After driving from Texas through New Mexico and getting to Colorado, we spent the first part of our vacation in Durango. We arrived Saturday night and Sunday morning we were on the Winter train ride from Durango to Cascade.
We spent Monday looking around Historical Durango and making arrangements to go skiing on Tuesday. On Tuesday, after a day of skiing, we drove from Purgatory to Ouray on the portion of US550 known as the Million Dollar Highway. It was amazingly beautiful, but scary for me as it had been a while since I had driven on a curvy mountain road, and I am not really experienced driving in icy roads. It was near dusk, and we were dying to arrive at our hotel in Ouray, so we passed Silverton without stopping (we made sure to visit the town on our drive back from Ouray).
Ouray is a fantastic small town, nestled between mountains at 7,792 feet. It is nicknamed the Switzerland of America and I think it is quite fitting. We enjoyed our hotel very much. The place was clean and comfortable, we got a great rate and the manager (who is also named Ingrid) was incredibly friendly and helpful. The hotel has hot springs tubs (quite enjoyable) and also uses the hot springs water in its heating system. We loved it and would definitely stay there again. We visited the public hot springs pool. This is actually what drew me to plan a trip to Ouray, and it was well worth it to soak in the hot springs pool while two mountain sheep looked at the bathers from the safety of a high cliff.
We also did some shopping, buying souvenir t-shirts, beautiful prints and posters, and a couple of books on the history and lore of Ouray and the San Juan Mountains. Although several stores were closed because it was Wednesday, and others would not open again until May, we managed to find some nice places, including a very good coffee house/chocolatier called Mouse's Chocolates. Their chocolates are of amazingly good quality and flavor, and their caramels are to die for. Of course, I had to eat everything in small amounts so as not to send my blood sugar through the roof. They ship, so I will likely purchase again from them in the future.
Since it was St. Patrick's Day, we had lunch at an Irish pub called O'Brien's Pub. They had really good fish and chips and Shepperd's pie.
We would love to visit Ouray again in the future. For now, the pictures we took will have to do.