Mountain Time Part 3

Saturday was our last full day in the stunning Colorado Springs. Be sure to catch our adventures from the previous two days on the blog here and here. We woke up giddy with excitement knowing our sweet furry boys would be with us again for good!  But first things first.....coffee and breakfast at The amazing Ivy Wild School. The locals just raved about this and told me any coffee lover must go here. And they were not kidding around. I LOVE THIS PLACE. This former adorable 1916 elementary school has been renovated into a community market featuring Bristol Brewery, community gardens, music, deli and bakery — all selling local items. I love how the communal space links commerce and community with gathering spaces, cuisine, education, art, and gardens. If I lived in Colorado Springs, I would want to seriously work here.

A virtual and literal hotspot of activity throughout the day, Ivywild is always full of energy. Whether it’s bakers baking fresh bread and pastries in the morning, friends meeting for coffee or craft-brewed beer over lunch, gardeners harvesting the fruits of the season, or people gathering for a small concert or film in the former gym, the school provides an inviting space for kids of all ages. Wide hallways afford plenty of space for relaxing or viewing the ever-changing art offerings. Multiple patios provide al fresco seating in the building’s beautiful Rocky Mountain setting. And a highly-walkable “public square” will host farmer’s markets, festivals, and other special events.

So whether you just want to pick up your morning joe and a freshly baked bagel, linger for lunch and an afternoon cocktail, or grab local produce and some meat for dinner, Ivywild School is the perfect hub for meeting, eating, drinking and neighboring. The Principal's Office is the perfect place to grab a pour over or a cocktail. Would not mind getting into trouble here one bit. 

Noon at last. It was time to do our final training session with Melvin and Henry's dog trainer on his farm. And it was a bitter sweet farewell for JD and the boys. And truly seeing the progress in our dogs was amazing.We took a wonderful hike with 8 dogs all together off leash. 

 Sweet Henry with his friends on the Woofter Farm.

Sweet Henry with his friends on the Woofter Farm.

We decided to do some more exploring in Colorado and also figured this would give us some great training time with the dogs without JD. So we decided to take a quick 50 minute drive to Cañon City, Colorado. Cañon City straddles the easterly flowing Arkansas River and is a popular tourist destination for sightseeing, whitewater rafting, and rock climbing. The city is noted for being the location of nine state and four federal prisons and penitentiaries, and a welcoming sign says, "Corrections Capital of the World." Crazy, right?! The downtown area is charming and not to be missed. It's listed on the National Historical Register for it's abundance of turn-of-the-century architecture. It was so neat to submerge ourselves in the ambience of another era. The architecture is really classic and not many Colorado downtowns have that historic flavor. And Henry and Melvin did fantastic by the way with their commands! We heard Pizza Madness was delish but were not hungry at the time but we did enjoy an amazing Italian cream soda at The Bean Pedaler on Main Street. Every city has a Main Street, you know?! Bicycles, beer, coffee, cream sodas....pretty much perfect!

We continued our travels to a tiny antique town called Florence. Florence, Colorado had humble beginnings with the migration of trappers, explorers and pioneers into the area. The French explorers built a fort and trading post south of Florence and in 1887 Senator James McCandless incorporated the City of Florence, affectionately naming it after his youngest daughter. 

Today, the town of Florence still maintains that small-town, down-to earth family feel. Head to historic downtown Florence for an afternoon of browsing, shopping and dining. Boasting 20 antique shops, five art galleries, almost a dozen restaurants and numerous specialty shops, modern-day treasure hunters will love this oasis of antiques and art. Almost every nook and cranny of these antique stores is filled with treasures. From vintage postcards and toys to collectible dishes and books, each store has its own unique personality. Downtown Florence has also enjoyed a revival of art and music and shoppers can view and purchase artwork in medias including oil paintings, photography, jewelry, pottery and more.

I immediately freak out because I see that The Gin Blossoms are going to play a benefit concert for the historic Rialto Theatre in Florence. The timing is just off for us though but you guys...I love them! So many sweet memories of my youth driving around in my first car which was a little red geo metro convertible. I had this adorable boyfriend at the time that I would make out with in that car. Ha. The things music triggers in our minds. I would have loved to see The Gin Blossoms live. 

So many wonderful little gems to explore. I could do this everyday of my life. It's time to head back in so we decided to go back to Manitau Springs. We did some research for a dog friendly patio and discovered Heart Of Jerusalem Cafe. Oh my goodness. This place was fantastic. I am already dreaming of it in my sleep. Get the sage tea and just look at the heart shaped falafel's!! I hope to get back here one day. And the dogs did great on our first patio dinner as a family. JD is magic you guys.

You must see The Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods red rock formations were created during a geological upheaval along a natural fault line millions of years ago. Archaeological evidence shows that prehistoric people visited Garden of the Gods about 1330 BC. At about 250 BC, Native American people camped in the park; they are believed to have been attracted to wildlife and plant life in the area and used overhangs created by the rocks for shelter. 

Multiple tribes traveled through Garden of the Gods. The Utes' oral traditions tell of their creation at the Garden of the Gods, and petroglyphs have been found in the park that are typical of early Utes. The Utes found red rocks to have a spiritual connection and camped near Manitou Springs and the creek near Rock Ledge Ranch bordering Garden of the Gods. The Old Ute Trail went past Garden of the Gods to Ute Pass and led later explorers through Manitou Springs. Starting in the 16th century, Spanish explorers and later European American explorers and trappers traveled through the area.

In 1879 Charles Elliott Perkins, a friend of William Jackson Palmer, purchased 480 acres of land that included a portion of the present Garden of the Gods. Upon Perkins' death, his family gave the land to the City of Colorado Springs in 1909, with the provision that it would be a free public park. Palmer had owned the Rock Ledge Ranch and upon his death it was donated to the city.

Helen Hunt Jackson wrote of the park, "You wind among rocks of every conceivable and inconceivable shape and size... all bright red, all motionless and silent, with a strange look of having been just stopped and held back in the very climax of some supernatural catastrophe."

The outstanding geologic features of the park are the ancient sedimentary beds of deep-red, pink and white sandstonesconglomerates and limestone that were deposited horizontally, but have now been tilted vertically and faulted into "fins" by the immense mountain building forces caused by the uplift of the Rocky Mountains and the Pikes Peak massif. The following Pleistocene Ice Age resulted in erosion and glaciation of the rock, creating the present rock formations. Evidence of past ages can be read in the rocks: ancient seas, eroded remains of ancestral mountain ranges, alluvial fans, sandy beaches and great sand dune fields.

Melvin and Henry approve. 

We had a great time in Colorado and made the long trek back to Tulsa on Sunday. The boys were so happy to be back home. They slept for like 14 hours. 

Thanks for traveling along with me!

Shop the story here.

XO

Sam