Top Reasons to Go to Durango, Colorado

Durango: A Good ‘Ole Western Town

I’m back east now in upstate New York, trying to settle in after a whirlwind two-week trip to Colorado that was filled with lots of travel. During that time, I taped a few interviews for Travel Fun, my talk radio show on KOTO. I had the pleasure of doing one with Steve Gumble, founder of the renowned Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, which takes place every September. This time, however, we chatted about his new baby, the Telluride Jazz Festival, which kicks off tonight in Telluride and runs through Sunday. Had we had more time we would have talked about the Durango Blues Train, another big happening he created a handful of years ago. It is super fun and also one of my top reasons to visit Durango, Colorado. This year, the second Durango Blues Train of the season takes place August 18 & 19. Unfortunately these dates have sold out, too!  You can, however, start planning for next year. (Fortunately tickets are still available for Telluride Blues & Brews and Jazz.)


Yippee Ki Yay

A Recent Respite at The Office Spiritorium at the Strater Hotel

And you can still take the train most days. It’s true–Durango is all about the train, the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad to be exact. Add some blues musicians to that and a bunch of fun-loving people and you have an instant party. Durango is also about historic hotels such as the Strater and the Rochester as well as a whole wagon full of other fabulous sites, establishments and activities that exude the vibrant spirit of the West.

I’ve recently started to write content for Discovery Map, the cheery, hand-drawn maps you can pick up at resort destinations across the United States. They’re developing their website, which is where my destination descriptions can be found. So click Colorado’s Wild Side and Hit the Streets of Durango to read about my top reasons to visit Durango, Colorado. And when you go to visit, be sure to pick up a Discovery Map to help you find your way around this historic gem in southwestern Colorado.

Click here to listen to a previous Travel Fun interview with Steve Gumble where he talks about Telluride Blues & Brews and the Durango Blues Train. You can also read more of my Telluride Blues & Brews stories here.

For more of my stories on Durango and the outlying area, click here.

The Historic Strater Hotel

Climate Change and Mountainfilm

A Shepard Fairey Mural in Telluride that Embodies the Spirit of Mountainfilm, Our Mountain Town and So Much Else

Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.
Breathe in. Hold. Breathe out.

Repeat this exercise slowly, focusing solely on the breath for twenty minutes. Either that or grab yourself a bottle of tequila.

I’ve been doing this a lot lately–the former, although I am known to enjoy a good margarita, sometimes two in times of stress. I had to quadruple my relaxation efforts this afternoon as I watched President Trump brazenly declare that he was leaving the Paris Climate Agreements. Wow, fortunately we had some heads up from “leaked news.” It really felt like he was the one leaving this international accord for reducing carbon emissions. It didn’t feel like it was my country, the United States of America. I’m not big on stats but I believe I saw yesterday that almost seventy percent of the American people believe in climate change and the importance of the Paris Agreements. Plus, there’s more to be gained economically in moving forward with the times than being plunged back into the Dark Ages, or at least the Industrial Age. (There’s no such thing as clean coal.)

Telluride, Colorado: Mother Earth at Its Finest

Jeez, I’m feeling pretty embarrassed, too. My deepest apologizes to my European friends, particularly my Paris friends. To say “I’m choosing Pittsburgh over Paris” is so small. I can’t believe a president of the United States actually said that. It’s not about pitting one city against another or poking one of the most revered world capitals with a demeaning remark. I promise you, this does not reflect the views of most Americans. (Even the mayor of Pittsburgh seemed appalled by this statement in a tweet he sent out shortly after Trump’s speech.)

Breathe. We are bigger than the views of Donald Trump. I apologize to anyone that’s one of his staunch supporters. I just encourage you to look at the science and the facts. He’s obviously a climate change denier (even if it’s just one of sorts), because our planet can’t afford to lose any more time. We can’t delay anymore. The clock is running out. Why renegotiate agreements that require a voluntary participation at best? We need to be the world’s leader in caring for the environment; we need a far greater show of diplomacy. It’s time to stop pushing people and countries around, both figuratively and literally.

