Monday, January 14, 2013

Another Best Kept Secret: Rico, CO

Rico, CO population "200- plus" in winter.  You could miss it altogether if you aren't looking  or maybe you are just distracted by the natural mountain beauty.  Several storefronts, a volunteer fire station and a gas station tucked away along the Dolores river.  That's about it but then add the natural beauty and you have plenty to explore.

I never paid much attention on the way to Telluride on previous trips.  But this time we stayed at the Rico Argentine Bar and Grill right in town.  It proved to be an idyllic and economic get away.  We were the only guests for the first two nights until a lone lost stranger stumbled in on the third night only adding to the adventure with stories and character.

This bed and breakfast is a remodeled minor's dorm.  The charm is not overdone but makes for a whimsical stay. If the rooms are small, the breakfast is huge.
Served next to the old stone fire place in the comfortable and cozy common room, we enjoyed a choice of vegetarian or quiche with meat, oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, cold cereal, banana bread, toast and jam, coffee and tea and orange juice and that was just the first day.

Breakfast matched the five star evening meal served on Friday through Sunday or on weekday evenings by request.   We enjoyed salmon and a vegetarian lasagna with a salad of greens, pomegranate fruits and goat cheese.  Chocolate cake was our choice for dessert and there is a full bar to be enjoyed during dinner and after in front of the fireplace.

The perfect place to dry boots and clothes after a day of winter sports.

Rico is situated as an excellent jumping off point for the trail head to Lizard Head(see earlier blog last year about this hike)  if you want to hike, snow shoe or back country ski.  The trail gets you here:

Where the imposing rock formation  for which the trail is named towers just above.

Rico offers an economic stay close to the famed Telluride ski area.  But don't overlook the options to rent snow shoes, cross country skis and even sleds at the town- owned alpine lodge in the park at the far end of town.  With  cross country skis another surprise near Rico are the miles of groomed trails at Priest Lake.

Or stay closer to Telluride for the day and explore the boutiques and skating and sledding options.

Of course there is the down hill ski option too.

 And when Rico Hotel is not serving dinner try a pizza or black bean burger at the Enterprise Bar and Grill across the street.  With a pool table and a player piano you know you are in a western mining town.

 Or try Dew South another bar and eatery in town.  It is on our list to try next time.

And speaking of next time?

In Rico and at the Rico Hotel I have found my next writing get away.  With just enough local color, solitude, a place to take me out of my element and a place to inspire.  Watch this blog for more about Rico, the place, the people, the natural landscapes.

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