Sunday, March 11, 2007

Estes Park

Our trip into Estes Park last week was so much fun. Unfortunately, Blake could not join us because he was skiing mid-week. Rough life! Caroline and I prepared by watching The Shining and reading up on the town's history a bit. The hotel we stayed at and the city itself were both equally intriguing for us. Caroline loves old historical places like I do, so we were in heaven.

We stayed at The Stanley, a gorgeous old hotel built in 1907. Its legacy is fascinating, complete with hauntings and a movie filmed there. It was the first hotel in the world to have electricity. It was also the first in the US to have a telephone in each room.

We got into town around 3:00 and immediately started exploring. Before we headed out, though...and while we were stretching out a bit in the room....we had a few strange things happen. First, we turned on the TV and The Shining was playing. Of course, we freak out and think it's a sign....until we learn later that it plays 24 hours a day on channel 60. Cue us feeling like idiots right about here.

Then, Carter reports that his shirt moved. He layed his shirt down on the bed and went to the bathroom....came back and his shirt was hanging on one of the bed posts. Could it have been a ghost? Or mom? Or Caroline? No one knows. He later tells this story to the concierge, the man at the door, the people in town and eventually the entire tour group the next day.

The view coming in.

The Stanley Hotel.

The "Music Room", which is supposed to be the most haunted...mostly by F.O. Stanley's wife.

One of the gorgeous banquet rooms.

The view from the hotel.

Other angle.

We walked through town that afternoon and really enjoyed the views and cute shops.

Back to the hotel to get ready for dinner.

On the front porch.

Jack squealing with delight at the thought of bathtime!

A peak out the window in the bathroom. The hotel had such pretty detail with interesting windows and decor.

Carter at dinner that night....enjoying using the "fancy glasses" as he called them. We ate on site at the "Cascades" restaurant.

The night became very interesting after dinner. Caroline and I had the brilliant idea to read ghost stories before bed. We found books in town filled with stories native to the area. I'm sure you all think I'm crazy for subjecting Carter to this, but he really loves it and has never showed any fears of ghosts or anything "scary".

So, we put Jack to bed and all cuddle up on one of the beds and begin to read. The book we're reading from details ghostly happenings room-by-room of the hotel. After a few stories, Carter is asleep and Caroline and I just stare at each other like "What do we do now?!" We were both spooked and neither of us got much sleep. Carter slept like a baby!!!! Caroline and I spent most of the night wondering about noises.....we both heard creaking and she heard voices. It was amazing!

The next morning....

A morning view of the mountains from one of our windows.

At 10:00 am, we attended the "Historical Tour" at the hotel. It covered the details over the years of Mr. Stanley and family and how the hotel was successful at times and at others, forgotten.

Steven King stayed in the hotel in 1974. It was the last day of the season (the hotel was only open 1/2 the year) and he and his wife were the only people there that evening. They went to dinner and then Mrs. King went up to their room to sleep. Steven stayed at the bar and then eventually wandered upstairs to find his room. He could not find it and ended up walking the halls....and his amazing mind started working....and thus, The Shining novel was born.

This is the room he stayed in.

The view from outside.

Since The Shining movie became so popular with Stanley Kubrick's version released in June 1979, people flock to stay in this room 217. When filming parts of Dumb and Dumber (another great movie of another nature), Jim Carrey started out his evening in this room. At midnight, he called down to the front desk asking them to re-assign him to another room...he didn't care where he stayed....but that he wouldn't spend another minute in room 217. He's never spoken of what he saw or encountered.

In 1995, Steven King teamed up with ABC to create The Shining miniseries which was filmed on site at The Stanley. Kubrick's version....the entirely more popular and way scarier of the two....was filmed at a stage in London and the exterior parts are actually of a hotel in Oregon. Stanley Kubrick did not think The Stanley was secluded enough, nor did it have air conditioning and a few other deal breakers for him. The hotel still does not have air conditioning to this day.

More from the tour.....a stairwell in the hotel.

This is the children's hall which is on the 4th floor, where most of the kids in the hotel played with their nannies because they were not permitted around the adults in the hotel during that time. Supposedly, you can hear kids' voices here sometimes and also a red ball appears in photographs often. Something that we found interesting about the hauntings of this hotel is that all of them are of good nature. Nothing tragic or horrific has ever happened there....the few deaths in the record books were of natural causes. Reports of ghost encounters are always kind...usually children tugging on clothes or of odd things happening....but nothing gross or frightening.

The creeky old elevator....original Otis from 1909.

Here are some shots from Dumb and Dumber.

And the fowl fireplace shot...if you have seen the movie, this is one of the most memorable....where Jim Carrey and the others are all in their tacky winter all know what happens.

Tour is over and we head outside.

Back to town for a bit. Here is lunch from Poppy's dream come true.....olive oil roasted garlic with foccacia bread.

And, Carter watching the candy maker.

At The Stanley museum.

And, the eventual drive back home....a storm rolling in....this flat open area reminded Caroline and me of Texas. The next day it rained in Castle Rock for the first time since we moved. First time!!!! All we've seen is snow!

The trip into Estes was wonderful. We can't wait to go back, as there is so much more to do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved the recount of the weekend! You guys are BRAVE to stay there! I'm such a chicken...I would not have slept at all!! I absolutely love the naked Jack picture at the bathtub with his "cheeks" all tight with anticipation of the tub!! Too cute!! Wish my naked bum looked that cute when I tense up...not so much...actually a bit frightening...not good...horrible infact!