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SUMMER VACATION : Favorite Escapes

April 12, 1987|JERRY HULSE | Times Travel Editor

I question not if thrushes sing,

If roses load the air;

Beyond my heart I need not reach

When all is summer there.

--John Vance Cheney

Poets call it life's sweetest season, summertime, when precious moments carry over into another winter of one's life.

Soon days will grow long, with the magic melody of waterfalls, the beauty of wildflowers, the song of birds and the haunting silence of a forest, the thunder of ocean waves.

This is our day for reviewing old memories and determining new vacation plans: There comes to mind Glen Haven, a little Colorado town (pop. 101) that we featured in these pages last fall, the Rocky Mountain village with the creek that flows behind Main Street and a 1900s inn with kerosene lamps and beamed ceilings and magnificent meals. Classical melodies carry up the stairwell to half a dozen simple rooms while thunderstorms explode in a narrow valley through which Devil's Gulch Road twists for seven miles outside Estes Park.

Across the street, Becky Childs turns out gourmet sandwiches in her old-fashioned general store, and a few doors away Calico Kate exchanges pleasantries with customers seeking Mason jars and antiques that only yesterday graced the homes of canyon residents. It is a special place, this little Glen Haven.

Just as Telluride is, that other retreat high in the Colorado Rockies where thunder on a stormy afternoon rolls through a box canyon like a runaway freight train. From a window at the Manitou Hotel one catches sight of the San Miguel River and a waterfall that spills from a canyon wall.

The town preaches its slogan: "Getting to Telluride is easy, leaving is the hard part."

Visitors attend movies at the Sheridan Opera House, join the high jinks at the annual Telluride Film Festival and take trips into the Rockies to explore abandoned mines and alpine meadows that flow with wildflowers. A National Historic Landmark, Telluride roars again during the Blue Grass Festival in June when inns, hotels and condominiums are booked to capacity, and those arriving on the Fourth of July join residents at an old-fashioned picnic in the park, with hot dogs and hamburgers and hand-cranked ice cream.

Others this summer will gather at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Originally a campground for the Crow, Blackfoot and Shoshone Indians, the park takes in Grizzly and Paw Bear lakes, Moose Basin and Paintbrush Canyon. Set in a valley 50 miles long and 15 miles wide, it is framed by 19 peaks, with a peacefulness that only such a setting could provide.

Nature purists settle in at Colter Bay Village, a piney encampment sprinkled with tent sites, rustic cabins and trailer spaces. A few dollars a day provides a cabin for two, complete with bunk beds, a wood-burning stove and a patio grill. The local purveyor also supplies cooking utensils, camp chairs, extra cots and sleeping bags.

Outdoor types pulling trailer homes get spaced out in a campground complete with water and electrical outlets. Designed for families on a budget, Colter Bay Village operates a coin laundry, gift shops, restaurants and a marina for launching one's boat. Twenty miles outside Yellowstone, Colter Bay Village features lake swimming, boating, fishing and riding.

A similar lineup of outdoor activities is provided at Jackson Lake Lodge, the spiffy retreat that bears the Rockefeller family seal of approval. At Jackson Lake Lodge, matrons with silver in their hair and newlyweds with stars in their eyes moon over a picture-window vista of the snowcapped Tetons. Nothing disturbs the scene--no cars or roads or houses. Only green mountains, the blue of the lake and, framing it all, the Grand Tetons. Others take up residence at Jenny Lake Lodge, where crickets call out, mountain bluebirds sing and chipmunks give chase to golden squirrels.

Some vacationers this summer will strike out for Valley Forge and Philadelphia for the 200th anniversary celebration of the Constitution. Crowds will run headlong into a latter-day George Washington as he arrives from the Old Courthouse in Chester, Pa., for the reenactment of the Constitutional Convention.

Independence Park will be the centerfold for the summer celebration. To prepare for the crowds, Park Service employees have spruced up Independence Hall and Carpenter's Hall, where the First Continental Congress convened on Sept. 5, 1774.

The word is out: Man the muskets, lads, the tourists are coming.

As the celebration gets under way, news of special events will be spread by a town crier all gussied up in Colonial threads.

Meanwhile, elms will spread their shade over hallowed grounds at Valley Forge, where during the Revolutionary War 11,000 weary soldiers made their way to this place of solemn beauty. The skies turned gray and winter went on its rampage. Snows fell, ice formed and death made itself known.

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