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Coney Island Colorado

On my recent road trip to take photographs of Great Sand Dunes National Park, I was so excited to get there that nothing was going to stop me on the drive, save for bathroom breaks. That is, until I drove past Coney Island Colorado!

Coney Island Colorado - Historic Roadside Hot Dog Stand in Bailey












I say “drove past” Coney Island Colorado because, at first, my resolve to go directly to Great Sand Dunes without any stops but bathroom breaks was extremely strong, so I didn’t stop. But each tenth of a mile I drove beyond this adorable roadside attraction, the more that the following two thoughts melted my resolve…



I hung a U-Turn and went back, but then my determination to make it to the Dunes started to recover. I changed my mind, turning around and heading southwest again without actually stopping. But I didn’t get far because I knew I’d kick myself later. I couldn’t stop thinking that if I didn’t go back, I was going to miss a fantastic nostalgic and historic photograph, not to mention some super yummy eats! I hung yet another U-Turn and, this time, I really did stop.

I was not sorry I did! Although I had plenty of food in the car to eat, I had not had a true Coney Island Style Chili Cheese Dog in at least 20 years, dating back to long before I became an “East Coast Refugee” happily relocated to Colorado in 2000. The chili dogs could have been overcooked or even cold and I’d have been happy!

But the fact is, all the food at Coney Island Colorado is made to order so mine was hot and perfectly prepared. They even happily served my hot dogs on my own tortillas because I’m allergic to breads (and hot dog buns) made with yeast. Let me tell you, eating chili cheese dogs on tortillas is a messy affair, so this was not a “To Go” order, despite how eager I was to get to Great Sand Dunes. No, I ate my Coney Island Style Chili Cheese Dogs slowly, sloppily, and very happily at one of the creek side picnic tables on the site. A genuine bonus was listening to the rapids of a mountain stream pouring over the rocks while eating – you won’t get that at the East Coast Coney Island!

After I’d eaten every last morsel (save for sharing a couple of bites with Kiah, my Photo Assistant Doggie), then I photographed this historic roadside architectural attraction.

According to Wikipedia, this unique 1950’s style diner and hot dog stand was built in 1966. It was originally located on Colfax Street in Denver, at that time named The Boardwalk at Coney Island. In 1970, it was sold and moved into the mountains, to the town of Aspen Park along Highway 285. Over the years, the name evolved to Coney Island Boardwalk and eventually, in 2006, it was moved 17 miles down Highway 285 to its present location in Bailey, Colorado. Today it is commonly known as Coney Island Colorado.

I happened to pass by it because I was taking 285 as the scenic route from the Denver area to Great Sand Dunes National Park, instead of going down I-25. Scenic route indeed, but the last thing I was expecting or imagining when I planned on taking scenic roadside photographs along the drive was a shot like this!

Funny, despite how thrilled I am with the later photographs I captured at Great Sand Dunes National Park and other scenic shots like waterfalls, this photo of Coney Island Colorado is nearly the first photograph I’m processing from that trip. In fact, I have only one other shot from the trip post processed thus far, a photo of Star Dune and the Sangre de Cristos which I posted last week.

As the saying goes, “S#*% happens!” and lots happened in the ten days since then (life, or something like it…) so I’m just getting back to processing photos again today. And yes, I really am aching to edit my images of the Great Sand Dunes, which were far more spectacular than I even imagined when I planned this trip. But it’s funny, the shot I almost missed because I was determined not to stop on my way to the Dunes is the one photo that called my name the most to be edited today. Here it is, for your enjoyment. Man, does it make me want another Coney Island Style Chili Cheese Dog!

Those of you who only care about Coney Island Hot Dogs or historic architecture and couldn’t give a hoot about how photos are made will be happy that I’m stopping here (for today, that is).

For all you photographers, stay tuned for my next post, with tech notes about some “firsts” for me achieved with this photograph. In particular, I will write more about how I created this photograph as my first ever success with fully using the capabilities of a complete workflow within Adobe Lightroom. So stay tuned…more to come.

While you’re waiting, check out other popular posts in the sidebar!

As Seen by Janine: Eyes of the World Images

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3 Responses

  1. Pingback: Alternative HDR Technique: Guest Blogger Tutorial by James Woody | As Seen by Janine's Photo Blog

  2. Do they serve Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs? Great shot, love that building. I’m off to the original Coney Island on Saturday for the Mermaid Parade. More photographers in one place than you can imagine but a lot of fun and the real beginning of SUMMER! The lines will be too long at Nathan’s to even think about getting a hotdog. Can take more than an hour on this day or a holiday.

    June 21, 2012 at 6:49 am

  3. Not sure what brand they were Chris, just that after 20 years, it sure tasted great to me. This place has lines too, I waited almost 20 minutes. Not quite the same as Nathan’s on a special event day, but certainly was wonderful fun in the middle of Colorado’s mountains! OMG, I can already imagine some of your photos we’ll see of the Mermaid Parade at Coney Island. Have fun!!!

    June 21, 2012 at 11:31 am

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"As Seen by Janine: Eyes of the World Images Photo Blog"  by Janine Fugere. 

Come take a look at the world "As Seen by Janine." 

My cameras and lenses are my "Eyes of the World."  Please enjoy the view! 

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