When I was younger, on a family vacation to Colorado, we stopped through a beautiful town called Colorado Springs. We didn’t stay at The Broadmoor Hotel, but we pulled in the circle drive to take a peek. Well, my dad took a peek. When we pulled up to the hotel, we didn’t realize that you had to be staying at the hotel to get close. There’s someone standing at the entrance to the drive, who asks for your name and which building you are in as you pass. I don’t remember how my dad convinced security to let us through, but they did.
My dad tried to get us all to get out of the car and explore The Broadmoor Hotel property, but I remember that I was too nervous, so I stayed in the car with my mom. I remember thinking to myself, that one day, I would stay there on my own. This was before I was old enough to work, before I chose hospitality as my degree, and before I had started my new job.
In July, I found out that I would keep this promise to myself. I would spend a little over a week at this beautiful, historic property.
Though I was in Colorado Springs for work, I was able to explore a little bit too. On top of learning a great deal from my co-workers, and making new friends, I had the incredible opportunity to take our guests zip lining in the mountains. Soaring Adventures features 2 courses or a combination of the two, with one of the zips being 1,800 ft. long at speeds of 45 miles per hour, at approximately 500 feet above the canyon.
On our final day of the program, a few from the team were able to take a step outside for an afternoon hike. Just on the outskirts of the Broadmoor property, there is a place called Seven Falls. It’s a steep hike up a few flights of stairs, and then a semi-mild hike up the mountain, but the reward at the top is worth it. We also had the opportunity to go to a beautiful park called Garden of the Gods. Though not a difficult hike, the registered National Natural Landmark features 300-foot towering sandstone rock formations with Pikes Peak and beautiful blue skies not far away.
I extended my time in Colorado by an extra day, spending time with a friend of mine from grade school / high school. She just moved to Denver with her husband for his job, and drove to Colorado Springs to meet me. She and I spent the day in Manitou Springs, stopped by the Air Force Base, and then drove back to Denver for the night as it was her husband’s birthday! It was nice to relax after a bit of a long week, and see a good friend.
Colorado Springs was great. I experienced new things, ate at new restaurants, made new friends, met a rescued wolf named Spirit, and explored when I could. I lived that dream I set for myself so long ago, and I stayed in the main building too! It is inspiring how moments like this come full circle, and I am forever grateful for this opportunity. Until the next dream…
A few places that I visited…
Manitou Springs: “Not just a mountain town”, Manitou Springs features 8 naturally-carbonated mineral springs, a walkable downtown, wonderful local shops, and a fun penny arcade. It also features the Manitou Incline which is at the base of Pikes Peak, a shortcut to part of the hike but at almost a vertical incline. (Disclaimer: I did not climb the Manitou Incline, but I would like to go back and do this!)
Garden of the Gods: The founder of Colorado Springs, General William Jackson Palmer, asked his friend, Charles Elliot Perkins, to establish a home in Garden of the Gods in 1879 with the hopes that he would build his railroad from Chicago to Colorado Springs. Though the Burlington Railroad never quite reached Colorado Springs, Perkins purchased 240 acres in Garden of the Gods that year for a summer home, later adding to the property as he preferred to leave his wonderland for the public. Following his death, his children turned over his 480 acres to the City of Colorado Springs, forever known as Garden of the Gods, where it “shall remain free to the public, where no intoxicating liquors shall be manufactured, sold, or dispensed, where no building or structure shall be erected except those necessary to properly care for, protect, and maintain the area as a public park.” Overall, it’s a beautiful place to walk around and be overwhelmed by natural beauty.
Seven Falls: Located in a 1,250 ft. wall box canyon between the towering Pillars of Hercules lies a magnificent series of waterfalls. Surrounding the falls are 224 challenging steps to the hiking trails and banks of streams the feed the falls themselves and its 181 ft. drop.
The Golden Bee: My favorite place to eat all week was this amazing gastropub on The Broadmoor property. The pub was actually transferred to The Broadmoor panel by panel, directly from the UK. There is nightly piano entertainment, with song-books provided. My favorite meal that I had was the Shepherd’s Pie and I would order it seven times more. The coolest part of The Golden Bee experience is that they throw bees at you. Yes, you heard that right. The servers throw bees at you! They’re sticky bees, and the server’s goal is to get them on your clothing – and they’re very good at it too!
Air Force Base: I had the unique opportunity to see the Air Force Base Cadet Chapel before it began renovations. It was beautiful. Many religions celebrate their services in this Chapel, with the Catholic chapel being on the lower level. That was just as beautiful.
Pikes Peak: With several ways to get to the top (drive, bike, hike, or jeep tour), Pikes Peak is absolutely something that I would like to do one day. With 14,115 ft. in total elevation, the hike itself is a 7,500 ft. elevation gain. Local guides suggest spending a few days in Colorado before making the hike so to acclimate before the additional elevation gain. Bring plenty of water, as there are no places to refill up the mountain. Costs and what to bring vary depending on what you want to do, but either way you’re in for beautiful views and an unforgettable experience.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is the only zoo located on the side of the mountain. Their mission is to share the wonders of the natural world with kids of all ages and providing memories for a lifetime. They were named the 6th Best Zoo in North America by USAToday’s 10 Best Zoos (falling behind my home (St. Louis) zoo in 3rd. This zoo homes more than 30 species of endangered animals and feature a live giraffe cam! My guests enjoyed this zoo, and I can’t wait to go back to enjoy it myself.
XO – MC