Traveling the Four Corners: Durango Colorado’s Historic Strater Hotel

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Day #1 of our vacation to the “Four Corners” area

Our trip to the “Four Corners” area, where the states of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado all intersect, began with a flight into Durango, Co. After collecting our bags we drove to the Strater Hotel, our home for a single night.

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Built in 1887, the Strater is a gorgeous old hotel that looks and feels like it never left the 19th century. Our room was filled with antiques and vintage charm. We chose to stay here, and to visit Durango in the first place, because we had discovered from old diaries that Doc’s G-G-G-Great Grandfather Frank, had stayed at this same, and at the time, brand new, hotel whenever he visited Durango, the largest, and most “modern” city closest to his home in Bluff, Utah. In fact, the choice of this area for our vacation would allow us to walk in Grandfather Frank’s footsteps, stopping to see the places he lived and wrote about in his more than twenty 19th century journals.DSCF9177

After a long day of flying, we often choose to eat in our hotel’s restaurant and we had planned to do the same at the Strater and have dinner in their “Mahogany Grill.”  After our long flight though, neither of us was all that keen on dressing for dinner. Solution? We discovered that the Strater has a beautiful bar, the Diamond Belle Saloon, with a great menu, where our jeans and casual shirts would be the norm.

Doc and I LOVED this place. We sat on the second level at a table along the railing where we could look down onto the main floor of the historic bar.  Not only was it a beautiful venue but the food was delicious (and cheaper than the main restaurant).

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The waitresses were always there when we wanted them but they also realized that we wanted to “linger” and we never felt rushed. After a couple of Margaritas, Doc ordered a steak and I ordered the pot roast with mashed potatoes. It was the best meal I’ve ever had in my life! No knife necessary. It melted beneath my fork. For dessert we had the Lavender crepes (fantastic). (We enjoyed the meal so much that we made a special trip to return at the end of our vacation for another wonderful meal and neither of us could help but order the same dishes all over again!).

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Another BIG plus was the live  entertainment. During dinner, a great guitarist (sorry I don’t remember his name) played lots of old songs that everyone knew and could sing along with. The entertainer in the Diamond Belle started at 5:30 or 6:00.  As we travel, we find that it’s difficult these days to find live music in most places that starts before 9 p.m. We really appreciate earlier entertainment whenever we find it, especially when we’re on vacation and tired from traveling or sightseeing all day.

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 We sat in the Diamond Belle for a long time, until we were falling off our chairs with sleepiness, and we finally wandered upstairs to bed. For a flight day, usually the most stressful of any trip, our stay at the Strater Hotel made the day a memorable pleasure.

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