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TripAdvisor: Telluride named a top travel destination for 2015

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Award-winners were determined using an algorithm that primarily measured the year-over-year increase in positive TripAdvisor traveler review ratings on accommodations, restaurants, and attractions, across destinations worldwide.

“The TripAdvisor community has helped surface some unheralded destinations across the globe that are receiving rave reviews from travelers worldwide,” said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. “From the boardwalks of the Jersey Shore to the temples of Vietnam, these award-winners offer highly-rated options for accommodations, restaurants and activities to inspire those planning their vacations for the new year.”

Here is the complete list:

1. Wildwood, N.J.

This classic boardwalk beach town offers wide sandy beaches, retro “Doo-Wop” era motels, Morey’s Piers and Beachfront Waterparks, and the popular Wildwood Boardwalk, which one TripAdvisor reviewer referred to as, “A great time, whether walking, shopping, or relaxing.” After fun in the sun, travelers can head to the Crab and Seafood Shack, where the portions are “huge, fresh and outstandingly delicious.”

2. Nags Head, N.C.

Offering 11 miles of shoreline, this summer hotspot is home to Jockey’s Ridge State Park, the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern U.S., described by TripAdvisor travelers as a “must see.” Visitors can satisfy their appetites at the consistently top-rated Kill Devil Grill, summed up accordingly by a TripAdvisor reviewer, “Great food, friendly efficient service and a fun experience.”

3. Prescott, Ariz.

Prescott offers thrilling outdoor excursions including 450 miles of trails, rock climbing locations, and Watson Lake, the perfect spot for kayaking. In between al fresco adventures, travelers can indulge at Papa’s Italian Restaurant, described as “yummy, authentic and accommodating,” by a TripAdvisor reviewer.

4. Telluride, Colo.

This former gold rush town is now known for its picturesque snow covered peaks and year-round recreation. Travelers recommend the scenic Telluride/Mountain Village Gondola, which offers a “distractingly beautiful view” and Cosmopolitan Telluride, which has the “best happy hour in town,” according to a TripAdvisor reviewer.

5. Pompano Beach, Fla.

Also known as the “Heart of the Gold Coast,” Pompano Beach offers fantastic boating, fishing, snorkeling, and shopping. Travelers can marvel at the “beautiful views” from the Municipal Pier and later enjoy a meal at Cypress Nook Bavaria Haus Restaurant, which one TripAdvisor reviewer said has “the best German food in Broward County.”

6. Traverse City, Mich.

Situated along Lake Michigan, this outdoor adventure hub is known for its cuisine and culture. Described as “a fun and pretty spot for families,” Clinch Park has impressed TripAdvisor travelers with its beach and stunning views. Visitors also rave about the Asian-inspired fare at Red Ginger, “one of the leaders in fine cuisine for Traverse City,” according to a TripAdvisor reviewer.

7. Avalon (Catalina Island), Calif.

This quaint island community offers endless fun and adventure. TripAdvisor travelers enjoy hiking in the Catalina hills and taking in the sights at Descanso Beach, “a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the seaside.” Guests can also peruse the shops and restaurants including Steve’s Steakhouse, where the “service, food and drinks are amazing,” noted one TripAdvisor reviewer.

8. Waikoloa, Hawaii

Located on the Big Island, this Hawaiian village is rich in history and culture. Travelers can experience an authentic luau or explore the cerulean shoreline and its abundant wildlife with AdventureXRafting. TripAdvisor reviewers recommend “a quick lunch on the beach” at Napua at Mauna Lani Beach Club, which serves fresh seafood and coconut cake that is “to-die-for.”

9. Knoxville, Tenn.

This historic city, located at the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, surrounds its guests with Southern hospitality. Travelers can discover the charming shops and eateries in Market Square and later indulge in mouthwatering comfort fare at Connors Steak & Seafood. One TripAdvisor reviewer noted the lobster crab bisque at Connors is “the best they ever had.”

10. Gulf Shores, Ala.

Offering a host of attractions including miles of soft sand and crystal clear water, Gulf Shores is the perfect place to unwind. A TripAdvisor reviewer commented on Gulf State Park noting, “The sand was so sugary white, it was absolutely beautiful.” Travelers suggest having dinner at the Sassy Bass Amazin’ Grill, “a fun place with a band and lively atmosphere.”

(KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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Telluride Daily Planet: Bill Fandel Finds Passion And History In Real Estate Work

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BY MARY SLOSSON
ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Published: Sunday, December 28, 2014 6:05 AM CST

Luxury real estate agent Bill Fandel caught the attention of the world’s media in November when he listed Hollywood A-lister Tom Cruise’s Aldasoro Ranch estate for sale at a cool $59 million.News outlets from Architectural Digest and Variety to the Wall Street Journal fawned over the property, a gorgeous 300-acre estate tucked in an aspen grove with a spectacular view of formidable Mt. Wilson.

In an extended interview in his bespoke Colorado Avenue office, Fandel said he was bound by non-disclosure agreements on the Cruise property and couldn’t reveal if he has had any nibbles on the estate so far. But he was able to share stories from his youth, what makes him tick and how he finds daily inspiration.

Fandel was born into an Irish-Catholic family in Needham, a suburb of Boston. His first image of the American West came in the form of a National Geographic magazine spread on cowboys in Montana.

“As a little kid I read National Geographic religiously. And I remember seeing this picture of cowboys in Jackson Hole. It was green grass and white-capped peaks. It just stunned me. There was nothing like that in New England,” he said.When he was 19 years old, he spent a summer between school semesters adventuring with Outward Bound in North Carolina. He was deeply inspired by the nomadic lifestyle of the instructors, who bounced around from mountain towns to brilliant, beautiful national parks depending on what struck their fancy. He wanted to live that way, too.

