Birthday Weekend Getaway to Durango

Aaron (who reads my blog but only comments in real life), sends a 30-years-big THANK YOU to everyone for the birthday wishes!

He also thought that I had an “interesting” choice of pictures in the post yesterday, so I thought I’d throw another one in the mix!

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SIDENOTE: We have had non-stop birthday action since Friday, so this will be a short on words post with a lot of unedited pictures (I’ll actually share about 10 million train pictures another day)

We celebrated Aaron’s birthday with a quick weekend getaway to Durango, CO (home of Zuke’s dog treats…thanks Ellie for that tidbit of information!)

Durango is a quick 3 hour-ish drive from Albuquerque, but pretty much a whole different world.

Durango is a small, ski resort town with an old western feel, and as a college town, almost everyone is 22 and beautiful (and drunk).  It is also pretty affordable and unpretentious unlike some of the other Colorado ski resort towns like Telluride, Aspen, and Vail.

We started off the drive on Friday afternoon, and immediately encountered a traffic jam in the first town out.  Fun.  We also ate potato chips for dinner because we had no other options in the middle of nowhere.  (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I actually eat pretty healthy most of the time!).

After an uneventful drive, we pulled into Durango.  I hadn’t been in about 12 years, so I was pleasantly surprised to see an adorable town appear in front of the bug-gut covered windshield.

Despite being such a touristy spot, hotels are kind of hard to come by (condos, cabins, and vacation house rentals are plentiful however).  Low-budget options like Econo Lodge and Best Western were available in the north end of town, and the two options downtown (where all of the restaurants and action are) are really old.

We opted to go with really old to stay within walking distance of the action and chose the General Palmer Hotel (The Strater is the other, far more expensive option).  It was very cute, very convenient, provided free breakfast, had Keurig coffee machines in room, and real keys (as opposed to the magnetic swiper ones).

Even though Durango is a ski town, there are plenty of things to do during the summer including white water rafting, zip-lining, mountain biking, hiking, and…THE TRAIN!

Without getting into too much of a history lesson, the Durango-Silverton Line was a pretty big deal back in the day.  These days it is quite the experience, with authentic trains chugging customers through the mountains from Durango to Silverton, an old west mining town revamped into a tourist destination.  The 45 mile trip takes about 3.5 hours, but the time investment is well worth it because of the amazing mountain views! Also, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed along this stretch of railroad! Paul Newman and I have been to the same place!

We opted for an open-air car which allows for better viewing (though we did get cold, and soot covered).

Silverton itself is about 2 streets worth of restaurants and shops (apparently the mines were active up until the 90’s, but now the only thing supporting this town is the business from the train passengers).  You get to spend about 2 and a half hours exploring (or saloon patronizing) before getting back on board.

After the 3.5 hour ride back into Durango, we went exploring the various microbreweries and bars that Durango had to offer.  Durango actually has 4 microbreweries in town, two within walking distance to our hotel (more on that later).

Sunday morning we got up for a trail run (more on that tomorrow) to explore the amazing landscape that Colorado has to offer.

Sunday also happened to be the Taste of Durango event where local restaurants give small samples of some of their food in exchange for tokens.  I guess the token sales go toward Charity, but you are essentially paying $4 per sample portion.  It was ok, but we didn’t spend too much time there.

We opted instead to eat at this adorable French restaurant!

On our way out of town, we stopped at Ska brewing company.  I don’t know if it is as widely distributed in other places as it is in Albuquerque, but the brand is completely comic book themed.

But…it is closed on Sundays, so all I could do was take pictures of the sign.  Bummer.

So, even though it was just a quick getaway, hanging out in Durango was relaxing and fun, and at such a close distance, a destination I wouldn’t mind going to a couple of times a year.  Sometimes, just escaping to a different place can make life a little more exciting.

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12 thoughts on “Birthday Weekend Getaway to Durango

  1. Cool! I think I would’ve liked the Taste of Durango, I went crazy (in a good way) at the Taste of Edinburgh a few years ago. Was your meal at the French restaurant good? Will you write about it?

    • In concept, I think it was neat (and they have a lot of community support for it). I think part of the problem was that we were ready for lunch, and waiting in line for little samples just wasn’t what we wanted to do. We did make it all the way to the end, and the food we got was really good! I think if we did something like that again, we wouldn’t go hungry.

      And the French restaurant was very good! I didn’t take any food pictures, but perhaps I can include it as item #6 on my 7 things list! (FRIDAY!!! I hope…)

    • I figured I would use it as my runchat run because the views were pretty amazing! And I actually I’m not a fan of trail running mostly due to my overwhelming and irrational fear of snakes, but Aaron loves it, so I’ll go along. At least the scenery is usually better!

  2. Looks like you had a great trip! My dad and brothers stopped in Durango-Silverton a few years ago as part of a guy’s hiking trip through Colorado, and absolutely loved it! The whole weekend looks like it was a blast!

    I can’t wait to read about your trail run. I’m definitely no where near ready to try to tackle a trail, but my husband is interested in getting in to trail running, so I’ll definitely share your post with him!

    • Trail running isn’t my favorite for a lot of reasons, but it does make things more interesting!

      One of my husband’s friends had his bachelor party in Durango. Makes for less worrisome man bonding time than other places!

    • These people looked like they pretty much snowboard all winter. An uncle and an aunt both went there, and based on them I didn’t think it was a party school at all, but the town definitely likes to have a good time. It was kind of weird because a lot of the downtown restaurants seemed upscale, but the only people we saw around were college kids.

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