A Romantic Honeymoon in TellurideWords by Courtney Kellar
It’s the last day of our Destination: Colorado week and, odds are, you’ve already heard about our massive love affair with the state! In case you haven’t, check out this week’s earlier posts: Colorado Pros’ Advice for Saying “I Do,” Colorado Destination Wedding Goodies, Say “I Do” in CO with SPG Weddings, A Serene Colorado Destination Wedding, Lovely Colorado Wedding Inspiration, and A Memory-Filled Colorado Wedding. Read on, though, because we’re going out with a bang! We couldn’t highlight Colorado and not mention Telluride. As the editor of DID, I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all over the world – including several trips to Colorado. I have yet to visit a destination in the state I didn’t love, but I have to confess – I do have a favorite…Telluride!
If you’re tossing around ideas for the perfect mountain honeymoon – this charming town might be just the ticket! Telluride is not particularly easy to get to, but that’s part of the charm. It does have a small regional airport (TEX), but you can also fly into Montrose (MTJ). It’s roughly a 90-minute drive from Montrose to Telluride, but it’s a gorgeous ride. The road follows the path of multiple rivers before heading up into gorgeous mountain switchbacks. The good news is, once you arrive in town there’s really no need for a car. The free gondola takes you back and forward between Mountain Village and Downtown Telluride.
I’ve visited the historic mountain town in both the summer and winter seasons and loved both equally! On both visits I was lucky enough to stay at Madeline Hotel and Residences. The Madeline Hotel is a four-star property located in the heart of the Mountain Village side of Telluride (the other side being the historic downtown). I’ve stayed at countless high-end hotels and resorts over the years and it’s the service that sets the Madeline Hotel apart. (The gorgeous, comfortable accommodations and ideal location don’t hurt either!) When I last flew into Telluride my flight was first canceled and then delayed due to snow (careful what you wish for!) and Madeline was more than accommodating. I called the concierge desk to update them on our travel plans and they kindly offered to contact our shuttle service and rearrange our pick-up. The lovely staff also caught wind of the fact that it was my birthday and I was met with a warm birthday greeting and complimentary bubbly. I have no doubt that the Madeline would be an amazing place to spend your first few days as “man and wife.”
Below, find my dream itinerary for a perfect mini-moon in the mountains – summer or winter!
- A romantic dinner at Allred’s Restaurant is an absolute must. It’s located atop the mountain off of the gondola and the food is as amazing as the views. Be sure to get there before dinner to enjoy cocktails and admire the alpine glow on the mountains as the sun sets.
- The historic bar at the New Sheridan Hotel is worth a stop even if you aren’t in the mood for a libation. The bar has been “serving since 1895” and the intricately carved wooden bar is spectacular. There’s also great live music on the weekends and it’s a hot spot for locals.
- Visit The Butcher & Baker Cafe for an afternoon treat. We stopped in for coffee and may or may not have discovered one of the best chocolate chip cookies we’ve ever had! Hint: they’re the best.
- Colorado as a whole is known for its hiking and Telluride is certainly no exception. For an easy, scenic stroll check out the San Miguel River Trail or for a greater challenge conquer Bridal Veil Falls.
- Telluride is known for having one of the best festival seasons in the country. Throughout the summer they offer a myriad of festivals including the Bluegrass Festival, Film Festival, Yoga Festival and Balloon Festival. There’s something going on in town almost every weekend during the summer season. For a full calendar of events, click here.
- Summer activities also include fly-fishing, whitewater rafting, golf (put away the driver because the ball will go a mile at this altitude), mountain biking, paddle boarding, rock climbing, horseback riding and much more.
- Telluride is known among avid skiers as one of the best ski resorts in the country. It’s regularly ranked among the best, but still manages to fly under the radar. In fact, it was rated the "#1 Ski Resort in North America" four out of the last five years by Conde Naste Traveler. I spoke with a couple who had skied and stayed at all the Colorado big hitters – Aspen, Vail – but loved Telluride so much they bought a home there on their first visit! For them, it was the lack of lines and congestion on the slopes that sealed the deal.
- P.S. If you’re staying at Madeline Hotel and Residences, it’s ski-in and ski-out. As a bonus, they also offer a full-service ski valet – trade in your snowy gear for comfy slippers at the end of the day.
- In addition to skiing, there’s also snowmobiling, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, ice climbing and lots more. Be sure to visit the Telluride Adventure Center in Mountain Village for all the information and to make reservations.
After a long day on the trails or the slopes, head back to Madeline Hotel and have a nightcap at M Club. You can play darts, shuffle board, pool or just sit across from the ice rink and people watch (drink in hand, of course!). Like I mentioned before, I’ve traveled all over the world (Australia, French Polynesia, Morocco, Ireland…) and Telluride still ranks as one of my top destinations – without question. It’s a quaint, friendly town full of history and endless activities. The fact that both Mountain Village and Downtown Telluride are entirely walkable is also a huge bonus. I visited back in February with my partner and I have to admit – I was a bit nervous. I wanted him to love Telluride just as much as I do and thankfully it won him over – hook, line and sinker. Thus ensuring that Telluride will remain at the top of my must-visit list for years to come – just like it should be at the top of yours.
Photos courtesy of (in order of appearance): Telluride Ski Resort c/o Ryan Bonneau (1st & 2nd), Madeline Hotel and Residences (3rd-6th), Telluride Ski Resort c/o Ben Eng (7th), Telluride Ski Resort c/o Brad Foley (8th), Telluride Ski Resort c/o Brett Schreckengost (9th), Telluride Ski Resort (10th) & Telluride Ski Resort c/o Mike Dewey (11th).
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