Durango

Before we’d even gotten married, we began throwing around the idea of returning to Paris for our five-year wedding anniversary. After all, it would mark seven years since our epic Europe trip, and what better way to spend a milestone occasion than to celebrate in the romantic city where Anthony proposed?

Well, we’ll be traveling this year, making a big trip across the pond, but I suppose it’s a different “pond” that we’ll be hopping as we go to Australia next month. Since that two-week trip to somewhere completely new will be sapping 2014’s travel fund and vacation time, we decided that we would have to save our European return for another time.

However, five years still seemed like a milestone to be celebrated. Five years since we made it officially official. Five years since the best party of our lives. Five years since all of the people we loved the most were in one room celebrating with us. Five years since we exchanged those vows to seal a lifetime together.

So, on a whim, the week before, we booked a hotel in Durango for last weekend. As it turned out, it was the most perfect getaway (short of Paris…) we could have asked for.

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We broke the drive in half by heading to Buena Vista after work on Friday, to complete the drive the next morning. As we rounded mountain corners and journeyed deep into the San Juan mountains, there were plenty of beautiful places to gawk at the Autumn splendor of “Colorful Colorado.”

 

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This particular vantage point necessitated a stop and we pulled over to take in the views.

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If my smile seems forced, it's because I was terrified. I joined Anthony out on that precarious rock as large birds of prey circled no less than hundreds -- hundreds! -- of yards away, threatening my demise.

If my smile seems forced, it’s because I was terrified. I joined Anthony out on that precarious rock as large birds of prey circled no less than hundreds — hundreds! — of yards away, threatening my demise.

Once we arrived in Durango, we wandered around town until we could check in to our hotel, basking in the quiet of a quaint mountain town during “mud season” and finding local haunts like an absolutely packed burger joint that did not disappoint and the kinds of boutique shops we’ve come to expect from these picturesque Main Streets.

Upon checking into our hotel, we were greeted with complimentary champagne (note from a former hotel employee — always mention when you book if you will be celebrating a special occasion!), which we blissfully enjoyed on our balcony overlooking the Animas River, framed by glowing aspens.

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Pet-friendly hotels are the best. Especially for Olive, who very rarely gets the luxury of laying on a people-bed.

Pet-friendly hotels are the best. Especially for Olive, who very rarely gets the luxury of laying on a people-bed.

We spent the afternoon strolling down the river walk, gazing at the changing trees and having more photoshoot time with our happy pup.

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We then spent the evening at a local brewery — Steamworks — that served up tasty brews and an even tastier seafood boil to end our day in Durango.

The next day, after much too short of a trip, we packed back up and headed home, only to be greeted with even lovelier views on our return drive. We opted to take the Million Dollar Highway home through Silverton Ouray, and on a beautiful blue-sky day, with the leaves in the height of their glory set against the white-capped mountains — it may have been the best decision made the entire trip. It’s not often that the drive home from a weekend getaway would be the highlight, but in this case, I can easily say it is the truth. I’ll let a few of the photos speak for themselves. A great trip from start to finish!

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