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Colorado Springs, Taos & Santa Fe, NM
Old 08-13-2009, 03:46 PM   #1
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Colorado Springs, Taos & Santa Fe, NM

I drove from Phoenix to Chicago a few weeks ago through Monument Valley, etc in Utah. Utah and Colorado mtns are awesome. Now DW & I are taking the return trip - thinking about coming south through Colorado Springs, Taos & Santa Fe. Anyone have any suggestions for lodging/entertainment/etc in these towns?
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:03 PM   #2
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Hi Ronstar, that sounds like a nice trip! I can't help with NM, but I just got done living in Colorado Springs for 3 years. What kind of stuff do you like to do?

If you're ok with altitude, I definitely recommend the pikes peak railroad, even though it's a little pricey. Garden of the Gods is a very accessible and amazing park with huge red rock formations (and it's free!). Manitou Springs (adjacent to CS) is a fun little town to walk around, you can sample the different spring waters from the fountains and there's also a penny arcade with lots of old-style games to play. I assume that's open till Labor Day.

There are numerous other "cheesy tourist attractions" that we did once and were fun - Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, Cliff Dwellings. If you like hiking, Cheyenne Canyon has some nice trails, or you can just drive up to Helen Hunt Falls.

I like the art museum also, it was redone a few years ago and there's a very nice park behind it that is good for picinics.

If you like going out to breakfast, don't miss the Omelette Parlor. Fun old building (used to be the home of someone famous) and the food is great.

South of Colorado Springs but maybe on your way is the Royal Gorge Railroad. That was also pricey but fun to do once. Rafting is also a possibility there, although I'm not sure how it is this late in the summer.

That's the stuff that comes to mind. I think Coach lives there so I'm sure he'll have some recommendations as well.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:03 PM   #3
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In Taos check out the plaza, the Taos gorge (amazing) and the Milicent Rogers Museum. If you like beer, there is a nice brewpub in Taos a couple blocks off the plaza (Eske's). Tons of hotels and B&Bs, but we have rented houses in the past (for a week at a time).
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:41 AM   #4
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Hi Ronstar, that sounds like a nice trip! I can't help with NM, but I just got done living in Colorado Springs for 3 years. What kind of stuff do you like to do?

If you're ok with altitude, I definitely recommend the pikes peak railroad, even though it's a little pricey. Garden of the Gods is a very accessible and amazing park with huge red rock formations (and it's free!). Manitou Springs (adjacent to CS) is a fun little town to walk around, you can sample the different spring waters from the fountains and there's also a penny arcade with lots of old-style games to play. I assume that's open till Labor Day.

There are numerous other "cheesy tourist attractions" that we did once and were fun - Cave of the Winds, Seven Falls, Cliff Dwellings. If you like hiking, Cheyenne Canyon has some nice trails, or you can just drive up to Helen Hunt Falls.

I like the art museum also, it was redone a few years ago and there's a very nice park behind it that is good for picinics.

If you like going out to breakfast, don't miss the Omelette Parlor. Fun old building (used to be the home of someone famous) and the food is great.

South of Colorado Springs but maybe on your way is the Royal Gorge Railroad. That was also pricey but fun to do once. Rafting is also a possibility there, although I'm not sure how it is this late in the summer.

