Rocky Mountain Weekender: Gotta get back


I just finished my semiannual update of Frommer’s Colorado, the research for which becomes a whirlwind tour of the state punctuated by good food and drink, as many hikes as I can muster, and dozens of tours of hotels, B&Bs and ranches. I’ve worked on the Colorado book for seven editions, every other year since 1996, and just recently took over as the sole author.

It’s always bittersweet finishing the manuscript, because I do so love traveling around the state. And just as soon as I am done with the update, there are always a few places I immediately want to return to on vacation, with no guidebook research to distract me from the trails or the sunsets.

Wiesbaden Hot Springs: Linda Wright-Minter’s gem of a resort in Ouray has that elusively ideal combination of rustic and romantic-not quaint or overbearing, but just right. Built under a former homesite of Chief Ouray, the resort’s eponymous hot springs were first tapped for medical purposes nearly a century ago, and Wright-Minter has transformed the place since she bought it in the mid-1970s.

Blue Lake Ranch: Just southwest of Durango, the state’s first B&B is Colorado’s Versaille-one of the most impressively gardened properties I’ve seen in my career. David Alford, the ranch’s affable innkeeper, gave me the grand tour of his 230-acre property with a wide range of casitas, cabins, and cottages nestled amidst the spectacular flora, as well as the titular lake, bustling with fish and increasingly rare painted turtles, the state’s official reptile.

Gateway Canyons: Yes, I wrote about this Western Slope resort in the last Weekender, but a thunderstorm kept me off the trails and my time there was too short. I want to get back before winter and drive over the pass to Moab.

1899 Inn B&B: I had a too-brief stop in La Veta and took a quick tour of this inn before driving the superlative Highway of Legends to Trinidad. If I would have had a spare 24 hours or so, I would have based myself here for a night and spent a full day on the byway, getting in a hike and a picnic. Now I think I might just have that spare day.

Capella Telluride: In my humble opinion, any visit to Telluride is too short, but I stayed one night at new-in-2009 Capella last month and definitely didn’t want to leave the next day: It’s one of the poshest slopeside lodgings in the state. Alas, I left. But I have targeted late January for a long weekend-on the order of eight to 10 days.

Weminuche Wilderness Area: I did get in a five-mile hike here near Vallecito Lake during my summer Frommer’s travels, but I’m also targeting early September for a multi-day backpacking trip here. That hike merely whet my appetite for a much-deserved break from civilization.
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