An April 2004 trip
to Colorado by John Lamb
Quote: This journal is for visitors to Colorado who are looking for sites devoted to literature. All entries look at places that have literary significance, from places frequented by Jack Kerouac to living authors like Hunter S. Thompson.
Hotel | "Stanley Hotel - Estes Park - King"
F.O. Stanley, inventor of the steamer, started construction for the hotel in 1906. It was finished in 1909 and even had its on hydroelectric plant built just to power the hotel. He even had phones put in every room. This hotel was quite luxurious for its time and even still is today.
Stephen King wrote half of The Shining in room 217. He names the hotel the Overlook in the novel. The original Kubrick movie was not filmed here, although the recent ABC mini-series was. Supposedly, there are certain areas that are haunted, including the music room where one can hear the piano mysteriously play by itself. The fourth floor also supposedly has spirits. It is the old servant quarter area and people have heard children playing in the halls when no one is around. The hotel offers haunted tours.
The hotel is beautifully set with great views of Long's Peak and the mountains. There are gorgeous plantation style columns in the front entrance. The main lobby is elegant and has the feel of the ‘20s architecture. The Stanley Steamer is in the front lobby on display. There are two restaurants on the main floor. On Sunday there is a fancy, delicious brunch offered for around 30 dollars. The staff are friendly and helpful, with bellboys available.
The rooms are smaller, although 217 (King's room) is quite big. They also tend to creak, but there is a history to the rooms, which adds elegance and makes the stay interesting. The beds are comfortable and the rooms are kept clean. The hotel has spent a lot refurbishing and remodeling to update the hotel.
I would recommend staying at this hotel for the experience. The history makes the stay fun, while at the same time scary. It is very easy to get scared as you think of naked, old ladies and twins roaming the halls.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on April 28, 2004
333 Wonderview Ave.
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
Restaurant | "My Brother's Bar - Denver - Kerouac"
This is the bar where Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac used to drink each other under the table. Cassady's older brother was a bartender here in the ‘40s and ‘50s. When Kerouac was living in Denver during many of his trips across the U.S., he and Cassady would come here often to drink and talk. In fact, in the eighties, the bar owner found a discarded letter from Cassady in a reformatory asking a friend to pay the bar tab at My Brother's Bar. You can see the original letter framed near the bathrooms with a picture of Cassady and Kerouac together. If you ask the bartender, he may even give you a photocopy of the letter for free.
Not only is this place significant to fans of the Beat Generation writers, but also a great place in general to grab a beer and burger. Their most famous burger is the JCB, a jalapeno and cream cheese burger that hits the spot. The fries are hearty and thick as well. Mainly burgers on the menu. During the summer months, the patio is open and great place to relax. The inside clean and looks like a nice pub, with original brick and dark wood making a nice interior. Plenty of good beers on tap, including some great Irish imports.
This a great bar to have some good food, good beer and enjoy the ambience of the Beat Generation.
My Brother's Bar
2376 15th St
Denver, Colorado 80202
+1 303 455 9991
Restaurant | "Woody Creek Tavern - Aspen - Thompson"
The inside is covered and papered with photographs. There are lost of photos of the bar's famous patron, including one he has drawn a moustache and devil horns on. It feels like a dive bar, but is clean and friendly. There is a nice mix of locals and tourists. The waitstaff is friendly and helpful.
The menu is mainly Mexican food and steaks. We had the nachos, which were piled with beans, meat, sour cream, etc. They are also famous for their real key lime pie. They also have a good selection of beers on tap, including the local Flying Dog Ales. Flying Dog even has a beer devoted and supported by Thompson called Road Dog. It is a dark Scottish ale and lives up to Thompson's personal slogan: "Good people drink good beer." The Flying Dog labels are designed and drawn by Ralph Steadmen, famous for his illustrations in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
There is the Woody Creek Store and Gallery next door, which offers a selection of Thompson's books and merchandise. There is even a T-shirt with the gonzo emblem. Since the ‘70s, Thompson has run for sheriff of Pitkin County, using this emblem for his campaign posters.
Woody Creek Tavern
0002 Woody Creek Plaza
Woody Creek, Colorado 81656
I prefer the LoDo Tattered Cover. It is in a beautiful old, brick building. The reading room is quite large and can hold up to two hundred people. The walls are covered with past authors, anyone from Kurt Vonnegut to James Carter. There have been some famous authors that have come through town. I have seen Pat Conroy, Margaret Atwood, David Sedaris, Joyce Carol Oates, Bill Bryson and many more. Dave Eggers is someone great to see read. He usually has some sort of multimedia presentation going and is absolutely hilarious in his readings.
For major authors, plan on getting an hour before they hand out tickets (usually at 6:00 or 6:30). The tickets guarantee a spot in line for the signing. At the LoDo location, people line up near the bathrooms on the second floor, right before the entrance of the reading room. The reading room at the Cherry Creek location is the basement. Plan on lining up at the bottom of the stairs.
Readings are great entertainment for free. The authors usually read and answer questions for thirty minutes. They are often insightful and funny. It is a great way to spend the evening and come in contact with literary Colorado.
To see a list of upcoming authors at either location, visit www.tatteredcover.com. Click on TC Events to see a list of authors coming for the month.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 3, 2004
Tattered Cover Book Store
1628 16th Street
Attraction | "Pawnee National Grasslands - Michner"
Through all this, one of the central environments depicted in Centennial is the Pawnee Buttes. Before irrigation, settlers discovered most of the Midwest was covered with short grass. These grasses were an important food for the buffalo. However, the homesteaders soon hunted out the buffalo, replaced them with cattle and turned the native prairie into agricultural land. These farming methods soon lead to the Dust Bowl and this where the government stepped in, buying foreclosed farms and replanting the area with native grasses. Today, the Pawnee Grasslands cover almost 200,00 acres.
The highlight of the grasslands are the twin sentinels the Pawnee Buttes. The served as landmarks for the earlier travelers heading west. There is a very nice, easy hiking trail to the buttes, which passes skeletons of extinct animals and arrowheads/spearheads of prehistoric hunters. The trail is a round-trip 3 miles. Parts of the trail are closed from March to June to protect the habitat of nesting hawks.
Springtime is an ideal time to visit the grasslands. That is when the wildflowers are in bloom and the summer hasn't come beating down. A great place to relax and imagine history and Michener's world unfolding itself.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 28, 2004
Pawnee National Grassland
2150 Centre Avenue
Fort Collins, Colorado 80526
Colorado Springs, Colorado