The Telluride Film Festival and An Introduction to the San Juan Mountain Range

I had the opportunity over labor day weekend to volunteer at the Telluride Film Festival. My friend from college reached out to me when she saw that I had moved to Colorado and invited me to join her. Her mother lives in Telluride and, while she had visited Telluride before, she had never volunteered at the TFF before. I had been dying to explore the mountains already, and so, I jumped at the opportunity.

Telluride, CO

My friend Rachel flew into Denver, I picked her up from the airport and then we were off! It was so surprising to me how quickly the bustling city and suburbs of Denver turn into little mountain towns. The scenery along the 7 hour drive was nothing short of glorious. The interstate is bordered on either side with mountains, lakes, rivers, stately rock formations, and all sorts of foliage and wild flowers that I had never seen before.

Scenery Along I-70 Heading to Telluride

Telluride is a small town nestled in the beautiful and rugged San Juan Mountain range. The TFF has been going on for 46 years. This festival is special because it draws in premieres of big movies and is attended by stars the likes of Adam Sandler, Emma Stone, Christian Bale, Adam Driver, and Angelina Jolie, as well as many others. Despite this fact, the vibe is very relaxed and stars enter the theaters and sit and watch the films with everyone else. The fun and excitement of the film festival is paired beautifully with the scenic, small town atmosphere. It is truly an almost surreal experience and unlike anything I have ever encountered before.

Telluride, CO

Volunteering was itself such a unique and enjoyable opportunity. I saw some amazing films without paying the large price tag for a festival pass. The days were long and busy but the work was enjoyable and fairly easy. I met some truly fantastic people and the staff party on the last evening of the festival was one of the best nights of my life. I would highly recommend volunteering at this festival to anyone. It is an unforgettable experience I will look back fondly on for the rest of my life.

View Looking Down Colorado Avenue in Telluride

After spending 5 days in Telluride we began our drive back to Denver. We decided to stop about half way and stay in Crested Butte. Crested Butte is another small mountain ski town but felt very different from Telluride or Vail. It was much more laid back and down to earth. I plan to bring my husband back for our anniversary because I fell in love with it after only 24 hours.

Downtown Crested Butte
Mount Crested Butte – Elevation Hotel and Spa

I feel that this trip was such a good one to do right after moving to Colorado. It was a wonderful introduction to the mountains and I was able to visit some of the towns on my bucket list along the way! I was already in love with my new home, but after that trip I am officially head over heels. I can not wait to explore this beautiful state more in the future. It is truly a wonderful thing to love where you live!

Coming home to a place I’d never been before

Wow, Colorado has already been more than I could have ever anticipated or hoped for. We have been living here for two months now and it already feels so much like home. I have had so many wonderful opportunities to soak up all the natural beauty and wonder that this state has to offer. The mountains are a home like I have never know. I did not realize how much I missed the mountains while living in Pennsylvania. There is a special kind of magic about looking out your window every morning and seeing them loom on the horizon. Even flying in and out of Denver is a visual delight. The mountains seem much more vast when looking down on them from above.

I had been dying to actually go up into the mountains since I first saw them. I finally got the opportunity to explore them over Labor Day weekend (plus a few days). Over the course of the trip, I went to Vail, Telluride, and Crested Butte and drove through a good portion of the state along the way. I will be writing a more in-depth account of that trip in an upcoming post. I can’t wait to enjoy more Colorado trips in the future. My goal is to do a lot of camping next summer. In the meantime, I am enjoying many local day hikes.

There is something so exciting about exploring a new area and finding all your new favorites. I have fallen in love with so many things, besides the views, about Colorado. I absolutely love the people and I have already met some new friends who have similar interests. The lifestyle in Colorado reminds me, in many ways, of the Pacific Northwest way of living. The great outdoors is valued here, as is an intentional lifestyle and an adventurous spirit. There are an incredible number of things to do and experiences to have. Craft beer, Patagonia, and Subaru Outbacks are everywhere. I also am enjoying the proximity to Seattle. The flights home are SO much cheaper and shorter than when we lived on the East Coast! I’m getting home a lot more, and it’s even close enough to go home over a weekend.

I could never have anticipated that we would end up here or that I would love it so much. I feel so much joy and gratitude that life has brought us here. My feelings about our new home are best summed up with these lyrics

He was born in the summer of his 27th year
Coming home to a place he’d never been before
He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again
You might say he found a key for every door

-Rocky Mountain High by John Denver