Against a spectacular backdrop courtesy of Mother Nature and Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs is an enchanting melding of historical treasures and cutting-edge 21st century.
For centuries home to the Ute, Arapahoe and Cheyenne peoples, the area was part of the Louisiana Purchase of 1803 and, after various settlements along the way, established as a mining camp during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush in 1859.
Civil War hero Gen. William J. Palmer is credited with the official founding when the Colorado Springs Co. laid out the new city in 1871, and philanthropist Spencer Penrose and his wife, Julie, added immeasurable to the culture and refinement of “Little London” at the turn of the 20th century with the timelessly elegant Broadmoor. The Penroses also financed the Will Rogers Shrine and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and Julie Penrose founded the Central City Opera and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
With such a rich history, much of it stemming from the treasures brought in from the nearby gold and silver camps of Cripple Creek and Victor as well as Central City and Black Hawk, Colorado Springs might have rested on its laurels comfortably. Instead, it moved with the times and became home to the United States Air Force Academy, Fort Carson and the 4th Infantry Division of the U.S. Army, Ent Air Force Base, North American Aerospace Defense Command and even the U.S. Olympic Training Center and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
To be appreciated for their sheer magnificence in architecture and detail are of course the Broadmoor, Glen Eyrie, Colorado College, McAllister House and Air Force Academy Chapel. But not to be outdone, Mother Nature offers the spectacular height and breadth of Pikes Peak, which stands sentinel over the Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, Cave of the Winds and, down the road south a piece, Royal Gorge in Cañon City. You can also take a ride on the Pikes Peak Cog Railway or perhaps hike the Manitou Incline.
Shopping and dining? Endless! Downtown has a varied collection of shops, eateries, pubs and clubs, and Old Colorado City provides another several blocks of artisans shops, galleries, boutiques, coffee houses, pastry shops, fine restaurants, family settings, parks and… well, that’s a good start, and when you visit, you’ll see the vista unfold.
In quaint Manitou Springs, funkadelic visits amicably with yesteryear’s finery in shops and antique stores. You can grab a bag of caramel corn or a hank of cotton candy and wander the historic Penny Arcade, and you can sip from the famed mineral springs fountains.
Lodging is fantastic. Five Stars, B&Bs, cozy cabins, extended stay, mom n’ pop – Colorado Springs and its sister communities are memories waiting to be made!