlife is so plentiful that elk often wander downtown streets. Visitors spy them and other animals while walking the path around Lake Estes, driving toward the Historic Fall River Hydroplant or touring Estes Park’s last remaining working cattle ranch, MacGregor Ranch. Sometimes, it seems, the region’s furry creatures outnumber the humans!

The Stanley Hotel also calls Estes Park home. The famous hotel hosted the horror novelist Stephen King, inspiring him to write The Shining. Parts of the television mini-series version of The Shining were filmed there. (image credit: visitestespark.com)

Colorful Gemstones

jewlery-designer-colorado_1874By Jewelry Designer Harmony Scott {LISTmember}

Signature Gemstones: Tibetan Turquoise, Orange and Red Carnelian, purple Amethyst, white Freshwater Pearls, green Peridot and golden Citrine.

I have been playing with this combination of colorful gemstones for years now…each season I am excited to “add” to this very special collection. Anjali means “divine offering” and “Cosmic Girl” is my personal muse: a woman who is comfortable in her femininity, spiritual nature, intelligence, and joyful in her expression to the world!

My intention behind these pieces is to create an exciting, vibrant color palette that also supports us energetically and emotionally.  Grounding and protective Turquoise, energizing orange Carnelian, golden Citrine supports our self-esteem and courage, green Peridot as a symbol of growth and renewal, royal Amethyst to stimulate our higher consciousness, and white Freshwater pearls to represent purity and balance…together they are spectacular and powerful…not to mention beautiful!

2014 Cosmic Girl Look Book

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2014 Anjali Look Book

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These fun bright colors are great for showing off your creativity and feminine power. Of course, wear them with your simple neutrals, but we challenge you to get more creative and expand your color combinations. We love to take these colors as inspiration for the rest of the outfit to completely embody the look of Cosmic Girl or spend the day as a Divine Offering. See the entire Anjali and Cosmic Girl Collection here. 

Simple Summer Look: Your favorite white outfit with leather accessories or additions of color. Pick up one of the colors with a hair clip (or wear it loose), your favorite dark brown leather belt, strapy leather sandals, and as many bracelets as you dream about.

Color in Winter: Match the leather with your accessories–in the Winter we’re wearing our leather Frye Boots and thick leather belt with a neutral boot pant. You can also skip the belt and layer a long tank top under a sweater or shirt. Top it off with a vintage leather purse and let the jewelry do the rest.

By Jewelry Designer Harmony Scott {LISTmember}

Learn more about Harmony Scott on your interview feature on COUTUREcolorado.

Shop online on COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE.

Spotted: Aqua

Aqua, a greenish blue color, is fresh, modern and whimsical.

Check out AQUA in baby land on COUTUREcolorado BABY.

Check out aqua wedding decor inspiration on COUTUREcolorado WEDDING.

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David Trubridge sea urchin lamp / Kartell green light / Safavieh moroccan rug / Canvas wall art, $120 / Nomess rectangle tray, $115 / Emerald green throw pillow / Clock / Cherry blossom home decor / Stray Dog Designs handmade table / CB2 traditional loveseat / Bungalow 5 accent table / Bombe furniture / Turquoise armchair / Velvet armchair / Klaussner contemporary furniture

Oct 3rd & 4th: COUTUREcolorado POP-UP Shop

Just in time for fall shopping and holiday gift buying, we will be popping up in The Santa Fe Arts District for October’s First Friday!!!! And we will remain open on Saturday from 11am-3pm.

LOVE boutique shopping? LOVE finding that perfect gift on etsy? Then, this pop-up shop is for you! Fall/Winter clothing from several local boutiques, AND paper goods, jewelry, hand bags, and gifts from talented local designers will be all be there.

What: COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE POP-UP SHOP

When: Friday, October 3rd 6pm – 9pm  &  Saturday, October 4th 11am – 3pm

Where: Studio Wed 821 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO 80204

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Interview: Willow

I am pleased to introduce you to a new boutique in Boulder, Colorado: Willow.

