Colorado Springs is full of delightful places to spend an afternoon. As I continue to write Colorado Staycation posts I must include Cheyenne Cañon and Helen Hunt Falls. Located in southwestern Colorado Springs the Cañon can be found along the same route from downtown Colorado Springs to the Broadmoor Hotel and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Earlier this month my family and I traveled across Colorado to visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, near Montrose, Colorado. Ever since my “mom retreat” last summer I’ve talked to my husband about going back, and I am so glad he said YES!
We had talked about going to the North Rim, where I had a fabulous time hiking during my retreat, but instead of another hours drive, we pulled into the South Rim campground. On this side of the canyon there are various hikes along the rim, and a drive through tour of specific lookout points.
In this photo my husband and daughter look as though they are “outside” the guard fence, but there was actually a walkway off to that side, just so daredevils can make mom freak out a bit.
While I have this growing love for canyons, I prefer to keep the guard rail firmly between me and the edge!
Also along the South Rim, one can drive down the East Portal Road, down to the river. While we were there, the park was pretty quiet, and we had a delightful picnic by the river. While we were there, we came upon this area full of swallowtail butterflies. Reminded me of our time on the wetlands in British Columbia.
Have you ever been to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison? What other places like this do you recommend we explore in Colorado or neighboring states?
Estes Park is one of the gateways into Rocky Mountain National Park, and is one of my favorite places in Colorado. When our children were younger, my husband and I took them on yearly fall family retreats and Estes Park was one of our frequent destinations. Now that the kids are older, and no longer homeschooling, we don’t have the schedule flexibility to have the fall family retreats any more, but I have found spaces on our calendar to get back there at different times almost yearly, sometimes even more!
Of the places where we’ve stayed I would recommend Murphy’s Resort by the lake. One January I got away on a mother daughter trip with one of the girls, and stayed at this resort. The room was clean and comfortable, with easy access to the trail around the lake. The resort had a painting event the weekend we were there and there appears to always be something fun going on!
We have also stayed at the YMCA of the Rockies, in one of their cabins, and we have camped in Rocky Mountain National Park. It just depends on what we are wanting to do, there is something for everyone!
In the downtown area of Estes Park one can find all kinds of interesting and also touristy shops. We love the Donut Haus (Beware, they run out of donuts, sometimes by noon!) and the MacDonald Bookshop.
Mama Rose’s Italian Restaurant and Claire’s Restaurant are my two favorite places to eat in Estes Park. Such delicious food and wonderful, friendly service. But I can’t forget to tell you about Shakes Alive and A Sweet Slice of Life Pie Shop. Go ahead and have a slice of pie with a shake, the are next door to each other!
Other things to see in the downtown area of Estes Park include the Patterson Glassworks Studio and Gallery.
I was fascinated by the glass blowing demonstration. So much so that I tried to watch each time we are in Estes Park!
The Original Taffy Shop is another great spot. Here you can watch original machines stretch, cut and wrap the taffy. And of course, sample and buy some as well!
So as you are making your spring break or summer plans, think about Estes Park, Colorado!
Exploring the Local Coffee Shops: The Coffee Exchange
We are on a quest find the local cafes and coffee shops, tea rooms and diners, in search of delicious coffee, tea and local flare.
As I partner with my daughter, Maizy, we’ll each share our experiences and individual thoughts. This week, we’re talking about The Coffee Exchange, located at 526 S Tejon, in downtown Colorado Springs.
The Coffee Exchange is located downtown at Cimarron and Tejon. There are a variety of tables and plenty of space for a energetic downtown atmosphere, while still being cozy. The walls were covered in local art, and there was good reading material on the coffee tables near the back of the shop. That is where we settled in for about an hour, on the sofas at the back of the cafe. That gave us a wonderful view of the entire shop. The Coffee Exchange hosts several types of community get together including open mic, game nights and Cuban night. If you are in the Colorado Springs area, CHECK them Out! The shop hours are:
The baristas are very friendly and helpful. During our first visit, Amy’s order was wrong and the barista was actually the first one to notice, as she passed our table. She took it, and quickly fixed a new drink. The coffee is Fair Trade certified. And, while you can get disposable cups if you aren’t planning to stay in the shop they serve drinks in reusable mugs if you want to stay and hang out or work while you enjoy your drink.
The White Zombie is delicious. I did change up the drink just a bit, as I truly dislike white chocolate. Milk chocolate was added instead. The drink was smooth and delicious. The white coffee has a full body, yet mild taste. The atmosphere of this shop is the best we’ve visited so far. While there is plenty of space for people to gather, it is easy to have a conversation and enjoy savoring a quiet cup of something delicious. Or grab a book and start reading!
