If you’re looking for a fall getaway with beauty (mountains and rivers), food (great restaurants and bars), entertainment (theatre, art, music, shopping), activities (train rides, escape rooms, float trips, fishing, horseback riding, hiking, zip lining, spa, jeep tours) and history (historic hotels and museums) think about traveling to Durango, Colorado. Durango is mostly known for the Purgatory Ski Resort and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, but it has grown into so much more. The town itself has a population of about 20,000, with its own Home Depot and WalMart, so you know something is going on here. Autumn is one of the best times to visit Durango, with temperatures growing cooler and the colorful fall foliage appearing.
You can’t miss riding one of the historic steam trains – there are even special event trains – Wine, Brew, Fall Photo or PEANUTS The Great Pumpkin Patch Express Trains. After a train ride, you can visit the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum.
Head downtown for a delicious dinner at one of Durango’s fine restaurants. Some of the best are Eolus with its lobster corn dogs; El Moro Spirits and Tavern with its selection of great beers, and Chimayo which has mouth watering cornbread, pizza, and an eclectric menu of fabulous dishes. I also recommend the French bakery, Jean-Pierre, and the cutest outdoor crepe café, Michel’s Corner Crepes.
Hungry for Barbecue? Thee Pitts Again BBQ and More, winner of over 300 BBQ Awards and featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives on the Food Network. Of course, there are many other really good restaurants, cafes and bars in Durango, Colorado so take your pick – but remember that the best ones take reservations and you will most likely need one.
A favorite activity is an easy stroll or bike ride along the beautiful Animas River Trail, a hard-surfaced wide path that stretches 7 miles through Durango’s Animas River Greenway right in town. All along this path are sculptures, bridges, parks, the amazing public library, eateries and, of course, a view of people rafting, canoeing and kayaking.
After a day of walking, hiking, biking or rafting, you can relax at the Trimble Spa & Hot Springs or the Woodhouse Day Spa. Downtown Main Street is charming and full of retail, restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops, wineries, art galleries and unique boutiques. It is worth hours of strolling up and down the street.
Culture abounds in Durango. Music is everywhere – in the parks, saloons, bars, hotels, Farmer’s Market and it runs the gamut of musical styles.
The Durango Arts Center, Merely Players, Henry Strater Theatre, Fort Lewis College each mount dynamic productions worth seeing. September 16, 2017 is the Durango Autumn Arts Festival; September 9 is the Brewers Invitational, with over 30 craft breweries and October 7 is Oktoberfest.
And then there’s the “Dispensaries” which are the stores that
sell marijuana and cannabis products. In Colorado, both medicinal and recreational marijuana and cannabis is legal, although a prescription is needed for the medical type.
The range of products runs from ingestibles (that produce the psychoactive effects commonly associated with smoking or eating the herb) to cannabis medicinals (that do not make you high) which are salves, oils and lotions used for relief of muscle or joint pain, insomnia, and skin problems.
Since many states have already legalized medical marijuana and some recreational, it is interesting to visit one of these stores to see the product array and learn what this movement is all about.
Lodging in Durango ranges from the typical (Best Western, Holiday Inn, Quality Inn) to the historic, the best being the fabulous Strater Hotel with its live theatre, nightly entertainment and fine dining. There’s also the General Palmer Hotel, an elegant Victorian Hotel and Leland House Bed & Breakfast and its counterpart, Rochester Hotel host special events and concerts in their Secret Garden. So pack your bags and add Durango, Colorado to the fall fun travel list – you’ll love it there.