1. Get Artsy in Salida!
To say that Salida’s scenery is picturesque is an understatement. But even words like “beautiful!” and “spectacular!” often seem not quite enough to describe it. So let’s just say, being here will color your world. Salida is set within a natural masterpiece of majestic mountains and the rushing Arkansas River. It’s no wonder then that it inspires so many talented artists come here to create. And when their creations inspire everyone else. That’s the circle of creative life. Historic downtown Salida’s unpretentious and eclectic art scene was honored in 2012 as the state’s first official Creative Arts District. The craft and detail of the turn-of-the-century architecture provide the perfect haven for the numerous art galleries and working studios. Because art is meant to be shared and enjoyed by all, the community provides ample opportunities to take part in the art in the “biggest little art town in Colorado.” unique chaffee county
MUST MEET ARTISTS
101 North F Street, Salida
Art, objects, jewelry ( Ask to meet ‘The Rocket man!’)
The Bungled Jungle
132 W. First Street
Downtown. Silly creatures for silly people.
Second Saturday Art Walks and Gallery Tours
As wonderful as it is to view and appreciate art, meeting the artist enhances the experience considerably. Once a month, talented local artists welcome visitors to their creative spaces for an evening of insight and inspiration to highlight their one-of-a-kind offerings from paintings to pottery, sculpture to ceramics, and fiber arts to fine arts. Each of the 19 galleries and studios are within easy wandering distance of each other. Enjoy this vibrant, entertaining atmosphere every second Saturday from 4-9 pm.
Salida Riverside Fine Arts Festival
July 15th – 16th
Riverside Park becomes an outdoor gallery showcasing artists from all over the country during this fest. Under the shade of 100-year old trees, stroll the fine art while also enjoying the Arkansas River burbling by. Local blues and folk musicians provide the live music soundtrack for art appreciation. The Colorado Metalsmithing Association also holds their 21st Annual Conference this same weekend, ensuring a town scene vibrating with inspiration on every corner.
Salida Arts Festival
July 29th – 30th
Festival organizers believe art doesn’t need any embellishment, so this one keeps things simple. It welcomes 100 juried artists to show their creations without any distractions. No amplified music, no liquor, no food. Just pure art in a location easily accessible to travelers and locals, adjacent to the Salida Aquatic Center and hot springs pool on Highway 50.
2. Chaffee County Fair & Rodeo
RIDE ‘EM COWBOY!
Experience the daring and the excitement of the real wild West when the Colorado Professional Rodeo Association presents the CPRA Rodeo July 29-30. This pro rodeo circuit is a true tribute to our American heritage and early ranching roots. Don’t miss the team roping, barrel racing, bareback, steer wrestling, breakaway, bull riding and other surprises in the main rodeo ring.
Dare to Taste!
It’s a rite of passage in Colorado. You have to taste Rocky Mountain oysters (fun fact—they’re not actually oysters) at some point, so the annual Rocky Mountain Bull Fry 5 pm July 27 is your best chance. This deep-fried specialty is considered a delicacy here and tastes best when washed down with a local beer. We recommend Elevation Brewery’s 8 Second Kolsch Style Ale, created in honor of the Chaffee County ranching and rodeo crowd.
Animals vs. Kids!
The Muttin’ Bustin’ event is a real crowd favorite. Courageous kids take on the challenge of a bareback ride on an unpredictable uncontrollable sheep for as long as possible. Cheer these mini-rodeo riders at events held 5:30 pm Friday, July 28 and 11:30 am Saturday, July 29. Catch a Pig, held Saturday July 29 at 10:30 am (ages 4-10) is also worth squealing about. (TOO CUTE!)
