Durango Train: Narrow Gauge Day

Durango Train Narrow Gauge Day
Photo: Durangotrain.com

Train season has arrived in Durango! Well, technically, every season is train season in Durango, but the time has come for the Durango train to start running all the way to Silverton for the summer.

The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad begins its 137th year of continuous train operations between Durango and Silverton. The train first started running the route in 1882. Every winter, the train stops running the full route to Silverton and instead offers scenic rides to Cascade Canyon wye, which is “train talk” for a place to turn locomotives or trains around, then returns to Durango.
During the summer, passengers can do the full round-trip route to and from Silverton or opt to take the Durango train one way (up or down) and a bus back to shave some time off the journey.

Narrow Gauge Day

May 4th is Narrow Gauge Day for the Durango train! Come out to kick off another year of Durango-to-Silverton train service at the depot in downtown Durango. This year marks the 20th anniversary since American Heritage Railways bought the Durango train, so this year’s festivities will celebrate that anniversary.
Things get crackin’ with the annual free picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 4, at the Durango depot in downtown. Volunteers will be grilling hot dogs and serving up chips and soda. Snoopy will be making an appearance to say howdy to kids and kids-at-heart. And The Bar D Wranglers will be singing some amazing tunes, so don’t miss out!
Two recently renovated passenger cars — the premium Nomad and standard Coach 333 — will be on display as well as some locomotives and other railroad equipment. Guests Durango_train_arriving_depotare welcome to take tours and visit the D&SNG Railroad Museumto explore the

exhibits and check out a crowd favorite: the model train. If you haven’t been for a while, you can’t miss the museum’s new 600-gallon aquarium that houses Colorado River Cut Throat Trout!

Also, if you’re not familiar with the annual Durango Cowboy Gathering, you should be — and now you can be because they’ll be at Narrow Gauge Day to tell you about the festival coming up in October.
Free tree seedlings will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early to get your free tree, courtesy of owner/CEO Al Harper.

Ride the First Train of the Season!

You can ride the first (or second) train of the season to Silverton on Saturday, May 5. Board the first train departing Durango at 8:45 a.m. or the second one at 9:30 a.m. — the first Silverton passenger trains of the 2018 season. Costumed interpreters will be on board strolling from car to car, entertaining passengers with stories and historic tidbits.

Stay with us!

The Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is located at 2002 Main Ave., a straight 1.2-mile shot north of the Durango depot in downtown. We’re a quick drive or an even easier trolley ride to downtown Durango and the Durango train depot. Come for Narrow Gauge Day, stay to ride the first Silverton trains on Saturday and spend Sunday exploring the town! Book your room at the Econo Lodge Durango today!

Durango Bluegrass Meltdown 2018

Mile Twelve band Durango Bluegrass Meltdown
Photo: Mile Twelve

As the snowmelt starts, so does the meltdown — the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, that is. The annual Durango music festival is now in its 24th year, and the three-day weekend April 20-22 is filled with concerts, jam sessions, workshops and shows. You definitely don’t want to miss it because you’ll be missing out.

Venues

There are three main venues where bluegrass bands and acts will take the stage throughout the weekend: Henry Strater Theatre, Durango Arts Center and Wild Horse Saloon, although other venues include the Powerhouse Science Center, Animas City Theatre and the Durango Elks Lodge as well as a slew of bars and pubs around town.

Lineup and Headliners

This year’s Meltdown lineup is massive with nearly 30 bands on the docket and massive names on the marquis. Headliners include the Becky Buller Band, the Molly Tuttle Band, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys and Mile Twelve.

In 2016, Becky Buller made bluegrass music history when she won both instrumental and vocal categories at the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, making her the first person ever to win both.

Molly Tuttle is an award-winning songwriter and singer who has toured extensively with her band at many prominent festivals including Rocky Grass Festival and Wintergrass Festival, and who received a 2016 IBMA Momentum Award as Instrumentalist.

The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys  are a 1940s-style Tennessee bluegrass quartet that “remain close to their musical roots by cranking out some of the tightest and hardest-driving traditional bluegrass you’ll find anywhere.”

Mile Twelve’s five members formed the band in 2014, and the group has made big moves in a short time. They won the 2017 IBMA Momentum Award and have been touring extensively through the U.S., Ireland and Canada, including sets at major festivals such as FreshGrass Festival, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival.