Opened in the autumn of 2013, Willow is a destination for style rooted in modern sophistication. Featuring both emerging designers and established luxury brands, fine jewelry, leather goods and shoes.

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When and why did you start your business?

We started the biz in Feb 2013… Andrea has always wanted to open a store and been an admirer of fashion.  She asked me and it seemed like a great merger of my design background.  We love working together!

Current brands you carry.

closed, milly, rvn, genetic, dl1961, halston heritage,  10 crosby derek lam, clare v., tibi, dusica duscia, humanoid, doma, monrow

What is your favorite current trend?

Heather- I love draping!  I think it is flattering on all!

Andrea- I really like the track pant look. It’s very comfortable, and can be dressed up with a heel, or worn with sneakers for a more casual look.

Who is your favorite designer?

Andrea- Alexander McQueen

Heather- Helmut Lang

What does every women need in her wardrobe?

Heather- a great pair of jeans they feel sexy in, a pair of walking shoes that are stylish and a piece of jewelry that makes them feel special.

Andrea- a tailored blazer you can throw on with anything, and make yourself feel a bit more put together.

Where did you grow up and how did you end up in Colorado?

Heather- I grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It’s very similar to Boulder.   My parents brought me here when I was in 8th grade.  I took one look at the mountains and knew I needed to go to college here.

Andrea-  I grew up in Rye, NY.   I came to Boulder for college as well.  After a stint in CO, I moved back to the NYC area and then 3 years ago my family and I moved back to Colorado.

What is your favorite part about living/working in Boulder?

Andrea- I love the weather here, and because the weather is so great i like to be outside on the hiking trails.

Heather- I love the weather and the slow paced lifestyle.

Visit Willow at 2595 Canyon Boulevard, Suite 105 Boulder, Colorado  or shop Willow online on COUTUREcolorado BOUTIQUE.
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Photography by Rachel Gomez {contributing photographer}

Sept 21st: Get Fringed by Willow

On Sunday, September 21st from 2-5 PM, Boulder’s favorite women’s clothing and accessories boutique, Willow {LISTmember}, delivers a fringe-worthy pop-up shop at The Dairy Center for the Arts. Willow stylists will be on hand to help you sift through Fall’s most fabulous jackets, scarves, hats, belts, bags and more, and get you fringed from head to toe. www.willowboulder.com

What: Willow Pop-Up Shop Get Fringed!

Where: The Dairy Center for the Arts: 2590 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302

When: Sunday, September 21st from 2-5pm

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Top 10: Railroad Attractions

All Aboard!!!! There is something romantic and dreamy about traveling by train. And with the new renovated Union Station in Downtown Denver, it seems be what everyone is talking about.

With eight new restaurants, two bars, a hotel and a half acre of splashing water fountains, The Mile High City’s glittering newly refurbished Union Station has already become the center of downtown Denver.

Denver Union Station, July 9, 2014.  Photo by Ellen Jaskol

 

It’s not the first time. It was the railroads that transformed Denver from a dusty, frontier town to the largest and most opulent city between Chicago and San Francisco. In the golden age of railroading, Denver’s lavish Beau Arts 1914 Union Station was a beehive of activity, handling up to 200 trains per day.

One hundred years later, Denver Union Station is back, serving as a transportation center for light rail; AMTRAK; a massive bus network; two electric bus shuttles and coming in 2016, a 24 mile-long rail line to and from Denver International Airport.

For rail fans, Union Station is just the beginning. The Denver area is home to operating steam trains, historic locomotives, cog railroads and some of the largest model and garden railroads in the nation. All aboard for a rail tour of the Mile High City! Here is our TOP TEN list for railroad attractions in Colorado.

1. Denver Union Station 

Following the discovery of gold and silver in the Rocky Mountains in the 1860s, railroad lines were pushed up canyons and over high passes, making them the lifeline of every mining camp in the state. By 1880, there were dozens of railroads passing through Denver, and the city had four stations. Jay Gould and Walter Cheesman consolidated this network into one central location called Union Depot.

