Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

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TallBoy29er
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Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:51 pm

So wife, 2 kids, and I are looking to make a move in the near future. We are looking to slow things down a bit from the big city.

We have really enjoyed our vaca's out in W CO, especially Durango. The folks were all really friendly. The vibe was nice. Things were not hectic. The lifestyle rocked! We could ride our bikes EVERYWHERE! There were miles of mtb and hiking trails easily accessible, w/out getting in a car, right from downtown. Grocery stores were easy to get to as well, either on foot, or on 2 wheels. That kind of stuff is huge for us. Also, decent schools, and safe communities where are kids can run around, are also very important.

We are looking for a place that has access to outdoors all year long, snow sports or summer sports. That said, we don't want crazy frigid weather (eg N Montana, Crested Butte CO).

Would love thoughts if anyone has something to chime in.

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TxAg
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TxAg » Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:55 pm

I love this idea.

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TallBoy29er
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Sun Aug 11, 2019 8:03 pm

TxAg wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:55 pm
I love this idea.
TxAg - we met lots of TX folk out there during our last visit this summer. Seems that many will drive 12-15 hrs with their fams to vaca there.

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fortfun
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by fortfun » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:23 pm

I grew up in southern Colorado. One consideration is the length of drive to Denver--over 6 hours (without traffic). It is pretty remote. Winters can be bad. Last winter, Durango had a lot of snow. Some of my Front Range friends had to move back home because of the remoteness. It's a nice place, just in the middle of nowhere. If you are okay with that, probably not a bad choice. You might check out Salida or Glenwood Springs, too. A bit closer to civilization.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:36 pm

fortfun wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:23 pm
I grew up in southern Colorado. One consideration is the length of drive to Denver--over 6 hours (without traffic). It is pretty remote. Winters can be bad. Last winter, Durango had a lot of snow. Some of my Front Range friends had to move back home because of the remoteness. It's a nice place, just in the middle of nowhere. If you are okay with that, probably not a bad choice. You might check out Salida or Glenwood Springs, too. A bit closer to civilization.
Very fair points. That said, with all that Durango has to offer, the remoteness is actually an added benefit. Purgatory to the north. Skiing. Tons of trail hiking/mtn biking, and summer river/water sports are in abundance. Albuquerque is about 3.5 hrs to the south as well, although, I am not a big fan of the city.

We have spent a couple of weeks in Glenwood Spgs/Carbondale. I'll tell you, 82 & 133 get busy! Too much traffic in a small area. Salida was a different story. I could actually see myself there. It was a nice place, although, downtown was pretty tiny (don't count the walmart on SR 50). There are a ton of trails, not to mention the Monarch Crest Trail. But back to the town......maybe too tiny.

Thanks for the suggestions!!!!

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sun Aug 11, 2019 9:37 pm

Another vote for Salida. A highly underrated slice of Colorado.

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vitaflo
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by vitaflo » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:24 pm

What big city are you moving from? What do the wife and kids want?

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Horsefly » Sun Aug 11, 2019 10:36 pm

I grew up near Montrose CO, and my siblings and mother still live there. I live in Denver, but drive over to visit maybe 4-6 times per year.

The Montrose area is a little unique. It's got mountains on several sides, but is down in a valley that somehow seems to avoid most of the extreme weather. Denver weather is much more extreme than Montrose. It's about the same distance from Telluride as it is from Crested Butte, for those wanting winter sports. It's got a pretty great airport, probably oversized for the size of Montrose just for the people going to Telluride in the winter.

My DW would never accept the idea of living in Montrose long-term, but it is a great place if you don't mind a small town (<25K). Oh, and it is about 5 hrs drive from Denver.

I receive no remittance from either the Montrose chamber of commerce or the association of realtors. :happy

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Sun Aug 11, 2019 11:37 pm

You could also look into some areas on the Front Range that are less isolated. Fort Collins might be to your liking. I'd also look at Niwot and Nederland. If you don't mind being in the suburban part, Louisville has a pretty walkable downtown area and of course Boulder is great if you can afford it.

