Monday, November 21, 2011

Westward American Road Diary: Durango and Silverton, Colorado

I'm even not sure what state I was in - New Mexico or Colorado, when I had this plate of biscuits and scrambled eggs with coffee. All I know is after being in the desert, we found ourselves driving through snow on the road to Durango, Colorado, bathrooms and food were scarce, I was grateful to see the glow of a restaurant and an "Open" sign. We chatted with the owner about everything from hunting (not my cup of tea, of course) to why there are no toll roads when they are everywhere in the New Jersey-New York area. Want to go across the George Washington Bridge, that will be $12.

I was so sad to say goodbye to Santa Fe, and wished we had more time in New Mexico, but I loved our next stop just as much: Colorado.

Upon the recommendation of a coworker, we stayed at the charming Apple Orchard Inn, a bed and breakfast 15 minutes from Durango's downtown and about an hour away from one of the area's main attractions, Mesa Verde. The cheerful Granny Smith room was $90 a night (the off season rate) and the second night was half off since the hostess was running a special Monday-Friday. I just love a bargain.

And I adore a house with a porch, do you?

What a treat: Eggs Benedict! Mine had no ham of course. Served with fresh baked goodies and before this a yogurt parfait to start.

The charming patio.

Onto Mesa Verde, exploring abandoned cliff dwellings.

Imagine living here.

Observing the reflection of the mountain in the lake as we drove along, I thought of Forrest Gump's words when he ran cross country and remarked of the landscape it was hard to tell where the Earth ended, and heaven began.

Our hostess Kathy recommended Ken and Sue's in town for dinner, and it was a great choice. After sharing an iceberg lettuce wedge with tomatoes and blue cheese dressing, I had the butternut squash manicotti with arugula and red onions, $20, off of the night's specials. Ended with a hot spiced cider which warmed body and soul on a very cold night.

There's a famous train you can take between Durango and Silverton, the latter an old mining town, but there were only full day excursions running and the tickets would have been $80+ each, so we opted to drive instead. Besides, we didn't want to miss breakfast! A veggie scramble and a homemade cherry scone.

Landscapes shifted constantly on this trip. From deserts to trees painted in gold...

to a winter feel emerging.

Walking through Silverton, we met a woman visiting a friend who lives in town. She said you have to be very comfortable with "self." I'll be honest: lately I've been dreaming of hibernating for the winter surrounded by books, candles, fireplaces (too bad I don't have a fireplace!) and large pots of soup. True hibernation. Maybe the bears are onto something. I didn't realize how burned out from harried life I've become until this vacation.

What events has this old building witnessed? If it could talk...

We were so full from breakfast still, but chilled from the morning, so I was called into the Brown Bear Cafe for a little something.

Sitting at the bar, enjoying a hot chocolate.

The historic Durango Silverton railroad pulled in, as we pull out to our next stop: Telluride.


  1. WOW!
    What a trip Catherine!!
    I've never done anything like this..
    The landscape is stupendous. Sounds like you got the full treatment.
    I would also be inclined to drop into The Brown Bear Cafe...

  2. I've always wanted to do a trip like this. I so wish we could have kept going. I would love to explore California which I've been to, and places I have not: Oregon, Washington, South Dakota, Montana, etc.