If you ever get a chance, go to Crested Butte, Colorado. Boosters call their town the Wildflower Capital of the World, with good reason. Our visit, on August 1, was two weeks later than the peak blooming season, but the valley was still spangled with yellow coneflowers, blue asters, red firecracker flowers and scores more. The Slate River meanders through the flat valley floor, meeting itself coming and going like a gray snake coiling for sheer pleasure through the green meadows.
My reason for visiting was to give a presentation and book signing at the town’s Old Rock Library. Book club members had read Mariano’s Crossing and wanted to meet the author. I was only too happy to oblige. “Readers in the Rockies,” they call their author series. Not only are they enthusiastic, gracious hosts, they happily promoted my book to the local “Townie” book store, which bought several copies. Icing on the cake.
Like many mountain resort towns, Crested Butte’s shops, restaurants, and art galleries draw crowds of tourists. But celebrity wealth is less on display than in Aspen or Telluride. It feels more accessible somehow. The Old Rock Library’s historic, two-story stone walls embrace a thoroughly modern, well-lighted interior, the kind of classy, comfortable place that makes you want to curl up with a good book when those summer rains fall.