As a festival and travel writer, I try not to play favorites when it comes to the Colorado towns I visit, however, there’s something about Durango that makes it hard for me to leave.
We visited town for just two nights in late August for San Juan Brewfest. We stayed at the Downtown Durango Inn, located on the banks of the Animas River and within two blocks of all the best downtown restaurants.
On this trip we didn’t venture out to try very many new places. We stuck to our tried and true Durango favorites including Steamworks Brewing Co. To avoid the wait here head to the bar area where there are usually several seats open at the long bar.
The food is always awesome and there’s a strong possibility that Hugh Jackman’s doppelganger will be tending bar. Yes, Wolverine is a bartender at Steamworks in Durango. Seriously. Just go. You’ll see.
We also visited BREW Pub & Kitchen for the second time. We got a table right away, but had to wait awhile for our food to come out. This was right after brewfest and they were slammed.
In Durango the bar has been set high when it comes to good food and BREW keeps it there. They cooked my burger perfectly and Ryan was pleased as punch with his chicken green chili Philly.
For breakfast we branched out and opted for Oscar’s CafÃ© instead of The Durango Diner. It was so good that we went there on both mornings; probably not a great travel writer move since I’m supposed to be exploring new things, but damn it, it’s delicious. I wrote my review here on Zomato.com.
We were in town for San Juan Brewfest. The VIP party on Friday evening was held at Carver Brewing Co. They have the best brewery patio in Colorado because they have air chairs – swing and drink – I love it. We enjoyed beer and tasty bites of food like glazed pork on a skewer, tiny pork pita wraps, stuffed mushrooms and more.
The brewfest, held under the trees at Buckley Park in downtown Durango was first-rate. There were a handful of new-to-us breweries and our VIP passes allowed us to get in an hour early so we could taste everything before the crowds arrive. VIP status also got us a lunch of delicious tacos under the VIP tent. VIP is the way to go at San Juan Brewfest, but passes sell out fast, so keep an eye on their Facebook page so that you can snag them as soon as they go on sale.
The other stuff
The next morning we walked the Animas River Trail, stopping to watch a fly fisherman under a bridge. Later we stopped to take a seat on the river’s edge where little fish jumped in the current in front of us.
The trees on the river’s edge and around Durango signaled the impending season change; bright bursts of gold and red nestled in the greenery.
While in town we stopped at Open Shutter, a gallery that’s tops when it comes to photography. We always stop here when we’re in town. It’s like a museum, featuring some of the world’s most amazing photographers. When you visit check out the fun (and affordable) pop up art books that feature Ashes & Snow by Gregory Colbert.
As I’ve said and written before, Durango is a delightful mix of old and new, modern and classic. It’s a small town with big city appeal and every time I have to leave it gets a little harder.
Thank you to the Durango Business Development District for hosting us on this trip.