While this may seem very similar to authenticity charm can stray greatly. Really, who wants an actual old west town with gun slingers, drunken saloon brawls, cattle rustlers and bank robbers. Ok, so it sounds pretty exciting it’s but not the poster for and idyllic vacation.
Often charm is an intangible quality. Some ski villages simply grab you and it’s not plainly obvious why. This also makes things very subjective. Not everyone will agree and not everyone has to. And modern charm is one of these subjective criteria. Deer Valley or Beaver Creek are laid out like playgrounds for the rich. I’m only going to touch on the historic however. The 4 that make up my list are pretty interchangeable with the exception of my number 1 which pretty clearly stands out among the rest.
- Telluride, Colorado– A saunter down Colorado Ave is a journey back in time. Streets are lined with one and two story brick banks, churches, inns, plush theaters with rich velvet accents and street ticket windows and full timber structures which defy gravity and remarkably still shelter restaurants and saloons. The vast majority of the village is stuffed with quaint wooden Victorian homes most in extraordinarily bright colors. Some have been restored and modernized while others appear untouched.
- Park City, Utah – Goofy Mormon laws prevent the sale of alcohol in Park City. Only can booze be bought by first being a member of a private club or organization. So upon entering a saloon or restaurant visitors are required to sign a membership registry and be verbally sponsored by a current member to enter. What a great example of Park City’s uniqueness.
- Jackson Hole, Wyoming– I’ve mentioned that there is some kitchy Guinness Book qualities to Jackson but that is only because it is a true old west town. They’ve retained their downtown boardwalks and restored their Victorian facades. But look no further than the bow legged cowboys and buckaroos to provide the real charm.
- Breckenridge, Colorado – Breckenridge is busy and packed with tourists. But it’s charm is more than evident in it’s historic establishments. The Gold Pan is the longest serving saloon in America, so remote that census overlooked them during prohibition. Other watering holes and inns such as The Brown remain unchanged since the 1860s and carry their own mysterious histories and ghost stories.