Monday, November 10, 2014

Colorado Recap

Back in August my husband and I traveled to a friend's wedding in Colorado Springs (congrats Seth and Emily!).  Here's a recap of places to stay and things to do if you find yourself in the area or contemplating a trip.

On The Crags Trail in Divide, Colorado (scroll down to get the full details!)

Let's start with one simple truth:  Colorado is beautiful.  It is probably the most beautiful state that I have visited (I know -- it bounced Kentucky but just barely!).  Let the pictures do the talking if you don't believe me.

Places to Eat
I don't know if I should actually recommend this restaurant because I feel sick to my stomach just thinking about it.  But when Mark and I landed in Denver, we were absolutely starving and immediately took the rental car into downtown Denver to do some Diner's Drive In's and Dives food-touring. We watch this show every Friday night; I doubt you can even call it a guilty pleasure at this point -- more like a religion. Anyway, after navigating insanely expensive street parking ($12.00 an hour in some spots!!) we made our way to Sam's No. 3.  This diner is famous for its burgers smothered in cheese and "kickin' green chili".

Just check out this heart attack plate:

Just a burger wrapped in a flour tortilla and smothered in melted cheese and green chili via
Yes it was good.  No, I didn't eat any other food that day after I devoured this entire plate.

Places to Stay
The wedding we attended was held at the beautiful Cheyenne Mountain Resort and I can't recommend staying there more if you are traveling to Colorado Springs.  The rooms have a rustic charm but are outfitted with all of the necessary amenities, including nice robes to snuggle up in. Each room has its own little balcony where you can look out and see this view: 

View out our balcony at Cheyenne Mountain Resort
That doesn't get old to enjoy any time of day, be it over coffee, wine, or beer with friends as the sun sets.  The main lobby has an outdoor pool with this same view and a deck with a fire pit for enjoying the cooler nights in a rocking chair.  And of course you have a golf course and all of the athletic facilities you need that are open for your use (the basketball courts were in severe disrepair but undergoing repair while we were there).
Cheyenne Mountain Resort -- great place for a wedding, right?

Things to Do
We didn't have a ton of time to explore the abundance of natural beauty in the area due to the wedding timeline, but the morning of the ceremony we did wake up early to go on an "easy" hike.  I write easy because according to the Hike Every Trail website, our trail of choice called "The Crags" was listed as child friendly and easy.  After about 2 seconds of contemplating hiking Pike's Peak, I switched gears to considering on "child friendly" tagged hikes. We actually did see children and small dogs on the trail, but these Colorado people are crazy athletic (despite all the cheese they are eating at Sam's No. 3) and what was easy to them made me feel like my heart was beating out of my chest for the second time on this trip.  The elevation is really going to get to you if you aren't from the area, and an easy incline feels like you just climbed the back staircase of the Empire State Building. The Crag's is really just a short drive from Colorado Springs (about 30 minutes to get to the  town Divide where the trail begins and then wind your way through a Mennonite camp to the trail head). The scenery on the drive is so beautiful that the extra travel time is well worth it!  You can even hike from here all the way to Pike's Peak if you make a really long day out of it and are conditioned for such adventures.  Also, if you are starting out early remember that it is going to be cold!  We were there in August, but due to the elevation when we started hiking the temperature was in the 40s.

Maybe it's the elevation, but the air is incredibly crisp up here.  And the aspen trees are a really mesmerizing blue-green color.  Basically the world just seems brighter in Colorado.

Please post any adventures you have had in the Colorado Springs area -- I would love to get more advice on things to do whenever we are able to make it back in that direction!