Last week’s snowfall and the first signs of gold season certainly make it feel like the curtain is coming down on Summer 2020. It was an unusual summer in many respects, and also a summer in which many of our part-time friends and neighbors became full-time friends and neighbors as a number of area homeowners turned their residence here into their primary residence.
If you are one of these new-but-not-new families, welcome. I wish you well as you settle into new work and school routines and life as a local. You may have already noticed a slightly different vibe as the busier summer season segues into a mellower autumn.
I can’t help but remember my own family’s earliest months adjusting to life in a small mountain town and thought I’d share some observations on living like a local.
In offseason, some things clos:Expect that a number of restaurants and other businesses will close for all or part of offseason, with the gondola closing Oct. 18. Still others may have reduced or irregular hours as owners and workers alike slip away for a lunchtime hike, head into the backcountry for an all-day trek or go farther afield for a well-deserved break. Check the Daily Planet and visittelluride.com for general guidance on closures.
Be patient with our schools: There are new students this year. Add in the uncertainties surrounding in-person and remote learning and you can see that key components for a successful and happy school year will surely be patience, respect and flexibility. From our brand-new superintendent to our outstanding teachers and support staff, everyone is working hard to teach, support and nurture our children in extraordinary circumstances. Let’s give them a hand. (In fact, the school has been looking for volunteer parents to help with COVID-19 protocols). If your children are showing signs of illness, err on the side of caution and keep them home. The good news is that all classrooms are set up so that kids at home can still participate remotely.
Be COVID-19 aware: Wear a mask, observe social distance, and any other measures or protocols set in place by local, state and federal officials. Our local public health and medical professionals are our neighbors, running partners, clients and customers. They are our friends and the parents of our kids’ friends. We respect their knowledge and expertise. We know they are working to keep us safe and we listen to them. Please do the same.
No road rage, please: Mountain Village and Telluride are pedestrian-friendly communities with speed limits to match. Please observe them. After all, it’s our kids (and now your kids) who are out on bikes, crossing streets and skipping up sidewalks. If possible, use our favorite modes of transportation, walking, cycling and the gondola. If you must drive, though, please drive slowly and patiently. Be alert and be polite. Park legally, indicate when turning and stay off your cellphone.
When in our backyard, leave no trace: Stay on marked trails, pack out what you take in, don’t pick the wildflowers, minimize the impacts of camping and avoid campfires, which currently are prohibited statewide. Do right by the wildlife, including by knowing where you can and cannot bring your dog (the Valley Floor and Town Park’s Beaver Pond are both verboten) and remembering to pick up after your canine companion. Share the trail and be cognizant and considerate of others. Smile and say hello.
Obey local customs as well as ordinances: We live in a beautiful place and have implemented ordinances and customs aimed at keeping this place beautiful. Familiarize yourself with requirements relating to recycling (do it), idling (illegal for longer than 30 seconds), public transportation (use it or walk/cycle), keeping bears safe (secure your trash) and responsible dog ownership (pick up poop, know the leash laws, keep Fido away from elk and other wildlife).
Go green: Again, we live in a beautiful place and take seriously our collective responsibility for keeping it that way. For example, there is no need for single-use plastic bottles — our tap water is as pure and tasty as it gets. And, plastic bags are banned in Mountain Village and Telluride. The upshot? Our best accessories are our reusable water bottles and reusable shopping bag. For the caffeine-lovers, add in a reusable coffee mug, and you get a sense of what not to leave home without.
Finally, wear layers. Always:Welcome to Colorado, where, last week, the high on Monday hit 80 degrees and by Tuesday, it was snowing and the low was 32. Need I say more?