G and I did our Stanley Hotel getaway this past week, and I don’t know when I’ve had a better time anywhere. The day before we left, it rained all day in Pueblo, great for the garden, but we wondered what the weather would be like at 7500 feet. We needn’t have worried. We had 2 days of the most perfect weather, ever, along with an entire town (Estes Park) that wasn’t crowded, very laid back, no traffic, no lines anywhere because of going during the week and the week before the whole placed opened for “the season”. I love going places off season. We left very early in the morning, again, not sure of what road conditions would be and just took a leisurely drive up the highway. Before we knew it, we were there. The weather was warm and sunny, and the mountains were beautiful.
Then, of course, we had to clown around a little:
We were too early to check in, so we made sure we were on track for our tour, then decided to head to the Cascades Bar, where they have over 400 different varieties of bourbon. Did I mention that I really LOVE bourbon?
I asked if they carried bourbon from the Breckenridge Distillery, which is probably some of the best bourbon in the world, and made locally in CO. He managed to find me a bottle and we both had a taste, since he had never tried it. I know I made a convert that day. However, I was trying to pace myself, so just decided to have a beer on the veranda and wait for our tour to get started.
After lolling around a bit and enjoying the scenery, we decided to have lunch in the hotel restaurant. Of course, who should go ahead of us but a group with a whiny, screaming kid. Ugh. So, we asked the host to seat us as far as possible from them and, voila! We were placed in the wine room:
Just FYI, that’s not wine but beer that G is raising, but I guess it doesn’t really matter. It was a great space and we loved it. Many of the ingredients for the menu here come from local farmers/growers/makers. G had the surf and turf special with local beef and I had the lamb gyro with local lamb and we split this wonderful salad:
That’s Nick, our waiter/bartender, graciously posing with the salad. After that, we were pretty full, but we couldn’t resist when he told us about the maple creme brule with bacon popcorn! OMG
I confess that I am not a big creme brulee fan, but this dish completely won me over. It had a crispy layer of mable sugar on top and the custard was light and very creamy, not gelatinous the way they often are. We shared:
And all too soon, the magic was over:
Yes, we were licking the bowl. When it was truly all gone, we thanked Nick, made our reservatons for dinner the next night, and checked back at the desk and they had our room ready. We wanted to get our things stowed before the tour. It was a lovely space on the east side of the hotel, second floor. It was a great room, except for the looming Bed of Doom. But we didn’t know that then. At first glance, it looks perfectly inviting, doesn’t it? HAHAHA! Don’t forget, we WERE at the Stanley Hotel, after all.
Next up, The Tour!