About Telluride

Telluride Town Council approves measure to take business to the streets - outdoor dining to commence June 1

Colorado Avenue will be one way, eastbound this summer

Special Thanks to Suzanne Cheavens, Associate Editor & The Telluride Daily Planet

Main Street

This image shows where communal dining and retail/arts spaces would be placed along the north side of Colorado Avenue between Oak and Fir streets. (Courtesy image)

This summer, Colorado Avenue businesses can take it to the street. At its special meeting Tuesday, Telluride Town Council unanimously approved a measure that will allow restaurants and retailers on Colorado Avenue to use public right of ways to feed their customers and display their wares. The resolution is designed to “to encourage and permit outdoor dining, retail display and transactions, local art display and performance to assist local businesses in response to the town’s local disaster emergency regarding COVID-19.” The resolution goes into effect June 1.

Council, staff and members of the public undertook a lengthy discussion that also included consideration of restaurants and businesses located away from the town’s main drag. While side streets are not part of Tuesday’s resolution, council will revisit those businesses at it next meeting, June 2.

Driven by the economic implications of doing business under public health orders that include compliance with physical-distancing measures and limitations on group sizes, local officials have been examining how to support its business license holders in a way that would uphold those orders. Restaurants, for instance, will soon be permitted to seat customers, but at only half capacity and while keeping diners adequately separated. Having outdoor dining available will allow customers to pick up and consume to-go orders.

The plan will see eastbound traffic only, with the westbound lane closed and separated from vehicles. San Miguel County officials asked that the block between Aspen and Oak streets remain open to two-way traffic, citing the upcoming election in June and for ease of conducting county business at the courthouse and the Miramonte building.

As per local emergency services such as fire and medical, there is ample room for those vehicles, as well as the center lane for deliveries.

In the staff memo to council, town project manager Lance McDonald described the so-called communal dining areas as areas to be “open to the public for the consumption of takeout or delivered food and beverages from local restaurant establishments, and cannot be allocated or assigned for exclusive uses to specific businesses.”

Communal retail and arts spaces will also be designated along Colorado Avenue’s north side. Those areas are available to retail businesses within the specific block to exhibit merchandise, etc., and cannot be allocated or assigned to specific businesses,” according to McDonald’s memo. Local artists and arts organizations can also avail themselves to those spaces, though retail businesses will have priority.

Rather than wait another week or more to make a decision, council pressed forward with a few changes to the draft resolution, saying that waiting was not in the public’s best interest.

“People are ready for us to take action,” said council member Adrienne Christy.

Tuesday’s resolution also included permitting “parklets” or portable units that can accommodate dining or merchandising on the south side of the street adjacent to businesses desiring to use them. Those units will be allowed from Aspen to Alder streets to included businesses outside of the one-way portion of Colorado Avenue. The resolution allows staff the flexibility to reach individual agreements with business license holders wishing to use parklets on public right of ways. Sanitation stations will be placed for ease of hand-washing.

Town will also purchase tables and crowd control fencing and create informational signage, an investment McDonald calculated would be approximately between $50,000 and $62,000. Tables, which comprise about $40,000 of total estimated costs, would be placed in the communal dining areas and in the nearby pocket parks. And he reminded council of the impacts on staff.

“There will be staff demands to implement this,” he said. “It is an undertaking.”

The resolution sunsets Oct. 30. Council will continue a discussion next week on how best to include similar considerations for off-Main Street businesses, allowing staff to compile more information on potential use of public right of ways in places such as Pine Street, Fir Street and Pacific Avenue near Siam and There.

Still left to establish is a management plan that will cover topics such as proper disinfecting of tables, keeping retail and dining areas cleaned, and enforcement of public health orders.

“This isn’t done by any means,” said Mayor DeLanie Young.

Telluride is synonymous with skiing and high mountain peaks.

Telluride is synonymous with skiing and high mountain peaks.

Telluride, Colorado

Tucked away in a box canyon and surrounded by 14,000-foot peaks, this Victorian-era mining town boasts a picture-postcard setting and a reputation that ranks it amongst America’s most famous mountain towns. It has been named “No. 1 Best Small Town to Visit in the USA” by U.S. News & World Report. Year after year, readers of Condé Nast Traveler rank Telluride as the “#1 Ski Resort in North America,” and The New York Times says, “Telluride isn’t just a ski area; it’s a way of life.”

The town is a favorite for some owing to its world-class alpine skiing, while others are swayed by summers full of cultural events, including the iconic Telluride Bluegrass Festival and an endless variety of outdoor activities. What rings true to everyone, however, is the town’s authentic mountain character and unpretentious attitude. Standing tall with an elevation of 8,750 feet, Telluride is the highest mountain town on our list.

