Our Visit to “Old Colorado City”
Like most of our plans, Craig and I start with the first thing we want to do, then work ourselves backwards. For example, Colorado was about our Anniversary and his Birthday, but we wanted to make a week or more of it. Having not done a whole lot in the State alone together, we feasted upon travel sites and brochures of what to do, where to stay, and how to make the traveling work. It’s one thing to be like “Hey, let’s do Colorado” and a whole other line of thinking when planning it. Kind of like Disney.
We drove to and from the State, so no renting a car, but we had to make the driving work from place to place in a smooth flow. We all know time is of the essence when on vacation, and you don’t want to waste it by making a foolish choice. Although, the foolish choices can be the best ones. Anyways, our first stop on our epic trip to the Rockies State was Manitou Springs. It was the closest to Pikes Peak, which we were touring the next day. Our idea was to stay a couple nights in each area we were checking out around Colorado, making driving around unchartered territory for us easier.
We arrived in Manitou Springs on September 11th and stayed until September 14th. We got there late afternoon, so we had a full half day to check out the surrounding area. Manitou Springs is a small, sleepy little ski town, which had the historic district of “Old Colorado City” down the road. Not knowing much about any of it, we decided to drive to “OCC” and check it out.
It was a nice Fall Day, sun was shining, it was fairly warm, so we walked up and down Colorado Avenue. I remember holding hands, each of us beaming with joy from getting there, safe and sound. Road tripping is so much fun, but it can be stressful and dangerous since you never know what lies ahead amongst the road, the drivers, and the weather. Happy we made it; we shopped in the quaint Main Street boutiques lined with colorful flowers and mine carts on all sides. Plus, the view was incredible!!
The shop keepers were more than happy to talk to us, even other shoppers were recommending to us where to have dinner that night. A very friendly city indeed! We talked to one gal for a good 20 minutes about Pikes Peak and how much our excitement was for going up the first time the next day. She helped us with tips and said to not bother with the oxygen cans they sell in the stores, they are useless, and to also dress warm because it can be freezing at the summit. She really put our minds at ease and made us feel a lot more confident in going.
Being September, the crowds were low, so much we felt we had the city to ourselves. Parking was easily found off the Main Street area, taking payment via credit cards for your spot. (I have seen these more and more on my travels across the USA, rarely anymore parking attendants at lots anymore). You can choose how much time you want to park for, and it then charges you automatically. There was no gate or arm to let you in or out, maybe they don’t even monitor it that much. But you know, THAT is when you will walk out of having dinner and your car will be gone because you didn’t think they did. So, we played it safe, I suggest you always do to.
I love me a good Main Street…something about the architecture, the history; they are stories with so many chapters to read. Founded in 1859 during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, the city (formerly “El Dorado”) was known for mining and also processing the gold in town. Fun fact, apparently Colorado Springs didn’t take to kindly to its neighbor, Old Colorado City because of its bad boy lifestyle of saloons, bordellos, and drugs. So much it was prohibited for many years in CO Springs. Ironic since they were one of the top states to legalize marijuana use. Did you know where the state name comes from? The word Colorado comes from the Spanish meaning of “red” or “blushing” due to the red rocks that were found in the Garden of the Gods area, located down the road.
If you’re coming for a visit to Pikes Peak or Garden of the Gods, I HIGHLY recommend you take a couple hours, grab a meal and do some fun shopping in Old Colorado City. ALWAYS support local businesses or we won’t have any left. (We had an authentic pizza experience for dinner which I will be covering in the future.) As always, thanks for stopping by, and enjoy Colorado!
****Side note, thanks to EVERYONE who have donated to my hard work. This is what I do for a living, and it is a passion for me, so tossing me a couple bucks below helps me SO MUCH with everything needed. If you can’t, please consider subscribing to the blog, LIKING the blog post, and sharing any content you enjoy– it helps me out SOOOO much! I love being able to bring you all these amazing places so that YOU can do them as well. I work mostly on donations so thanks again.
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