I’ve always heard of Telluride but didn’t know much about it. Small, Colorado town with sweeping valley views from Mountain Village above. What else would this town hold? Well in August I had the chance to see for myself, and what I didn’t expect was to fall in love with this quirky, charming town (and immediately start researching ways to put up residency here).
Telluride embodies everything of small, mountain town without skimping on quality and style. Yes, everything is walkable. Yes, there is a “main street” that is Colorado Ave. Yes, everyone seems to know each other (the year-round population is less than a few thousand people, mind you). But there’s a vibrance and soul to the town that welcomes visitors into their community and to embrace all things “Telluride”.
Some things I think you need to discover for yourself. But take a stroll down Colorado Ave and make a point to find the “free box”. Or maybe the bank where Butch Cassidy made his first robbery. Or the small cafe with a line out the door that makes the best breakfast this side of the Mississippi.
I have a feeling Telluride will be an annual destination for me from now on. Anyone care to join?
WHERE TO STAY
We stayed at Element 52, which is an Auberge Residences property, and we were completely blown away. From the moment you pull up, it feels like home. The welcoming staff members (who will soon become your friends and most trusted confidants), the design of the residences with a home-y yet upscale feel, and all of the amenities made us feel taken care of in a non-pretentious manner.
Some of my favorite aspects of Element 52 include:
- LOCATION – We walked everywhere. And I mean everywhere. The town of Telluride is just a couple blocks away as well as the gondola to Mountain Village, so leave that rental car at the airport!
- House car – When the weather didn’t cooperate or we didn’t feel like walking, the Element 52 house car was there to save the day! The house car takes you within a few mile radius and you can call to have it pick you up as well.
- Complimentary coffee, tea, pastries/cookies – Daily always in the lobby
- S’mores! – Spending the evening by the fire pit roasting s’mores with a glass of wine is the best way to end a day hiking or on the mountain
- The Hot Tubs/Pools – Relaxation at its finest in one of the two hot tubs/pools on site. One of them is heated more than the other, so take your pick depending on your mood!
- The Funicular – Element 52 has its own private funicular to take you up and down through the property to different units. Not only is it convenient, but it’s fun.
What I loved about the residences themselves:
- The Decor – Every residence is designed beautifully, and they are all different. I loved seeing all of the different residences’ styles!
- Fully Equipped – Our residence was equipped with everything we could have ever needed to feel at home. All kitchenware, wine openers, spices, vases for my fresh flowers from the Farmers’ Market. etc.
- Outdoor Space – The residences have outdoor space everywhere! We had three balconies in our residence alone, and all residences are similar. Perfect for that morning cup of jo’ or sunset glass of wine!
- Dog Friendly – Don’t want to leave Buddy at home? Bring him along!
CONTACT ME TO BOOK YOUR NEXT STAY AT ELEMENT 52 & RECEIVE 10% OFF RATES!
WHERE TO EAT & DRINK
The Butcher & Baker Cafe
The Butcher & Baker is a staple in Telluride with a line out the door to match. The space is bright & airy, the food is fresh & local, and the ambience is casual & inviting. We went for breakfast, but they are open for lunch & dinner as well. I can honestly say the omelette was one of the best I have ever had!
What to order: Summer Omelette, Breakfast Sandwich, Chilaquiles
Located at 201 E Colorado Ave, Telluride, CO 81435
I liked Ghost Town so much, we came here two mornings in a row. The menu consists of varied styles of toasts (swoon, I could have ordered them all) on either Blue Grouse bread or Kim & Jake’s Gluten Free Loaf. They also serve a variety of smoothies, granola with your choice of yogurt or milk, breakfast burritos, and a wonderful & creative coffee menu. Perfect if you are looking for a healthy, colorful & delicious breakfast option!
What to order: #2 Toast (hard-boiled egg + avocado + chevre + chili crunch), #7 Toast (almond butter + banana + honey), Green Smoothie, Turmeric Coconut Chai
Located at 210 W Colorado Ave, Telluride, CO 81435
A great spot for all baked goods, grab a donut or pastry from the large selection each morning. Breakfast isn’t all they are known for though, so come hungry for lunch or dinner too. We got sandwiches to-go for our picnic, but they also are known for their pizzas!
Located at 127 S Fir St, Telluride, CO 81435
Rooftop vibes set the perfect scene for cocktails before dinner after a long day of outdoor activities. This spot is ideal for soaking in that Colorado sunshine or cozying up on one of the couches when the temperatures drop. The drinks are great and the food mirrors some of the Chop House downstairs if you are looking for amazing food in a casual setting!
