Named for an executive of the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad who founded the town, Minturn cultivates a frontier authenticity that’s rare in a valley known for its polished faux villages (e.g., Vail and Beaver Creek) and architected Main Streets (e.g., Edwards and Eagle Ranch).
Credit Minturn’s laid-back vibe (think preboom Boulder) to a healthy art and music scene (it’s Saturday farmers market rivals, and sometimes eclipses, Vail Village’s), mom-and-pop shops like Weston Snowboards and Holy Toledo, and old-school watering holes like the Minturn Saloon and Magustos along a western-style Main Street that predates the town’s 1904 incorporation.
Minturn’s 946 residents dwell in quirky candy-colored bungalows and Craftsman-style duplexes, work out at the newest and best-equipped municipal fitness center in the valley, and chill on summer nights with their children (who attend the only public ski school in the United States) on the banks of the Eagle River at Little Beach Park, which hosts a concert series, yoga, and a hip retro-chic drive-in theater.
Meanwhile, a few miles up the river stands Red Cliff, the oldest town in Eagle County. This lost-in-time hamlet, tucked in a valley beneath a soaring Art Deco bridge, is home to 263 very friendly people, including Scott Burgess, a custom woodworker who until the last election was also the town’s mayor.
In addition to a new mayor, Red Cliff soon will get a new cellular tower that will bring much-needed Internet and cellular service into town—and with it, a new crop of urban refugees looking to telecommute from a place where they live the good life. With that in mind, Burgess hopes Minturn and Red Cliff will remain affordable for the folks who colonized these places, folks who treasure peace and quiet. That tranquility is key for him; after all, he moved to Red Cliff 10 years ago from Wildridge, with his wife and dog, in order to get away from the din of I-70.
“You can hear a dog bark from the other side of town, it’s so quiet,” he says.
Number of active listings (at press time): 6/5
Active median home price: $705k/$500k
Number of homes sold in 2016: 7/1
Median price of homes sold here in 2016: $550k/$425k
Average number of days on the market: 204/116