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Ken Burns' Favorite Street // Colorado Avenue, Telluride, Colorado


Photos by Scott DW Smith

From left: The Steaming Bean; Between the Covers Bookstore; Rustico Ristorante.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns tells America’s biggest stories in a sweeping, cinematic style. His celebrated PBS miniseries The Civil War (1990) stirred the soul with haunting music and ghostly photos of slaves, soldiers and battlefields. Burns’ other classics (see 1994’s Baseball and 2001’s Jazz) followed suit, opting for grand narratives and heart-tugging imagery over in-depth analysis. That’s no insult; it takes all kinds to paint history, and in Burns’ case, there’s truth to the old “a picture’s worth a thousand words” cliché. The filmmaker returns this month with The Dust Bowl, a two-part series about the dust storms that ravaged North American prairies in the 1930s, displacing thousands of families (Nov. 18-19 on PBS). Here, he discusses his love of Telluride, a city he visits annually for its renowned film fest.

“Colorado Avenue has mountains that almost seem like Hollywood backdrops, some rising to more than 13,000 feet on each side, with waterfalls and aspens arrayed on their slopes.”

“It’s only about a mile long. Breathe the air at nearly 9,000 feet, get a cup of coffee or tea at The Steaming Bean, sit on one of the many benches and drink in the most beautiful town in America.”

“No one who has ever visited forgets the alpenglow at the end of the day and periodic double rainbows that appear. People stop what they’re doing to stand in the middle of the street and gawk.”

“Have a meal at Rustico Ristorante and the Telluride Bistro—excellent Italian restaurants—or La Tapatia Taqueria taco cart. Also, stop in the lovely and independent Between the Covers Bookstore.”

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