I usually try with all my might to avoid going south of University on I-25 (especially during a presidential election year). This is probably why I had no idea that Colorado Springs had much of anything to offer a girl like me.
I was lured to the area by the wedding (in Manitou Springs) of our friends Garett and Therese. Unfortunately we were only in Manitou Springs long enough to eat half a sandwich and watch the afternoon ceremony but I think it may be a very wonderful place. The impression we both had was that it appeared to be a less commercialized Estes Park. I think it will go on the to do list.
We wanted to make a little mini vacation out of the wedding weekend so after (accidentally) eating a stupidly expensive brunch buffet at the hotel off we went.
We decided first to drive up to the top of Pikes Peak. I of course attempted, unsuccessfully, to convince Marcus that we needed to first go to The North Pole which is conveniently located near Pikes Peak. I guess Marcus is too good for Santa (can you say naughty list?). Perhaps though he was right as I couldn’t find any evidence that they still have the REAL reindeer that I remember from my childhood, how sad.
Anyway, after a good hour or so of winding roads during which I successfully did not barf and Marcus successfully did not drive us off the side of the mountain. We arrived. It was very impressive and created the on top of the world feeling that Rose told all of us about. While in Co. Springs proper it was nearing 80 degrees it was around freezing atop the mountain (good thing Marcus forced me to wear my coat). While I like to brag about my big lungs (you know what they say about girls with big lungs) from growing up a mile high it was absolutely noticeable (EVEN to me) the lack of oxygen at 14,115 feet. No doubt it was that last 15 feet that got me. After taking the picture and huffing and puffing around like a nearly dead person there was nothing left to do but go back down to tourist destination number 2: The Manitou Cliff Dwellings.
The Manitou* Cliff Dwellings are an excellent example of my favorite kind of tourist spot, impressively old, easy to get to, information placards every where you turn and signs for children telling them all kinds of no’s (no running, no climbing, no annoying the adult people around you with your snotty-noseness (I wish)), and an attached museum! They even had a pretty nice shop that had things actually made in Colorado including the largest collection of Maruca bags I’ve ever seen in a store.
* Although it wasn’t made clear while we were there (even with all of those placards) these Dwellings were moved from their original location in southern Colorado in the early 1900’s by a preservationist to protect them from looting and damage. I guess it’s not much different than say The Cloisters in New York.
Shockingly there was more I would have done in Colorado Springs had we had the time. So I figured I would probably even go back one day, little did I know that day would come much sooner than I thought.