Sunday, June 5, 2011

What We Did On Our Summer Vacation

When we moved to the Texas Panhandle I promised my wife frequent green vacations.  She grew up in the Midwest and high desert just doesn't cut it for her.  We often argue about whether a mesquite qualifies as a tree.

This year we decided to return to Estes Park, Colorado.  I found a great rate on cabins just days before the summer season rates kicked in.  Here is the view from our back porch:

This year we brought Murphy the dog.

I was able to find him a nice boarding facility in Estes Park where he exhausted himself romping with other dogs and generally ruining the excellent work the groomer did just before we left.  He was fine on the roadtrip, even offering to take a turn at the wheel.

The campground had horse-riding available so the girls each got to ride a real horse.  I kept the ride to an hour so the girls wouldn't make the acquaintance of that famed eighteenth-century cavalry commander, Major Assburns.

Estes Park is the home of The Stanley Hotel.  The hotel is just over a century old and was originally built as a giant guesthouse for the back-East friends of the Stanleys so the friends could come and visit all summer.  The Stanley Hotel also provided the inspiration for Stephen King's novel THE SHINING after he spent a night here the day before the hotel was due to close for the winter.  The Kubrick film was not filmed at this hotel but the 1996 ABC serial was 96% filmed on location.

Not being stupid, the operators of The Stanley Hotel have capitalized upon this and offer ghost tours.  Of course I signed up for one!  So one Wednesday afternoon the girls and I gathered with the rest of the herd in the basement of the hotel.  The tour lasted 90 minutes and was a mixture of local history and ghost stories.  Most of the ghost stories were fairly benign, such as Mrs. Wilson, who worked as the head chambermaid until the day she died, took a weekend off, and came right back to work.  The fourth floor and a particular staircase are alleged to be haunted by the ghosts of children who grew up, died, and returned to the hotel to spent their afterlife.  Only one ghost allegedly died in the hotel; from a case of appendicitis.
The ghost story part of the tour was guided by a delightfully creepy young lady named Cassie.  I personally did not witness any paranormal phenomena.  My cellphone camera functioned just fine and I would have appreciated a phantom chill on the fourth floor as it was decidedly on the warm side.  Elder Brat experienced a ghostly child tugging on her shirt tassels.  Several people confirmed this.  Younger Brat was very skeptical of the whole event.

1 comment:

  1. I heart Co so much, it is gorgeous there. I don't know why anyone ever leaves it.
    Always wanted to see the hotel as well, because "it creeps Mr. Torrance".