Although nothing remains of the original station which burned down, the current one, designed in the Beaux Arts style by local architects Gove and Walsh, was completed in 1914 and completely restored in 2014.

The old waiting room has been re-christened “The Great Hall.” With its soaring arched windows, this grand room is open to the public 24-7. The old ticket windows have been turned into The Terminal Bar, which features more than 30 Colorado craft beers and a huge outdoor patio. In front of the station is a new water park with dozens of dancing fountains shooting water into the air; it is particularly pretty at night when the fountains are lighted.

Looking down on the Great Hall from a terrace above, is The Cooper Lounge which re-creates the glamorous old-Hollywood days of railroading with high-end cocktails and an extensive wine list.

In the wings of the Great Hall is the elegant 112-room Crawford Hotel. Named after local developer and preservationist Dana Crawford (who was also responsible for preserving nearby Larimer Square), The Crawford is affiliated with the Oxford Hotel across the street and shares their spa and meeting facilities.
The Crawford has three styles of rooms. The “Pullman” rooms on the second floor are modeled after the luxury private sleeping cars of old. The “Classic” rooms on the third floor come with tall ceilings and large windows. The former attic area hosts “Loft” rooms, featuring exposed wood timbers, vaulted ceilings and a more contemporary design. To take advantage of the station’s architectural features, most of the rooms in the hotel are one-of-a-kind designs and shapes.

On the ground floor of the station are some of Denver’s finest new restaurants and classic retailers. Chef Jennifer Jasinski (winner of the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest and owner of Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, and Euclid Hall in Larimer Square), has just opened Stoic & Genuine, a seafood-centric restaurant in the grand tradition of the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New York.

The Kitchen [Next Door] got its start in Boulder nine years ago as The Kitchen. The owners opened a second version on Denver’s 16th St. Mall in 2012. The Union Station version is a community pub in the great tradition of British pubs, focused on simple food and Colorado beers with a beautiful outdoor deck to take advantage of Denver’s 300 days of sunshine.

Alex Seidel (Food & Wine’s Best New Chef of the Year 2010) of Fruition has just opened Mercantile Dining & Provision, a full service restaurant and market for locally made foodstuffs, many of them produced at Fruition Farms, Seidel’s 10-acre sheep dairy and creamery in nearby Larkspur. The market will sell everything from pickled beets, fruit spreads, cheeses, breads and yogurts to jar-preserved sturgeon rillettes and duck confit.

The station also contains Milkbox Ice Creamery owned by local favorite Little Man Ice Cream and a branch of the famous Tattered Cover Bookstore.

2. The Colorado Railroad Museum

Next stop for rail buffs is the Colorado Railroad Museum, which has the state’s largest collection of locomotives, cars, photos and historic railroad mementoes. At one point, more than 2,000 miles of narrow gauge track probed the mountains of Colorado, and this exciting era comes to life at the museum.

Located in Golden, Colorado at the base of scenic high Western buttes, the museum is circled by a half-mile track, which allows them to do monthly “steam ups” with operating locomotives. On alternative weekends, the museums also runs the Galloping Goose, a rare bus mounted on train wheels that used to take passengers over Lizard Head Pass near Telluride.

The museum has a number of special events throughout the year including a Christmas train with Santa Claus, an Easter Bunny train, an Old West event with shootouts and train holdups, and “varnish specials” of authentic historic wood cars, complete with coal-fired stoves to keep passengers warm in winter.

There are more than 50 narrow and standard gauge locomotives, cars and other rolling stock, as well as one of Colorado’s largest indoor HO model railroads, and largest G-scale outdoor garden railroads.

The museum has the definitive Railroad Book Store with more than 1,000 titles and an assortment of railroad gifts, DVDs, magazines and memorabilia.

