Colorado Has a Piece of my Heart

This time last month we were making our decent into the wide open spaces in the Texas pan handle, to the New Mexico border and beyond, where we finally started to see our first taste of the Rockies. The hills seemed to get bigger and bigger with each passing town and could see mountains and we made our way closer to the New Mexico/Colorado borders. We went around our last bend with a sign welcoming us into “Colorful Colorado”. At the same time, I could feel my ears start to pop and with each winding curve, there seemed to be a new sign, one with a picture of and elk and another of a bear and other animals we weren’t used to seeing in our neck of the woods! The boys were SO excited and stared out the window hoping to spot one of the two, maybe both! A few hours in and after stopping at a local burger shop (Bingo Burger: local craft beer, grassfed burgers wrapped in lettuce or bun and more!) we spotted Pike’s peak. We saw that fierce snow-capped mountain long before we reached our destination, and danced/sang our little hearts out all the way to our hotel that rested near the foot of Pike’s peak.Purple Mountain Majesty is right!

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Outside Embassy Suites

We arrived a little earlier than expected so we took a drive through Helen Hunt falls and pulled over as soon as we could so the boys could play in the snow off the side of  the road next to a small creek. This in itself was like a dream. Here we were standing in the road with pines and narrow aspens surrounding us. The mountains were giant. Here we were us 5, in complete awe. We stopped in at brewery called Phantom Canyon Brewery which allowed us to grab a healthy bite to eat while allowing the hubby to taste a bit of Colorado’s local brew!

The next morning, first full day we were there we woke up and got ready for their most popular 5k of the year, opening up their running season: St. Patty’s Day 5k. It was my fourth 5k this year and with over 1,000 participants, my biggest 5k as well. I was excited to have had PR on my time as I was worried about the altitude bothering me. I found that the real problem was adjusting back into the Texas humidity once we returned!

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I will mention that the runner’s of Colorado are fast, though! They are healthy and it is so incredibly inspiring to me!

Anyway, the boys had their race after mine and as I ran with Ash, K left us in the dust! See ya later, Mom! They ran good and hard and we were able to get the whole thing on video thanks to the hubby!

The  next day we woke up early and drove a few miles down the road to the cutest little hippie town I’ve ever seen: Manitou Springs! We arrived 20 minutes before our 9:20 am train departure as instructed and went to the ticket booth to get our tickets. Before we knew it, we were boarding the train and about 45 minutes later, we stopped at Inspiration pointe, located on Pike’s Peak. We played in the snowy mountains, and took pictures near the hidden creek that passed through. The snow was knee deep in some places and one of those places was right next to said hidden creek, just ask my husband 😉

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I’m still amazed by the beauty I saw that day and I miss the scent of the pines and the layers of aspen trees.

Being in Colorado was heavenly. It was picturesque and absolutely unreal.

We also took the boys to Cheynee Mountain zoo, and made repeat visits to Garden of the Gods after our first morning hike there. Just like we read in other reviews, be prepared to spend A LOT of time there! You won’t want to leave! In our case, we made sure to go in the morning at near sunset so we could experience the best of both picture worthy worlds!

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We also took a drive inside Garden of the Gods park to look at the formations that were further into the park. If you do this, be sure to keep a look out for the designated pull-over spots on the side of the road. These allow you to get out of the car in some of the Garden’s most beautiful pointes.

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Beyond Beautiful. It’s no surprise to me that it ranks #1 as America’s best park!

And back to Manitou we go! We made sure to Face Time Mamaw as soon as we got the chance to walk down the streets! It’s a hippie haven full of hemp shops, an arcade, art studios, a brewery, customized winery, and endless boutiques and restaurants!

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We walked those streets hard and made sure to  fill up our water bottles with the spring water from the spouts that spread throughout the town! It’s naturally carbonated and tastes a bit like lime… or so I think! K found a shop that specializes in organic bath bombs and I tried Yerba Mate from the Mate Factor store and restaurant for the first time!

Another great adventure, was the one we took to Denver! We waited an extra day, heading north on the Tuesday instead of Monday to make sure we could visit Denver’s only Paleo Bistro: Mmm Coffee located in the heart of the Denver Arts district on Santa Fe. We just had to, and I’m glad we did because if bulletproof tea, coffee and the best non-grain granola weren’t enough, I couldn’t say enough great things about their staff and energy there! The dingo eared (no, really, she had on cute little dingo ear headband) barista made me a delicious concoction of the Tea Spots Blood Orange tea steeped to perfection, bulletproofed and iced which tasted like a dreamsicle! They even customized drinks for our littles!

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This same day we popped in to one of my ex co-workers store in Golden to say “hi!!!”, and then ventured up to Red Rocks Ampitheatre and walked up the 380+ steps to the top. We definitely got our workout that day!

Eating healthy in Colorado was not a difficult task. They had everything I wanted and more, and when we just wanted to kick back in the hotel for a while, we would hit up the Embassy Suites happy hour full of veggies, dips & goodies or swing by their local Natural Grocers and/or Whole Foods for a snack!

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Tenderloin from Colorado Mountain Brewery with sweet potatoe fries and roasted brussels with bacon!

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Our hotel whipped up a mean green Salad with salmon and caper dressing!

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Smoked Trout salad from Good Karma in Manitou! So GOOD!

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From one of my WholeFoods hauls. Superfood salad with Earth Kombucha and Chicken.

I joke because while my husband was in craft beer heaven, I was in kombucha heaven!

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My goal was to try all of the local brands I possibly could, and although picking a favorite was not easy, I think If I had to choose it would be Rowdy Mermaid’s blend with the Chaga! Yes, please! Although, I tried one thats not pictured, that tasted much like a moscato! I don’t care for the alcohol, but the taste of moscato is yummy!

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Our days were long, full of adventure and each evening we would unwind at dinner and take the boys down to the pool (and hot tub for mama!) and watch the sun set over the mountains through the glass windows next to us. I think I am still overwhelmed by the beauty of it all. I distinctly remember swimming with the littles one day and then getting out of the pool with Lu. The hubs stayed with the older boys while I took Lu outside the glass doors, on the patio facing the mountains. We sat there, he nursed and we both were so relaxed there just listening to the birds. It was so peaceful there.

It was sad to say Goodbye, but I have every intention of going back. I can say that I now understand why friends and family make repeat visits there. The energy, the peace, nature.It’s a completely different world there, and it’s baffling to me that one place can be so different just 12 hours away! I love it!

I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it at that. If you get a chance to go check out Colorado, by all means, GO! Colorado Springs is amazing, and I will never forget the special memories we made there. Now, to transfer the hundrends of pictures taken! 😉 Ha!

Where are you vacationing this season/summer?

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