Visiting Estes Park, Colorado

2.26.17

This past weekend my parents flew in from Chicago to visit me at school. Living fifteen hours away from home can be really tough at times, and although the homesickness never completely goes away, having them come out to see me for a few days makes me feel so much better.

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We had an action-packed weekend of watching the Hawks play, hunting for antiques at a vintage junk market, using our minds at an Escape Room, and visiting the ever beautiful Estes Park, Colorado. Estes Park is the cutest little town you’ve ever seen. It used to be known as a great skiing resort area, but now is famous for its small-town feel, shopping, and being home to the Stanley Hotel (where The Shining was filmed for you Stephen King fans). I explored the hotel last year when my parents visited and saw where many of the scenes were shot! We didn’t visit this time, but instead stayed in Downtown Estes Park; window shopping, grabbing lunch, and peeking our heads in the nooks and crannies of the small town.

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The drive from Fort Collins to Estes is about an hour long, most of the scenery taking part in the mountains before you’re looking out over Estes right in front of you. Due to construction, this year we had to take a different highway up, and went through a town called Lyons. I definitely found this town as a smaller version of Estes, and would love to visit on a weekend when I have nothing to do. Once we made it up to Estes Park, it was lunchtime and we were ready to find a cool place to eat.

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The Wild Rose popped out at my mom, so we headed inside for some hot chocolate on the chilly day. The wind was killer, even with the sun shining on us, and the temperature was hovering around 40 degrees. It had been in the 70’s just a few days before! Spring come sooner.

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Unfortunately, my hot chocolate was the best part of my meal at the Wild Rose. I ordered homemade chili along with my mom and sister, only to be disappointed in the soupy and bland taste. Lunch might not have been the best, but the rest of our time in Estes was. Next time, we might consider the Chicago-style pizza shop (although we already know it won’t come close to actual Chicago pizza, sorry but Krazy Karls is awful!).

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After lunch, we walked the streets, popping in and out of stores, finding every tourist-like shop full of overpriced t-shirts that there was, and had a blast while doing it. We discovered ugly red hats, motorcycle-themed button downs, and stores full of gag gifts. There were also Christmas shops full of only ornaments, cabin-style decorative needs around every corner, and three highly competitive “original” salt taffy shops right next to each other. It was a great afternoon just talking, walking around, and enjoying each others company. A few hours passed before we had made it back to the car and were ready to head back home.

Next time, we plan to explore Rocky Mountain National Park and maybe even do some hiking up there. Bear Lake is a great 800 foot walk from the parking lot and provides a breathtaking view (I’ve only been there once but can’t wait to go back in the summertime!). If you’re going to Estes anytime soon, bring some cash, don’t eat at the Wild Rose, and stay warm!

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