Thursday, December 24, 2015

Back in the Springs

Doe in the snow
December wouldn’t be complete without my annual pilgrimage to Crystal Park to visit Bek and Mr Twister. Two previous blog entries will give you more information about the area: Colorful Colorado and Springing to Manitou. Needless to say, I’m enamored of this place.

Colorado Springs was first home to the Ute, Arapahoe and Cheyenne peoples and much of their heritage is reflected in the architecture and culture of the area. The first local ‘Anglo’
Colorado Springs from Crystal Park
settlement was established in 1859 near the Front Range confluence of Fountain and Camp creeks during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. About 20 years later, Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs were established; soon thereafter Colorado Springs became the El Paso County seat. This opened the door for mining exchanges and mining brokers to set up their businesses. More commerce meant an increase in population along with the construction of the Broadmoor Casino, Tesla Experimental Station, and eventually the original Colorado Springs Municipal Airport. By World War II, the US Army Air Force had established an air base followed by the establishment of NORAD’s headquarters and the ADCOM Headquarters. In the 1960s Colorado Technical University, Pikes Peak Community College, and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs were built. And in 1977 part of Ent Airforce Base was transformed into the US Olympic Training Center.

This year, Bek and I traveled ‘down the mountain’ to the campus of Colorado College to
Top L to R: Chihuly chandelier, El Mac
Bottom L to R: Model railroad, Chihuly chandelier
wander through the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC). Alice Bemis Taylor funded the 1936 construction of FAC on a property once owned by the Broadmoor Art Academy. The project provided employment for laborers during the Great Depression. Taylor laid the foundation for the collections by donating her extensive Indian and Hispanic art, and her collection of 6,000 books regarding Americana. On the grounds are statues by Doug Hyde, Luis Jimenez, and several others. Inside, artists from Colorado are spotlighted throughout the permanent exhibits and support several of the visiting exhibits. At this time Rene Magritte, Miles MacGregor (El Mac), Santos, Contemporary Cuban art, Anderson & Low: City of Mines, and regional artists Lorelei Beckstrom, Aaron Graves, Kay Williams Johnson and Chris Sedgwick were the visiting exhibits. We really enjoyed all of these artists, but my favorite was the surrealism display. While we couldn’t take pictures, I did purchase one of the small prints of the Stormbringers by Lorelei Beckstrom. The permanent exhibit I really liked was one by Chihuly. Along with three wonderful hanging glass sculptures, there is a room containing huge vases, and a wall of flowers. Since it’s the holiday season, there was a display of model trains courtesy of local members of the National Model Railroad Society and the local model railroading club the N-gineers. These tiny reconstructions were colorful and great fun to watch. This is a very nice museum and I am looking forward to going back to explore more of the exhibits and to have lunch at their restaurant.

Our other new adventure was to patronize Beads Needs. This small bead shop has a
Pikes Peak in the clouds
plethora of seed beads, as well as interesting classes and a friendly, helpful, owner. There are lots of other things to do in ‘the Springs’, and places to eat that I’ve not tried, but Bek and I had to uphold the tradition of eating at the Keg Lounge and Pizzeria Rustica. . For information about my rating system, see Reading the Reviews.

What we did:
Four Carrots

Indian Women
Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, 719-634-5581) exhibits many styles of paintings and sculpture. There is no charge to enter the permanent exhibits. There is also a small restaurant. You may take pictures in the permanent exhibits and in some of the visiting ones.

Three and one-half Carrots

Beads and Needs (207 West Rockrimmon Boulevard, Suite F, Colorado Springs, CO
Bek and Twister shoveling snow
80919, 719-599-3300) is a cute little bead store with lots of seed beads, Swarovski items, and some shaped beads. The beads are arranged so that you can quickly see what is available and find matching and/or contrasting colors in several sizes. Unfortunately, I was too busy fondling beads to take pictures of the shop – a recommendation in and of itself!

Where we ate:
Three and one-half Carrots

Jorge's Sombrero (2427 West Colorado Ave, Old Colorado City, CO 80904, 719-634-
Left To to B: Jorge's, Margarita
Center T to B: Pork and Avocado Burritos,
Tacos de Carne Asada
Right Top: Chips and Salsa
9031) is a pretty place to eat, especially decorated for Christmas. Our server was attentive and knew the menu well; he was happy to explain the offerings and to make sure that the dishes we ordered were made to our specifications. Bek had Tacos de Carne Asada with beans and rice. I had Pork and Avocado Burritos with rice. Our waiter recommended a mixture of their hot and mild green sauce covering the burritos and it was just the right amount of heat to do with the pork. The chips and hot sauce have to be ordered, but it is well worth the cost to have these; the sauce is spicy and the chips are crisp. We also had a Margarita that was very tasty. The price is right for the food and the service. I’d go back to this restaurant any time I was in the area.

From all the Near-Normal Travelers, we wish you Happy Holidays, and a Merry Christmas no matter where in the world you are!
Merry Christmas
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