Seems to me that the communities on the western edge of the urban Front Range corridor strike a pretty good balance of walkability, schools, access to the outdoors, etc. while still maintaining the advantages of a big city: career opportunities, specialist medical facilities, major airport and so on.

When I lived in north Boulder I could walk to the trailhead of some great hikes and the grocery store was across the street from my apartment. My office was a 15 minute walk.

Can you and your wife move your careers to a town like Durango or Montrose?

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by IMO » Mon Aug 12, 2019 12:20 am

My 1st thought would be do you/spouse have/need jobs/occupations that allow one to move anywhere?

Been to Durango and surrounding areas many times. Durango is a great town and you've hit on all the positive aspects of the town. Also good air quality.

What are the negatives?

a) There isn't really that much for employment as it's a small town. Seems to have a relatively high number of health care providers because it's a desirable place to live. That also is a plus if one needs healthcare, could be a negative if the areas too saturated for someone in healthcare looking for work.

b) It's a long drive to take a "real" flight via ABQ. This is worse in the winter of course if the weather is bad. Highway out isn't really that safe, but fortunately the 550 into ABQ is pretty good for a long portion of the drive. For some people who want/need to fly out for things like visiting family/elderly parents or work this is a significant factor. On the positive, driving out to ABQ airport a night early is a viable option as there are very reasonable hotel rates.

c). Not everyone lives within walking distance to the historic downtown or other "realistic" shopping. But that's true with most towns. Where one stays for vacation may not be where your actual house is located in real life.

d) Winter is winter. Yes Crested Butte is colder, but it's not like one is out in shorts for winter in Durango.

e) Fire risk can be a real issue in mountain towns like Durango. Worth checking on homeowner's concerning this issue.

And for nitpicking:
c) Not personally really a huge fan of Durango Mountain for skiing regarding the terrain. It works for most people though.

d) Silverton is a short drive. Really high quality skiing there, but one has to pay very high guided rates to ski there except for the very limited window for non-guided skiing. Wolf Creek is not excessively far away and they get most snow in Colorado so even on bad years they do okay.

But that's nitpicking. Durango is a top pick for us, except the airport thing .

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by dbr » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:08 am

I think you should live there for a month or two in the winter before you decide, at least if all your experience there is in the summer. If a low of -10F in Crested Butte is not tolerable I am not sure if a low of +10F would be acceptable. Note that +10F average monthly winter low is the same as Minneapolis. Durango can also get awfully isolated under winter conditions with highways in that area subject to severe winter driving hazards. Average snowfall is 67" Again by comparison Minneapolis is 55"

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Shallowpockets » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:06 am

I live in Lakewood, CO. Great place. Are you a traveler?
FYI. On a best day, as at 0300 with good weather you can make it to DIA in maybe :45.
If you are a traveler and need flights that is a scenario for you. That plus the drive over from Durango. So once you get out of the mtns on I-70, another hour awaits.
I wouldn't live there if I liked to travel. That's any flights.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by bad1bill » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:36 am

Housing costs are very high in Durango but it is a hip, happening place. Salida is certainly nice (close to Monarch skiing); Buena Vista also a happening place these days. I have a few friends who have relocated to Leadville as well although it's very cold there (10,000 feet) for my tastes. It still has reasonable housing costs and is only 1/2 hour to excellent skiing at Copper Mountain. Lots of hiking and mountain biking in that area in the summer. Gunnison is fairly close to Crested Butte.

Front Range has gotten very costly (Denver, Ft. Collins, Boulder Colorado Springs); Pueblo the only remaining place with reasonable housing costs.

In the I-70 corridor, Eagle and Granite are somewhat affordable (relatively but Durango-like) and 1/2 hour to Vail.

On the Western Slope, Grand Junction and Fruita are nice spots. Fruita has some world-class mountain biking. Less downhill skiing in that area.

I don't know about education for your kids though....