That's the stuff that comes to mind. I think Coach lives there so I'm sure he'll have some recommendations as well.
Thanks for the ideas. Definitely will do Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak Railroad. Omelette Parlor sounds great. We have some time constraints, so I'm trying to fit Pikes Peak Railroad and Garden of the Gods both in the same afternoon. Looks like Garden of the Gods closes at 8, so I'm thinking Pikes Peak rr noon - 4 and Garden of the Gods 4 - 8. Then dinner, sleep, breakfast at the Omelette parlor and leave town
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:43 AM   #5
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In Taos check out the plaza, the Taos gorge (amazing) and the Milicent Rogers Museum. If you like beer, there is a nice brewpub in Taos a couple blocks off the plaza (Eske's). Tons of hotels and B&Bs, but we have rented houses in the past (for a week at a time).
Great tips! - I can tell that I like the brewpub already
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:14 AM   #6
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I can't help with places to stay... unless you are interested in RV Parks. However, my suggestion on the route would be to go west on Hwy 160 off I-25 at Walsenburg, Colorado. While Raton Pass is certainly a pleasant way to go, I find going over LaVita Pass to be more scenic. Turn South on Hwy 159 at Fort Garland to Taos. (Wonderful place to visit, by the way. Good choice.) Head south to Sante Fe (one of my favorites) and then to Albuquerque. From Albuquerque take as much of Route 66 as you can (in other words, try to avoid using I-40) to Falgstaff and then South to Phoenix.

New Mexico is truly "The Land of Enchantment," by the way. An example is when you go south out of Colorado, in the Four Corners Region on Hwy 491. As you leave the mountains the land will level off and, in front of you, looks like the Ocean. When this happens, you will see something, in the haze on the horizon, that appears more like a Mirage than anything tangible. Twenty minutes later it becomes more defined and you realize that it is HUGE but still not quite recognizable... although you are starting to imagine. You drive and drive and drive and your suspicions are confirmed: It is a Tall Ship! A Spanish Galleon floating on this sea of Earth. You are still a half hour away from the town of Shiprock -- the rock formation itself is many miles to west, a solitary figure in the middle the desert.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:26 AM   #7
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Thanks for the ideas. Definitely will do Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak Railroad. Omelette Parlor sounds great. We have some time constraints, so I'm trying to fit Pikes Peak Railroad and Garden of the Gods both in the same afternoon. Looks like Garden of the Gods closes at 8, so I'm thinking Pikes Peak rr noon - 4 and Garden of the Gods 4 - 8. Then dinner, sleep, breakfast at the Omelette parlor and leave town
Sounds like a plan! I doubt that Garden of the Gods will take you 4 hours, so you might grab a bite to eat in Manitou in between (you'll be there for the RR anyway). The Loop has decent Mexican food (for CO), and there's a pizza place next to the park on the main drag that's popular, sorry, can't remember the name. There's also a pub at the south/east end of the main drag that has excellent food, despite the looks of it. I can't remember the name but they've got all kinds of patches/badges all over the walls, I'm sure someone there could point it out to you.
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:33 AM   #8
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I can't help with places to stay... unless you are interested in RV Parks. However, my suggestion on the route would be to go west on Hwy 160 off I-25 at Walsenburg, Colorado. While Raton Pass is certainly a pleasant way to go, I find going over LaVita Pass to be more scenic. Turn South on Hwy 159 at Fort Garland to Taos. (Wonderful place to visit, by the way. Good choice.) Head south to Sante Fe (one of my favorites) and then to Albuquerque. From Albuquerque take as much of Route 66 as you can (in other words, try to avoid using I-40) to Falgstaff and then South to Phoenix.

New Mexico is truly "The Land of Enchantment," by the way. An example is when you go south out of Colorado, in the Four Corners Region on Hwy 491. As you leave the mountains the land will level off and, in front of you, looks like the Ocean. When this happens, you will see something, in the haze on the horizon, that appears more like a Mirage than anything tangible. Twenty minutes later it becomes more defined and you realize that it is HUGE but still not quite recognizable... although you are starting to imagine. You drive and drive and drive and your suspicions are confirmed: It is a Tall Ship! A Spanish Galleon floating on this sea of Earth. You are still a half hour away from the town of Shiprock -- the rock formation itself is many miles to west, a solitary figure in the middle the desert.
Thanks - I'll take the 160/ 159 route - I like the scenic routes. I'm thinking of going to the Royal Gorge bridge first after leaving CO Springs, but this will chop off 3 hours from my time in Taos or Santa Fe. After Santa Fe, we have to haul a** to Sedona to meet some friends, so I wont be able to take much of 66. I've done a lot of 66 before(and want to do it again).

