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You should read Isabella birds,a lady's life in the Rocky Mountains .


The obvious one! CENTENNIAL, by James Michener. My favorite of his books. I believe "Blue Valley" in his book is supposed to be Estes Park. I hear it's beautiful. Have a good time!


What a good idea--I know the name but didn't know where she had traveled to (I was thinking she was one of those intrepid Victorian lady travelers in England!). Thanks--will look her up!


This is awful--but I have never read any Michener! I know he wrote lots and am not at all familiar with most of his books. This *would* be an obvious choice--good idea. I have added it to my wishlist and will see if my favorite used bookstore has a copy! I can't wait--I am ready to go now--it was a last minute thing and you have no idea how much I am looking forward to getting away.

Liz F

Oh how exciting - unexpected trips away are always the best and Colorado sounds wonderful. It is on my list of places that I would love to go in the States should I ever get to cross the Atlantic again and staying in a cabin with a porch will be brilliant!
I adored Centennial but I read it so long ago that all I can remember is that I got lost in it for a few days (it's a big doorstop of a book as I recall). I read a lot of Michener a very long time ago and didn't like all of them but Centennial and one called Chesapeake stick in my memory (and on my bookshelf as the latter turned up only a day or so ago when I was looking for something else) as ones which I both enjoyed and learned from.
I am having a weekend away myself this weekend, going to stay with our son in London as his girlfriend is on a month long work trip to San Francisco (she is doing a Psychology PHD and is working with a Japanese psychologist whose work is related to her PHD subject)
James works very hard and we don't see him very often so it will be lovely to have some mum and son time but I will also get some time to myself when he is at work and I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to that - not to mention a couple of train journeys when I can get some reading done! As I have the Willa Cather that you mention, I might put that in my bag for the trip down to find out a bit more about the state as I really don't know much about it apart from that it has mountains, lakes and rivers!


I have no bookish suggestions but I'm glad for you. Such majestic scenery. I'm in need of a nice trip too but have still not made up my mind. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing your pictures.

vicki (skiourophile / bibliolathas)

Oh, what a nice break you'll have. I can't read in cars/buses/etc., so those journeys can never be filled as well as you will be filling yours. The scenery looks amazing - I hope you'll show us some make-you-green-with-envy photos.


If the scenery of the card is what it will look like from your cabin it is going to be gorgeous, if not it's going to be gorgeous too as an unexpected vacation is so nice.


Yay for Colorado! Should be beautiful and cool and not humid, fresh air and trees and mountains. Sometimes I miss mountains quite a lot, more than the ocean which surprises me. I can heartily endorse Song of the Lark since I read it not so very long ago. Though it doesn't spend much time evoking landscape as much as other Cather books do, it's more of a cultural and artistic landscape she focuses on in this one.


We use to live in Colorado Springs, love the mountains. May I suggest Nothing Daunted The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West. The story of 2 young women who go off to Colorado in 1916 to teach in a remote school. It's by Dorothy Wickenden.

Mary Grover

I was going to suggest "A Lady's Life in the Rocky Mountains" by Isabella Bird, but Nikki beat me to it.

Another really great book is "Meadow" by James Galvin. It is set in the mountains between Colorado and Wyoming and recounts the lives of those who settled and tried to make a life there.


Excited that you're coming to Colorado! I live about 40 miles from Estes, and visit regularly to hike in RMNP. The Bear Lake hike is gorgeous and very easy, flat although at 9000 feet. The hike up to Alberta Falls is an offshoot of the Bear Lake loop and is not arduous and really pretty. There are also really pretty hikes through Moraine Park and the Ute Trail at the top of the park is breathtaking.

We stayed up 2 nights along the Fall River in early June and had a wonderful time. Definitely reading by the river is the way to relax.

I love Centennial and Isabella Bird's memoir--she climbed Long's Peak in RMNP so it is perfect. Also really good is Tomboy Bride, about a young wife's experiences living with her mining engineer husband down in Telluride in the 1880s.

I also like the Bookman mysteries featuring Cliff Janeway, a used book dealer living in Denver, by John Dunning--they're pretty fun.

Another mystery series is more cozy and by Diane Mott Davidson, who wrote a series of culinary based mysteries set in the foothills west of Denver (based on the town of Evergreen). I read a few of them, but they got a bit repetitive.

I really liked Crossing Purgatory, about life in southeast Colorado just before the Civil War. Kind of far from Estes, but still Colorado.

Have fun and I'll be checking back to see what Colorado-focused books you do read.


I'm so pleased to hear you're going to have a bit of vacation - hurray! And Colorado will be so beautiful! The landscape must be so restful and lovely. As for books - aren't the Kent Haruf ones set there? I hear nothing but praise for him lately and how wonderful he is. And Wallace Stegner's Angle of Repose comes to mind, too. If all else fails, you'll have to take a DVD of Dynasty with you!!!


