Jack and I have been wanting to get away for a few days for over a month and haven’t had the opportunity, until last Sunday that is. We had three days off together which is just perfect for going somewhere not too distant from us. Generally, when we get the chance to go for a little getaway for a few days (which for us means two nights and three days), we like to keep it not more than around a six-hour or so drive from us. With that in mind, we opted to spend a few days in Ouray, Colorado.
We still can get a lot of snow and freezing temperatures at this time of year in the mountains. We had checked the forecast and knew that there was rain and snow predicted for Ouray and Telluride (about an hour from Ouray), but that doesn’t generally deter us from going places. If we stayed home every time there was a little snow predicted we would never go anywhere, and we’re not willing to do that. So, we packed a few things plus Sami’s stuff and took off for Ouray!
We’ve been going to Ouray for quite a few years. It’s a cute little town that’s mostly west and slightly south of us. It’s between several mountains and looks like a little Swiss village. It’s not a ski town, so it’s a great place to go in the winter as well as in the summer. No matter what time of year you go there, you can always find plenty to do. We didn’t have anything in particular planned for once we got there and were basically just looking for a little relaxing time.
We can get to Ouray from taking either of two highways for the first portion of the trip. The only difference for us is whether we want to stop in Salida or Buena Vista to eat on the way. We were in Buena Vista a few weeks ago, so it made the decision to drive through Salida and stop there for breakfast pretty easy. We didn’t think about it until we were on our way, but Sunday was Mother’s Day, so the Patio Pancake Place (our favorite breakfast place in Salida) had more than the normal amount of people there. Fortunately for us, we were able to get in quickly. We had a really good breakfast and were glad that we had gotten there as early as we had since there were about 20 people waiting for tables when we left.
It was a nice, relaxing drive all the way to Ouray and we arrived around two in the afternoon. We considered going to the hot springs when we got there, but after checking the temperature of the pools (they have them listed and update them throughout the day) and finding out that they were cooler then we like, we decided to go to our hotel and take a nap instead. We checked in to the Victorian Inn and got settled in our room.
The Victorian Inn is an older hotel that’s been updated and we really like it. We’ve been going there for quite some time and have always had good experiences. What we like about it is that it’s pet-friendly, the rooms are large, it’s clean, there are several grassy areas to walk your dog, the river runs behind the hotel and you can sit and relax there, they have two hot tubs, breakfast is included, and the people who own it are very nice. It has everything we look for in a hotel and it’s the only place there that we like to stay when traveling with Sami.
After taking a nap, we sat outside having a glass of wine while we sat by the river and let Sami spend a little time sniffing all of the new smells of the area. We wanted to go to a restaurant that we like for dinner (which happens to be closed on Mondays at this time of year) and knew that we had to go that night, so we got Sami into the truck and took off. We did a little sight-seeing on the way to the restaurant. By sight-seeing I mean driving around a little and looking at the nice Victorian architecture of the old houses and buildings, plus admiring the mountains and the sunset. It was a really nice evening.
The Outlaw restaurant has good food and a nice atmosphere. It isn’t romantic at all, but we like it a lot. Sunday night it was busier than it normally is when we go, again due to Mother’s Day. We got seated and ordered a bottle of wine to have with dinner. They had a piano player there and the music was nice. Jack had filet mignon and I had a pasta and chicken dish. Both meals were really good and it was way more food then either of us needed. After dinner we went back to the hotel and soaked in the hot tub for a while before getting a good night’s sleep.
Monday morning breakfast at the hotel was good and we visited with some of the other guests while we were there. There was a couple from Texas who were traveling with their mom, dad, and cousin. They were very friendly and they had a little dog that I had seen earlier. The dog was a teacup schnauzer, which I didn’t know existed and must have weighed around 3-4 pounds total since she was only about 1/3 the size of Sami. Honestly, Sami looked like a giant compared to the schnauzer! On our way back to our room Jack spotted some bear scat in the parking lot and was actually a little excited about it. We know there are bears in most of the places we go to around here, but we don’t often see their scat!
We got our stuff and Sami and then took off to go to Telluride and a little town that’s near there. Telluride is about an hour from Ouray, so it’s an easy drive. On the way there, it started getting cloudier and then the snow began, which doesn’t generally bother us at all. We were looking forward to a day of just bumming around without any particular goals and we found a road we had never been on before that took us deep into the forest and passed a few very small towns. It was pretty, quiet, and very snowy, and we loved it!
When we arrived in Telluride we visited a few stores there. I was excited to find a thrift shop where all of the proceeds go to animal shelters and Jack and I both browsed a bit to see what they had. We also stopped at the local Ace Hardware store (we always stop at Ace stores that we haven’t been to) and spent some time admiring how much merchandise they had in a small space and how well-organized the store was. We got to talk to the manager and some of their employees and were greatly impressed with the store, the employees, and the way everything was run. We got a sandwich for lunch and then headed back to Ouray.
On the way back we stopped in Ridgeway at another thrift store that also gives all proceeds to an animal shelter. They had a lot of merchandise and there were quite a few people shopping there. We didn’t purchase anything, but we do like the concept of a thrift store that benefits animals. We continued on and by the time we got to our hotel we were a bit sleepy, so we took a little nap. We don’t seem to get naps at home, but for some reason we like a little snooze in the afternoons when we’re staying at hotels. Sort of weird, but maybe it’s just part of the “getting away and relaxing” part of going out-of-town.
It was beautiful outside when we got up and we weren’t hungry, so it was off to do a little more sightseeing. We drove to a hill that overlooks the town and spent some time looking around. The sun was getting low and was shining on some of the mountaintops. It was very pretty! Many of the houses in town have been restored and we love looking at them, too, so we drove around a little until we decided we’d better be getting some supper.
Jack loves Mexican food and we have a favorite Mexican restaurant there, so it was easy to decide where to eat. Buen Tiempo has good food and a nice atmosphere. The portions are really large and the service is always good. I got an appetizer quesadilla and it was way too much food for me. It was delicious, however I could only eat about half because it was so large.
Returning to our hotel, we opted to take Sami for a walk so we could all get some exercise. We discoverd some machinery from the Ouray Hydroelectric Plant that went into operation in 1885. It was amazing to see things that had been used for electricity from more than 100 years ago and Jack had a great time looking at it and explaining to me how it worked. The next time we go to Ouray he wants to see if he can get a tour of the current hydroelectric plant there!
Tuesday morning we had breakfast once again at the hotel and then started home. By the time we started heading up Monarch Pass it had begun snowing and the clouds were so low that it was difficult to see. Fortunately, there wasn’t much traffic, so we didn’t have people driving like crazy people while making it over the pass. As soon as we got to the downhill side, the sun started peaking out of the clouds and the temperature warmed up quickly. We went from snow, heavy clouds, and 30° temperatures to sunshine, clear skies, and 70° temps in about 20 minutes, which is one of the many things we like about living here. We only live about two hours from Monarch Mountain, so it didn’t take us long to get home from there.
Jack and I are so glad that we live in a place that offers as many destinations as Colorado does. We’re lucky that we’re able to take off and go on short trips like this and appreciate our life together and the memories we’re making.
Life is good!
Happy travels to you-