As Kendall and I wrap up our visit here in beautiful Durango, Colorado, I’d like to share some thoughts on the town and the experiences we’ve had here.
We arrived in Durango on Thursday, Nov 29, with the intention of staying for 2-3 nights. It’s currently Monday morning, and we are still here, but I couldn’t be happier. We have woken up to fresh snow each morning so far, and it is absolutely beautiful. It snowed all day yesterday, totaling about six inches. We are in no hurry to get down the road, so there’s no reason to risk towing the camper on potentially icy roads. I think I’m finally embracing the slower paced lifestyle without feeling the need to constantly grind and be productive 24/7. That may sound ridiculous, but it’s definitely a real thing.
Thursday, after arriving and getting set up at the local fairgrounds, where the city has six camper hookups, we walked downtown to see what the local nightlife looked like on a winter Thursday night. We had a nice time hopping around a few bars, meeting some locals, and learning more about the town. It seems like the locals like living here, and many of the people we spoke to moved here intentionally. I love that, and it’s really something I look for now. Saratoga Springs in NY was the first place I’ve seen where people honestly seemed to love their town. It‘s evident everywhere you look; people smile and greet strangers; they hold doors; the town is vibrant and full of life; people are happy and enjoying life. This quality is something we need to see in a town, and Durango certainly has it.
Friday, we explored the local recreational center, a wonderful new facility offering workout equipment, indoor track, basketball courts, racquet courts, Olympic pool complete with diving boards, slide, hot tub, lazy river, and children’s play features, and more. What a great facility. Then we took Emma on a long walk on the Animas River Trail. Through the center of Durango runs the Animas River; in it we’ve seen guys fly-fishing for wild trout, a four-point elk, and many locals enjoying the mixed-use trail running alongside it. After meandering for a few hours, we headed back to the hot tub to seal off the day. (I also hit the high-dive briefly to keep my flipping skills sharp!)
On Saturday, we took Emma on a 5-mile hike on the Animas Mountain Trail. This trail blessed us with unbelievable views of Durango and the surrounding wilderness that pictures just can’t justify. At this point, we decided to stay at least one more night before heading to Silverton, CO.
The next morning, we headed for the 9:00 service at a local church. It started snowing around 5:00 am, and there was already 2-3 inches accumulated. We enjoyed a great service from a pastor that we both really liked, and proceeded to enjoy the snow that continued to fall all day long. We walked into town again to see a white-washed Durango. This time Emma was with us; she’s right at home in the snow, and she enjoyed it tremendously.
Other things we like about Durango: there’s an iconic train line called the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage line that runs through downtown; Purgatory Ski Resort is only half an hour away (we visited this resort during our visit, but we didn’t ski or snowboard); the population is growing rapidly, which is a key metric that we’re looking for; there is new construction all over town; there‘s a D-2 college here (Fort Lewis College) that provides a younger influence, and the number of happy families snow sledding on hills downtown is a nice thing to see. One aspect of Durango that gives me pause is the average price of housing and cost of living. This place is expensive. Then again, that may not be a bad thing... You get what you pay for.
Both Kendall and I really like Durango, and we could see ourselves calling this place home one day. However, we are still going to see the other towns on our list in order to make an informed decision, but Durango was a great start!