Trinidad, Colorado, is one town that can boast the town founder’s home is not only still around, but also maintains the Victorian style of its original owners. Santa Fe Trail merchant Felipe Baca moved here in the early 1860s, settling this fertile valley with 12 other families. The two-story adobe home he paid 22,000 pounds of wool for in 1873 is today’s Trinidad History Museum (312 E. Main St.). A few years before the house was built, in 1867, acting governor Frank Hall said, “Trinidad has the most frontier style of living in the whole of Colorado Territory.” It still does.
Who’s the person in Trinidad who everyone knows? Trinidad native Fran Monteleone. She owns and operates the very popular Nana and Nano’s Pasta House and Deli (418 E. Main St.). Enjoy spicy sauce and meatballs, locally made sausage and goat cheese, and real hometown hospitality.
Favorite Local Cuisine: Locals debate who has the best red chile fries. You decide: go to Lee’s Barbeque (825 San Pedro) and Bob and Earl’s Cafe (left, 1118 Robinson Ave.). To hell with cholesterol!
What historic site do most of the schoolchildren visit? The Santa Fe Trail Museum (312 E. Main St.) to see Kit Carson’s coat and make miniature adobe bricks.
What attraction in Trinidad should not be missed? Ludlow, 13 miles northwest of Trinidad, a United Mine Workers coal mining town. The April 20, 1914, massacre against mining workers and their families resulted in Congress changing labor laws to protect American workers.
What radio personality do most people listen to? Bob Herrera reading noontime news from the local papers or Dave Phillips broadcasting live from the Santa Fe Trail Festival (KCRT).
Best Western Art Gallery: The A.R. Mitchell Museum of Western Art (150 E. Main St.). Trinidad native Mitchell made his mark as a pulp Western magazine artist.
Good Cowboy Bar: The sprawling El Rancho (1901 Santa Fe Trail) features American Western music and northern Mexico cowboy music, and a big dance floor.
Best Western Bookstore: I’ll admit my bias, but the best truly is the Trinidad History Museum’s bookstore.
Most Popular Local Events: The Las Animas County Fair, Rodeo and Parade over Labor Day weekend, and the Trinidaddio Blues Fest, which brings in the best of Chicago-style Blues musicians, the previous weekend.
Average House Cost: $100,000.
Best Place to Buy Land: To preserve scenic views, protect wildlife areas and not blow your paycheck on high gas prices, buy property within city limits.
Weather: We have five distinct seasons: winter, spring, summer, fall and mud.
Must-Attend March Event: The Trinidad Italian Club’s Saint Joseph’s Day Table on March 19. Sicilian immigrants brought the tradition with them when they moved here to work in the coal mines. Enjoy delicious cookies, pastries and cakes made in local kitchens. Mangia! Mangia! (Eat! Eat!)
Special thanks to Paula Manini, director of the Trinidad History Museum, for sharing her love of Trinidad, CO.