Winter With The Silver Queen

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As one history put it, Georgetown “virtually slept” through the first half of this century. In the 1930s the population dipped to three hundred. It wasn’t until the 1950s, when Denver’s growth spilled out into the neighboring valleys and ski resorts began appearing to the west, that Georgetown began a resurrection. Situated as it is halfway between the city and the ski areas, Georgetown became known as a refreshing side trip for skiers in the winter. My parents remember taking my older siblings to lunch at Georgetown’s Red Ram restaurant on the way to Breckenridge in the early 1960s. And on my visit I met several ski-suited browsers who had happily detoured.

After decades of neglect and disrepair, the Loop itself was restored in 1984. It now runs regularly from May to September, luring hundreds of summer visitors for a ride that Kirby describes as “fun, fun, fun!” It’s a potent symbol of the town’s revival.

Georgetown’s population is now steady at nine hundred and consists mostly of retirees, Denver commuters, and summer-home owners. “Georgetown has fiercely resisted the forces of resortism,” said Neely as we walked down the hushed, pretty streets. That was clearly a battle worth winning. I found a 1968 Georgetown Centennial pamphlet in one of the antiques shops, and it sums the situation up well. Georgetown, it said, is “a beautiful, historic village that for one hundred years has welcomed guests with a single-minded belief that they will be sufficiently charmed to return again.” It worked for me.

—Catherine Calhoun TO PLAN A TRIP