For more information visit www.chaffeecountyfair.com
3. Palace Hotel – A History Lesson… and a Bed!
The Palace Hotel in downtown Salida is like a living history lesson in Old West style. Built in 1909, this boutique hotel just reopened in 2012 after a long, extensive renovation. Each of its 15 suites is named for a locally significant historic event, place or person. It has a suite named for 14ers Mt. Antero and Mt. Shavano and others for the old Denver & Rio Grande Salida Rail Stop, the Hortense Silver Mine and the Madonna Mine. One even pays homage to local bordello owner Laura Evans who ran a “sporting house” in the early 1900s. Learn about the Hutchinson Ranch family that settled here in 1867; Walter DeMourdant, the architect who designed the art-deco circa 1929 Chaffee County Courthouse; and others. This upscale hotel is charmingly quirky and always elegant, and right in downtown Salida with river and park views. Burgundy velvet couches, a gorgeously refurbished wood staircase. Continental breakfast served on china at your door with muffins that are rumored to be the best in town. Walkable to everywhere in town. Dog friendly Voted best in Salida 2013-2016. From $135 to $250. 204 North F St, www.salidapalacehotel.com.
4. Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort
Indulge in a spa (and ahhh…) day at Mt. Princeton Hot Springs Resort and Spa. (http://mtprinceton.com/) Get an unbelievably relaxing Swedish massage before enjoying lunch at Mt. Princeton Beer Garden.
Then surrender to the steamy, dreamy 100% natural and odorless hot springs pools on the Adults-Only side, surrounded by stunning mountain views. Also recline in the creek’s natural ‘hot pots’ for a truly unique experience. Later dine at the Princeton Club Restaurant, and toast each other with a Chalk Creek Martini. Next visit the historic “ghost town” of St. Elmo. Grab snacks for lunch at the St. Elmo General Store, (http://www.st-elmo.com/generalstore.html), and check out the “spirited” architecture of this town that once thrived with gold and silver miners. Don’t miss the St. Elmo School House, circa 1882.
5. Hike or Bike Tenderfoot Mountain
Hike or bike Tenderfoot Mountain, a.k.a. ‘S’ Mountain just across the Arkansas River. Hike to the summit for a panoramic, birds-eye view of Salida and spectacular surroundings. This trail system (http://salidamountaintrails.org) offers many choices to explore as long as the snacks and little legs hold up. If biking, rent at Absolute Bikes (http://www.absolutebikes.com) or Salida Bike Company. (http://salidabikecompany.com)
For lunch, sit outdoors at the Boathouse Cantina (http://boathousesalida.com/) and watch kayakers play in the river as you nosh on Baja-style tacos.
Tonight indulge at Amica’s Pizza, (http://amicassalida.com/) a true local favorite eatery, then meander through Riverside Park and perhaps catch a free live concert (Thursday nights all summer). Later, be in awe of a multitude of twinkling stars in this vast no-city-lights sky.
6. Salida Circus With A Purpose
Confident, healthy, happy kids – that’s every parent’s wish. But the journey to this desired destination is always up for debate. Ideally we’d like our children challenged but not overly-competitive, confident but not cocky, a risk-taker within reason. So, do we sign them up for youth football? Baseball? Soccer?
How about letting them run off and join the circus? That’s what parents in Salida are doing, with surprising benefits. Through the unconventional “tricks” and turns of circus training, kids are developing not just clever fitness skills but also teamwork, focus, determination, confidence, self-expression, creativity, and social consciousness. Or character through cartwheels, perhaps.
For the past decade, Salida Circus founder Jennifer Dempsey has introduced kids to cartwheels, stilt-walking, plate-spinning, unicycle riding, trapeze-flying, human pyramids and dangling from silks 20 feet off the ground. She’s seen the magic of the circus at work in transforming lives and unleashing personal potential.
“Once a child steps into the circus ring, all the identities of society fall away. It doesn’t matter what your zip code us, your last name, your income bracket,” Dempsey says. “The only important things are the willingness to try, the willingness to step out of your comfort zone or perceived identity, and the willingness to respect self and others.”
For more information visit www.thesalidacircus.com.