I second Janegs on the Cliff Janeway series by Dunning. They're awesome reads. Hope you enjoy your trip; it sounds wonderful. And may there be many good-looking kilted men. ;)


I shall send you a postcard from Estes Park! I have my trusty list of addresses still and had planned on taking it and some stamps with me for something to do while sitting and soaking up a little 'nature'! :) I went there as a child and recall liking it, but I was all of about ten so all the world was new to me then. I have two coworkers who travel to Colorado a lot--both love the National Parks and they have been telling me lots about it and making suggestions of things to do. I am very excited and almost with it was THIS weekend I was going but maybe better to have a little time to plan still and build up that anticipation! I broke down and ordered Centennial, though I know a book of that size is impractical as I am hoping to take a stack of 'in progress' books and finish a few--I have had an abysmal reading year--always starting new books well before finishing anything else. But I hope to read one or two 'Colorado' books before or during the trip--need to go pull my own copy of the Cather off my shelf. I think I will also take a book by Sandra Dallas--have you read her? If not, add her to your list as I think you would enjoy her! And so glad to hear you get to have a weekend away, too, and will get to see your son. Lucky girlfriend to get to go to San Francisco. Wish I could go this year, too, but actually a change of scenery--mountains instead of ocean is a good thing, too. And yay for being able to read on the train. Will you get to do anything special/fun while you are in London? Do you enjoy traveling there? I know not everyone really likes it all that much--I always think I would love it, but when you live so may not have quite the same appeal.


I am very excited as I had all but given up any hope of any sort of little mini trip--I was ready to just settle for an afternoon away to a small Nebraska town close by--there are lots of apple orchards outside of Omaha and I hope to go visit one or two this fall to pick apples. So this is all the better. I suspect I will have plenty of reading material of one sort or another, so no worries--I always have far too many actually. I will definitely be taking my camera. And yes, the views should be really striking--and I hear we'll get to see lots of wildlife--elk and maybe wolves (maybe even bears!!). Just a couple of weeks away! :)


Yes, pictures will be shared here! :) I hope I don't bore people with travel talk--I do get all excited by the prospect of seeing something new and tend to go on about it sometimes. I am lucky to be able to read while on a moving car/plane. It would be a bummer to lose that time--but I guess there is always listening to music or an audio book. Or, hmm, maybe making conversation with the people around me--now there is a novel thought! ;) I am in need of a break, though, that is for sure.


I should have mentioned that I snagged the photo from the Wikipedia (which I think is all copyright free...), and I do think it is just as beautiful as the photos shows--maybe even more so. I know last year they experienced a lot of flooding where I am going so some places may have not yet bounced back, but I think all in all, it should be really lovely there. The cabins sit right on Fall River, and hopefully they are as nice as the photos on their website make it look. (BTW--Many thanks for the map you sent which arrived a couple of days ago--love it. I love maps and have been looking it all over imagining myself there!). ;)


I think it will be cool in the nights and in the 70s or so during the day--perfect weather. I might even be able to bring along a flannel shirt or two and layer up (to peel off as the day progresses). I have wanted to read Song of the Lark...maybe I will now have my excuse, though I think I need to take the Hardy along, too.


How cool. I wonder if I would like Colorado more than Nebraska--I always thought it snowed so much there that winter lasted forever, but after talking to someone who lives in Denver it sounds like it does snow a lot, but it doesn't last long--unlike here where it can snow a lot and then freeze and last forwever! :) I will look for Nothing Daunted--I remember when it came out and was thinking it might be good--but couldn't remember the title or if it was Colorado where the women went. Thanks for the title and author! I know my library has it, too. I have not been to the mountains in a really, really long time, so this is going to be great!


I found the Isabella Bird book at my library and it sits on my desk at work--I didn't have enough time to check it out today so will bring it home this weekend. I have added The Meadow to my wishlist and will see if my library has that, too, so I can check it out as well!


I'm excited too. When I was little my family went to Pikes Peak. I know we drove through Estes Park, but that was it. So glad to hear about Bear Lake--I ordered a book that describes various hikes in the park and will take it with me. I think I should have it by the end of the week. I love walking and never get to walk with such lovely scenery about, so I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to this. Thanks so much for all the great reading suggestions--Tomboy Bride sounds especially good and my sister said we might visit some of the mining towns so it would be perfect companion reading. The more I read about it all the more excited I am getting. I tend to always overlook destinations closer to home--wanting only the ocean or somewhere really far away, and here is a place so beautiful and just on the other side of the state! I can totally enjoy just kicking back with my books while my sister and her husband fish--at least for part of the time. I will definitely report back on my reading and share photos of my experiences!


