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Not Just a Ski Town…

In Telluride, you’ll find countless hiking and biking trails, top-notch kayaking and paddle-boarding—and chef-driven fine dining.

Telluride is a town with a reputation: a winter wonderland swathed in snow, scribbled with ski tracks and lit by fireplaces in cozy lodges. That image isn’t wrong—just incomplete. Telluride is also one of the best off-season destinations the West has to offer, with countless hiking and biking trails, top-notch kayaking and paddleboarding on the Alta Lakes, chef-driven destination restaurants and the most beautiful newly renovated resort in Colorado.

Nestled at 10,540 feet, that resort is Madeline Hotel & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection, where guest experiences include off-roading, horseback riding through wildflower meadows to a saddlebag brunch, foraging expeditions with the chef and guided fly-fishing trips to private mountain streams. Or stay in to experience amenities such as the Alpine Swim Club, where you can sip a drink in the heated outdoor pool with the majestic San Juan Mountains as your backdrop, and one of Telluride’s newest fine-dining restaurants, Timber Room, which mixes superbly crafted cocktails (with a notable emphasis on whiskey) to pair with elevated rustic dishes such as Rocky Mountain elk tartare, buttermilk fried rabbit and a dry-aged bison tomahawk. The hotel’s décor complements the stunning natural landscape—wood-grained walls, sweater-stitch carpets—with floor-to-ceiling windows framing the sweeping peaks and valleys in the distance.

Beyond the resort, golfers will revel in the mountain views at Telluride Golf Club, one of the world’s highest courses, while the alfresco happy-hour crowd has another reason to flock to beloved institution Cosmopolitan, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year (its spicy tuna roll has become the stuff of local legend) which recently opened an outdoor patio complete with fireplace tables for cool nights.

Book a Labor Day trip and enjoy Telluride’s famous annual Film Festival; stay a few weeks so you don’t miss the Wine Festival, from September 23 through 26. Or perhaps the area’s abundance of outdoor activities and natural wonders such as Bridal Veil Falls, a 365-foot waterfall surrounded by wilderness, has convinced you to make your vacation more permanent? Tom Cruise’s Telluride estate may have just sold for $39.5 million, but, as of this writing, Jerry Seinfeld’s is on the market for less than half that price.

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Set in a former grand saloon, the restaurant is run by James Beard House invitee Chad Scothorn, whose knack for grafting Asian culinary traditions over American fine-dining fare suggests the work of Citizen Public House maestro Bernie Kantak. Paired with a no-nonsense Old Fashioned, my Wagyu rib-eye – sourced from 7X Beef in Hotchkiss, Colo. – is the marvel of marbling you might expect, with a hypnotically buttery mouthfeel and just the right coppery zing of quality organic beef.

Excerpted form 5280 (the Denver Magazine) BY LUC HATLESTAD

To find one of the best meals in Colorado, you’ll need to drive to Telluride—and it’s totally worth it. Just across the street from the gondola sits Cosmopolitan of Telluride, chef-owner Chad Scothorn’s homage to fusion and (whenever possible) locally sourced ingredients. Fusion cuisine often gets a bad rap but the meal we enjoyed was an exciting mash-up of Asian, French, and American dishes.

We began with a snappy and fresh spider roll (sushi roll appetizers are half-price during happy hour) and complemented that with a plate of succulent lobster corn dogs. For one entrée, we chose the subtly seasoned chicken rillettes with a tender lemon risotto, along with garden-fresh snap peas and wild mushrooms. Read more

Cosmopolitan’s Grilled Baby Octopus with potato salad, duck bacon, chopped egg and roasted pepper oil.

Cosmopolitan’s Grilled Baby Octopus with potato salad, duck bacon, chopped egg and roasted pepper oil.

The best thing about the chef taking time off — from his customer’s point of view, at least — is that we get to taste what he learned while he was gone.

At Cosmopolitan in Telluride, this summer that means Baby Grilled Octopus served with a potato and egg salad, duck bacon and roasted red pepper oil. Yes, Cosmo chef-proprietor Chad Scothorn is recently back from Catalonia and you can bet that the new octopus starter at Cosmo is just the first evidence of it that we will see.

Octopus has been popular for the last several years in big cities, but this is the first time I’ve seen it in the region. It’s popular because it is so versatile, so tender, so much fun to eat and it’s sustainably harvested, too, in most of the places where it’s fished.