With a couple of budding jazz musicians in the family, we made a point to zip up to Estes Park on Saturday and spend a little time at the 23rd Jazz Fest and Art Walk. Estes Park is a mountain community about an hour's drive from my house. The town is named for Joel Estes, who settled there with his wife and 13 children after striking it rich in the California Gold Rush.
The altitude makes the growing season too short for farming, but the area has supported many cattle ranches, past and present. in 1903, F.O. Stanley, co-inventor of the Stanley Steamer, came to Estes Park seeking a cure for tuberculosis. He built the luxury Stanley Hotel at a cost of more than half a million dollars. It opened in 1909 and still stands in white magnificence on the hill. It is reportedly haunted, like any historic hotel worth its salt, and was the inspiration for the Overlook Hotel in Stephen King's book The Shining.
Estes Park is surrounded on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park, and it is a gorgeous setting in every season. Though the Jazz Fest is growing every year, the admission is still free, including parking where available. We enjoyed an excellent jazz guitar summit and then some Brazilian jazz, with the sounds of hummingbirds buzzing by, before the threat of rain sent us back down the canyon to home.