“I realized that there was a different lifestyle than the blueprint I grew up with,” he said.

He spent every summer after that drinking in all that wild mountain towns of the great American West had to offer, driving a big, old Cadillac he bought from his roommate around from Yellowstone National Park — where he worked as a bellman — to Jackson Hole and beyond.

After studying history and geography at the University of Massachusetts, he made a beeline straight to Telluride.

“As soon as college ended, I moved right here,” he said. “I came to Telluride with $250 and a bicycle. I slept on couches and didn’t even have a car.”

While many Telluride residents may know him now as a prominent luxury real estate broker, the truth is Fandel lived the crazy housing situations that service workers here know all too well.

After upgrading from couch-surfing, Fandel lived in a house of seven people that shared a single bathroom. He also lived in a rent-controlled Shandoka loft with no bedroom door when the complex was first constructed.

“It was tough to find work, and it was tough to find housing,” Fandel said of the town in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s. “Some of the issues with housing are cyclical… Here we’re back at a crunch now. That’s a battle for every generation that comes here.”

Fandel worked as a taxi driver and a doorman at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon before finally landing a job that capitalized on his interests in history, architecture, art (he almost went to school to become an artist) and design.

His big break came when Nels Cary — now the owner of Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty — hired him as a real estate office receptionist tasked with answering the phones. From there he never looked back, rising to his current position as Vice President of Telluride Sotheby’s International Realty, working alongside Cary.

Finally living in a mountain town, the history buff dove into the rich stories and traditions in the area, becoming increasingly fascinated with the ranches and farms that had the best views of the towering San Juan Mountains perched on sweeping plains nearby.

“I’ve spent a lot of time reading up on the history of the West and the families that homesteaded these areas. It’s decidedly different,” he said. “I developed a real passion for ranches. The resort is exceptional, and yet I think that big, outlying properties, these big, rolling ranches, are quintessentially Western.”

That passion spurred him to create a trophy farms and ranches division of his real estate business, featuring choice properties that dot the rural landscape across Colorado. The buyers of those sprawling ranches and farms tend to have conservationist bents, he noted.

“I’m seeing a lot of stewardship come in from either individuals or families partnering with conservation-minded groups through conservation easements, preserving some of the character of the American West,” he said. “That’s an important thing, to see these large tracts of land remain intact, especially on those mesas. These are legacy properties that should be preserved. They are the rarest birds.”

The fact that his luxury real estate business has also had the side effect of saving some of the storied legacy of the American West seems to make Bill Fandel a happy man, successful both in business and as a long-lasting conservationist.

All the while, his business continues to grow. He is a founding member of an elite group of  just over 30 Sotheby’s real estate brokers crisscrossing the globe, from Switzerland and Paris to Jackson Hole and Telluride, who share clients and knowledge about their special corners of the world.

“It’s allowed me the reasons and resources to travel all over,” Fandel said, “and to understand all these different people and places that are complimentary to here.”

Perhaps Fandel’s trajectory can provide inspiration for the current doormen and taxi drivers of Telluride, who may one day find themselves among the best real estate brokers in the world.

To visit Telluride Luxury Properties, click here.

THE DENVER POST: Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight” film gets some love from Telluride

Mount Wilson, which sits above Telluride, shows off its fall colors. (The Denver Post | Provided by Colby Brown)

Mount Wilson, which sits above Telluride, shows off its fall colors. (The Denver Post | Provided by Colby Brown)

By Tamara Chuang
The Denver Post

Quentin Tarantino’s proposed “The Hateful Eight” movie got more love Thursday as the San Miguel County Commissioners approved a special-use permit to let the filmmaker use the old Schmid Ranch, 10 miles west of Telluride.

The permit adds speed and parking limits, plus a $25,000 bond for road repair and revegetation. The nearly 900-acre high-mesa ranch, homesteaded in 1882, must be returned to its original state after filming is completed.

Tarantino’s post-Civil War flick, which is budgeted at $44 million, last month qualified for $5 million in state incentives. If things go smoothly, the crew could start moving equipment to the area next week, associate county planner Karen Henderson said.

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SKI MAGAZINE 2014: Telluride ranks Top 5 in Reader Poll

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SkiMagRankings

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News: Record-breaking Tourism in July for Telluride

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TELLURIDE DAILY PLANET, by Heather Sackett:

According to data from the Telluride Tourism Board, July was a record-breaking month for tourism in the Telluride region, and fall and winter numbers are looking promising as well.

July occupancy was up three points over 2013’s record-breaking numbers. The average daily rate for lodging increased by 9 percent and the revenue per available room increased by 14 percent from 2013.

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Bill Fandel: In The News

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The latest news from Sotheby’s International Realty features Bill Fandel among the key market affiliates at the launch of Houston’s Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty.

To read the full “Collections” update from Sotheby’s International Realty, click here.

To visit TellurideLuxuryProperties.com, click here.

Art + Architecture celebrated in Telluride

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Telluride celebrates it’s 3rd annual Art + Architecture event with venues through out town showcasing various art and sculpture venues organized by Telluride Arts.

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Trulia / Real Trends: Bill Fandel Ranked #3 in Colorado for Individual Sales by Volume in 2013

Trulia Snip

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Significant Sales represented by Sotheby’s International Realty Network April 2014

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ASPIRE is here! Bill Fandel’s Marketing and Luxury Real Estate Portfolio, Summer 2014

ASPIRE is here! Bill Fandel's Marketing and Luxury Real Estate Portfolio, Summer 2014

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