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Colorado13 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:21 pm

I was in the area recently and it is a gorgeous area. You mentioned active lifestyle and safe, so it certainly meets those criteria. As others have mentioned, it's expensive and a bit isolated. Other than tourism, I don't believe the economy is strong. It's a great place to visit, but smaller than I would want, but it might be perfect for you. Another small town to consider is Grand Junction, which is also safe, near great hiking/biking, but likely is more affordable than Durango. GJ weather will be milder than Durango.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:34 pm

Thank you for the feedback everyone.

I agree about the isolation. That would be the one tick mark that gives me pause. There is an airport w/ daily flights to Denver, Phoenix, and I believe Dallas. These are all regional jets, and presumably apt to be canceled due to weather.

On the other side of the coin, the isolation is also a selling point. Without that, I imagine that this place would grow uncontrollably due to accessibility to outdoors, much like Boise has in my opinion (still a great city BTW, just going through huge growth spurts).

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:36 pm

Colorado13 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:21 pm
I was in the area recently and it is a gorgeous area. You mentioned active lifestyle and safe, so it certainly meets those criteria. As others have mentioned, it's expensive and a bit isolated. Other than tourism, I don't believe the economy is strong. It's a great place to visit, but smaller than I would want, but it might be perfect for you. Another small town to consider is Grand Junction, which is also safe, near great hiking/biking, but likely is more affordable than Durango. GJ weather will be milder than Durango.
I am really glad that you chimed in. I had thought about making my up to GJ, but we didn't have time on our last trip. I may jump on a plane and check it out. The accessibility is a little better, with a few more flights to different places. And as mentioned, it is a little milder there.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by WhyNotUs » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:59 pm

Fruita and Palisade are also worth a look if you are considering the GJ area. They are a little more small town. The mtn biking in the area is exceptional. Gets hot in summer (to me). GJ also has a 4 year college now (as does Durango). Skiing at Purgatory is pretty good, nordic skiing at Grand Mesa is world-class.
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Colorado13 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:59 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:36 pm
Colorado13 wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:21 pm
I was in the area recently and it is a gorgeous area. You mentioned active lifestyle and safe, so it certainly meets those criteria. As others have mentioned, it's expensive and a bit isolated. Other than tourism, I don't believe the economy is strong. It's a great place to visit, but smaller than I would want, but it might be perfect for you. Another small town to consider is Grand Junction, which is also safe, near great hiking/biking, but likely is more affordable than Durango. GJ weather will be milder than Durango.
I am really glad that you chimed in. I had thought about making my up to GJ, but we didn't have time on our last trip. I may jump on a plane and check it out. The accessibility is a little better, with a few more flights to different places. And as mentioned, it is a little milder there.
I like Grand Junction because it is approximately 3 times larger than Durango and it's in a really gorgeous part of the state, with many great hiking and biking opportunities. The town is walkable and the downtown area is becoming more vibrant. You can very likely walk to the grocery store. The economy is stronger in GJ than in Durango. Another benefit of GJ vs. Durango is that I got the impression that there were a lot of vacation rentals in Durango (which was great for me as a tourist/hiker :-)) but seems less ideal as a location for a permanent home. That may not be a factor for you, but I thought I would mention it. My two cents is that I think of Durango as a great place to visit, it's a lovely tourist town. GJ is a great place to visit and I can envision it as a place to live/raise a family.

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TxAg
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TxAg » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:09 pm

What are folks doing for work there? Medical, Tourism, and what else?

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by UpperNwGuy » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:19 pm

OP, have you considered places in New Mexico? Or are you committed to Colorado?

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Colorado13 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:44 pm

TxAg wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:09 pm
What are folks doing for work there? Medical, Tourism, and what else?
In addition to what you have listed, both Durango and Grand Junction are home to small universities. Some BLM staff are being located to Grand Junction but I believe the impact will be small. Farming/ranching might be an employment option in the Durango area.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by MtnTraveler » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:18 pm

Would your kids be going to public schools (as opposed to homeschooling)? A friend has majority of her family in Durango and what I have learned through her is that housing is very expensive especially if you want the good schools (and you want the good schools). Someone mentioned Leadville earlier and housing prices are much, much cheaper but I've heard the schools aren't great (people driving kids to Summit County schools).