3. The Georgetown Loop Railroad

One of Colorado’s most famous railroad engineering feats is just 42 miles from Denver. The original railroad reached Georgetown in 1877. It was decided to push the railroad up the valley another two miles to the neighboring mining camp of Silver Plume. The challenge: Silver Plume was 600 feet higher in elevation. To gain that much altitude that fast, the railroad had to twist and turn four and a half miles, making two and a half complete circles and at one point crossing over itself on a 90-foot-high trestle –the Devil’s Gate Bridge.

Today, steam-powered locomotives make the climb up the valley, sending huge plumes of smoke into the surrounding forest of pine trees. The train may be boarded in Georgetown or Silver Plume and offers panoramic views, particularly when crossing the 90-foot high bridge. From the open air viewing cars it is possible to see big horn sheep, while the sound of the train whistle echoing down the valley is unforgettable.

There are wine trips every day that include a wine-tasting in an historic car. There are also special Christmas trains in December. Along the way is an optional hour and 20 minute tour of the Lebanon Silver Mine.

4. Tiny Town

Located just 30 minutes from downtown Denver, Tiny Town began in 1915 at the site of an old stage coach stop when George Turner began erecting a village of one-sixth sized buildings for his young daughter. In 1920, the town was open to the public and in just five years it became one of Colorado’s top five attractions. By 1939, a miniature railway was added, but a flood, a fire and changing economic conditions forced the attraction to close.

In 1988, volunteers began the resurrection of Tiny Town. Today, more than 100 colorful buildings are in place, all beautifully hand-crafted with wonderful details, many with full interiors. Some of the buildings are exact replicas of famous structures from Colorado’s history.

The one-sixth size village is circled by the miniature Tiny Town Railway, a mile-long track with open-air cars pulled by an authentic steam locomotive similar to the narrow gauge locomotives that once worked the mountain lines of Colorado. The train crosses a trestle over a small stream, and curls through tall pine trees in its lovely mountain location, affording excellent views of the village.

5. Forney Museum of Transportation

This is one-of-a-kind collection has more than 500 exhibits relating to historical transportation. It began with antique cars, but soon expanded to include vehicles of all kinds. Highlights include the Big Boy, the world’s largest steam locomotive, and a selection of Forney Locomotives, as well as rail cars and private cars.

6. Hudson Gardens

There are 30 different gardens in this beautiful area along the South Platte River and including one the nation’s largest outdoor garden railroads. Constructed in 2000, the Garden Railroad features more than 700 feet of “G” gauge track, trestles, bridges, waterfalls, and a variety of plantings matching the scale of the miniature trains. Higher and lower loops allow two trains to run simultaneously. More than forty tons of rock were used to create this condensed Colorado landscape. The railroad runs May through the first weekend in October.

7. Manitou & Pikes Peak Railway Co.

Just 90 minutes from downtown Denver, the world’s highest cog railway climbs from
Manitou Springs to the summit of Pikes Peak, 14,110 feet above sea level. The Swiss-made bright red train runs year-round (snow permitting) and winds past cascading streams and dense forests of aspen and pine until it breaks tree-line and continues another 3,000 feet of elevation gain across rocky tundra. Spectacular sweeping views are available at the summit. Reservations are recommended.

8. Royal Gorge Route

Considered by many to be the most spectacular stretch of track in America, the Royal Gorge Route offers a breathtaking, 2-hour scenic and historic train ride on the most famous portion of the former 1879 Denver & Rio Grande Western train line. The 1950′s era train departs the Santa Fe Depot in Canon City. Tracks cling to a narrow ledge while the canyon walls rise 1,000 feet straight above. Club cars offer full dining and drinks. A highlight is the world-famous “Hanging Bridge.”

9. Caboose Hobbies

This is the world’s largest model railroading store, a virtual supermarket of trains with all scales and sizes as well as operating model railroads and memorabilia including books, DVDs and model cars, buildings and more. There are special classes on all aspects of model railroading.

