Monday, January 11, 2010

Our anniversary weekend at the Stanley Hotel

Last weekend was our third anniversary, and we celebrated by going away for the weekend. Every year so far, we have stayed at the luxurious Brown Palace Hotel in downtown Denver, and I could never get bored staying there! It will always be my favourite hotel. But this year we decided to do something different and so Rich made us weekend reservations at the Stanley Hotel up in Estes Park.

The hotel is rich in history and we really enjoyed the (ghost) tour we took before checking in. Mr. Stanley was a famous Easterner who came to Colorado for his health and ended up being responsible for really developing the town and area around it in order to build and support his hotel. The hotel was elegant and used the Stanley Steamer cars to pick up their guests in Longmont or Lyons, as the train didn't go to Estes Park.

The Stanleys are best known for their Stanley Steamers, steam cars, but Mr. Stanley and his brother made their fortune back east. Here is a blurb I found on "Infoplease" that briefly explains their story:

"Francis and his twin brother Freelan formed the Stanley Dry Plate Company in 1883 to manufacture dry plates for the photographic process invented by Francis. They sold the company to Eastman Kodak in 1905, as their interest had turned to steam-powered automobiles. They had invented the “Stanley Steamer” in 1896, the first steam motorcar in New England, and formed the Stanley Motor Company to manufacture them. Francis served as president of the firm. The pair actively competed in auto races, pitting their steam power against gasoline-fueled engines and often winning. Using one of their steam cars, they set a world record in 1906 for fastest mile, 28.2 seconds (or 127 mph [205 kph]). The brothers sold the business in 1918, having manufactured more than 10,000 “Steamers.” Francis died from injuries sustained in an automobile accident that same year.

Freelan, or F.O. was the Stanley brother that built the hotel.

Now there is more to the hotel- and what it is known best for now- ghosts. The hotel is said to be haunted by both Mr. & Mrs. Stanley, the swindler of a man they bought the property from, Lord Dunravin, and a maid who hangs around room 217. Stephen King stayed at the Stanley back in the early 70's and reportedly had so many spectral experiences, it inspired him to write "The Shining". The original movie was not shot there, but the miniseries that was filmed in the 90's was filmed at the hotel.

Part of the movie "Dumb and Dumber" was filmed here too. Jim Carey had room 217 for a night- but apparently came down in the middle of the night, asking the desk to make him reservations at the Holiday Inn- and then he waited outside for the car to get him... he has never publicly said what happened to him in that room... hmmmm....

I am no ghost hunter and am pretty sceptical about the whole supernatural thing, but I did keep hearing a music box playing and I could never tell where it was coming from. Our room was over the music room and we heard lots of piano and cello-playing as there was a wedding both Saturday and Sunday- but the music box sound was sometimes over top of that and I could only hear it in our room, no where else... (play Twilight Zone music... lol)

Anyway, here are a few photos. It's a lovely location and we had a really nice, relaxing weekend. Just the perfect thing to start off the new year!

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