Meltdown Highlights

Band Showcase
Noon-6 p.m., Saturday, April 21
Durango Elks Lodge

The Band Showcase has been a staple since the beginnings of the Meltdown. The showcase gives a stage to bands who might shy away from the spotlight or don’t feel ready for the “main stage.” And the showcase is a little more flexible when it comes to the bluegrass part of the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown; other toe-tapping music genres are welcomed and are always entertaining. Always a favorite during Meltdown, the showcase is also free to the public and will take place downstairs at the Durango Elks Lodge, from noon to 6 pm on Saturday.

Super Jam
7:30-10 p.m. Saturday, April 20
Henry Stater Theater

The name says it all: It’s a jam. It’s super. It’s Super Jam. Catch the in-the-moment music magic as musicians from different bands come together to jam. Get a bunch of pickin’, playin’, fiddlin’ musicians together, and you never know what will happen — or what kind of music they’ll make. Former Durango local and longtime bluegrass lover Annie Savage will be hosting the event and is sure to throw together some incredible collaborations for the stage.

Old Time Barn Dance
7:30-10 p.m. Saturday, April 20
Durango Elks Lodge

The Old Time Barn Dance is actually a newer addition to Meltdown — as in it’s only been around for 12 years. The barn dance is a family-friendly community favorite and has become a Meltdown must-do since it debuted in 2006. Six Dollar String Band will be playing tunes for you to kick up your heels and swing up your skirts in the Elks Lodge dance hall. Admission is free with either a Saturday or Weekend Meltdown Wristband, or it’s $10 at the door.

Durango Hotels

Whether you’re “with the band” or just want to see some bands, the Durango Econo Lodge Inn & Suites is your best bet for Durango Meltdown hotels. The Econo Lodge Durango is a hop, skip and jump north of downtown Durango, so the hotel provides easy access to all the different Meltdown venues. Book your room today and stay with us while you enjoy the shindigs and shenanigans!

St. Patrick’s Day in Durango!

Kiss me, I’m Irish! No, really. I am. But we can skip the smooching and go straight to drinking green beer, it that works for you? Works for me!

Although our mountains aren’t emerald green like the rolling hills of Ireland and our Animas River isn’t neon green like the Chicago River (and our beer isn’t really green because…gross), locals and visitors alike still have plenty of things to do this St. Patrick’s Day in Durango.

Durango Train Shamrock Express

Get your green on and get aboard the Durango train for the Shamrock Express! The St. Paddy’s Day-themed Durango train trip will chugga-chugga choo-choo passengers to Cascade Canyon while they chugga-chugga Irish beer and drink specials.

Durango train Shamrock ExpressThe train departs at 9:45 a.m., Saturday, March 17. Before boarding and during the ride, passengers can enjoy live music by local Celtic group the Kitchen Jam Band, which will start off playing on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depot platform then move from car to car playing traditional Irish tunes during the trip.

Passengers can also buy a special, mint-chocolate St. Patrick’s beer: Mint-Night Express Stout by New Terrain Brewing Co. out of Golden, Colorado. Passengers can also order a special corned beef sandwich boxed lunch provided by The Yellow Carrot.

The Durango train will be decked out with Irish decorations, and passengers are encouraged to deck themselves out by wearing green or dressing in St. Paddy’s costumes — but (just like drinking) it is not required.

Pub Crawl

Why do they call it a “pub crawl?” Is it because you crawl from pub to pub, or is it because you’re crawling by the end of it? Both? Either way, downtown Durango is the perfect place to do a bit of bar-hopping to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Durango’s hip downtown is home to plenty of awesome bars and brewpubs all within easy walking (or crawling) distance. ireland-531137_1920

Naturally, your St. Paddy’s Day pub crawl must include a stop at the Irish Embassy Pub, 900 Main Ave. Fish and chips are on the menu, Guinness is on draft, and the specialty drink menu is heavy on Irish whiskey cocktails with names like Dublin Mule, Dublin Manhattan, Rory McIlroy, Embassy Wolfhound and Irish Red Setter. Swing by on Sunday, March 18th, to catch (or join) the pub’s weekly traditional Irish music jam session from 12:30-4 p.m.

Head a block north to Carver Brewing Co., the original Durango brewery, to try out their Irish stout. A couple blocks away is Steamworks Brewing Co., one of the renowned Durango craft breweries, where you can sip their Backside Stout or sample McDammit’s Scottish Ale (Scotland is close enough to Ireland, right?).

While you’re in Durango celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, we want you to be safe. Stay with us at the Durango Econo Lodge Inn and Suites! We’re located at 2002 Main Ave., which is pretty close to downtown — either during a brisk walk or a quick lift. We’re one of the best hotels in Durango! Book your room today so you can fully enjoy St. Paddy’s Day in Durango. (Kissing not included. Sorry.)

