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Friday, October 11, 2013

Friday's Ghostly Happy Hour

 Yes, it's Friday again. I thought I would infuse a little of the haunted spirit of October in this afternoon's cocktail hour. Here is my introduction of the Stanley Hotel, in Estes Park, Colorado. And here's a little something to listen to while you're reading. The Shining sountrack
 Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park are about an hour's drive from us. It's a beautiful drive, and mountains, fresh air, food and shops await. Oh and a haunted hotel. This is the Big Thompson Canyon. Unfortunately, due to the recent devastating floods, this highway is inaccessible to Estes.

(Remember this picture? Flood post )

This is how the highway and Big Thompson River usually looks - when the river is behaving.

Our first stop is always the Cherry store. It's a little family owned store on the side of the highway. My daughter and I will sometimes take a drive to go antique shopping in Loveland, and continue the drive just to go here. They have polka music playing (you had me at hello), and many delectable choices of jams, jellies, syrups, juices, chutneys, mustards, you name it. And usually free samples. We indulge in some Bing Cherry juice and a snack and park ourselves on the picnic bench outside and gaze at the canyon walls on one side and the river behind. (I have yet to see a Rocky Mountain Sheep. I'm thinking they might be a myth) The Cherry Company has an online store here http://www.coloradocherrycompany.com/

On the way up to Estes are many little hotels and cabins where people like to stay to enjoy being in the mountains and by the river. I don't even know if these little ones survived or if they tragically floated away.

Coming in to Estes Park. 

Here's the Stanley at a distance


Here's the view during colder times from the parking lot.

The front of the main hotel.

Coming in through the back entrance. I just have to say, whether you believe in ghosts or not, the whole place, grounds included just feels a little creepy to me. It's often quiet, empty, and there's  something that feels....not right. I'm just sayin.

Here's the lobby. It's a beautiful, grand hotel, in an old, dark wooded, velvet carpeted, long desolate hallway-ed, ghostly sort of way

Speaking of long desolate hallways. You're not suppose to go upstairs if you're not a guest. I've gone up as a guest and as a non-guest, because if you visit the Stanley, you HAVE to wander the upstairs. 

Because there are places to expore

 Famous rooms to spy on (such as room 217 where Stephen King stayed when he was inspired to write "The Shining" - which is basically what the Stanley is known for - and which is haunted!)

Stairways to explore

For an even creepier experience, I think, my daughter and I once stayed at the Manor House next to the main hotel. I believe it's called The Lodge now. It felt like it was just us and the ghosts. Random sounds and doors closing, but you rarely see anyone. I'm just sayin!!

The silly girl unbeknownst to me brought a rosary and holy water just in case....hahaha (Maybe not so silly?)

The view from the unique old window in the unique old bathroom.

 The rooms we have stayed in were beautiful, with dark hard wood furniture and trim, very elegant and Victorian looking. The fun thing about staying here? On one of the tv channels, The Shining plays continuously. Very nice touch, I think. There's also an impressive gift shop with all things ghostly, and Colorado, and some very nice clothing as well.

Oftentimes, whether you're exploring the grounds, taking a walk, or looking out the window you will see Rocky Mountain Elk. Of course, fall is the most crowded time of year, when they're out bugling (and people from all over the world are driving around up there, stopping on the roads to take pictures ) In Estes Park, in general, you will see these elk in parking lots, front yards, golf courses, loitering in crosswalks....

a baby just outside the Manor House.

Now if you happen to be in the Stanley for Friday afternoon Happy Hour (or anytime :) ), their recently renovated Whiskey bar is worth a visit. The bar is large, on the darker side, the bar counter itself is very impressive, and lit up from underneath, and they have, I believe, well over 500 whiskeys. If Whiskey isn't your thing, they have beverages of all kinds, as well as an historic drink menu, with some fun old fashioned concoctions with interesting names to try.

 The bar, with whiskeys on display

 A close up of the bar. The last time my husband and I were there we learned a lot about Whiskeys and the grand, ghostly history of the hotel.

In the morning, there is coffee to be had in the cafe downstairs and a stately veranda to sit on and read the paper and look at the Rocky Mountains.

 The view from the veranda. It was fall when we stayed, so the colors were in full swing, there was snow on the mountains, and, since this is a very popular and beautiful wedding destination, a haunted honeymoon couple strolling the grounds.

Here's there website. I have yet to go on one of their very popular ghost tours. It's on my list. http://www.stanleyhotel.com/about

Happy Friday. Have a great weekend! Boo!!





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