*Special thanks to Dave G. Houser; America's 8 Favorite Mountain Towns

When and how can Telluride non-resident homeowners come back safely?


Thank you to Dr. Sharon Grundy of the Telluride Medical Center, for this timely and informational Medical Minute update:

Many part-time residents are also patients of the Telluride Regional Medical Center. These are people we see year after year. They are a part of the med center family. 

Our community expands beyond who lives here year-round.

Telluride and the surrounding mountains live in the hearts of many people around the world — while only a relative few get to call this home year-round.

Many part-time residents are also patients of the Telluride Regional Medical Center. These are people we see year after year. They are a part of the med center family. 

Some part-time residents or second homeowners are asking when they can come back — and how can they do so safely and respectfully.

After all, for many, Telluride is not only their second home, or home away from home, it’s also the place they feel the safest, their happy place. We get it! 

So here’s where Colorado and San Miguel County stand today: Both our county and state have issued “Safer at Home” orders that limit travel into and around San Miguel County to Local Residents only. 

Side note: I love this info-graphic that can help people answer, wherever you are, the question: Am I safer at home?

The current San Miguel County Public Health Order states “visitors to San Miguel County are still not allowed and are directed to return home immediately by the fastest and safest available means.”

Why? We have very limited community resources. 

So far — and thanks to an abundance of caution, planning and community wide strategic efforts — our healthcare system has not been overwhelmed and we’ve been successful at keeping our staff and non-COVID-19 patients healthy. 

However, if you get coronavirus here, or bring it here with you, please understand: there are remarkably few Intensive Care Units and ventilators in the region.

In fact, our community is 65 miles away from the nearest hospital. If you were to become severely ill, you’ll find access to care limited. 

The main hospital that serves our community is Montrose Memorial Hospital and beyond that, St. Mary’s Medical Center in Grand Junction (2.5 hours from Telluride). Additional surrounding counties rely on those two medical facilities. 

For that reason, at this time, non-resident homeowners are only strongly encouraged to not travel to San Miguel County. 

If you decide against the urging of Public Health officials, the Public Health Order instructs non-resident homeowners, and residents who have spent extensive time away, to quarantine at home for 14 days. 

The quarantine or self-isolation period is meant to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19.

The local order is explicit in detailing that those individuals who are coming to or returning to the area are not permitted to break quarantine for “Necessary Activities” or to access “Critical Businesses.” Not even a trip to the Post Office is permitted. 

You will need to be self-sufficient during this time. Meaning you’ll need groceries and to arrange for deliveries to that end. 

For definitions and the full public order, see here. 

And finally, if you’re determined to enter San Miguel County, be sure to read the Colorado State Safer at Home Order, review the San Miguel County Public Health website; and the individual ordinances of the township where your home is located. Links are provided below.

Note: Counties can be stricter, but not looser than State orders. Townships may be stricter, but not looser than counties. 

As State and County orders are likely to change again in June, be sure to check these resources frequently: 

Colorado Safer at Home
San Miguel County Public Health
Town of Telluride
Mountain Village

Wherever you are, the goal is to keep each other as safe as possible.


Dr. Sharon Grundy


The Colorado ski town of Telluride contained covid-19. The economic fallout will be harder to contain.

Telluride, Colorado acted quickly to test the community and get coronavirus under control, but bringing back tourism dollars is a long-term challenge with no easy solutions. Thank you #washingtonpost and #robertray for coverage. Although the news might not be the best, take a virtual and aerial tour of our beloved #Telluride until we can welcome you back to our streets and trails again soon. #wewillovercome

Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County - A Beautiful Place to be when we overcome!

These are uncertain times, yet the real estate market’s high points during the past three months are positive indicators that Telluride, Mountain Village and San Miguel County will still be a good place to buy and sell throughout 2020 and beyond.

Broadly speaking, invest in the west is good advice. In particular, people who live in and near the San Juan Mountains area are blessed that their property is surrounded by acres of national parks, national forests and other public lands. In this area there is a shared spirit of community, gratitude and respect by the people for the abundant wildlife and wilderness areas where we are but visitors. 

Landowners in the San Miguel County region have a special opportunity and responsibility, enhancing the spiritual and physical health of the people who visit or are blessed to live in the area. Check out the offerings on our website and let your mind dream about what one day could be your own little corner of the west. We love to get creative with our clients!


A Note from our President regarding COVID_19

 As a global company, Telluride Real Estate Corp. and Christie’s International Real Estate are committed to doing their part to reduce non-essential business activities as we join together to fight the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Our thoughts are with all of those directly affected, and our foremost priority is to act in the best interest of our local communities, our clients and our colleagues.