Valentine’s Day in Durango

Valentine's Day-in-Durango

Whether you celebrate it early, late or the day of, there are plenty of ways to show your love on Valentine’s Day in Durango. If you’re looking for a dinner date, you have your choice from the best Durango restaurants: from high-end steakhouses to traditional Italian, gastropub to winery fare, Tibetan or taqueria. Make a night of it in downtown Durango by exploring art galleries or catching some live music. Or, if you’re looking for something truly exceptional to do for Valentine’s Day in Durango, check out these one-of-a-kind experiences.

Romance on the Rails Brunch Train

There’s something romantic about riding the rails, eh? Kick off Valentine’s Day early with the Romance on the Rails Brunch Train Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018, on the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. The Durango train has long celebrated love by giving lovers a chance to take the historic train to Cascade Canyon, take in the gorgeous winter scenery and enjoy a special brunch.

Premium class tickets include a brunch package that features a morning brunch buffet, live music, chocolate treats,  a free glass of sparking wine and a freshly cut rose! The brunch menu features fancy fare such as raspberry yogurt mousse, chocolate-covered strawberries, shrimp, quiche and smoked salmon to name a few of the delectable items passengers can enjoy.

Valentine’s Day Snowcat Dining Excursion

This year, give your Valentine an extra-special dinner they’ll never forget with a Snowcat Dining Excursion on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, at Purgatory Resort . Diners will meet at the resort’s base area outside of Purgy’s to take an enclosed snowcat up to Powderhouse Restaurant. During the ride, sweethearts will fall in love with views of the Needles Mountains. During dinner, they will indulge in a menu that starts with lobster-stuffed mushrooms, spring salad, tomato bisque; features a main course of beef tenderloin; and dishes up tiramisu for dessert. The meal comes with two glasses of wine or beer, and the evening also includes live music and a cash bar.

Durango Diaries

In the spirit of other storyteller events like The Moth, the Durango Herald is launching its new bi-monthly storytelling series, Durango Diaries. The first Durango Diaries will be held 5:30-6:30 p.m. Feb. 14, and in keeping with Valentine’s Day, the first Durango Diaries topic is Love Stories. Everyone has a first love, and the crowd will hear from two couples about their amazing love stories. The inaugural Durango Diaries will be held at the Powerhouse Science Center.

Live Music

Maybe dinner is too “done” for V-Day. Or maybe you want something to do aprés dinner. A show is the obvious answer, and Durango has plenty of live music to choose from.
Catch Murs in concert at Animas City Theatre on Valentine’s Day. Murs is an independent rapper who has recorded collaborative albums with Slug of Atmosphere (as Felt), Fashawn and 9th Wonder. Murs also founded the Paid Dues festival that highlights the underground and indie rap. Greg Ryder will be playing at the Diamond Belle Saloon at the Strater Hotel, and Terry Rickard will also be playing live at The Office Spiritorium.

You can always ooomph it up even more with our “Share the Love” package. Stay at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango any night in February and get a free bottle of local wine from Durango’s own Four Leaves Winery. Book your room today!

Free wine with our “Share the Love” deal!

Valentines Package Durango Colorado
Free wine package in Durango Colorado with Four Leaves Winery

We know you don’t want to hear it, but Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Have you started thinking about your plans yet? How about now? Now?

If you haven’t started, you should — and we can help with our “Share the Love” package. Stay at the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites Durango any night in February and get a free bottle of local wine from Durango’s own Four Leaves Winery.

Four Leaves Winery is a boutique winery in downtown Durango just across the street from the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train depot. Four Leaves imports only the highest-quality grapes, which their team of experienced winemakers and wine lovers use to craft, blend and ferment into their own varietals.

You can stop in on Valentine’s Day or any date night to enjoy a glass, to share a bottle or to sample a full tasting, or you can take it to another level by making your own wine. Four Leaves offers a custom winemaking class using their state-of-the-art facility and with the guidance of their winemakers.

Then you can come back to your updated room at the Econo Lodge — one of the top-rated Durango hotels — and enjoy more Four Leaves! Book your room today because, as we mentioned and as you already know, Valentine’s Day will be here before you know it, and it’s better to just avoid all that stress and pressure. Stressure? Sure.

Guests must book directly at Choicehotels.com or by calling (970) 247-4242. Book today and mention LV18 to get your “Share the Love” package. Valid for any stay in February 2018. Not valid with any other discounts or deals.