Jazzy in Telluride

Telluride, CO

You know those places you see in Instagram photos and wonder what kind of filter that person must’ve used to make the colors THAT vibrant and the place THAT stunning? Telluride is one of those. It’s not because of a filter though…

People definitely hype it up so there was no surprise that it was gorgeous, but to be able to sit and stare at the tall, lush peaks in person for a weekend was magical. The way the town snuggles up into the narrow valley between some of the tallest mountains on the map makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale. And to think over and over in my head that it is just a 6-hour drive from my house was something else incredible. Thankful is the best way to describe that feeling.

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The reason we headed to Telluride last weekend was because we were volunteering at the Telluride Jazz Fest, which ended up being a lot of old people and high school jazz bands. But how could we complain with the environment surrounding us? For our volunteer shifts, we were assigned to the “Jazz After Dark” concerts on both Saturday and Sunday nights to sell tickets and basically be the gate-keepers for the separately ticketed events. By the time we went to our shift each night we were exhausted, but it was fun to get behind-the-festival and get a closer glimpse into Telluride nightlife.

Our full days on Saturday and Sunday were relaxing and fun. We took our time getting to the festival each day as there was so much of the town to see and so many activities to enjoy. On Saturday, we took the Gondola to Mountain View Village and explored Telluride’s ski town to get a feel for the other side of the town. It was such an incredible view from the Gondola on top of the mountain, staring back at town. From up there, it felt as if we were living in a painting.

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Sunday morning we participated in a New Orleans-inspired second line parade. People wore Mardi Gras beads, threw cups to the crowd, and danced down the street with a view of the mountains the whole way down to the main stage. At the bottom, the jazz band who marched in the parade stopped and finished off with an incredible full-sounding finale. I felt so lucky to be there in that moment.

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Later in the day we found a trail near our campsite and took off on a hike up in the mountains. Although I think the trail we went on wasn’t a used trail anymore, we could tell it was leading us to waterfalls so we used it anyway. Alas, it bought us to a couple different waterfalls and to the shore of a stream where we dipped our heads in the fresh, mountain water and took in the nature surrounding us. It was a fun little adventure away from all the hoopla of the festival.

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The jazz during the festival was great too, of course. My personal favorite was Cory Henry, an award-winning pianist who can play the keys like crazy and gets everyone jamming. I couldn’t help but turn around and look at the mountains and the smiling people every now and then. It almost didn’t feel real to be dancing right in the middle of so much natural beauty.

The next time I make it to Telluride I doubt it will be for the jazz festival, but I hope it is not too long as I predict I’ll keep its natural beauty fresh in my mind for quite a bit of time.

– Annaleigh

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