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Touring Trendy Telluride

Copyright: New Sheridan Hotel.This classic Colorado mining town was first populated in 1890, boomed through the early years of the century, and then died. But Telluride has risen from the grave and is now one of the hottest destinations in North America. Located in southwestern Colorado, it rests in a valley, surrounded by the 12,000 to 14,000 foot peaks of the San Juan range of the Rocky Mountains. The city itself is at approximately 9,000 feet.

Let me say here, I am not a skier. All of my friends are peeved that I have been to Telluride in all seasons and never once skied. (Their chagrin is understandable as Telluride is considered one of the great ski areas in North America.) This little town also has some of the best restaurants imaginable. Shopping is fun, hiking is fabulous and the scenery is drop dead beautiful!

On my last visit in January, I faced the usual winter challenge. The Telluride airport, which is at the highest altitude of any airport in North America, is unavailable for landing about 35 percent of the time during the winter. It happens. The diversion to Montrose means a short 1.5 hour transfer by van back to Telluride. Unfortunately, I had to arrive and depart via this route. Landing and taking off at the Telluride airport is a treat for you camera buffs. From the west coast, I would suggest connecting to America West out of Phoenix. The other route is by way of Denver.

Copyright: New Sheridan Hotel.I stayed at the New Sheridan Hotel. The name is interesting. The "old" Sheridan burned down in the early 1890's and this hotel was built in 1895, thus the "New" in the name. The hotel has been completely remodeled and is cozy and guest friendly.


The rate includes a full, cooked to order breakfast, wine vouchers for the hotel bar, and an open refrigerator in the library for soda, juices, etc. They also have 24 hour coffee and tea service along with the greatest chocolate chip cookies. The hotel is located on the main street, surrounded by shops, restaurants, book stores and a short two blocks to the ski lift.

By the way, my room had a jetted tub and all have data ports, cable, and all of the amenities of an upscale chain hotel including robes. Very nice. The staff is very knowledgeable and helpful. Rates are reasonable and they even have several rooms that have shared baths that are quite affordable.

This town is a foodies delight. As in many resort areas, young chefs and restaurateurs are drawn here. I will give you a quick summation of my favorites.

The Chop House in the New Sheridan Hotel

Absolutely the most exotic and wonderful menu you will find. They serve interesting, well prepared food. Elk loin, caribou medallions, wild boar chops, buffalo top sirloin, venison osso bucco, and ostrich filet are on the menu! My choice for the evening was the "Wild Game Plate" which included boar sausage, duck breast and ostrich filet. It was outstanding. I started with sliced tomatoes with fresh mozzarella cheese and drizzled with aged balsamic. The Chop house also has a marvelous wine list and great desserts. Not inexpensive, but, hey you're on vacation and this place is special!

Next on my list of "must go" places is the Excelsior Cafe. It has a nice warm atmosphere and features nouveau Italian cuisine. The night I dined, I started with venison zuppa, went on to a gorgonzola salad and ordered then one of their nightly specials, grilled shrimp on fire-roasted vegetable risotto. Super meal at reasonable prices. Try the Fat Tire Amber Ale out of Ft. Collins, CO.

Now on to the fun, cheap stuff for lunch. You must eat at Fat Alley BBQ. Don't miss the brisket and sweet potato fries. No nonsense walk up to the counter and order kind of place. Fun and down-home. My next suggestion is Floradora. Extensive menu and a wonderful place to drink beer. Huge selection of brews. The grilled meatloaf with chipolte sauce and grilled onions is great. In fact, this was my "to go" for the trip back to La Jolla, CA.
There are dozens of other very good restaurants in Telluride. There is a Dining Out in Telluride magazine available in town and through Telluride Visitor Services.

Telluride Visitor Services provides information and can book your travel plans including hotel, airline, lift tickets, etc. Their website is at tvs.org or call 1-800-525-3455.

The New Sheridan Hotel can be reached at 1-800-200-1891

Packing Tips from Howard Hian, VFT (Very Frequent Traveler)

Before you pack for Telluride, please let me share a couple of packing and traveling tips with you. Almost three years ago, I practically ruined a three week vacation in Italy because I purchased inexpensive rolling luggage and over-packed. From that time on, I swore that I would travel light.

Here's what I did. First, I purchased a good quality, carry on, rolling bag that converts to a backpack. Lands End, REI, Eddy Bauer or Travel Smith carries them, or you can obtain them online.

Next, I shopped for travel wear. By that I mean wrinkle free and quick dry. Polyester is my friend! Just read the label and commit to washing your clothes in the sink and letting them dry overnight. Everything is available and, if you shop carefully, doesn't need to be prohibitively expensive.

Next, get walking shoes that you can also use for dress. I chose Rockports, but there are a lot of other very smart looking walking shoes available for men and women.

My latest purchase was a hoot. I bought a plastic bag that you fill with bulky items, roll up and it vacuum seals them thus taking up about 50% less room! It's very funny, but it works. It cost $18 and I purchased it online through Travel Smith.

My next suggestion has to do with food. Most supermarkets in the US have wonderful, inexpensive deli sections. Pack a meal for the plane ride or layover or instead of stopping at a fast food restaurant.