Sharing the space at the Stanley Hotel

Driving, walking, visiting Estes Park for the first time, you can’t miss the big white place up the hill.

All eyes at the my dear wife Karen’s Family Reunion were drawn toward The Stanley Hotel.

What is it about this place?

What is it about this place?

Something about it just seemed so darn … familiar.

On Friday morning, we four walked up from our cool blue cottage to investigate.

Lovely grounds, public invited.

Old grounds, public welcome.

Talk the night before had touched on some history of the joint, and sister-in-law Lynne and nieces Stormy and Kimi had mentioned how they might like to sign up for the Stanley Hotel’s Ghost Tour.

We figured we’d check the grounds, and hunt for a schedule and prices.

Pretty picture on the way up.

Pretty picture on the way up.

First, though, daughter Elisabeth and boyfriend George Three couldn’t pass up the photo opportunity with the valley below.

Looking George Three and Elisabeth.

Looking up for George Three and Elisabeth.

And then I couldn’t resist a more traditional shot of them pointing down …

Fearless spouse Karen.

Fearless spouse Karen.

… and my signature shot of my dear wife walking up toward our goal, the stately Stanley.

We walked right inside the ornate lobby of polished wood.

Karen and I go for it.

Karen and I go for it.

Elisabeth grabbed my iPhone 6 and let Karen and I have a little fun with our own tourist photo opp. Yes, our heads are embodied on the two little girls made famous in the film made of Stephen King’s so-scary novel The Shining. King, you see, stayed here with his wife as the sole guests one night, and was inspired to write that story of isolation in the mountains. Alas, the movie was shot on Mount Hood in Oregon. Decades later, though, this place was used for the shooting of a TV mini-series remake. It also was used in the popular movie Dumb and Dumber

And legend has that the place completed as a guest home in 1909 for Freelan Oscar Stanley, owner of the Stanley Steemer company, is haunted.

Alas, Karen’s inquiry discovered that all ghost tours were sold out until today, in fact, two days past everybody’s departure from the Family Reunion.

I'll fear it when it grows.

I’ll fear it when it grows.

We walked around some more, admiring the miniature hedge maze and soaking up the natural beauty of the place.

Click on any gallery photo for a description. Click on the bottom photo for an enlarged slide show.

Tomorrow: Up the mountain by foot and by jeep

Friday: Denver’s a real zoo

Would you walk up the big hill drawn by this white building? Would a ghost tour at the Stanley Hotel interest you or scare you away? Are you more afraid of Redrum or more interested in what inspired Stephen King?

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49 thoughts on “Sharing the space at the Stanley Hotel

    • We really wanted to sign up for the ghost tour … well, I was very enthusiastic, Beth, and MDW Karen and the kids had various levels of agreement but we all were ready to give it a go with Lynne, Stormy and Kimi! In yesterday’s post, Kay says she stayed here and her room was haunted! Let’s see what her comment shares when she comes back today.

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  1. Mark, l love the photos. I would not go anywhere near the Stanley. Even looking at it, sitting up on top of the hill used to give me the creeps when we stayed in Estes Park. There is something very sinister about that building. It’s a shame you couldn’t have gone on the Ghost Tour.

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  2. Goosebump territory…both for the inspiration in staying alone in that hotel (only Stephen King could translate this into his story) and the majestic splendor of that setting. Those mountains. Gorgeous. I’m trying to picture that maze in a few years. And yes, I would have explored, but maybe not in the winter, and surely not at night. !! Kudos to you, Mark, for the beautiful photos. You captured the moment, once again. ☺☺☺

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  3. We use to live in Denver and love Estes Park, yet in all of our years there never went into the Stanley. Not sure why as I love that era of architecture! What a great place for a family reunion! Thanks for sharing some great shots!!

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  4. Beautiful-no I’d pass the haunted house business. Check out Casadega, Florida on Google. As a child we went there, sandy, gravel road in large cypress trees with the infamous hanging moss, creepy eerie feeling in this small town???? Gatorette.

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  5. When I stayed there, they put me in the Honeymoon Suite. It’s the room smack in the center, with the large windows. Very tiny:). While I’ve never been a big ghost story gal, I can tell you that every time I laid on that bed, there was a knock on my door. And no one there. The tap turned itself on. Weird stuff!

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  6. Mr. B, it looks like you are having a fabulous time with your family! Your pictures really capture your adventure and make me feel like I was there with you all! 🙂 The one of you and Karen with the little girls’ bodies is hilarious!! REDRUM REDRUM!

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  7. Cool photos, Mark. Sorry you missed a chance to tour the Stanley Hotel. I’m currently re-reading King’s “On Writing” and he said he was drinking heavily when he wrote this. Since then, he’s been clean and sober for years.
    We went on the Jack the Ripper Tour in London in 2003. I don’t know if I would have done so at night though – and I’m not sure I’d stay at the Stanley Hotel. The book and the movie were scary enough. 😉

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  8. Oh, that stinks! 😦 I was hoping you got the tour. I have a cousin who lives about 75 miles form there, and she recently took her family for her daughter’s 17th birthday… and they said it was magnificent. I can’t wait to go someday. Your photos are awesome! 😀

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