Telluride and San Miguel County are attacking the pandemic head on. Our county was the first in the state to issue a mandatory “shelter in place” and is also first in the nation to embark on county wide testing over the next week. The testing is voluntary and is administered free of charge thanks to the United Biomedical Group. Approximately 650 tests have been conducted to date with only one confirmed case of the virus. Testing of the entire county should be complete within a week, or so.

On a more positive note, our real estate market started 2020 with a bang, with gross dollar sales 58% above 2019 for the months of January and February.  All market segments seemed to share in this increase in volume. There is little reason to expect that sales will be dramatically down this summer if the virus is brought under control. Our first major event, Telluride Mountain Film, is perusing an online format such that the usual attendees may enjoy the films in the comfort of their homes. The status of other festivals is uncertain at this time. One Constant – Telluride’s dramatic beauty remains forever unchanged and a myriad of family, lifestyle activities that invigorate and sooth the soul.

We have a built-in vaccine to our local real estate market --- superb planning over decades definitively limiting regional density to a fraction of other major resorts and design regulations that demand the highest of quality our marketplace has been resilient during times of economic crises. A lack of supply always tends to stabilize pricing in downward trends. This factor was no more evident than during the “great recession” where values diminished to a far lesser degree than in other major resorts. In short, our market may experience a slow-down in the short term but will bounce back at the first signs of returning to the “new norm”.

During this shelter in place period, it appears that families are searching on line for the safety and escape of small resort communities like Telluride. We are realizing the highest search volume in seven months and it certainly appears that once this pandemic is behind us, Telluride will be a focal point for an investment in lifestyle.    

As it has in the past 4 decades, Telluride Real Estate Corp. will face this situation head on and through our precautionary measures, positive attitude and proactive nature we will be ready for an influx of resort property buyers again. Let this be a time where we continue to demonstrate our unique ability to pull together.

Take this time to research and ask the questions you’d like answered. We have a dedicated team devoted to building quality, long lasting relationships. We’d like to continue to provide you with quality information to give you confidence and respond to your exact needs. Let’s discuss your options now so it will pay dividends in the future. Look forward to hearing from you, stay healthy.

T.D. Smith



Telluride Distilling Company Running Strong

Step into the new Telluride Distillery Tasting room in Mountain Village and you can already feel the vibe in the Core changing. Add a dash of Telluride history and a pinch of creativity for expansion and voila – a thriving second location for the Telluride Distilling Company is made.

Handcrafting vodka since 2015, Abbott and Joanna Smith have pursued their labor of love first opening the Telluride Distilling Company in Lawson Hill at the Society Turn Business Center. Now, with the opening of a second tasting room in the Franz Klammer Lodge in the Mountain Village Core, fans of the distillery won’t have to travel far to enjoy local liquors.

With vodka, whiskey and schnapps offerings, Telluride Distilling Company rolled out their vodka first in 2015. Their vodka is a throwback to an old Telluride miner’s recipe. “They used to import eight tons of sugar a week for miners back in the day, and we wanted to give nod to a true Telluride recipe”, Abbott said. With its creamy and velvety texture, it has become a local favorite. “Good vodka is meant to be flavorless, odorless and textureless” according to Abbott. Their schnapps was unveiled in May of 2016 and was an ‘afterthought’ according to the couple. 

“We love peppermint schnapps and decided, why don’t we make one?” Joanna said. Their authentic peppermint flavor combined with half the amount of sugar makes it a popular choice among locals and visitors alike. “It has the least amount of sugar to still be called a schnapps and no additive chemicals. Our German and Swiss clientele love it. It’s not your typical schnapps from college”. And as one of the only peppermint schnapps to win a gold medal at the International San Francisco Spirits Competition, it’s the natural choice that could easily go national, according to the couple.

The mountain mash whiskey is aged for at least two years in oak barrels. It’s a unique mash made of a 50/50 mix of the best parts of malted barley and rye. “We stay away from corn-based ingredients, as well as GMOs” Joanna added.

When asked about the couple’s thriving success, the down-to-earth co-owner Joanna, who studied chemistry and microbiology at the University of Colorado, simply stated “We wanted to grow organically. We each knew at a young age that we wanted to own a business in the future, and after realizing the market for distilling was on the rise, we wanted to build something that allowed us to stay in Telluride while serving the community we love so much”.

Abbott, with an engineering and business background, combined with his distilling knowledge is “always reverse engineering everything” and found space in the Telluride market. 

