Summer isn’t over in Grand Lake, Colorado

We took a random, midweek trip to Grand Lake last week. With Colorado kids heading back to school, the town’s usual busy summer season has lightened up a bit and it’s the perfect time to visit. It is still warm enough to take a dip in the lake and the ice cream lines aren’t very long.

Grand Lake, Colorado in August. HeidiTown (31)
Ice cream eaten on vacation just tastes better.

We only stayed for one night, but got an opportunity to stay downtown at the Western Riviera’s Lakeside Hotel. But it gets even better. We got to stay in Room #6, the Hotel Impossible Room. We were actually staying in the Western Riv’s Tree House rental when Hotel Impossible was filming the Grand Lake episode during Winter Carnival in 2013. I filmed some hilarious video footage of their film crew huffing and puffing in the thin air during the carnival bed races.

I was excited to stay in this renovated room and it didn’t disappoint. The entire hotel is great because of its location – downtown and on the lake. Since Hotel Impossible’s visit, the owners of the Western Riviera’s Lakeside Hotel have replaced flooring in all 16 rooms, replaced all beds and mattresses and painted an accent wall in each room. They will soon add new bedside lighting and are currently surveying guests about what other changes they’d like to see at the hotel.

Grand Lake, Colorado in August. HeidiTown (22)

Grand Lake, Colorado in August. HeidiTown (6)
The view from our room at the Western Riviera Lakeside Hotel.

My husband was actually doing some work in town, so on Tuesday, when we arrived, I bummed around for a bit. I decided to try out a new place for lunch, Cy’s Deli, popular with locals, although during my visit I was surrounded by out-of-towners all raving about the wonderful experiences they were having in Colorado (always nice to hear).

I crossed the street and visited the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre and got an impromptu tour of their space. It’s amazing and I’m hoping to make it back up to catch a show before their fall season is over. Their current production of “Les Mis” is receiving high praise. A relative, who lives in Winter Park, proclaimed it to be, “better than the production she saw in London.”

When I realized that I’d lost my small purse-sized sunscreen I decided that this was a perfect excuse to buy a hat at Never Summer (I love this store). In case you missed my #TravelTuesday post this week, I love hats. After trying on 9 different touristy ball caps that all read “Grand Lake,” I decided on this one. After all, I am a tourist in Grand Lake!

new hat Grand Lake Colorado.
New hat. Gotta have it!

I took a walk along the lake and ended up at the Grand Lake Marina where I learned that you can rent a paddleboard for just $28/hour. I watched a newbie go out and she looked like a pro. The next day, when I ran into her at The Fat Cat, she declared that it had been a blast and that I should “totally do it.” I’ve put this activity high on my bucket list.

Grand Lake, Colorado in August. HeidiTown (17)
This is not the newbie, but a paddle boarder I had photographed earlier in the day.
Grand Lake, Colorado in August. HeidiTown (33)
Sitting on the dock with good friends. I love this photo because it reminds me of happy teenage lake memories.

Eventually I met up with my husband, Ryan, at The Rapids Restaurant. It’s a bit pricey for dinner, so we just settled for cocktails next to the river, which was a heavenly idea. We sat in the gazebo while the sky opened up for the first time that day and poured down a brief and refreshing early evening rain.

Cocktails at the Rapids Restaurant in Grand Lake, Colorado.
Specialty cocktails at The Rapids Restaurant in Grand Lake, Colorado.

We ended up at Sagebrush BBQ & Grill for dinner and the place was packed. They have good, affordable barbecue, plus, I think people really love throwing their peanuts on the floor (that’s allowed here).

Afterwards we were going to go walk down by the lake, but got distracted by the arcade at Grumpy’s.

Our morning involved breakfast at The Fat Cat and then we borrowed a friend’s canoe. We spent the morning on Shadow Mountain Lake admiring dozens of Osprey and the huge, white pelicans that we paddled by. A still and quiet, Wednesday morning, we had the entire lake to ourselves.

Canoeing Shadow Mountain Lake in Grand Lake, Colorado.

A very good one-night, late summer getaway indeed.

A special thank you to the Western Riviera for hosting us in the Hotel Impossible Room.


  1. My favorite place too, and I have been to 48 different states.. Love the towns people and Bruce the Moose.


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