Welcome to Estes Park, Colorado! They are not just famous for the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a resort town as well. I first visited on a family vacation when I was maybe eight. A trip that I recall very little of, other than we visited the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum, which was located there many years ago.
Don't let this quiet street scene fool you. I took this on Friday night as we were setting out to have dinner. A sunny Saturday or Sunday afternoon will find this strip elbow to elbow (almost) with people and bumper to bumper with cars. Notice the people wearing jackets? Yes, it was crisp and cool out.
Here is one of my yearly Estes Park highlights--visiting Macdonald's Bookshop. It is further up on the main drag (on the other end from the photo above at the top). Yes, it is as cool as it looks. Did you take a peek inside? That entrance houses loads of magazines and their new paperback fiction, where I spent a chunk of time perusing all the new books (deciding on just a couple was as difficult as you imagine it would be!). It is a wonderful indie bookstore that is literally jam packed with bookish goodness. They have a most excellent local history section and a wall of postcards. I could have passed the entire afternoon there.
Can you believe I walked away with only two books (and a bookmark and pin--the other little goodies came from the RMNP visitor center gift shop). I don't think I had heard of City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg. How did that happen? It just came out last month. It is set in New York City in 1976 (had to have it when I saw the setting). As you can see it is a big, chunky book that has some interesting elements like photos, drawings as in a graphic novel and what look like handwritten pages pulled from a notebook. Rolling Stone says it is "a book that is truly that great, rare thing: a wholly inhabitable universe, reflecting back our lives while also offering an exhilarating escape from them."
"At the close of World War II, Kansas newspaper editor Frank Hamilton and his wife Jane are taking a long-awaited month's vacation on Grand Lake, Colorado. Frank wants to fly fish. Jane wants to leave her social obligations behind and find a summer passion. They've brought their precocious 11-year-old granddaughter Maggie. A Nancy Drew wannabe, Maggie believes that in a creaky old cabin with a cranky grandmother she must uncover and solve a mystery to make her vacation complete. The Hamilton's capable maid Alma has come to manage Maggie, a task that will take her places she never dreamed she could or ought to go."
It's even signed by the author. I hope it will be a nice memento for my travels to Colorado and a good story to sink into when I am in need of a little escapism.
Taffy. I swear there is a taffy store every two doors on that main strip in Estes. And they almost all give out samples. I think my favorite is Mexican chocolate, or maybe sea salt caramel. It certainly is fresh. I only brought home a very small container of taffy, which I am holding in reserve for moments I really, really need a treat.
No ice cream in a Danish waffle cone, I'm afraid. (After all that taffy I couldn't face anymore sugar), but I thought the waffle iron in this window was pretty cool. If you have a sweet tooth, Estes can be a dangerous place. I guess the treats come after those long Rocky Mountain hikes perhaps?
And I discovered this very cool indie coffee shop. Yes, Raven's Roast Coffee Lounge is a comfy and filled with personality as it looks. It is tucked away inside a building housing a number of stores and the Estes Park Weaver's Guild (!), which I also visited, but I am saving my weaving news for another day.
And now back to business as usual for me. Time to catch up on books. Back to regular bookishness next time around!