LIVING IN GRAND LAKE by Donna Ready, 2014

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Grand Lake is a year round resort community at the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, only a two-hour drive from the Denver metropolitan area. Our area offers three huge mountain lakes plus thousands of acres of National Forest land and National Park land. Close to 90% of our part of the county is publicly owned, for all of us to enjoy!

Our community sponsors special events on weekends year round, to entertain families from out of the area. You will see me at almost all of them! You can come into town and get involved in the many fun activities if you feel like it, or just stay at your cabin and enjoy the peace and quiet. In the summer there are parades, outdoor musical events, fishing and boating with only a handful of other watercraft out on the lake, professional live theater, arts and crafts festivals, the Buffalo Barbeque, golfing on several mountain courses, hiking and mountain biking...and the 4th of July fireworks over Grand Lake reflected on the surface of Colorado's largest natural lake! Wakeboarding and jet skiing are permitted on our lakes, although not in many other mountain locations.

Autumn brings gorgeous aspen viewing (as the leaves turn from bright green to yellow, gold & red), elk bugling and an annual Fall Festival with food, drink and music in the Town Square. You will see wildlife year around in Grand Lake. Imagine seeing deer and elk, osprey and eagles, marmots...even moose - right in town. During Old Fashioned Christmas, the village is transformed into a winter wonderland, with a White Christmas guaranteed. The celebration starts around Thanksgiving, with a crafts fair, where you can shop for some one-of-a- kind holiday gifts. The month of December is full of fun, including special music performances, a local melodrama, and fire truck rides with Santa. On December 31, fireworks over the frozen lake welcome the New Year. During the winter, you can also enjoy snowmobiling on 100 miles of groomed trails, sledding, cross-country skiing, ice fishing, or simply sitting in front of a warm fire while you gaze at the snow-covered mountains and trees. Challenging downhill skiing is just over a half hour away, with beginner and intermediate slopes about 22 minutes from here.

The best part to me about living in Grand Lake is the small town atmosphere. If you count all of the area off Highway 34, from Rocky Mountain National Park down to the south end of Lake Granby (a nine mile radius of town), I estimate that about 1700 people actually live here year round. Some retired couples spend the winters in warmer climates and return here for the summer season. People come to Grand Lake to escape big city traffic, smog and overpopulation. Others come simply to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and lakes. Most of the homes which you see as you drive around are vacation homes, so although you may see other homes from your property, you will have neighbors only on occasional weekends.

Being a small town, you will see the same person behind the counter each time you go to the grocery store, and the people at the post office will soon know you by name. "Locals" wave as they drive by, and those who visit are all on vacation, and so they are in a good mood! This is a very pleasant atmosphere in which to live and work. We do not have street delivery for mail, so you will need to get a post office box in town. Or, if you live out of town and don't wish to come in to town every day, you can place a mailbox along the highway, and your mail will be delivered.

Children thrive in this safe environment.  As they get to be old enough, kids can meet friends in the park and spend time down by the beach and at the snack bar. Since there is little news in our small weekly paper, they occasionally get their photos in the paper for sports, theater or school events. Our schools (through 12th grade, all in Granby) have a four-day school week! Everyone gets Friday off, and it is a free ski day for Grand County students. They can go to Winter Park or Granby Ranch for downhill skiing or out onto the Grand Lake Golf Course, which is groomed during the winter for cross-country skiing. 

Shopping is often a surprise to families moving to Grand County. We have no shopping malls in Grand Lake or Granby. Here, you certainly do not waste time driving miles to save a dollar by buying at a store across the metropolitan area. Our prices may be a bit higher than in the city, but you don't have the temptation to buy unnecessary items. Wonderful items for decorating your mountain home and great specialty gifts can be found here locally in our many gift shops. If you feel the need for a standard shopping spree, factory outlet stores and fast food restaurants can be found in Silverthorne (about an hour and a half away), or take the gorgeous drive over Berthoud Pass into Denver! Internet and catalog shopping are fun, with UPS bringing packages all year round!

After living here for 30 years now, I have to say that my favorite parts of life in Grand Lake are the friendly, small town atmosphere, and the good feelings that come from knowing that my children have received
the best start in life, living in this safe and beautiful community.

By Donna Ready 2014 (original version was composed in 1995).

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