Birthday Surprise

As I mentioned in a previous post (like, two weeks ago - sorry!), Chris surprised me with a little getaway for my birthday.  His destination of choice?  Estes Park!  We keep saying we want to explore the area a bit more, and never really get around to it.  So it sounded like the perfect mini getaway to me!  It is about an hour and a half away from home, so far enough to feel like we are properly "away," yet easy enough for a two day stay without spending too much time driving.  

We left home in what was a day of Spring-like weather, which quickly changed as we neared our destination.  But even more surprising on our journey, was the devastation still seen from last Fall's intense flooding that the area experienced.  Boulder has been put back together for the most part, so it has been easy to move on and "forget" that many other areas are still struggling to put their homes and towns back together.  It wasn't super easy to snap many photos while we were driving, but I managed to get a few that show a small portion of the devastation.

As we pulled into Estes Park, and circled the lake to get to our hotel, we saw a bunch of elk grazing just off the road - a common occurrence in Estes Park, we would soon discover.  Still, we did the tourist thing and pulled over to snap the obligatory photos.  

We were lucky enough to have gorgeous views from our hotel balcony, even if it was too foggy to appreciate the full view of the mountains and Rocky Mountain National Park.

Something that we have failed to do in our past fly-through visits to the area, was stroll through the quaint  little downtown.  So this was high on our list since it was too cold to spend an extended period of time outdoors.  It was a bit quiet, though we aren't sure if that is due to the flooding and loss of its usual tourism, or just the Winter crowd that the area typically expects, but we appreciated the calm quietness of the main street.  The only sounds, that of cars slowly easing past.

Something we rarely do is wind up in a bakery and allow ourselves to indulge in a sugary, decadent treat.  But that is exactly what we did.  A bit big, but very tasty cookies!

The Historic Stanley Hotel.  You know the one... where Steven King wrote the Shining?  It is also said to be haunted, offering ghost tours, which Chris is eager to sign up for.  Me?  Not so much...

Sunday morning we decided to check out a local coffee shop for breakfast, and it definitely didn't disappoint!  One super delicious veggie breakfast burrito, one croissant sandwich and two coffees later, we headed off to Rocky Mountain National Park to enjoy the Winter scenery.

On our way back down out of RMNP, we stumbled upon another group (herd?) of elk grazing on the one spot not covered in snow.  I have probably seen thousands of elk/deer in my life, but it is still cool when you are so close to them and can observe and appreciate them in their natural environment.

 Overall, we had a really great weekend.  It was therapeutic to get out of town away from the day to day of our lives and just enjoy each other's company.  It didn't hurt that we were surrounded by all of this natural beauty as well.  :)