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considered a particularly skilled mountain guide, he did have many friends who were. In one of the accounts, West-

cott entrusted his entire catch of trout to one of these friends who was supposed to go to nearby Georgetown and sell the fish in ex- change for a winter’s food supply. After a few weeks’ winter set

in, so did the realization that he had been hornswoggled by the young lad who apparently wasn’t coming back. With no food and the lake frozen solid, Westcott tried to make do with whatever he could find, including eating pieces of old deer hide. At last, before all hope was lost, some hunters happened upon him, saving his life. After- wards, Westcott found that the person in whom he put his trust had sold not only his trout but his burros as well and kept all the money for himself.

WESTERN HOSPITALITY With more than 60 shops,

galleries and restaurants, visitors can stroll the historic boardwalk on Grand Avenue. Many of the buildings date back to the town’s founding in 1881. Here, the spirit of the old West lives on with hitching posts still a part of the modern landscape.

And as for food, you won’t

have to look (or walk) far as everything is located within just a few short blocks. For breakfast, the Fat Cat Café has hearty, af- fordable lumberjack-style meals. They also feature wonderful scones, which were some of the best I’ve had this side of the U.K. If you like barbecue, the Sage-

brush BBQ and Grill just down the block has a wide selection of mouth-watering taste tempta- tions. The walls are adorned with western memorabilia as well as the original city jail doors that date from the 19th century. For relaxing with views of the lake along with some great Tex-Mex, I found Poncho and Lefty’s the place to go. I tried their chicken fajitas, which was enough for two, and their combination of lightly seasoned chicken together with their sautéed peppers was awesome. They also serve all manner of cocktails and are quite generous with the size of their beverages. For an upscale dinner, The Historic Rapids Lodge and Restaurant gets its name from its proximity to the Tonahutu River and the cascading rapids right outside the window. The sight and soothing sound of the flowing waters go quite well with the cuisine, which features items like seasonal beef tenderloin, ruby red trout and elk medal- lions. Each entrée comes with a jumbo-sized shrimp cocktail and a salad—delicious! Finally, if you like micro-

brews, try the Grand Lake Brewery and Tap House. They currently have two locations for their brewery and I visited their newest one located at the edge of town off Highway 34. They have come up with some unusual names (and stories) for their brews including Wooley Booger Nut Brown Ale, Plaid Bastard and my favorite, Hoppy’s One Ton Pale Ale. The latter is named after a real one ton head bull involved in recycling their grain. Just sidle up to the bar and ask to hear the stories while you grab a brew. You won’t be disappointed.

(Photo courtesy of Ron Stern) GRAND LAKE YACHT CLUB

So how did a small mountain town like Grand Lake get its own yacht club? Back in the late 1800s, wealthy folk (That’s what you called them back then— folk.) from Denver came up to the area to build vacation homes. In 1902, two friends, let’s call them sailing buddies, had a racing competi- tion, not with yachts but with rowboats rigged with small sails. Yup, you heard right. Flash forward to 1912.

Remember Lipton Tea? Some friends of Lipton were traveling the world bestowing the now famous Lipton Cup to the world’s most prestigious yacht clubs, in- cluding San Diego and New York as well as Sydney, Australia and Cape Town, South Africa. Since Grand Lake is land- locked, how did this happen? Here’s where the story gets interesting. One cold day in 1912, the members threw a party for the visiting Sir Thomas Lipton at a club in Denver and many homeowners from Grand Lake came dressed in sailing attire. Ap- parently, Lipton was so impressed that he decided to eventually bestow the priceless cup to the hospitable folks at The Grand Lake Yacht Club, all without ever having set foot in the place.


food and frolic, what is there to do in Grand Lake in the evening? Well, step out in grand style, of course, to the theater.

The Rocky Mountain Reper-

tory Theater was started in 1967 as the Troupe of American Col- lege Players and was intended as a place where young artists could learn their craft and perform. It then fell on hard times and was closed for a few years, but in 1995, it was bought by a couple who revived the theater experi- ence and made it a permanent part of the community. It has been growing every year since. It has done so well, in fact, that a new complex was built in 2011 and they run about 70 performances each season and are typically 90% sold out. During my visit, they were

performing Beauty and the Beast, New Patient Special! $99

Exam, X-Rays

& Cleaning First time clients only. Expires: 10/31/11

Christopher J. Walinski, DDS • Village Hillcrest 501 Washington Street, Ste 704, San Diego, CA 92103

Ph: 619.497.6453

typical of the high caliber produc- tions that this town has to offer.

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES If you forgot to bring your yo-

yo to pass the time, you can hike along 350 miles of scenic moun- tain trails in nearby Rocky Moun- tain National Park. If you have a keen eye for flora and fauna, there are 80 species of wildflowers and many more species of birds as well as all manner of wildlife. Golfing is also accessible at af-

fordable prices with many specials available at different times of the season at the Grand Lake Golf Course, which has been dubbed The Jewel of the Rockies. Not surprisingly, fishing is one of the top attractions of the area and Grand County has more fish- able waters than any other county in Colorado. With miles of streams and lakeshore, you can cast from the shore, troll off a boat or fly fish for rainbow, brown or lake trout as well as kokanee salmon.

San Diego Uptown News | Sept. 30–Oct.13, 2011


THE KAUFFMAN HOUSE MUSEUM Ezra Kaufman was somewhat

of a notable figure in Grand Lake history. As a trapper, barber, hunter, guide, and cobbler, he was a true jack of all trades. Kauffman built his house, a

home as well as a hotel for guests, with his first wife in 1892. Like true pioneer men, Ezra had his idiosyn- crasies including tying his rocking chair into his small rowboat. Guess he liked the view better from the lake instead of his front porch. After 14 years, however, his first wife had enough and Ezra took the kids and left.

His second wife, Bell, was now on deck. Hopefully, she fared better. Today, you can tour the Kauff-

man House, which is operated by the Grand Lake Area Historical Society. It is an excellent ex- ample of an early residence and hotel and is the only remaining example of a log hotel built in the city before 1900. There are a variety of accom- modations in Grand Lake and I stayed at a rental condo via Grand Lake Rentals. Condos can be an affordable alternative to hotels and my room was comfortable and spacious and had a view overlooking Grand Lake. With a beautiful lake, moun-

tain scenery, shopping, great food, and loads of activities, this is one little town that knows how to entertain. If you are planning a trip to Colorado, take the high road over Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park and spend some time on the other end in the grandest town of them all, Grand Lake. Disclaimer: All meals and accommodations were sponsored by the providers mentioned in this article.u

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