During my two visits I tried the White Zombie (with white chocolate) and an English breakfast latte with a pump of lavender. White espresso might just be my new favorite thing because it doesn’t taste like coffee and has a ton of caffeine. I don’t depend on caffeine usually to help me stay awake but there are times when I appreciate the boost. While there is a good selection of teas, tea lattes (not including chai lattes) are not technically on the menu. They were happy to make the English breakfast latte for me though and it was delicious. When the drink originally came out it was just the tea without any milk but the barista who originally took my order noticed the mistake and fixed it right away. The lavender was faint but added a nice element to the overall flavor without being overpowering.
This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.
Like so many other moms, I find shopping online can save my family money, and my sanity. I think each of those things, money and sanity, are equal!! So here on the blog I have occasionally mentioned money saving tips, and I am here to share a new-to-me way to save… through GROUPON! Groupon Coupons actually.
I’ve bought plenty of Groupon deals over the past couple of years, but only recently learned about Groupon coupons. Maybe you have noticed that I love to travel. Looking over today’s coupons I’ve found deals for Priceline and Hilton to research for an upcoming trip to the Northwest US that my family is taking later this year. We will be visiting some family and road tripping for a week and I can quickly see how Groupon coupons is going to be an easy way to save money on this trip. One of the things that is so great about Groupon is that it is local, where ever you are. All you have to do is type in the general area where you’ll be, and groupon finds the coupons! Easy peasy!
One thing that I find terrific about the Groupon Coupons is that all the Groupon deals are right there on one site. Before I start my online shopping, I can search the coupons. And on the same site I can check the local deals for dinner out with my husband, or for that ski trip next month. And as I already have mentioned, a person can use groupon anywhere in the US and many locations in Canada.
Here are a few of the other stores and businesses with coupons on the site today:
and look at this one, Udemy, coupons for the Online Courses site!
and so many more. If you haven’t heard of Groupon Coupons before, go ahead and check out the site. Let me know of any great travel deals you find, okay?!
Work has my husband traveling all over the US and Canada. This winter he is spending some time (snow birding, ha) in San Antonio. Being the traveler that I am, and that I wanted get some one on one time with my hubby, I seized the opportunity to fly down for a short weekend earlier this month. Well, a very short weekend, flights delays on both ends of the trip gave me less time with hubby, and more time sitting in the airport…but that is not what this post is about.
When I did a little research on the area, I told Builder that the beach looked like fun. Then I remembered that the Alamo is in San Antonio, along with several other missions. So Sunday morning we headed out to the San Antonio Missions NHP Visitor Center and the first of 4 missions that we visited that day. What a delightful day of fresh air, companionship and history we enjoyed together.
Our first stop was Mission San Jose and the SA Missions National Historic Park visitor center. If you start with a tour at the visitor center, you will likely get information on the other missions. Each site has it’s own stories and each one is so interesting. So we were just in time for a tour of the mission site, with Tatum. If you find yourself planning to visit Mission San Jose, call ahead and ask if Tatum will be giving tours. She is a great tour guide, you will be in for a real treat. Her interest and compassion in preserving the stories of the past, and respecting the people brought so much life and color to the information and stories she shared.
Each of these missions were established by Franciscan friars from Spain. The missions were built and run according to European culture and models, with the intent of creating new Spanish citizens. Native American tribes that were struggling under the burdens of famine, loss of land and conflict from other warring tribes (Apache and Comanche) were offered refuge in exchange for labor and conformity to the culture of the Spanish Crown. It was the “new converts” who built the actual buildings and walls, and cultivated the land for farming and ranching. The mission walls offered these people shelter, food, education and protection.
Our visit to The Alamo was quite different. It is in the heart of downtown San Antonio and there were crowds of people. While there is much to see at the Alamo, a museum full of weapons, artifacts and displays, we didn’t enjoy the same slow pace and quiet exploration as at the other sites. It was just so crowded. But, as we were leaving, we did find another fantastic storyteller and heard a fantastic and interesting retelling of the battle of the Alamo that either of had read before.
Just having one day to spend in San Antonio I, of course, didn’t even see the tip of the iceberg. But a day visiting the missions and soaking up some history is right up my alley. That evening we did head to the Riverwalk, and we had a wonderful evening walking and talking. It was so pretty and romantic with all the lights, the light crowds, water lapping and boats passing by. Perfect end to a good day!
Hopefully this post and the pictures will encourage you to check out the San Antonio Missions if you find yourself in the area. And be sure to plan an evening on the River Walk!