Telluride Escape: Exploring Colorado Springs

Telluride Escape: Exploring Colorado Springs

Colorado Springs is often thought of as Denver’s ugly twin sister. But as any Pikes Peak loving fan will tell you, there’s much more to the place than its sprawl and its conservative bookends. It is not only Focus on the Family. Nor is it only the military. It is a vibrant, surprisingly fun city that feels as warm and as close-knit as a small town.

Admittedly, Andy and I met in that city, at Colorado College, so we may have that extra special spot in our heart for it. But the reason we return annually is not just because we want to walk down memory lane. We genuinely love the city. Here are a few reasons why. Garden of the Gods

Number 1. The Garden of the Gods. Yes, the park may get crowded at times. Yet, with its great sandstone rocks tipped up like giant whale fins, you can’t help but fall in love with the place. We love to run and rock climb there, and our kids love to scramble on the rocks. To me, Garden of the Gods is one of the few places in the world where you can know, without a doubt that the world is and always has been about change. Once, great seas flooded that basin. When the waters receded, massive tectonic forces shoved the stone up sideways with the same urgency that pushed the Rockies up. Sitting in that park, staring up at the patches of blue sky framed by red rock, watching ravens drift in slow circles is a sacred experience.

Number 2. Adam’s Mountain Café. Adam’s has had several locations over the years but somehow the restaurant always nails it. Dining there feels like dining in a best friend’s kitchen, if your best friend were to prepare dishes like Adam’s. There’s a community table at the center. Servers refill your glasses with homemade-spiced iced tea. Yellow light splashes over the tables, which are topped with ceramic sugar bowls made in the studio down the street. From just outside the restaurant, you can hear the creek running along the length of the restaurant’s patio. Food is southwest inspired but you can just as easily get grilled polenta topped with eggs and salsa verde as you can get almond orange french toast. And you probably should, seeing as they are both fantastic. Adam’s also serves great lunches and dinners but breakfast is my favorite. I always walk away excited for my next trip to the Springs when I can dine there again.

Green Mountain Falls at Adam's Number 3. Biking around downtown. Andy and I brought our Chariot bike trailer solely so that we could tug our kids up Monument Creek’s bike path and back down through the city. The weather in Colorado Springs is almost always sunny (I remember having to bribe myself with the promise of an afternoon bouldering session in order to go inside and study at school). It feels close to godly to meander through the city’s streets with the sun on your back. We always stop at Poor Richard’s for a slice of pizza, then hit the shops on Tejon Street before settling into our final treat, a scoop at Josh and John’s Ice Cream Shop. (You see why the running, climbing, and biking are all necessary to counter all of this eating.)

When it’s time to head back to Telluride, and we head out on Highway 24, I often steal a final glance at Pikes Peak, the place where I first got to call the West home. It’s no surprise that Katharine Lee Bates wrote and composed the song “America the Beautiful” while on a trip to Colorado Springs or that the Pro Cycling Challenge decided to start its tour there; it’s a city that inspires many.

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