Claire Walter

Correspondent

  • Boulder, Colorado, USA

Claire Walter is a Forbes Travel Guide contributor who lives in Boulder, Colo., and covers the mountain town of Telluride for Forbes Travel Guide. Walter is an award-winning freelance writer and blogger and has written hundreds of articles for national and regional magazines. She is also the author and co-author of a dozen books. Walter maintains blogs on travel and food from her Boulder homebase at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.

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  • On August 16, 2012
    Claire Walter answered the question: Claire Walter

    What is the best thing to bring home from Telluride?

    There’s no doubt in our minds that you’ll want to pick up a little souvenir to remember your time in Telluride. Whether you’re looking for a piece of art or an alpine treasure, you can find it in this mountain town. Some of our Forbes Travel Guide editors’ favorites include everything from Telluride Truffle’s preservative-free confections to one-of-a-kind jewelry.
     
    Mosey on over to Telluride Brewing Company to taste the award-winning beer and while you’re at it, grab one of the souvenirs like a baseball cap or t-shirt with the brewery’s logo on it. With food on the mind, make your way to Telluride Truffles for a sweet treat — the distinctive triangular shape of the candy echoes the peaks around the area and are named after local places and favorite pastimes. For something a little more concrete, try Zia Sun and bring home one of the Telluride Christmas ornaments the shop makes new each year.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Claire Walter answered the question: Claire Walter

    What are the best Telluride food experiences?

    For a tiny mountain town, Telluride has its fair share of dynamic food experiences. Alongside fine-dining eateries, you’ll find everything from bakeries and chocolatiers to farmers’ markets and a microbrewery. Our Forbes Travel Guide editors rounded up the best Telluride food experiences to help you navigate this alpine destination:
     
    1. The Sweet Life. Satisfy your sweet tooth at Telluride’s only homemade ice cream parlor, where tubs are filled with flavors ranging from classic vanilla to “worms and dirt.” The Sweet Life also has a candy counter, a hit with the kids.
     
    2. Telluride Truffle. Another place to cure your hankering for sweets is at Telluride Truffle. A divine concoction of organic Colorado cream, high-quality liqueurs and spirits, and natural flavors like banana and hazelnut create the distinctive triangular shapes that echo the peaks surrounding Telluride. The preservative-free chocolates are named after local places and favorite pastimes.
     
    3. Telluride Brewing Company.
    The local brewing company sources its water from Rocky Mountain snowmelt — filtered, of course — and adds in premium malts, hops and yeasts. Try the Face-Down Brown, which took home the gold at the 2012 World Beer Cup. Visit the tasting room to sip on several different brews.
     
    4. Baked in Telluride. There’s no better place to experience the flavor of Telluride. This funky side-street bakery, pizza parlor and burrito dispensary is a longtime hangout for ski bums. Regulars catch the morning rays on the east-facing patio, even in the winter.
     
    5. Telluride Farmers’ Market. Considering Telluride’s lofty elevation, it’s quite a feat that there’s a farmers’ market each week from early June until mid-October. Featuring locally farmed goods like vegetables, fruit and flowers within a 100-mile radius, the Telluride Farmers’ Market takes place every Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer on the Gondola Plaza. You’ll also find crafts by local artisans such as jewelry, pottery and clothing.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Claire Walter answered the question: Claire Walter

    Where is the best nightlife in Telluride?

    Summer is filled with a steady procession of festivals in Telluride, many of which provide entertainment well into the night. Whether you’re part of the huge crowd in front of the outdoor stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival or breathing in the mountain air at the Telluride Yoga Festival, there’s something for nearly everyone. Though the nightlife scene that Telluride was once famous for is rather tame these days, there’s still plenty to do around the clock. Like any other ski resort, the après ski scene is big here — venture to any of the local bars and you’ll find a cozy spot to unwind.
     
    A Forbes Travel Guide editor favorite is New Sheridan Bar. Next door to the eponymous restaurant in the eponymous hotel, is Telluride’s oldest bar. Opened in 1895, it retains that turn-of-the-last-century charm and patina. These days, New Sheridan Bar is known for well-priced and generous pours of Jack Daniel’s and the like, expertly mixed cocktails and oceans of beer.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Claire Walter answered the question: Claire Walter

    Where is the best shopping in Telluride?

    Telluride has no chain stores. And that means every shopping experience in town is unique. Colorado Avenue, historic downtown Telluride’s main drag, is lined with unique shops and wonderful galleries. Shopaholics often come back with treasures they would find nowhere else. Mountain Village offers some shops and galleries too, but its main retail focus is on sporting goods.
     