Their combined brilliance led to the creation of one of the only continuous fractioning columns in the state – that Abbott built with his bare hands. Sourcing parts and perfecting their distilling based on temperature and chemical compounds, the duo was able to dually shine.  “Our distillery is controlled by computer rather than someone’s senses”, Abbott said, “it’s been the only one in the state before last year.”  Their technical expertise is firmly on display as there are only two manufacturers in the US that builds them. He also constructed their soda system from scratch for their ginger beer, and the couple serves their own recipes and mixes using fresh fruit and their own unique frozen drink machine.

When asked how they manage their organic growth intelligently, Joanna expressed that they have been approached by several other states to distribute, including Texas, Arizona, Wisconsin, New York and California. She says they are very careful about their research and sourcing and want to nurture their small Colorado brand in the right way.  She adds that they are careful and not frivolous, and meticulous about everything they buy.

“We knew how to distill, we just had to learn the business side of operating a distillery,” she said. 

And excelled to the top of the class they did. By focusing on three quality products, the husband wife team was able to have a high-quality product every time, allowing ease to market and lower costs aiding them in being competitive in such a narrow field.

“We appreciate that the locals are so supportive”, Abbott said. Bartenders will pour it and it moves, so business owners know it will sell.  We maintain $5 mules for locals, and our $4 schnapps shots are a favorite.

In addition to its new location across from the new Sunshine Pharmacy location, the tasting room also offers free popcorn, pool and darts.  The newest addition will be “Putt-Ski”, a golf/skeeball/beer pong game. Their commitment to community is also highlighted by their recent ski patrol fundraiser, which included raffles, donating a portion of the drink costs to the Hawkeye Foundation and supporting the Logan Fuller fund.

Abbott met Joanna at the Bluegrass Festival in 2011 and realized they were on the same wavelength over dinner at now defunct Flavor.  She was working nonprofit, he a bartender at Mountain Lodge. After discovering commonality in where they wanted to be in the world and how they wanted to impact it, their backgrounds and prowess bore a partnership. 

“I was living in Vail at the time working for a nonprofit foundation and a friend gave me some Bluegrass tickets.  I reconnected with Abbott through ski friends and we realized our shared passion.” Joanna said.

In the early days, you would often find the Smiths tending bar themselves to support the tasting room and their distributorship. “We worked hard to ensure we could collaborate and grow the right way” Joanna said. “We were very careful to grow organically and didn’t want to hound businesses to carry our brand. It’s not about the hype.”

But the hype has come, hand in hand with the opening of the June 15th common consumption area (CCA). “It really helps with capacity and we’re excited to expand with additional umbrella tables out front,” she said.

The move was years in the making and comes just in time for the expansion of the CCA in the Village Center. Championed by the Mountain Village Town Council and President Anton Benitez, Laila Benitez and Dan Caton, the new area will be in effect every day and will include Heritage Plaza and walkways and breezeways connecting the town center to the Sunset Plaza area.

Anton Benitez also serves on the Mountain Village Promotional Association (MVPA) which was formed in 2014 to diligently address the numerous requirements like security and signage that come with managing a CCA.

Support for the second location wasn’t hard to find. Telluride Real Estate Corp had the space and Jon Dwight, Alex Martin and Marcin Ostromecki aided the couple in their search for a second location to support their wholesale distributorship.  “We wanted a tasting room and it blossomed into a full bar. We never thought we’d have two locations: production and a separate tasting room in Mountain Village” Joanna said.

The Smiths are truly part of the Telluride tribe. Hailing from Wisconsin and Colorado, the couple enjoys the outdoors and hunting. Joanna’s grandparents met shooting and her great grandmother was born in Telluride – part of the Biddle clan. Her great great grandpa was an admin for the area’s school system and was also in the marching band for one of Telluride’s first July 4th parades. You can even check out a large pair of antlers mounted on the wall from an Elk Joanna’s grandmother shot with a muzzle loader back in the 50s.

With relatives here and their family steeped in history, the Smiths have deep respect for each other, locals and their employees. As if being one of the top distilleries in Colorado wasn’t enough, they cite one of their greatest achievements as having their family members from Wisconsin, Chicago and Key West finally visit Telluride when the Mountain Village tasting room opened.

Joanna still maintains her nonprofit work, and although their business is their baby and shared passion, they are also proud parents to furry babies “Larry Byrd” and a Wiemaraner “Zee”. They are extremely grateful to the town and give awesome kudos to the Town Council for being so supportive. When asked what it’s like to build up from treading water while nurturing their small Colorado brand, Abbott smiled and said, “It’s like being on a supercharged jet ski versus swimming!”

The Smiths encourage you to come by and try their hand made spirits, where they use only the finest ingredients distilled in a unique, high-altitude environment. The one of a kind experience and smoothness of each sip will keep you coming back for more. “Anything to bring people to the Mountain Village is a win for us”, the couple stated. “TMVOA did so much for us, we are happy to support them however we can.”