Friday, June 25, 2010

Mesa Verde road trip, Day 1: Drive to Durango

On Wednesday — more than two weeks ago now, oh my! — we left for Durango. Michael had decided we should stay there and make the drive back and forth to Mesa Verde every day. It was about an hour from the hotel to the ruins (which are some ways from the park gates), so I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be the right decision.

We decided to take 285 through the mountains, instead of taking I-25 south and then heading west across the bottom of the state, which is flatter. It was the right choice — the scenery was simply gorgeous. I usually read or work in the car on road trips, but on this trip I was taking pictures and enjoying the view.

Me on a road trip to Mesa Verde

Some of these are iPhone pictures, so you'll have to excuse the poor quality — most of the time it was just easier to whip out the iPhone than to get out either the digital camera or the DSR. This next one shows the beautiful scenery from one of the scenic overlooks on Wolf Creek Pass — the photos we took with the "real" cameras didn't turn out quite as good, at least in my opinion.

Wolf Creek Pass in the San Juan Mountains in Colorado

(I had a lot of fun facebooking and emailing these photos from my new iPhone. Setting it up before we left on the trip was one of the best things I ever did!)

I'd been to Durango once before, with an ex-boyfriend in college, but I didn't remember going into town at all. Main Avenue is lovely:

Main Avenue in Durango, Colorado

We stayed in an old hotel on Main called the Strater. It was built in the late 19th century, and restored in the 80s or 90s with custom Victorian-inspired woodwork and wallpaper, and real Eastlake antiques. My husband knows me so well! I was in heaven!

Our room had a sitting area...

Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado

A gorgeous Eastlake dresser...

Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado

And two beds, a queen and a twin (the latter matched the dresser).

Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado

The wallpaper was gorgeous! The paper is fish scales in pastel colors, outlined in gold to make them shimmer, and the 18-inch-tall border is intertwined cattails and irises. It was custom made for the hotel when they renovated it, and very period!

Strater Hotel in Durango, Colorado

The hotel also had a gorgeous lobby, a saloon attached to it with authentic saloon piano music, and two restaurants attached to it, all done in Victorian style. I was somewhat disappointed to learn the woodwork and moldings weren't original, but impressed that I couldn't tell the difference. The Victorian-style tiled and mirrored jacuzzi room was also amazing.

We spent three nights in this hotel, and I loved every minute of it. Like I said, my husband knows me so well!

Stay tuned... Tomorrow I'm taking you to Mesa Verde!

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