    If you’re looking for leather, head to Appaloosa Trading Company, where you’ll find leather apparel and accessories like belts and wallets. This long-time Telluride favorite also sells home décor items. As for jewelry, our Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest moseying on over to Elinoff, which is one of just 50 jewelry stores in the country to showcase Hermès watches. Elinoff doubles as an art gallery with masterpieces hanging on the walls. Speaking of art, Telluride’s newest artisan gallery, Lustre, is a great place to find everything from finely crafted furniture to decorative sculptures. Like Elinoff, Lustre sells jewelry alongside its art.
     
    To bring home a little taste of the outdoors, make your way to Telluride Angler. This full-service fly shop offers equipment sales, rentals, licenses and year-round guided fly fishing through Telluride Outside. The knowledgeable staff can answer questions, rig equipment and point visitors to the hottest local spots. Shoppers looking for the local, the global and the just plain unusual head for Zia Sun, which carries a unique assortment of toys and gifts from around the world, as well as old-school children's toys and games of all kinds.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Claire Walter answered the question: Claire Walter

    What are the best things to do with kids in Telluride?

    Telluride is the ideal destination for kids — both the historic old town and contemporary Mountain Village are pedestrian-friendly. Whether organized or impromptu, in the summer or in the winter, family-friendly activities abound. Here are our picks for the best things to do with kids in Telluride:

    1. Ski school. At Telluride Ski Resort’s Children’s Ski & Snowboard School, your kids will get top-notch instruction on even better terrain. Specially trained kids’ instructors split youngsters into age-specific groups. Telluride's mascots, Olivia the Otter, Eddie the Eagle and Morris the Bear, help teach children not only skiing and snowboarding but also about Telluride's history and environment.
     
    2. Kids Camp. From early June through Labor Day, the full-day Kids Camp at Telluride Ski Resort features outdoor exploration such as easy hikes, playing in and around the river, fun games, team-building activities, mushroom hunting, picnic lunches, fun science experiments, and arts and crafts activities. For children younger than five, the resort operates Cubs Camp at the Nursery.
     
    3. Horseback riding. A trail ride on horseback is a great adventure for kids. For older children, opt for a horseback ride ranging from one hour to a full day. If you have small kids, you may want to stick to the horse-drawn carriages or sleighs.

    4. St. Sophia Nature Center. This large log cabin is just a short distance from the top of the gondola. Patient naturalists have all the answers to curious kids’ questions and reach out to those too shy to ask. Summer group programs provide wildlife education, children's nature activities and guided hikes.
     
    5. Wilkinson Public Library. For such a small town (population less than 2,500), Telluride has a huge library with all the technology usually found in far larger communities. Located downtown, just half a block from the main drag, Wilkinson Public Library provides a host of drop-in activities for children of all ages, including story time for the little ones.
  • On August 16, 2012
    Claire Walter answered the question: Claire Walter

    What are the best things to do in Telluride?

    No matter what the season, active sports and outdoor adventures get top billing in Telluride. Snow sports reign in winter, with some of the best and least crowded skiing and snowboarding in the West, as well as gentler snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. Summer is festival time, and most of the town’s famous summer festivals are on open-air stages with gorgeous scenery as the backdrop. Here are our picks for best things to do in Telluride:

    1. Ski and snowboard. During Telluride’s winter season, snow sports reign supreme. The expansive ski area has terrain ranging from gentle slopes for beginners and double black diamond chutes. The average annual snowfall exceeds 300 inches, and the white stuff is some of the lightest, fluffiest powder in the West. There rarely are lines for the 18 lifts, and the 2,000 acres of terrain are never crowded.
     
    2. Celebrate at festivals. There’s sometime going on almost every weekend here. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival around summer solstice always sells out. The prestigious Telluride Film Festival on Labor Day Weekend has premiered thought-provoking films that have gone on to win Oscars. Telluride has even declared a No Festival Weekend in summer to “celebrate” a couple of days when nothing special is on the calendar.
     
    3. Visit a ghost town. Telluride got its start as a major mining district when it was founded in 1878. Old mine sites and mill sites dot the mountains, with old mining roads lacing through them — today, they are thoroughfares for four-wheel drive vehicles, dirt bikes, mountain bikes and hikers. Join a knowledgeable guide to the well-preserved mining town of Alta by all-terrain vehicle in the summer and snowmobile in the winter; you can head to Tomboy high on Imogene Pass in the summer only.
     
    4. Explore Bridal Veil Falls. Hike, mountain bike or go off-roading to this beautiful waterfall. At 365 feet, Bridal Veil Falls is Colorado’s tallest free-falling cataract. The 1907 powerhouse at the top was restored in the late 1980s and remains in private hands, but it still supplies about 25 percent of the town’s power needs. The panorama of the falls and the valley far below is worth the effort of getting there.
     
    5. Fly in Silence. The rugged San Juan Mountains are usually acknowledged as Colorado’s most scenic mountain range, magnificently clad in summer green, winter white or fall’s golden aspen trees. Visitors can get an eagle-eye experience by soaring over the San Juan Range in a silent glider or floating by in a hot air balloon.