I googled Shiprock - amazing - but unfortunately out of our way on this trip
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:36 AM   #9
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Sounds like a plan! I doubt that Garden of the Gods will take you 4 hours, so you might grab a bite to eat in Manitou in between (you'll be there for the RR anyway). The Loop has decent Mexican food (for CO), and there's a pizza place next to the park on the main drag that's popular, sorry, can't remember the name. There's also a pub at the south/east end of the main drag that has excellent food, despite the looks of it. I can't remember the name but they've got all kinds of patches/badges all over the walls, I'm sure someone there could point it out to you.
Thanks for the pub idea -I'll need something between the rr and Garden
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Old 08-15-2009, 08:08 AM   #10
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Thanks - I'll take the 160/ 159 route - I like the scenic routes. I'm thinking of going to the Royal Gorge bridge first after leaving CO Springs, but this will chop off 3 hours from my time in Taos or Santa Fe. After Santa Fe, we have to haul a** to Sedona to meet some friends, so I wont be able to take much of 66. I've done a lot of 66 before(and want to do it again).

I googled Shiprock - amazing - but unfortunately out of our way on this trip
Yeah, never enough time... I find that constraint even more so after retirement. Colorado, like New Mexico... well, every state actually, has so many wonderful places to see. To walk across that bridge with nothing between you and the river 1,100 feet below is something everyone should experience in their lifetime. On the other hand, Sante Fe, in particular, deserves all the time you can give her -- you won't be disappointed either way.

Anyway, I mentioned Shiprock only as an example of the "enchantment" of New Mexico. There are many sights of equal wonder no matter where you go in that state.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:13 AM   #11
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To walk across that bridge with nothing between you and the river 1,100 feet below is something everyone should experience in their lifetime.
Yikes! Unless they are afraid of heights, like me. That would scare me to death and you couldn't pay me to do it.

I have had nightmares like that.... I'll leave that experience to those who might enjoy it.
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:24 AM   #12
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That would scare me to death
You (we all) should take the advice of Frank Buckles (that 108-year-old last surviving veteran of World War I) on the secret to a long life:

"When you start to die, don't."
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Old 08-16-2009, 07:17 AM   #13
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If I wasn't so frugal, I think I would really enjoy this restaurant in Sante Fe:

Rio Chama Steakhouse

In any event, don't miss Barrio de Analco
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Old 08-16-2009, 12:32 PM   #14
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Check out the Durango Silverton rail road. We did this trip in the spring and it was great. There is another narrow gage rail road in New Mexico that is also suppose to be good, but I don't remember the town it is out of. It is in Northern New Mexico.
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Old 08-16-2009, 01:33 PM   #15
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There is another narrow gage rail road in New Mexico that is also suppose to be good, but I don't remember the town it is out of. It is in Northern New Mexico.
Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Runs between Chama, NM and Antonito, CO.
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Old 08-17-2009, 05:47 AM   #16
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If I wasn't so frugal, I think I would really enjoy this restaurant in Sante Fe:

Rio Chama Steakhouse
Looks great!

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In any event, don't miss Barrio de Analco
We'll definitely go here!

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Check out the Durango Silverton rail road. We did this trip in the spring and it was great. There is another narrow gage rail road in New Mexico that is also suppose to be good, but I don't remember the town it is out of. It is in Northern New Mexico.
I'll have to do Durango - Silverton next trip. I drove on the road next to the train route in 2002, and the scenery in fantastic.

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Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad

Runs between Chama, NM and Antonito, CO.
Looks great, and we're going through Antonito. I'll put this our list of things to do.
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Old 08-17-2009, 11:45 AM   #17
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Looks great!
Looks great, and we're going through Antonito. I'll put this our list of things to do.

It's a long ride. It's 6 hours, as I recall, and then the (much shorter) bus ride back. You can always go halfway.
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