Over Labor Day weekend, in between our two wonderful days of visiting Rocky Mountain National Park for the very first time, we spent one night in Estes Park to save a long drive back to the Denver area or elsewhere on Sunday night. I also have a little history with Estes Park that also made me want to stay here once again for the first time in over forty years.
In the 1960s, my family made a long driving trip together when I was in elementary school, and we drove all the way from the Texas Panhandle to Great Falls, Montana and back over a two-week period in late June of that particular summer. Even though I am still not certain of the exact year, we always remembered the timing in the summer because we got caught in a snowstorm in the Grand Tetons on my sister’s birthday late that month. The purpose of our trip was to see my brother in Great Falls before he left for his two-year deployment with the Air Force to Thailand during the Vietnam war. Even though I was quite young, I remember quite a bit about that wonderful trip, including how glad I was to see my brother again and how worried I was for him when we left him there. I hope to find the slides that my father took of this trip soon and maybe even update this post with a few of them when they are located and digitized.
One very distinct memory I have from the 1960s trip is seeing the Rocky Mountains for the very first time. My father drove us to Estes Park to spend the night on our drive up to Montana, and we arrived after dark, as I recall. So, when I woke up and saw the huge mountains all around us the next morning as we walked out of our motel room, I was so impressed and excited, and I remember thinking that this was the most beautiful place on earth.
That same feeling came over me once again as we walked out of our motel room to go eat breakfast on Labor Day morning, which was very neat for me. I don’t think that feeling was too far off the mark even to this day, after seeing the Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park areas once again on our most recent trip.
When Hubby and I decided to make our Labor Day weekend trip, I searched online for a low-rise motel that was similar to the one we stayed in back in the 60s, just to try to recreate that experience I had as a child once again. “Mom and Pop” motels still comprise much of the lodging in Estes Park, so it was just a matter of comparing them online and picking one.
We selected Murphy’s Resort for our overnight lodging for the night. It was a great decision, and I am still wondering if this might have been the actual motel my family stayed in on our trip. So much about this resort felt familiar to me, including the large park area in the middle of the complex, the lake within walking distance and the mountains nearby, of course. The next morning, I spent a bit of time after breakfast just walking around the motel area with my camera, taking photos and stretching my memory to see if this might have been the place we stayed. The more I walked around, the more familiar it seemed to me, especially the park area. I will never know for sure if this was the place, but I loved how the familiarity of it and of the area really stirred that childhood experience once again in a big way. I am so glad that this property is well-managed and will no doubt foster a great experience to even more people and families that visit this area in the future.
There was one part of our stay here that definitely didn’t feel familiar, however.
Recently, the owners have remodeled the guest rooms, and we found ourselves in a room completely decked out with framed photos of Elvis.
We both just laughed when opened the door and saw all the photos of Elvis in our room. We wanted a throwback lodging experience in Estes Park, and we definitely found it. It just seemed to fit what I wanted out of our Estes Park lodging experience, since Elvis was huge in the 1960s when I was last in Estes Park. Lodging with Elvis was an unexpected and whimsical aspect of our stay that we never anticipated and one that gave us a great memory for this trip.
Our brief stay in Estes Park was wonderful, and we especially enjoyed strolling through the beautiful shopping area development along the river after dinner on Sunday evening.
My favorite store in Estes Park was called For Bare Feet that primarily sold cute socks, and both long walls in the store had socks hanging all over them from top to bottom. I bought three pairs because cute socks are so fun to wear, especially when camping, and I actually needed a few new pairs anyway. I bought a pair of poodle socks, a pair of moose socks and a pair of pink flamingo socks, and I will enjoy wearing all of them. We also made a quick stop at the nice Safeway nearby to buy a little more food for our picnic in the national park the next day, and we began looking for a place to get air in our rental car tires, with no success until the next morning.
We thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay at Murphy’s Resort would recommend it to anyone, not just because of my own memories from my childhood, but more as a great family friendly lodging option in the area today. In fact, I loved the entire family friendly feel of the whole Estes Park community, and I hope they never lose it. Murphy’s Resort just fit the bill for us, and we will definitely consider staying there again when we return to this area. The throwback to the 60s was pretty priceless for me and somehow made my entire trip experience feel a little more complete.
I should also mention that the resort mascot at Murphy’s Resort is a beautiful black standard poodle, so that pretty much cinched our love for this place, especially since it is also a pet-friendly hotel. I’m thinking my two standard poodles would love a visit to Murphy’s Resort sometime, too.