Not just a ski town (though it’s a favorite during the snowier months), Telluride is a beautiful fall destination with ample opportunity for mountainous leaf-peeping. Their “Main Street,” actually called Colorado Avenue, is home to most of the town’s restaurants and boutiques, with spas lining nearby side streets and gondolas running high above. Whether you go for the incredibly popular Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June, stop by for a relaxing fall foliage weekend in October, or hit the slopes in January, Telluride has charm and flavor to offer all year round. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/VSELLIS)
Breakfast: In a small mountain town like Telluride, breakfast should be a casual pit stop where you can map out your day. The Steaming Bean is a local favorite for their local, organic coffee, and mouth-watering breakfast fare like blueberry Belgian waffles, and veggie breakfast burritos. The vibe is decidedly communal and relaxed, with booze and savory foods on offer later in the day.
Lunch: In warmer months, opt to sit on the patio at Rustico Ristorante, which sits right on Colorado Avenue, offering delicious Italian cuisine with a side of people-watching. Beef carpaccio, the bright and spicy penne all’arrabbiata, and the daily fresh fish are among the restaurant’s best dishes and the wine cellar is stocked full of Italian wines, of which you should heartily partake. And even in snowy months, when the patio would be less than ideal, the inside is warm, familiar, and goes well with the homemade Bolognese and a bold red wine.
Afternoon Snack: Recently reopened after a debilitating fire in 2009, Baked in Telluride is a locally loved institution. They serve savory foods like soups and sandwiches, but the sweets are undoubtedly the reason to go. Doughnuts, cookies, freshly baked breads, and croissants are all worth waiting in line for — and you’ll have to.
Dinner: There are two ways to do dinner in Telluride. Spring for the classic Telluride institution, La Marmotte, or hunt down one of the town’s smaller eateries, Pescado, on a small side street, for seafood and a raw bar.
La Marmotte sits in a 125-year-old building that was once an icehouse. Serving authentic bistro food for more than 20 years, the restaurant is warm and intimate with dishes like coq au vin, Colorado rack of lamb, and lemon cheesecake with pistachio crème anglaise. The rustic interior is the perfect complement to the cuisine and the wine list is a mix of French and American.
Then, Pescado is a raw bar accessible only through it’s “parent” restaurant, The Llama, or via a side door on the breezeway. A mix of creative and classic sushi rolls, fresh Japanese salads, and a full raw bar are on offer with a personable and casual feel.
Drinks: Sidle up to the bar at the Historic Bar at the New Sheridan Hotel for a taste of the old west. Unchanged since it opened in 1895, the Historic Bar is one of the oldest in the west. It’s a favorite with locals, though being connected to the hotel also promises a great mix of travelers passing through for some mountain air.
Sleep: To suggest that you’d only want to sleep at Hotel Madeline, high up in Mountain Village, is entirely unfair. You’ll have to steel yourself away for meals at other Telluride destinations. The accommodations are plush, the spa is serene, and the vistas are unparalleled. Stop into M’s and M Bar during your stay for acclaimed farm-to-table cuisine. Whether it's breakfast or après-ski, Hotel Madeline will more than satiate. (Photo courtesy of Hotel Madeline)