Yes, yay! I had all but given up on any sort of time away--hadn't even planned on taking any extra time off as a staycation, so this is quite a nice surprise. I think the view is going to be strikingly gorgeous! Very different than flat Nebraska where I live!! Kent Haruf--what a great idea--he does write books set in Colorado and I am going to see what my library has. I think I read one of his books a long time ago. I didn't realize the Stegner was set there as well-I wonder where my copy is--I loved his Crossing to Safety and have ever after wanted to read something more by him. I think I might not even have to resort to Dynasty! :)


I have just looked up Cliff Janeway and how can you not like a book with a bookstore setting?! I think I might not mind the views--whether it be of nature or men in kilts! ;) It sounds like great fun (and unexpected fun, too!).

Liz F

I do enjoy travelling down to London by train as a matter of fact - it is the only form of transport apart from aircraft that I can read on (trying to read in a moving car or bus is the quickest way to make my skin tone resemble Kermit the frog)and I can always look out of the window while it is still light, although it will be dark before I get there (autumn is starting to draw in already which is frightening!)
Haven't got huge plans while I am there - I would like to see the ceramic poppies in the dry moat at the Tower of London and I would love to visit Kenwood House in Hampstead which I can hopefully do on James's day off as it is quite close to where he lives.
Other than that I will have an explore of the area he lives in, maybe sit in a coffee shop and read/people watch and just enjoy having time to myself (might have to turn my phone off for a while though!)
I did think that I might see if I could get tickets to see Richard Armitage in The Crucible but then I saw the price of them and changed my mind! I'm not enough of a theatre goer to justify those sort of prices.
Francina had a bit of a shock when she got to SF as the local micro climate was a lot cooler than she was expecting (and had packed for!)so she has had to go and buy some more clothes but since she is a huge fan of Gap, I don't think that she found that too much of a hardship!
I haven't heard of Sandra Dallas before but you can guess that I will be heading over to the library and Amazon in search of her. Do hope that she is in the former as I have bought far too many books recently and am running out of storage space. I really will have to have a serious clear out very soon!
I'm sure you will have a wonderful time in Colorado and the time before you go will pass very quickly!


Oooh, go and see the divine Mr Armitage for me Please! I still think he is seriously swoon worthy. But I do understand about the cost of things (and I bet a London show is hugely expensive), so I wouldn't be able to afford it either. Still, what a lovely thought. You will have fun just getting away and spending time with your son. And I love going to coffee shops with a book in hand and having a nice little treat and some peace and quiet. It sounds perfect to me (and about what my budget will allow these days). I have long run out of book space and really need to figure out what I can do about all the piles--must weed is my mantra these days. I am so anxious to get away that Colorado sounds like such a long time in the future, but really two weeks will fly by and I should be getting myself organized. Have a great time in London with your son--I hope the weather cooperates, too!

Erin @ Omaha Public Library

Estes Park, my little home away from home! I could rattle off a million recommendations, though the only you requested were of the literary kind.

If you like donuts, Donut Haus is great; get there early for best selection. The Taffy Shop downtown has delectable taffy. If you enjoy an adult beverage, the bar/restaurant at the Stanley Hotel is great. I married there, and fondly recall enjoying drinks and time with our guests on the front porch at night.

As far as RMNP goes, I second Janegs' suggestion of the Ute Trail. It's a bit of a drive from Estes, at the top of the park near the visitors center -- but you get sweeping views of the mountains, as well as of Wyoming to the north. My favorite part of the park is Horseshoe Park and nearby Alluvial Fan, the site of the '82 flood. The Lawn Lake Trail is nearby. Pretty far hike -- 6.2 miles -- but even just a mile or two up rewards you with great views.

This post has helped ME to add some Rocky Mountain reading to my list!

Enjoy your trip.


Hi Erin--so nice to hear from you and thanks so much for the suggestions (I like the 'what to see and do' recommendations equally well, by the way!). I will note them down and may just have to check out some of those sweets! The weekend we will be there is the Scottish Highland Festival so that should be interesting as well! I had no idea the Stanley was right in Estes--from the movie you get the feeling it is out in the middle of nowhere up a mountain! It would be fun to go there. I'll be seeing my sister this weekend--I am going with her and her husband--my vote will be to go to the park as much as possible, and I am sure we will, as I love walking. I will mostly just follow their lead, but I am hoping we can get well into the park, too. A coworker was talking about the Alluvial Fan and was wondering if it had been affected by last year's flooding. I am so excited--I went to CO when I was very young and I am not sure if we went into the park much-I have no recollection of that. We may also visit some of the mining towns that are around and my sister mentioned horse riding--so this might well be very adventurous of me--doing things I have never thought I would do! Only a week and a half to go! :)

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