A Scene of the Healthy Part of the Great Barrier Reef from the film Chasing Coral

Coral: Where the Little Fish Live

Coral Glory

Do you know that 22% of the Great Barrier Reef died off in 2016? Yes, it’s true. And science proves that this is due to the rise in the temperature of our oceans. From Australia to Hawaii and many waters in between and beyond, it’s happening all over the world. Our oceans are warming up faster than our air. You might wonder why is coral so important? Sure, it’s incredibly beautiful but more importantly, it creates the perfect habitat for small fish and other marine creatures to live. If the coral dies, so do the small fish, then the big fish that feed on them, then it’s the death of a whole ecosystem. Economically, the fishing industry would be kaput! And that will happen within the next thirty years if our oceans continue to warm at the same rate as they have these past few decades.

Next it will be our forests.

I’m not a scientist, but if you know me or have read some of my stories in my blog, you know I’m a passionate person. I’ve been passionate about the environment before recycling ever came into fashion. I think I first started tossing bottles and cans in proper receptacles in the mid eighties when I was living in France. Since then, I’m practically OCD about recycling and living green, which is what you have to do to reduce, reuse and recycle. I haven’t bought a box of Ziploc bags in over fifteen years. Instead, I rinse and reuse ones that appear in my life, treating each one practically like treasured heirlooms. (Yes, I am a little nutty.)

The Scene Last Weekend at Mountainfilm Telluride

A Mountainfilm Presentation at the Historic Sheridan Opera House

But this is what it takes, in addition to signing petitions, sharing information with others and advocating for the environment at every chance. Fortunately I’ve been able to glean a good amount of information and form my values from Mountainfilm, a wonderful festival of films, artwork, presentations, books and ideas that takes place every Memorial Day weekend here in Telluride, Colorado. I so encourage you to attend some day. You can also check out Mountainfilm on Tour to see when or if they might be coming to your town.

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18 Sep 2015, 3:03pm
Art & Culture Colorado Music & Dance Telluride Telluride Festivals:
Comments Off on Telluride Blues & Brews in the Park and on the Radio

Telluride Blues & Brews in the Park and on the Radio

A Spectacular Setting for the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

A Spectacular Setting for the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

Greg Allman: One of this Year's Headliners

Greg Allman: One of this Year’s Headliners

ZZ Top: Another Headliner

ZZ Top: Another Headliner

This Year's Poster

This Year’s Poster

There are still some single day (for Saturday and Sunday) and juke joint passes left for the twenty-second annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival that kicked off just hours ago! This is a fun-filled musical extravaganza well lubricated with good brews, wine and cocktails. OK, some coffee, too.

This world renowned festival takes place in an unparalleled setting in Telluride Town Park and the weather right now is fantabulous! Really gorgeous and it’s supposed to stay that way all the way through Sunday. If you’re anywhere near T-ride, c’mon down. If not, I highly recommend you earmark this crazy good event for next year; it will be happening the third weekend of September as always.

Either way, log onto right now to listen to the show. Yes, we’re fortunate to have Telluride’s homegrown radio station broadcasting Telluride Blues & Brews all weekend long. They’re conducting some great interviews as well, so tune in every day and I’m sure you’ll stay tuned well into the evening. Check out the lineup to find out about who’s playing. This year’s is one of the best, according to many.

I’m listening to the festival right now and am digging the driving beat. Hope you can get in on it, too.

For more on the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, read Steve Gumble Brings Us Telluride Blues & Brews and More.

This Year's KOTO Team

This Year’s KOTO Team

A Local’s Take on the Telluride Film Festival and How to Do TFF on the Cheap

TFF: Great Films in a Spectacular Setting

TFF: Great Films in a Spectacular Setting

“Aren’t you tired of seeing movies?” my Hunny asked me as I rolled in last night after the last film of the After the Festival Telluride Film Festival viewings.