What to order: Watermelon Lime Margarita, El Bandito, Mediterranean Plate
Located at 231 W. Colorado Avenue, Telluride, Colorado 81435
Oh you fancy, huh? Fine dining in Telluride means Chop House at the New Sheridan Hotel, and it did not disappoint. We loved sitting out on the patio and people watching on Colorado Avenue. The food was absolutely incredible and fresh, and the service was wonderful letting me try a couple different wines until I found one that I liked. Chop House is the perfect choice for a special occasion meal.
What to order: West Coast & East Coast Oysters, Colorado Striped Bass, Prime New York Strip, Brussels Sprouts & Bacon Lardons, Loaded Potato Skillet
Located at 231 W. Colorado Avenue, Telluride, Colorado 81435
When I first heard that one of the best restaurants in Telluride was Thai food, I wasn’t fully convinced. Why would Thai food (which some claim to be the best Thai food they have ever had) be so good in the middle of Colorado? We went to check it out and let’s just say… it lived up to its claim to fame. I also loved how there was a wide selection of options that our server helped guide us through to make the best decision for our palettes and based on how hungry we were. It was the perfect amount of food!
What to order: Going Going Goong Lettuce Wraps, Pad Se-Eaw, Siam Tuna Thai-Taki
Located at 200 S Davis St, Telluride, CO 81435
If you’re looking for a meal or drink with a view, look no further than Allred’s. This restaurant is located on the mountain heading to Mountain Village and offers sweeping views of Telluride town and the mountainside below.
What to order: Crispy Shishito Peppers, Beet & Kale Salad, Crispy Scottish Quail, Ahi Tuna Poke
Located at Station St. Sophia at the top of the Free Gondola
Private Chef in your Element 52 Residence
Breakfast in bed anyone? One of the perks of staying in an Element 52 Residence is the ability to hire a private chef to cook for you. We had a delicious breakfast prepared for us of local, seasonal vegetables and eggs – it was one of the most flavorful breakfasts I have ever had!
This small, tucked away bar was one of the highlights of our trip. Not only is it quaint & charming, but the craft cocktails were to-die-for. We came to There Bar for just a drink but immediately wished we had scheduled dinner there too. The food menu looked delicious and the bites we had were a testament to that!
What to order: The Diablo Cocktail, Spiced Apple Cocktail, Lettuce Wraps, Steamed Buns, Fried Brussels Sprouts, and the POPCORN machine on the wall
Located at 627 W Pacific Ave, Telluride, CO 81435
You cannot visit Telluride without trying the local brew, so we headed to Telluride Brewing Co. to see the action in person. The beer was great and the vibe was casual (think cornhole & dogs playing outside)! I recommend getting a beer sampler to get a little taste of everything.
Located at 156 Society Dr, Telluride, CO 81435
WHAT TO DO
Explore Telluride Town
As I have mentioned, the town of Telluride is magical. My suggestion is to take a full day to just explore. We did this one afternoon and met some of the friendliest people, found some of the coolest shops (don’t bring just a carry-on, folks), and overall just enjoyed our time walking around soaking in the beautiful, sunny, Colorado weather.
I think the thing I was most excited about visiting Telluride was the hiking. Just from the photos, I knew the views would be stunning. What I didn’t expect was how truly breathtaking it is in person. We did two hikes while in Telluride: Bridal Veil Falls and Bear Creek Falls. There are many different trails in the area, so check out a list of some of them here.
Take an Off-Roading Jeep Tour
The area surrounding Telluride has some great trails for off-roading, and the best way to navigate these is via jeep. Check out more information here!
Ride the Gondola to Mountain Village
When I first heard that the gondola to Mountain Village is FREE, you betcha I was going to take advantage of this fun, scenic & convenient service. Element 52 is located just a couple blocks walking distance to the gondola, so we rode it up to Mountain Village and back just to take in the breathtaking views of Telluride town. We also rode it to have dinner at Allred’s and see a concert in Mountain Village. It’s ideal in both summer and winter for getting around!
Go to the Telluride Farmers’ Market
There’s nothing better to me than a good, local Farmers’ Market to start a trip. Fresh off the plane, we strolled through and picked up snacks and fresh flowers for our residence at Element 52! The Telluride Farmers’ Market occurs every Friday from June 2nd to October 3rd.
Located on South Oak Street
Attend a Festival
It’s no secret that Telluride always has something going on – festivals to be exact. The weekend we were in town, so was the Mushroom Festival. Now while that may be very “niche”, Telluride offers festivals of all kinds with some of the most popular being the Telluride Film Festival, Telluride Blues & Brews, Telluride Art Walk, and more.
Check out Telluride’s festival & events calendar here.
Indulge in a Spa Treatment
When I travel, there is nothing I enjoy more than a spa treatment to really feel like I am on vacation. Element 52 has a spa located on-site which made it easy and the cavern-like design is cozy and relaxing.
Safe travels y’all!
Chelsea Rose Martin
This post is in partnership with Auberge Resorts. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Passport To Friday.