Insider Guide: Telluride, Colorado

Paula Malone tells us how to make the most of a trip to Telluride, Colorado

Neapolitan Paula Malone has always had a passion for skiing. The New Jersey native oftenvacationed in Aspen with her family, but, in the late 1990s, they decided that the town had gotten too frenetic and celebrity-focused, so they turned their attention to Telluride. When she’s not at home in Naples, the retired clinical psychologist and founder of the Child Development Center at duPont Hospital for Children spends her summers and several winter weeks in the former mining town in the heart of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. Though its name is said to derive from “to hell you ride,” Telluride boasts a small-town feel, welcoming locals, and pristine natural beauty. “Every day brings some kind of breathtaking experience like a spectacular sunset or a magnificent wildlife sighting,” says Malone, who also praises the destination’s diversity of activities, walkability, and vibrant music scene.

VIBE Accepting, healthy, vibrant, and real

FASHION ESSENTIALS Dress for your preferred activities, not for a social code. Patagonia and Arcteryx are popular. Footwear is usually sneakers, hiking boots, or flip-flops.

WHERE TO EAT The National is newer in town. Its eclectic menu changes with what is available locally, and it’s all delicious.

LOCAL DISH TO DREAM ABOUT I like duck and local trout. I count on La Marmotte for duck and The Village Table for trout.

AN ALFRESCO ACTIVITY In summer, if the altitude hasn’t sapped your energy, take a short hike to the waterfall or a longer hike up Bear Creek Trail for spectacular views. Have a drink on the rooftop of the New Sheridan Hotel.  

SIGNATURE DRINK Craft beer. There is a Telluride Blues & Brews Festival that you don’t want to miss in September.

FOR A DAY TRIP Telluride Regional Airport is the highest commercial airport in the U.S. at 9,070 feet. I like to fly my single-engine airplane from there to, say, Durango, Taos, or even Denver for the day.

WHEN TO GO Winter for skiers, snowboarders, and ice climbers. Summer for hikers, climbers, trekkers, rafters, fly fishers, mountain bikers, horseback riders, and for the many festivals. Autumn for spectacular scenery when the Aspen trees glow gold.

BEST SEAT IN TOWN Allred’s Restaurant on top of the ski mountain, reachable by a free gondola year-round with excellent wine, food, and spectacular views night and day.

HOW TO SPEND A FREE DAY Start in Mountain Village to view the mountains and cruise around. Take the gondola to historic downtown Telluride for the boutiques and restaurants in buildings dating to mining days.  

SOUVENIRS TO COLLECT Crafts from the Friday farmer’s market and a pastel by local artist Bruce Gomez.

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