“No, you know how I love movies, Hun. Plus, I only saw eight over the span of five days. Some people see that many within the first two days of the festival.”

Still, I’m happy that Film Festival has passed. Just like every other festival in Telluride, it represents a workout of sorts. There’s always so much to take in and experience, whether you’re working it or attending it or doing some combination of both (as is the case with most Telluridians); it’s physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting. But it’s still pretty fantastic.

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Telluride Bluegrass Festival: Escapism at Its Finest

Oh Yeah!

Oh Yeah!

Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band and Sam Bush

Good Pickin'

Good Pickin’

Superior quality music, a stellar natural setting, sunny days, clear nights, fine fiddle playing, booze, the smell of weed wafting over the scents of barbecue, fried fish and garlic, old friends and new acquaintances, colorful costumes, lyrical ballads, savory eats, tie-dye tops, penetrating instrumental solos, strappy sundresses, bare foot dancing, shorts, face painting, straw hats, jamming, T-shirts of every ilk, color and message imaginable, a heart-stirring lonesome chorus, flip flops, hula hoops, a carnavale-like parade, dusty cowboy boots, melodious breakdowns as quick as an Irish reel. This is just a sampling of what makes the Telluride Bluegrass Festival so much fun and so mentally, physically and spiritually transcending.

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The Gold Season in Colorado: A Festive Time for Professional and Amateur Photographers

America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

Oh Say Can You See

Oh Say Can You See

It’s unfair that the northeast of America is most often credited for its fabulous fall foliage. I’m from upstate New York and know well the glorious riot of colors that typically explodes there and–in New England–in autumn. But here in Colorado, I’m doubly awed–not only by our fabulous flourish of yellows, golds, orange and rust–but also by the majesty of our mountains, magnificent peaks which appear even more awe-inspiring as the low-lying autumnal sun casts its brilliant light on our dramatic panoramas.

I gobbled up an eyeful of this magnificence yesterday when my boyfriend and I embarked on a hike to Lower Blue Lake off of Dallas Creek Road, situated beneath Mt. Sneffels, one of the area’s most iconic Fourteeners, measuring 14,150-feet in elevation. This is God’s–and also Ralph Lauren’s Ranch–country, made accessible to all thanks to an easement by Ralph. It also takes a sturdy, vehicle to handle the bumpy half-hour drive into the trailhead and a strong will and steady athleticism to hike the 3.3-mile ascent up to dazzling Lower Blue Lake. I’m proudly sporting the blisters today that I earned from  yesterday’s effort; there’s no doubt that it was my best hike of the season.

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12 Sep 2014, 1:35pm
Colorado Music & Dance Telluride Telluride Festivals:
Comments Off on KOTO Broadcasts the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival to All

KOTO Broadcasts the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival to All

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

Telluride Blues & Brews Festival

What are you doing this weekend?

We’re having some beautiful late-summer weather here in Telluride, Colorado and I’m going to be enjoying some great music throughout most of Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I might even be sipping some frosty beers. I’m going to take part in one of the best musical happenings in the world, the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. And you can, too.

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5 Sep 2014, 4:51pm
Art & Culture Colorado Telluride Telluride Festivals:
Comments Off on My Telluride Film Festival 2014

My Telluride Film Festival 2014

Telluride:  A Beautiful Spot for a Film Festival

Telluride: A Beautiful Spot for a Film Festival

I’m exhausted today. It’s Friday and the end of a busy week, so I have good reason. I think most of my fatigue, however, is emotional. I’m coming off of the Telluride Film Festival (TFF) and I feel like every fiber of my being absorbed the many intense emotions I experienced while watching movies that dealt with everything from a mother’s bizarre relationship with her deeply troubled son (“Mommy“) to a journalist’s capture and brutal confinement in Iran (Jon Stewart’s “Rosewater”) to the devastating effects of the housing bust in America (“99 Homes“).

But a film is worth nothing unless it deeply moves you, right? And moved you will always be at the Telluride Film Festival, many times over in fact.

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