After a summer at a meditation retreat center in the Rocky Mountains, I had the opportunity to housesit in a quirky little town in southern Colorado. I rented a car in Denver and was on my merry way down south, singing at alarmingly high octaves with the windows down.
Salida, Colorado is a quaint mountain town about two and a half hours south of Denver. Salida is the kind of place where everyone knows each other and the 25 MPH speed limit feels like a natural and altogether reasonable speed to traverse the town.
Arriving in Salida
As I stepped into the Little Red Hen, Salida’s most popular bakery, the cashier greeted customers by name, complimenting their outfits and asking about their children.
I approached the register and she asked, “Did you just move to Salida or are you visiting for the day?” I explained that I’m here for the week and asked if it’d be okay to do some writing while I enjoyed my coffee. She replied, “Mi casa es su casa!” Such lovely humans, here in Salida,I thought.
Ranchers and farmers were the first to settle in the valley. Then the gold rush struck Colorado in 1858, bringing eager miners and heavy-duty railroads to haul away the extracted gemstones. You can find old pictures in cafes around town where scruffy men shortly home from working in the mines are standing in front of a wood cabin (they surely built themselves) next to their families . Some photos show a group of men sitting on their trusty horses and squinting at the camera, resembling the main characters of a bonafide Old Western film. All that’s missing is a saloon! Oh, but they had that, too.
The book Images of America: Salida, Colorado by Kay Marnon Danielson states, “By 1889 Salida had 5,000 residents, almost 100 telephones, and the beginnings of a public power and light system. Mining and the railroad gave the town a huge jump start, but local businesses proved to be the stable foundation that would weather economic storms in the new century.” This prediction proves to be true. One walk on F Street downtown and you’ll see art shops, boutique clothing stores, and a myriad cafes
Salida’s Off Season Vibes
I imagine Salida is what Boulder used to look like before Boulder became overpriced and full of posh wellness enthusiasts. Salida is a charming, yet unpretentious town surrounded by gorgeous panoramic mountain views. A place where Farmer’s Markets take place every weekend and the town news is best discovered from flyers dispersed downtown. There’s a mix of the old and new, as well. Just next to the church downtown you’ll find Reiki healing classes.
In the summer, Salida is known for white water rafting along the Arkansas River that passes through the town, and in the winter, there are nearby ski slopes that tourists and locals alike enjoy. During the fall, however, the town and its residents slow down and take in the bright orange and yellow Aspen leaves, signifying the changing of the season. I adopt the slow-pace vibes along with the locals, observing with quiet gratitude of one of southern Colorado’s charming little towns. Life is good, very good.
Now off to take a stroll and people watch near the riverbank. Until next time, my friends!
Thanks so much for reading! A special shout out to Vicki and Scott for allowing me to stay in their lovely home for the week. It has been a wonderful experience – your hospitality hasn’t gone unnoticed!! While you’re here, take a look at my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram to see more of my travels.