Last Thursday, Zach, Bear, and I woke up early at our Denver hotel and headed for Estes Park, Colorado. Along the way, we had planned to stop at the Hidee Gold Mine and let the boys find some gold (Zach's one request of the trip). We were disappointed to find that the mine was closed, so we decided to walk around the little town of Central City, where the mine is located, and explore. The downtown area is really neat and rich in history, being a mining town that dates back to 1859. Most of the buildings are still in their original (restored) state and down every street, mountains stand tall in the distance. It really is the picturesque, quaint little mountain town. We felt like we had stepped back in time as we walked down the quiet sidewalks of Central City that morning.
After an hour or so of exploring the town, we hopped in the car and headed for Estes Park. It was so nice to be in chilly 50-something degree weather; it was perfect for heavy duty sweaters & jeans without a coat. We were starving by the time we arrived in Estes Park, so we stopped along the main drag and ate at The Grubsteak (the first burger place we saw). I had the most delicious baked potato soup, Bear had his typical grilled cheese, and Zach had a yak burger. Yes, Zach had yak. We did some shopping after lunch since Estes has the cutest area to walk around and shop for everything from t-shirts to taffy. We also stopped in Laura's and loaded up on ice cream- I got the Mudslide on a sprinkle cone (coffee ice cream with chunks of Oreos and fudge, aka heaven).
We checked into our cabin, which turned out to be so perfect for the three of us. It was located on Fall River, and Bear loved throwing rocks in the little stream that ran right in front of the place. We had a kitchen and cozy fireplace, which Zach would get going every night to warm us up. He also cooked eggs, biscuits, and bacon every morning- he was on the ball! Anyway, we hung out at the cabin for awhile that first evening before deciding to head back into town for dinner at Village Pizza and to get some groceries. On the way, I decided to call The Stanley Hotel to see if they had any tours going on. If you're not familiar with the Stanley, it's the Victorian hotel where The Shining was filmed. In fact, Stephen King actually stayed a night in the hotel back in 1974 which is what inspired him to write the original novel, later turned into the movie. Parts of Dumb & Dumber were also filmed in the hotel. Hollywood aside, the hotel was built in 1909 and is supposed to be super haunted. I hate scary movies (like The Shining) but I love ghost tours, so I took the last spot on the 7pm ghost tour at the hotel that night. The boys dropped me off and went back to the cabin while I took the tour, which turned out to be fantastic and super creepy. I highly recommend it if you're ever in Estes Park! The boys bought a Lego Star Wars DVD at Safeway and they were much happier watching that than playing ghostbusters.
After the tour, our evening consisted of cozying up by the fire and watching a Hallmark Christmas Movie (the boys crashed about 5 minutes in). It was such a fun first day to our trip and I'm already missing that glorious Colorado weather!