Hello, my dear friend,
I dare call you all friends, first of all, because I like to think that I’m sharing everything I am on here with well-wishing friendly people, and second, because I’m about to share a bit more about me that usually my friends know.
Now, anyone, who knows me even a little bit, knows that I love books. I love books more than I like dessert, I am always carrying a book with me (my mum once scolded me for taking a thick fantasy novel with me when going out to a bachelorette party, hahaha. Well, it’s a long bus ride downtown, Mum! :)), and I always think “The book was better” on my way out of the cinema, even if I don’t say it.
What not everyone knows, though, is that I am a big Stephen King fan. But, like, old school Stephen King. I mean, I still reach for any of his new books – I just finished Mr Mercedes last week, and I relished the writing, but the story didn’t particularly move me – but it’s Carrie and The Long Walk and Misery that get me going. And, of course, The Shining.
If you know anything about probably the most popular of Mr. King’s books, and you keep in mind that I’m (mentally) in Colorado as I write, you know where I’m going this.
For those of you who don’t – Google The Stanley Hotel 🙂
Yep, as a good fangirl, who knew we were going to be just an hour away from Estes Park, I had to include a visit to the place that was the set and inspiration to this amazing story. Not only that, but I dragged my boyfriend and our host along, regardless of how they felt about Stephen King or ghosts or both. At least I dragged them to a daytime tour, right? 🙂
Turns out, The Stanley Hotel has a varied history from before the book was conceived. It was built by one of the twin Stanley brothers, who had photographic dry plate business that they sold to Kodak, and then founded a car company, producing the so-called Stanley Steamers – or steam-powered personal vehicles.
Very industrious brothers, indeed. Freelan Stanley, the brother who built the hotel, did a lot develop the region and he had a huge role in the establishment of the Rocky Mountain National Park, for which many people are grateful. Or at least should be.
Regardless of all the major improvements the hotel brought to the region, it’s fame and splendour faded, which is when the stories about it being haunted had started.
Despite the beautiful location, the future of the hotel was bleak. That’s when young Stephen and Tabitha King came along. One sleepless night in the hotel’s room 217 and Stephen King claimed forever his place on the throne of Horror, and The Stanley was brought back to life soon after.
Almost 30 years later, King is still at the top, which is why I am still a huge fan. His stories might not be as scary – or maybe I’m not that impressionable anymore – but his writing is still as good, which is what matters for me as a reader and as a writer.
The Stanley is also doing pretty well. They have an array of ghosts to tell you about, including a friendly cowboy, who might watch (over) you while you sleep, and a very helpful lady who’d allegedly fold your clothes for you – very convenient if you hate packing. But you have to be nice to her, I think. Well, it’s always a safer bet to be nice to your resident ghosts, isn’t it? It’s a pretty building as well:
Of course, the hotel would be doing well, you’d think, with gullible tourists like me paying to be told a tall story about the dead proprietress still playing her Steinway at night. But you have to know – it’s not about the ghosts. If I were writing a paranormal/haunted/ghost story, it would be, of course, but as a non-genre specific writer for the moment, it was all about the inspiration. And trust me, there is tons of inspiration in the Rockies, you just need to have the time and let it find you. Just check out the view out front:
Yes, it’s a lovely place to stay, I think. With or without the ghosts. They also host movie festivals – horror movies, of course – and other such events, so they work hard to maintain their haunted reputation. The hotel has also been the set for a few famous films, such as Dumb and Dumber.
Not The Shining, though; that hotel is in Oregon. According to our guide, Stanley Kubrick saw the gaudy red carpet that used to cover the entrance area and declared he would not be filming a horror film in a 70s wedding cake, or something to that effect (because, of course, wedding cakes are usually not red). On the other hand, I’ve read that Kubrick didn’t even go for location shoots, but that’s of no importance here.
Oh, and how can you not find any inspiration in a beautiful natural park that has peaks and lakes and haunted hotels, and it also has this church! I mean, come on:
Well, if you’ve read all the way through, you know why I’ve titled this post as I have, but also know that there’s more of Colorado to come, and it will surprise you 🙂