C'est La Veta
I deliberated for a solid ten minutes between naming this post "C'est La Veta," and ""Livin' La Veta Loca." You're welcome, guys.
In mid-October Sheila and I escaped to the small town of La Veta in southern Colorado for a mini weekend getaway.As we we're heading out of town we made a run through the Starbucks drive-through and the teenage boy handing us our drinks asked "Where are you guys headed?" We told him we we're going to La Veta and he said "Huh. Never heard of it. You know where is really beautiful this time of year? Vail."
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And yes, Vail is lovely, but my heart is usually happiest in places where you feel like you're the first to discover a secret gem. This feeling is always an illusion. After all, if I accidentally stumbled across it on Tripadvisor, then so have plenty of other tourists, but it's the feeling that counts.
La Veta is a sweetly bohemian village in the absolutely stunning Spanish Peaks region between Pueblo and Trinidad. For three days Sheila and I enjoyed small-town Colorado living and did what one always does when visiting somewhere special- we imagined what our lives would be like if we lived there. It was easy to picture a cozy house tucked away in a valley, and how living in such a house would magically lead to becoming the kind of person who fly fishes and owns a beat up old pickup and generally feels healthy and relaxed without the annoying need to talk or think about how healthy and relaxed they are.
We had microbrews and burgers at the very friendly Dog Bar and Grill down the road in Cuchara. We bought old books and enjoyed great conversation and a smidgen of gossip with the sweet Georgian woman who owns the used book shop in town. We giggled and made up elaborate background stories about locals over massive diner breakfast burritos. We had an amazing dinner celebrating my birthday at Alys, a restaurant in a house built in the 1920s, where the owner/chef and her dog check up on you personally and there's no printed menu because Alys makes what she feels like each night, as she damn well should.
We spent an entire afternoon driving the scenic loop to Trinidad and back, enjoying an impromptu picnic in the car at a gorgeous lake because the wind coming off the lake stung too much to allow eating outside. We stopped off at abandoned old churches, general stores, houses, and paid honor to the hard-working miners and their families who suffered so much in this wild, dangerous, beautiful country, so far away from the homes they left back east.
While purchasing our picnic supplies, Sheila had a remarkably specific conversation about firewood with a local. I looked on bewildered and amazed as the sparkle in her eyes and use of phrases like "splits" and "cords" betrayed the southern Colorado, country girl roots beneath the sophisticated city girl exterior.
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Posted in Traveling Post Date 05/28/2017