It dawned on us about two weeks ago that we live in a place people drive or fly to vacation and yet, we weren't fully taking advantage of all the beauty within driving distance. It was the last weekend before school started, the last weekend before I started my job (which I love, by the way), and we needed to escape.
So we drove about 35 minutes up into the mountains, doubling our elevation. The air is thinner and if you aren't careful, you can definitely make yourself a little woozy, especially with all the weaving roads. Thankfully, no one got sick...
Downtown Estes Park is the kind of place novelists photograph in their mind and save to draw on for a later date.
Even when you forget to bring jackets and have to shop the sale rack at one of the overpriced tee-shirt stores meant to swindle tourists out of their wads of cash, you can still find so much to love in this place.
I'm especially happy with the way Sam's taken to the camera...
I know, you want a better look at the best photo of the day, don't you? Well, here it is...
Someone please tell me whose child this is.
Standing on the edge of downtown near town hall, this is the view:
...okay, that photo does NOT do it justice. Let me just say, it's stunning. And I'm so curious about the people who live there. What brought them to a touristy type town, why do they stay, how could they ever leave?
We started with breakfast/lunch at a little restaurant called Claires:
Nothing fancy, but it served its purpose. And my fruit plate was divine.
(I would never say that in real live, fyi. I sometimes throw words into my blog that I would never say in real life. Just for fun.)
When you walk down the street, you see all kinds of nifty things. Like a candy shop making salt water taffy right in the window...
Eventually it becomes this:
...which I would've bought in a heartbeat if I thought I could save it until my pseudo sugar fast is over. (I say pseudo because I'm starting to relax a little bit on it, it's been about 45 days...but that's a story for another day.)
I quickly discovered this was not the place I wanted to be if I had any hope of escaping sugarless.
(Adam actually got one of those caramel apples on the left!) He left about two bites so I tried it and said "apples are totally fine for me. This is actually health food." To which he responded with that knit together eyebrow thing he does so well.
While he enjoyed his caramel apple, the kids enjoyed handmade ice cream...
And it started to rain a little...
But if there's one thing I've learned about Colorado, it's that seriously, the rain doesn't hang around for long.
I found this to be the most brilliant thing I spied all day:
An all-day cereal bar? 25 kinds of cereal and 25 kinds of milk?? Are you serious? Why aren't these more common? It took me back to college and the long counter of cereal choices. Ah, those were the days...(hey, cereal is expensive!)
I also discovered there are Cubs fans everywhere...
Sam discovered the drinking fountain. (This is my favorite picture of the whole trip, I think...)
And we discovered that yes, we do have something in common with Hugh Hefner. A pretty startling realization for this prudish work-from-home mom from the Midwest.
We were walking along and this pulled up along the curb. Clearly they weren't trying to be discreet...
The Playboy insignias all over the windows gave me pause, but it wasn't until I spotted the license plate that I knew this was the real deal. And my maternal instinct to preserve the innocence of my children kicked in. I wanted to throw my arms over them and usher them into a store but thought that might be going a little overboard.
Just a little.
I braced myself for the parade of boobs, but oddly, the limo just sat there, its driver running back to the back, getting in, then running back to the driver's seat...
Look at the men gawking in this picture. Geesh.
I think they were sad when the limo pulled away, boobies and all.
Anyway, that was the first part of our day. And we had a blast. If you ever get the chance to visit Estes Park, go! It's gorgeous! And so worth it.
Don't forget, today is the last day to enter to win two signed copies of Deborah Raney's newest books (scroll down two posts and leave a comment!) Someone is going to be very happy! :)