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Shackleton » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:25 pm

I live in a much smaller CO town and as long as I have a good internet connection I can work for my F100 employer (which is based in a southern state.)
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Every things free » Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:34 pm

I live in the city limits of Durango. What can I say?
Someone mentioned a problem with our airport. I've been all over the world. It all began at our airport.
Write me if you want the skinny on this place.

Kind regards,
Kim
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TxAg
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TxAg » Mon Aug 12, 2019 6:43 pm

Just did some internet sleuthing... GJ looks awesome. They have a Target so it meets my wife's main criteria.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by stlutz » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:11 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:36 pm

I am really glad that you chimed in. I had thought about making my up to GJ, but we didn't have time on our last trip. I may jump on a plane and check it out. The accessibility is a little better, with a few more flights to different places. And as mentioned, it is a little milder there.
Looks to me like GJ is [slightly] hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than Durango.

https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/d ... s/usco0511
https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/g ... s/usco0166

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:22 pm

UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:19 pm
OP, have you considered places in New Mexico? Or are you committed to Colorado?
Fair question. I just came back from a trip to N New Mexico. That consisted of Albuquerque (no way), and Santa Fe. Santa Fe was a cool little town, but we didn't quite go for it. First, there's no real water around, so paddleboarding, kayaking, rafting, etc., are all de facto out. There was good mtn biking and hiking, I will say. But we didn't get a good vibe from the town/community. It definitely trends older, no doubt. Not an issue, but from a community/schools perspective, it did not seem to hit the mark.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TallBoy29er » Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:42 pm

stlutz wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:11 pm
TallBoy29er wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 1:36 pm

I am really glad that you chimed in. I had thought about making my up to GJ, but we didn't have time on our last trip. I may jump on a plane and check it out. The accessibility is a little better, with a few more flights to different places. And as mentioned, it is a little milder there.
Looks to me like GJ is [slightly] hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than Durango.

https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/d ... s/usco0511
https://www.usclimatedata.com/climate/g ... s/usco0166
This is great, thank you! One slight correction on your statement, it looks like GJ is slightly warmer in the winter as well.

I'm diggin the turtle avatar. I stop all the time on road bike rides and carry them across the country roads.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by yukonjack » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:06 pm

I think Durango would be a good choice if it fits your lifestyle. One thing that hasn’t been discussed is Durango’s many tourists. You would have to be okay with being around a fair number of tourists especially in the summer. The downtown streets get pretty clogged up but I’m sure the locals know how and when to avoid them. Of course since you have lots of tourists you have the benefit of many services. Some years ago I read that Durango was the most isolated city in the US with populations over 15000. They defined isolated as being furthest from an interstate. Most locals would view that as a positive.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by ChinchillaWhiplash » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:16 pm

GJ is a good option, but it is hot (90s to low 100s) in summer. Rarely has snow. Close to Powderhorn ski resort. Great mountain biking and road biking in the area. Couple of hours from Vail and Aspen. 4 hours from SLC or Denver for big city fix. Montrose is nice. Small city with a Target and Walmart. Multiple grocery stores. 3 micro breweries. Close to Powderhorn, Telluride, Crested Butte and Monarch for skiing. Ridgway is a small village just south of Montrose, but is a nice community real close to the mountains. Usually a bit colder in winter, but still mild compared to CB or Gunnison. Lots of other little towns with lots of character worth checking out on the Western Slope.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by HawkeyePierce » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:35 pm

Ridgway is quite nice. It's also got the Orvis Hot Springs (though those aren't for everyone).

Another advantage of GJ is its proximity to Utah. Hard to beat being two hours from Moab for mountain biking.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by Colorado13 » Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:41 pm

HawkeyePierce wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:35 pm
Ridgway is quite nice. It's also got the Orvis Hot Springs (though those aren't for everyone).

