We didn't take the highway that leads from Denver to Colorado Springs, instead we left Golden and drove mountain roads the whole way down. It was great. We had no timeline, so it didn't matter that this was not the most direct route (but actually, now that I think about it, the drive time was probably about the same, as we didn't encounter the traffic the highway brings). Along the way we went through several little towns, one of which reminded me of Big Bear in California, so I instantly called my brother, as we went skiing in Big Bear when he was living in LA and I went to visit him for my spring break. It was super nostalgic.
After two hours of scenic driving through the moutains, we arrived in
Manitou Springs. What a quirky town. I can only describe it as
1 part mountain town, 1 part eclectic artist paradise,
1 part Atlantic coast boardwalk town (see photo above)
and 2 parts hippie haven! Definitely a town where deoderant often
goes to die.
Really cool sculptures throughout the little bustling historic town
at the base of Pikes Peak.
My husband tried to school me a bit and shared
that Mr. Pike (clearly I was only half listening as
I have forgotten his name a week later) was the
explorer who named the Beaver Islands in
St. Cloud, Minnesota (our hometown).
How cool is that!
I am always excited to find old Episcopal
churches in cool little towns!
This vintage Coke machine, built in!
Fountains are scattered throughout the little town, kicking up the
spring water that is rushing below. Historically people would flock to
these natural flowing springs for the springs healing powers.
We cut across the springs to walk through a park and was excited to
notice the little treasure stone mosaic goat, which of course
reminded me of the story of Billy Goats Gruff.
Someday I will own this very impractical light. Those Edison bulbs
sure don't produce a great light source, but this ridiculously cute lamp
(notice the water faucet handle for turning it on?) was made local and
needs to be seen local, on my front table. I took the picture so Zac would
be able to buy it for me. I am so good to him, I don't mess around
with hints, just call me a straight shooter. Haaaa.
Darn it, was too full from dinner for ice cream, but
looooved the signage!
I can't wait for the snow to clear, so we can go back
with the kids to ride the rail up Pikes Peak. Benny will
be in heaven!
How cool are structures, supported over the springs below.
We explored Manitou Springs late into the evening and then
headed to downtown Colorado Springs for our hotel. Of
course I took a totally rando pic of the wall of our room
because I get a case of the shakes over old exposed brick.
The hotel was called the Mining Exchange and was gorgeous.
It was a 10 minute drive from Manitou Springs, and then gave us a
chance to check out downtown Colorado Springs at night.
Two doors down from the hotel was a great little ice cream
shop called Josh & John's with a line out the door. Overpriced
but delicious. Thankfully at this late hour we had room in
our bellies to try some of the tasty flavors.
After a good sleep in sesh, we checked out of the hotel and
was excited to see a Dutch Bros. Coffee 2 blocks from our hotel.
We had this shop in our town in Oregon and I am so excited
they are clearly moving east!
I have missed this goodness in my life.
On our way out of town we explored Garden of the God's.
When I was snapping this pic there were tourists from all over the
country surrounding me and I felt like I was in a scene from the 80s
classic film, National Lampoons Vacation. Clearly didn't remember
that it is high time for tourists!
We left Garden of the Gods and back tracked through
the mountains to home. We stopped for lunch in Pine, CO
and had the most legit burgers EVER at Zoka! We sat
on the big wrap around porch and enjoyed the lovely
mountain breeze and ate burgers. The pic above is Kobe beef
burger on ciabatta topped with carmelized onions, sweet
bacon and melty brie. It was outrageous. Z ordered
a burger topped with a bacon and rhubarb jam that
was equally out of this world. Who really thinks to go
crazy over burgers, but these were seriously the two
best I have ever tried.
I told Z we shouldbuy a cabin in Pine for
a) mountain biking and b) burgers
Pine was hosting the town's Rhubarb Festival, so after burgers
we popped over to see and THIS WAS THE ONLY RHUBARB
WE SAW...on the sign! What the heck? Rhubarb is our jam
(and now bacon rhubarb jam is for reals our jam) and they had nothing
rhubarb. Crazy. It was fun to see a weird little cover band, and
search for rhubarb...but I won't put the festival on my list for next year
Well, it was a great 24 hours, and I guess we parents (who don't have
family around that sporadically take kids for the weekend) need
to remember that a 24 hour babysitter is worth every single penny!
Now, get to Manitou Springs.