BV downtown Scott Peterson IMG 2586 1 min

Buena Vista, Colorado – Main Street

Main Streets 2017 – Colorado

BV downtown Scott Peterson IMG 2586 1 min
BV Kayak Waterpark min
BV TownDinner nophoto
BV downtown Scott Peterson IMG 2586 1 min BV Kayak Waterpark min BV TownDinner nophoto

This high-mountain main street keeps its western heritage alive, with many of the buildings in active use along Main dating to its late-19th century heyday as a mining, ranching and railroad center. The shops along Main in Buena Vista today specialize in locally raised food, area craft products, and Colorado brews and spirits, so you’re guaranteed to find something that stirs your spirit here.

“Buena Vista” is Spanish for “beautiful view,” and Main Street, altitude 7,965 feet, offers that in just about every direction — it’s virtually surrounded by 14,000-foot mountain peaks. (If you visit, by the way, be careful to say the town’s name as locals do: ByOOna Vista.)

To learn more of the town’s history, visit the Buena Vista Heritage Museum in the 1882-built Old Chaffee County Courthouse. The building itself has a story. The original courthouse was 17 miles away in Granite, which refused to give up its records after Buena Vista became the county seat in 1979. So a group of Buena Vista men “borrowed” a locomotive and flat car, built a siding up to the Granite courthouse, held the local sheriff at gunpoint, and took away the records. Plus the furniture.

Hey, it was the Wild West. Upstairs in the museum is an impressive model train display, which shows in great detail the 130-mile rail system along the Upper Arkansas River Valley around a century ago.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast or just looking for an afternoon in the sun, the Buena Vista Whitewater Park, on South Main by the river, has play spaces for kids, manmade rapids and trails that cross the river by footbridge into mountain upcountry for hiking, biking and horseback riding. You can equip yourselves for outdoor adventures along Main at Boneshaker Cycles or The Trailhead — and once you’ve built up a healthy thirst, there are several appealing options.

Stop into the Jailhouse Craft Brew Bar, where Colorado beers and ales are featured on ten rotating taps, or Deerhammer, a Main Street distillery where every step of the fine whiskey-making happens on site. The Lariat and the Green Parrot are more pubs on Main, and you’ll find Mexican food with locally farm-raised ingredients at The Bearded Lady.

You can wrap up your day where it might well have started: with organic Bongo’s coffee and desserts made with local ingredients at the Buena Vista Roastery café, right here on Main Street.

All photos provided by Buena Vista Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center
Primary photo taken by Scott Peterson

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Pueblo, Colorado – North Main Street

Main Streets 2016: Colorado

By the turn of the 20th century, Pueblo, Colorado had become known as Steel City and the “Pittsburgh of the Plains,” with steel mills and smelting facilities. Boom years had come with the demand for steel and the westward march of the railroads, and for several years Pueblo was Colorado’s largest city — but in 1921, the Arkansas River flooded and the entire business district was wiped out.

Yet Pueblo rebuilt, and today its Main Street is central to a vibrant downtown. Starting at the Convention Center, you can walk to most of Pueblo’s major attractions. On North Main, the Pueblo Symphony Orchestra has been making high-quality music for 86 straight years, and the Damon Runyon Theater Company stages live drama, dance and music at the Runyon Theater, in addition to offering youth programs and other educational activities.

A short walk west of Main Street is the El Pueblo History Museum, which showcases local history and has re-created the original El Pueblo adobe trading post from 1842, based on the museum’s archeological probe of the trading post’s original site. And just off Main on South Grand Avenue is Memorial Hall, a beautiful building that was dedicated by President Woodrow Wilson in his last public address in 1919 to all those lost in the “War to End All Wars,” or World War I. Home to theatre, music and dance performances, Memorial Hall has been the vibrant centerpiece of this region’s cultural community for nearly a century.

Further south is the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo, a 32-acre urban waterfront along the original, restored pathway of the Arkansas River in Pueblo’s old downtown, the Union Avenue Historic Commercial District. The Riverwalk has been vital in attracting new businesses that have helped stabilize the economic base of the city. Along the Riverwalk is the Center for American Values, a non-profit that highlights “extraordinary heroic acts by people from all walks of life,” with educational outreach programs and a portrait collection of 140 Congressional Medal of Honor recipients.

Nearby, the Arkansas River levee is the canvas for the Pueblo Levee Mural Project‚ a 3-mile-long piece of artwork that Guinness World Records designated as the world’s largest outdoor mural. These days, Pueblo is even better-known for its annual Chile and Frijoles Festival on Main Street, which draws over 100,000 people here each September to make the most of the area’s signature crops of chiles and pinto beans. The “Creative Corridor” is a project of the Pueblo Arts Alliance, and celebrates the city’s art heritage with restaurants, shops and galleries.

North Main Street photo courtesy of The Armchair Explorer

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