Another advantage of GJ is its proximity to Utah. Hard to beat being two hours from Moab for mountain biking.
+1. Ridgway, Ouray, Gunnison and Telluride are all worth a look.

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by TimeRunner » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:35 pm

Sedona, AZ might fit well. Lots of cycling, trail running, good schools and parks, yada yada.
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by wilked » Tue Aug 13, 2019 3:00 am

TallBoy29er wrote:
Sun Aug 11, 2019 7:51 pm
So wife, 2 kids, and I are looking to make a move in the near future. We are looking to slow things down a bit from the big city.

We have really enjoyed our vaca's out in W CO, especially Durango. The folks were all really friendly. The vibe was nice. Things were not hectic. The lifestyle rocked! We could ride our bikes EVERYWHERE! There were miles of mtb and hiking trails easily accessible, w/out getting in a car, right from downtown. Grocery stores were easy to get to as well, either on foot, or on 2 wheels. That kind of stuff is huge for us. Also, decent schools, and safe communities where are kids can run around, are also very important.

We are looking for a place that has access to outdoors all year long, snow sports or summer sports. That said, we don't want crazy frigid weather (eg N Montana, Crested Butte CO).

Would love thoughts if anyone has something to chime in.
What state / town would you be coming from? I loved that area (visited a few times), personally my main concern would be employment

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by IMO » Tue Aug 13, 2019 11:53 am

TallBoy29er wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:22 pm
UpperNwGuy wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:19 pm
OP, have you considered places in New Mexico? Or are you committed to Colorado?
Fair question. I just came back from a trip to N New Mexico. That consisted of Albuquerque (no way), and Santa Fe. Santa Fe was a cool little town, but we didn't quite go for it. First, there's no real water around, so paddleboarding, kayaking, rafting, etc., are all de facto out. There was good mtn biking and hiking, I will say. But we didn't get a good vibe from the town/community. It definitely trends older, no doubt. Not an issue, but from a community/schools perspective, it did not seem to hit the mark.
Have to comment to clear up misinformation on "no real water around" in Santa Fe as your take seems pretty far off. Kayaking and rafting are readily available on the Rio Grande and the Chama River and it is possible to raft/kayak throughout the summer/fall. There are 2 lakes/reservoirs in the area (Cochiti and Abiquiu Lakes). Abiquiu lake is a stunning uncrowded lake that has the feel of Sedona red rocks in the background (Ghost Ranch): https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&source= ... 1101918920
The Chama River feeds into lake Abiquiu and gives one similar type of scenery.

On the other hand, your are definitely correct on a schools perspective concern, unless one wants to pay for private schools. Town works better for those who no longer have school concerns.

IMO
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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by IMO » Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:07 pm

Every things free wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:34 pm
I live in the city limits of Durango. What can I say?
Someone mentioned a problem with our airport. I've been all over the world. It all began at our airport.
Write me if you want the skinny on this place.

Kind regards,
Kim
I will say, I do stand corrected on the local airport. Seems like they've increased the local flights in/out. Have met a few people over the years in the TSA line at ABQ airport that mentioned they drove out from Durango area. The airport website does also list "ABQ, PHX and DEN" in the list of international airports in the surrounding region to assist in international travel. I do suspect flying out of Durango is often more complicated and has a higher cost, similar to flying out of local regional airports like Flagstaff (vs. PHX) and Santa Fe vs (ABQ).

https://www.durango.org/plan-your-trip/ ... to-durango

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Re: Any Western CO Folks Here (Durango?)? - Would you Rec?

Post by mrgeeze » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:39 am

Salida and even Buena Vista (BV)are very nice indeed.
They seem a bit overpriced to my liking.
A barely habitable 500 square foot trailer on a 1000 sf lot will cost you north of $200k in downtown Salida.
A 1200 sf home you might like downtown is 500K+.

BV pricing is catching up quickly.

It is a great area with The Arkansas River and Monarch Pass.
No doubt about it.

At around 7000 feet ASL they have a longer summer season than other places.

Just bring your wallet if you intend to live there

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