Manitou Springs, Colorado

July 21, 2012

We didn’t travel far to get to Manitou Springs, but going there for dinner last night reminded me what a fun place it is.  Manitou is a quintessential tourist town with lots of little shops, restaurants, bars.  In Manitou they are all locally owned, there are no chains!  A huge arcade has all kinds of video games, pin ball, skee ball and other entertainment.  The shops sell all the standard tourist items:  tshirts, knick knacks, and toys.  But there are other stores that sell local pottery, jewelry, soaps, hand-made clothing, kitchenware, wine, and even dulcimers.  You can easily spend a day poking around the shops.  The restaurants have Mexican food, pizza, middle eastern food, steak, fondu, burgers, wild game, and almost anything else you want.  We had a great dinner of cheese and meats at Swirl Wine Bar.  The town was evacuated for a short time during the recent fire, but everything is back to normal now.

Here is the city’s website Manitou Springs.


Small Plates: Colorado Springs

July 7, 2012

Tapas and small plates seem to be the newest thing in eating out.  We really enjoy them.  I like being able to taste several dishes without feeling stuffed.  We have found several places in Colorado Springs that serve them in various formats.  The key that ties them all together is that they serve well prepared food that is a joy to eat!

Nosh was one of the first places in town to offer small plates.  They offer a nice variety.  We like their spicy bowls and mac and cheese.  Their brussels sprouts and cauliflower are really popular, but I haven’t been able to appreciate them.  I do wish they would change their menu a little more often.  The restaurant is modern and open.

Motif offers similar variety of mostly American style foods.  I like the shrimp, chicken bites, and steak.  They are only open Thursday – Saturday.  If you can sit outside, the atmosphere is great and the music isn’t so overwhelming.

Tapateria is the only place in town that we have found that offers the smaller Spanish style tapas.   Their menu offers lots of variety.  I like the shrimp and the chorizo with dates.  They always have a few specials which are great.  They pride themselves in using local products.  The space feels like a small European bar.

Some other restaurants in town that we enjoyed that have small plates  are Margarita at Pine Creek,  Steaksmith, and MacKenzie’s.  While they all also offer full size meals they also have some great appetizers or small plates that can make a meal.


Loneliest Highway

June 24, 2012

We recently drove to the West Coast across US 50 from south of Colorado Springs to Sacramento.  The stretch in Nevada is known as the loneliest highway in the US.  I have been on roads that had less traffic, but probably not a US Highway.  It is a really interesting drive.  We drove through Great Basin National Park and stopped to hike the Bristlecone trail which is a beautiful hike.  Unfortunately, snow covered parts of the trail so we weren’t able to make it all the way to the Bristlecone Pines.  Going across Nevada we passed historic Opera Houses,  Pony Express Stations, Stagecoach stops, and petroglyph sites.  While the road may be lonely, it doesn’t have to be boring.  We finished the route at Lake Tahoe which is one of my favorite lakes.  If you have the chance this is a great road trip.


Eastern and Southern Caribbean

April 13, 2012

We just returned from a cruise to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale.  We had a great time at the ports.  We enjoyed the warmth and the sightseeing.  The air was hazy which the guides said was due to sand out of the Sahara.

We went on Holland America, which we did not enjoy as much as Celebrity or Royal Caribbean.  It was good, just not great.


The Blue Goat

March 1, 2012

We recently flew to Oregon to visit our new grand-daughter and her parents.  We had a great time with them and also had a little time to sightsee and eat out.  We had a great lunch at The Blue Goat in Amity and then visited Amity Vineyards.  They do serve some goat.  We had a goat empanada that was really good and then split a wonderful grilled cheese and tomato soup.  The whole meal was great.  Amity Vineyard is really interesting.  The wine was very good.  It feels more like a real winery than the fancy tasting rooms so many wineries have.  The young woman who helped us was great!  She know a lot about the wine.  We could only bring a couple of bottles home since we were flying, but we may go back.


Bahamas Cruise

February 13, 2012

Our latest adventure was a four day cruise on Royal Caribbean’s Majesty of the Seas. We had a great time on the cruise. Even with my broken foot, we were able to do a lot. I didn’t go to Coco Cay(private island) since the sea was pretty rough and I didn’t want to take a chance on my foot. We did go to Nassau and Key West. Larry was really good about wheeling me around. We ate lunch out in both places; Conch Fritters in Nassau and Turtle Kraals in Key West.

Nassau - Conch Fritters

The ship is in great shape and well laid out. It definitely had a Latin flavor: lots of Latin music, bilingual cruisers, and late nights. The age range on the cruise was wide and there were lots of family groups. We didn’t see any scooters!  The food was well prepared. Someone said the bartenders were complaining about the cheap cruisers. I think the staff in the dining room had more tables than usual and the cabin stewards may have had more rooms.  RC designs this cruise to be low cost, so it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the new bigger ships.

We spent a couple of days in Miami after the cruise. We saw South Beach, did a Hop On Hop Off (no hopping off!) tour of Miami, and toured the Everglades.

South Beach

Everglades

I would definitely recommend this cruise to the right people: young, first timers, people interested in lots of activity


Beautiful Colorado!

January 21, 2012

We went for a drive to Salida, Colorado and then home along US 24 through Woodland Park.  There wasn’t a lot of snow.  The views along the route were beautiful!  We stopped for lunch at the Twisted Cork in Salida.  The food and service were both very good.  For lunch they serve a number of sandwiches along with some Asian stir fry dishes.  It was a great trip!

Collegiate Range