Model trains layouts are displayed throughout the store, and there is a G-scale train circling the entire store on a track mounted near the ceiling.

10. Durango & Silverton Railroad

Durango was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. By July of 1882, the tracks to Silverton were completed, and the train began hauling both freight and passengers.

The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from the San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious.

This historic train has been in continuous operation between Durango and Silverton since 1882, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line. Relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Spotted: Gray Matters

I recently attended Neiman Marcus‘s Fashion Trend Report Luncheon at The Four Seasons Denver. Models dressed in the latest fashion trends strolled around the room while I sipped champagne and nibbled on a delicious lunch. Perfect way to start out the weekend!

One of the apparent trends is GRAY: The Definitive Neutral.

Check out GRAY on COUTUREcolorado BABY and GRAY in wedding on COUTUREcolorado WEDDING.

 

gray in fashion

 

Shop Local on COUTUREcolorado:

Silk Tank $153.35 by Denver Designer Imminent Rise {top left}

Garrison Bag $293.50 by Denver Designer Winter Session {second from the bottom right}

Gray Fur Poncho by LISTmember Gorski

Gianluca Capannolo gray silk dress, $1,225 / Grey sweater / Grey poncho / Rebecca taylor coat / AG Adriano Goldschmied vintage cigarette pants / Uniqlo pleated chiffon mini skirt, $32 / Rag bone bootie / Nine West high heel shoes / MICHAEL Michael Kors gray leather tote / Whistles gray hat, $155

Cocktail: Classic Denver Orange

Classic Denver Orange-1

Football season has officially kicked off into full swing this past Sunday where two titans will clash in Denver. Last year, Denver fell just short of a championship. Will this be the year that they take it all? With all the off-season action, pre-season hype, and opening game storylines, it’s time to step up and start the year with a win.

It is time to kick your pre-game tailgating up a notch. Mix it up this team-themed cocktail recipe using Hornitos® Plata Tequila.

Classic Denver Orange

  • ½ part Hornitos® Plata Tequila
  • 4 12-oz bottled lager
  • ¼ part orange juice
  • ¼ part DeKuyper® Triple Sec

Preparation

Fill pitcher with Orange Juice, DeKuyper® Triple Sec, and Hornitos® Plata. Slowly pour lager into a pitcher. Stir to mix. Serve over ice in pint glass.

 

 

TOP 10: Fall Fun

Denver has one of the longest periods of fall colors of any city in the country. That’s because there are five different climate zones within a two-hour drive of downtown Denver. Pick your elevation and you can find yourself at the height of fall colors for more than two months, from mid-September to mid-November.

Here are Ten Ways to have fun in the Fall.

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ADJUST YOUR ALTITUDE

Aspen trees in Colorado grow from 6,500 to 10,500 feet in elevation. Although many factors make leaves turn color, as a general rule, the higher the elevation, the sooner the leaves turn gold. That means that over a period of time, you can often see a variety of shades of color on one mountainside, with deeper golds on top at 10,000 feet, blending to pale yellow in the 8,000 foot range, while down in the valley or along the plains of Denver, trees might still be green.

There are 1.9 million acres of aspen trees in Colorado – over one billion trees that if placed together would cover an area larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined. Aspen leaves don’t just turn color in the fall, they positively glow in a luminescent bright yellow, almost as if they had their own light source. The leaves are small, delicate and tissue-thin with an aerodynamic shape that keep them in perpetual motion. Even a slight breeze sends every leaf on the tree shimmering.

Although seasons can vary greatly, there are generally four distinct areas and time periods for fall colors in Denver.

Mid-September to Early Oct. above 9,500 feet

Winter comes early to the high country. There are many roads within a short drive of Denver that climb to elevations of more than two miles above sea level. Some great places to see early fall colors above 9,500 feet include:

1. Guanella Pass, located just one hour from Denver, climbs to 11,670 feet and has many high aspen groves on both sides of the pass. An excellent hike is on Abyss Lake Trail (20 miles south of Georgetown) into the Mount Evans Wilderness Area. There are aspen groves at all elevations along the trail, offering a good chance of seeing color somewhere on the mountainsides.

