It had been a few years since we’d visited, and as we pulled into Ouray, late on a Thursday afternoon, I realized how much I’d missed this little village. Ouray encapsulate everything that is special about Colorado.
We were spending the first night at Hotel Ouray, a beautifully remodeled building on the corner of 6th Ave. and Main Street. It’s perfectly located across from Mouse’s Chocolates, a must-stop for a Scrap Cookie, and Ouray Brewing. The brewery has swings and beer, enough said.
Our first dinner was at Mountain Air Music Series. Taking place every Thursday throughout the month of June, the music series pulls in some amazing acts, great food and most of the people who live in Ouray and nearby Ridgway. Desi Valentine was the headliner during our visit and he blew the crowd away with his soulful yet innovative sound. He is quite the showman.
We chose dinner from a myriad of vendors; prime rib bites with blue cheese sauce for me and crab cakes for Ryan. Both entrees were from Ouray Cafe & Steakhouse. Not at all what we expected from an RV Park restaurant—it was fancy! Both plates were garnished with a branch of rosemary and these meals were delicious.
The next morning, we breakfast at Hotel Ouray. Our room, #9, features one of comfiest beds I have ever had the pleasure of sleeping on. Seriously, I wanted to take the bed, pillows, and sheets home with me. I will rave about this bedding for the rest of my life.
Besides a perfect location and a comfy bed, Hotel Ouray offers a continental breakfast and a selection of tea that would make a Brit proud. After enjoying hard-boiled eggs, bagels, yogurt and of course, several cups of tea, we set out to explore. More on the ghost town we discovered up the Million Dollar Highway at a later time, but let’s just say that we worked up an appetite.
Back in town, we watched the Women’s World Cup and noshed on a Rueben sandwich and hamburger at O’Brien’s Pub, a traditional stop while we’re in Ouray. The food is dependably good and we knew they’d be showing the match on their multiple televisions.
That afternoon we checked into our second accommodation for our three-night stay, The China Clipper Inn Bed & Breakfast. This is a wonderful inn just a block off of Main Street. The boat theme may seem odd since Ouray is 1000 miles from the ocean, but it works well in this Victorian town.
The China Clipper is a purpose-built bed and breakfast with large rooms. There’s always something sweet on a platter in the dining room. This made Ryan extremely happy.
Dinner that night was at the famous The Outlaw Restaurant. We’ve been to Ouray many times before but this was our first meal at The Outlaw. It’s been in town for years and its claim to fame, besides steak and seafood, is that John Wayne’s hat hangs on the wall behind the bar.
While filming “True Grit” in the area, Wayne frequented the bar at The Outlaw and ended up gifting his hat to the owner. It’s hung on the wall behind the bar ever since and if you ask nicely, you can wear it.
In addition to wearing the hat, I’d recommend the San Juan Rocky Mountain Trout.
After dinner, we had a nightcap at KJ Wood Distillers, just down the street. I watched the sunset from the patio with a gin and tonic made with my favorite gal, Jinn Gin and Early Gray tea. One thing I like about KJ Wood’s cocktails is that all the components of their cocktails stand out. This was true of Ryan’s New Fashion, created with KJ Wood Distiller’s Dead Drift Whiskey. This is a must-stop in Ouray.
The next morning we breakfasted in the brightly lit sunroom off the dining room at The China Clipper. This is one BIG benefit of staying at a bed and breakfast—freshly made breakfast each morning.
We started with a bowl of fresh fruit and fresh orange juice and then dined on eggs, bacon and pancakes while getting to know some fellow guests from Maryland. While you don’t have to get to know other travelers, I find this to be one of the most fun aspects of a B&B stay, but then again, I talk to everyone.
After a rousing horse ride with Action Adventures Trail Rides, an outing I’ll write about later, we had lunch at The Goods. This is located in a building that used to house a great little bagel shop. I had been given the tip to order the Touch Me Ginger, a togarashi lox, sambal cream cheese and ginger slaw sandwich. This was a very good tip and the everything bagel was the perfect touch.
Ryan ordered the Cluck & Rush-in which is a chicken sandwich with bacon, muenster and Russian dressing. While it shouldn’t be eaten while driving, because it’s messy, this sandwich won top approval with Ryan.
Dinner that evening was at BrickHouse 737, another new-to-us restaurant in Ouray. Our reservation wasn’t until late because the restaurant had two large parties and lots of diners that evening, but the food was worth the wait.
I had the Elk Bolognese and I can easily write that it was one of the best meals I’ve had in recent memory. This entree is served with just the right ratio of meat to pasta and quite frankly, you should order it when you visit. Ryan had the braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, charred carrots and pickled sweet corn.
The restaurant is darkly lit and kind of romantic without being pretentious. This is Ouray after all, and there’s nothing hoity-toity about this mountain town. BrickHouse 737 is an awesome restaurant addition to Ouray.
On our last morning in town, we woofed down a fluffy quiche at The China Clipper. Breakfast here is well-worth staying. In fact, it has made me wish that every day started with a bowl of fruit.
So there you have it, I know it’s a long post but it’s about the essentials; eating and sleeping in Ouray. I hope it’s got you salivating for a trip to this Colorado village in the mountains.
Thank you to Ouray, Colorado for hosting this trip.