From carbon neutral micro brew festivals to the complimentary bio fuel bus, a 'free box', random acts of coffee kindness and no traffic lights. Why you should pay Telluride, Colorado forward.
Some mountain towns just scream community and the box canyon town of Telluride in the San Juan mountains of Colorado has got it in spades. It helps that it comes with a picture box setting with soaring peaks thrusting skyward in an amphitheatre around the heritage town with a Main Street plucked straight from a Hollywood cowboy set.
You have got to love a town that purchases 570 acres of gateway meadow known as The Valley Floor out of the hands of the San Miguel Valley Corporation and declares it open space, forever wild in perpetuity. Community one, greed nil.
You have also got to love a town with no traffic lights, none, not one.
If, like me, you're a sucker for a farmers organic market, a local brew, a love of nature over corporations and random acts of kindness then you've come to the right place.
Here's ten reasons why.
Cowboy Coffee random acts of kindness
The coffee here is good, so good we caught the gondola down each day just get a cup of joe. But what I really love in the little caravan on the main street is the Pay it Forward window where you buy someone a cup of coffee and leave the card there for them to pick up. The simple gifts in life mean a lot.
Get in quick as the Free Box on the main street is cleared out every Friday. Locals and tourists heading home leave unwanted goods from clothes to televisions to skis, snowboards, camping gear and more for others to pick up for free. One guy I met at the box found himself a pair of zip off trek pants for summer that he was clearly chuffed with.
Telluride is split between the town of Telluride on the valley floor and Mountain Village half way up the mountain. The two are connected by a free gondola that is run by wind power. They even have blankets for gondola riders to use in winter and dog friendly cabins for those travelling with Fido.
Free bio fuel driven shuttle bus
The Galloping Goose is the town's free shuttle bus service. If you grab bus #101 then you'll know that your ride is run on non toxic, biodegradable, vegetable oil based biodiesel fuel.
Wagner Skis made for your DNA in a carbon neutral way
Pete Wagner makes custom made skis from a pre purposed gas station in Placerville using wind and solar power to ensure a carbon neutral factory. Not only are your skis one of kind made specifically for your own skiing DNA with a top sheet designed just for you, they are also good for the environment that means so much to those who care for the great outdoors. In our world that's a double hitter.
Carbon neutral festivals
Telluride loves a festival. The Telluride Film Festival, the Mountain Film Festival, the Bluegrass Festival and the Blues and Brews Festival are the signature events of a year of festivals dedicated to yoga, dance and jazz and even a Mushroom Festival. The Blues and Brews Festival is 100% Carbon Neutral and offers free filtered water and carbon offset options.
Dogs, dogs, dogs
A town that looks out for it's canine residents is a caring town indeed. Dogs are the best therapy ever and no more so than Telluride where you can't walk two feet without running into a dog and their human taking in the town.
Alta Lakes Observatory
Accessed by snow mobile in winter down a remote five mile road, the Observatory at Alta Lakes backcountry cabin is a truly special place. Hand built by locals in the 1970s this rustic outpost is shielded by mountain peaks close to an abandoned mining ghost town that just adds to the charm.
Someone with a sense of humour has deposited a red British telephone box not far from the front door. Add a giant stone fireplace, beds for ten friends and some of the best skiing and hiking terrain around and you will be hoping you get snowed in like we did.
Farmers Market dinner at The Little Bar
From June to October you'll find the Telluride Farmers Market every Friday on South Oak Street with a plethora of locally grown organic produce, pasture fed meats, eggs and cheese, artisan breads and more. The Little Bar at Lumiere Hotel in Telluride offer a Saturday night special made purely from ingredients sourced at the farmer's market. From market to plate.
Telluride Aids Benefit
The Telluride Aids Benefit is the hottest ticket in town come winter. The benefit has been running since 1994 and has raised over $1.8million for HIV and Aids education, health and wellness across numerous beneficiary funds.
The fashion parade is a fusion between comedy, theatrics, dance and catwalk fashion and uses locals as models to showcase the town's designers and fashion retailers. Trust me, this isn't just any old parade it is a total party and the most fun you can have with a DJ, a catwalk and a choreographer and all for a damn good cause.
Photo credits: Rachael Oakes-Ash