2. Rocky Mountain National Park, one hour to one and a half hours from Denver, has many groves of high aspens around Bear Lake. There are also many high aspen groves getting to the park on the scenic Peak to Peak Byway (Colorado Hwy. 72 and 7) from Black Hawk to Estes Park.

Late September to mid-October, from 7,000 to 9,000 feet

Most of Colorado’s resort towns such as Vail, Keystone, Beaver Creek and Winter Park are in this elevation and have ample groves of aspens. Some interesting places to see fall colors include:

3. The quaint, old Victorian Mining towns of Georgetown and Silver Plume, located approximately one hour from Denver (40 miles) are surrounded by aspen groves. An interesting way to see the fall colors is by riding the Georgetown Loop Railroad, where a historic steam locomotive pulls passengers up the steep grade between the two towns, at one point crossing over itself on a 100-foot high trestle.

4. The area around Lake Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne is filled with aspen groves and is just a 75 minute drive from Denver. An 18-mile paved bike path circles the pretty lake, offering mountain and fall views in every direction. Bikes can be rented in Frisco or Dillon.

Most of October, from 6,000 to 8,000 feet

At lower elevations in the foothills of the Rockies and in mountain valleys, you can find brilliant fall color throughout October with riverside Cottonwoods and scrub oak trees adding more yellows and browns to the show. Some interesting lower mountain choices include:

5. Two old mountain gold mining towns, Central City and Black Hawk (30 minutes from Denver), have legalized gambling with 10,000 slot machines, poker, black jack, craps and roulette. But the real gold can be found on the surrounding hillsides, which are covered with aspen. Several historic old cemeteries near Central City have groves of aspen, and many other trees can be seen on the dirt “Oh My God Road” that runs between Central City and another old mining town, Idaho Springs.

6. Golden Gate Canyon State Park, located 20 miles west of Denver in the foothills (45 minute drive), has many aspen groves at lower elevations, as well one of the best panoramic views of the Rocky Mountains. By late October, this area may already be covered with early snow at the higher elevations.

Early October to mid-November, 5,280 feet above sea level

Down on the plains, Denver has a completely different climate than the mountains. Some 300 days of annual sunshine keep Denver warm enough to support most hardwood trees, from maples and ash to linden, elm, poplar and oak. There are 73 varieties of trees in Washington Park alone.

More than 850 miles of paved, off-street bike trails are available, criss-crossing Metro Denver. Don’t have your own bike? Hop on a B-cycle, Denver’s bike sharing program with more than 800 bikes available at 84 different stations. Some great places to bike or walk and see fall colors in and around Denver include:

7. Selected by USA Today as one of the top 5 bike paths in the country, the Cherry Creek Bike Trail is a paved off-road path that follows the tree-lined creek for more than 40 miles from downtown Denver to Cherry Creek State Park. Most of the path is lined with trees that turn a variety of colors.

8. Another 40+ mile bike path, the South Platte River Bike Trail, follows the South Platte River from downtown Denver to Chatfield State Park and Waterton Canyon, where it meets up with the Colorado Trail and continues 400 miles to Durango. In Waterton Canyon you can see herds of Big Horn sheep right along the bike path.

9. The Highline Canal meanders through Denver for more than 70 miles, and almost all of it is lined with old Cottonwood trees that turn brilliant yellow in the fall.

10.  In the fall, many of the small truck farms between Denver and Boulder open up pumpkin patches where you can pick your own pumpkins, take a hay cart ride pulled by an antique steam-powered tractor, or bike or hike on trails over the rolling prairie with mountain vistas in the distance. Some prime pumpkin patches in and near Denver include Four Mile Park, Chatfield Botanic Gardens, Mile High Farms and Berry Patch Farms.

photography by ryan polei  {view entire feature on COUTUREcolorado WEDDING

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