A View from Manitou

Since we were only able to stay over for one night in Beaver Creek during Labor Day Weekend, we decided to make another overnight jaunt to Colorado Springs the following Saturday. We stayed at a place called the Cheyenne Mountain Resort, which I am planning to review next week. For now I wish to discuss a side excursion we made that Sunday before coming home to a cool little hippy town a few miles west of Colorado Springs. It’s name is Manitou Springs.


My wife and I have only lived in Colorado for four years but my understanding from the locals is that Manitou Springs is what Boulder used to be before it became overran by yuppies. That is to say a laid-back town at the foot of the Rockies with quaint little shops and cafes. A stew of various lifestyles co-habitating the same locale harmoniously without trying to impose their worldview onto others. My wife and I happily consumed all that we could see and hear in those few blocks of downtown Manitou Springs’ shopping and dining district. We felt so reinvigorated by its tranquil and pleasant surroundings.We were surprised by how much Manitou Springs reminded us of our former life in New Mexico. Some of the structures featured adobe-style facades and many shops specialized in selling Native American arts and crafts. It was like we had been teleported instantaneously to Gallup or Taos. Then in another instance, my wife would be taken back to her childhood in Sao Paulo, by the presence of little alleyways with other speciality shops. Manitou Springs even provided entertainment in the form of an old school midway, complete with  games like skeet ball and video games  drudged up from the depths of who knows where. Finally, the downtown area showcased a park with a children’s jungle gym and a little stage for performances while hugging the path of a beautiful little stream cutting its way through the town center.

I highly recommend an excursion to Manitou Springs if one is visiting Colorado Springs or even Denver for that matter. It is a perfect place to soak in some rays besides a lovely stream and accompanying flora. The shops and cafes are unique and inviting while the people remain laid-back and chill. If you like visiting hippy-esque communities during your travel escapades, consider dropping by Manitou Springs the next time you are in the area. You won’t be disappointed.

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Beaver Creek Village

Last week’s post talked about how I found a last minute Labor Day Deal to Beaver Creek, a ski village next to the town of Avon, CO and only 8 miles away from Vail. Despite living in Denver now going on 5 years, it was my first visit to Beaver Creek. We arrived at our destination, The Park Hyatt Beaver Creek around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. The drive in being relatively smooth with sparse traffic and the occasional brief rain shower to cool things down and give an autumn-like feel to the air. Even some of the trees had began changing colors, which is quite early for this time of year. I attribute this premature phenomenon to the rather hot and dry Summer we have had and are still experiencing. 
Upon pulling up to valet at the Park Hyatt (which was included free in this smashing deal), the attendant welcomed us and advised us that we still had a few hours left to enjoy Beaver Creek’s rendition of Oktoberfest. What an added bonus! My wife and I thought as we surrendered our car to the attendant,grabbed our bags, and gave the gentleman a small tip for his services. My wife waited in the lobby as I checked in at the front desk. The front desk attendant, a nice young lady, found my reservation instantaneously but was trying to assess me the $25 resort fee, contrary to what the travelzoo deal had offered. Thinking ahead of time that this may occur, I pulled out documentation of the offer displaying in print the waived resort fee, with which the attendant happily obliged. My wife and I took the elevator up to the third floor, locating our room with ease. While freshening up and getting ready for the Oktoberfest, I took pictures of the room and of the view for this blog. Nowadays I make sure to do that first as it is a hassle to make the room look presentable later on. 
It was so great to eat German street food! The little village square was littered with booths selling everything from bratwurst to Göstl, a sort of hot salad with potatoes, pork, and cabbage. There were also traditional German pastries of which I cannot recall the names at this time and of course hundreds of people carrying around traditional steins of German and local Colorado beer. For those that don’t know, Colorado is a mecca for great local craft beer!
In the center of the square a covered stage appeared, where traditional German music and dances were being held. Many in the crowd danced to their heart’s content and the general vibe was one of tranquil enjoyment I must say. I couldn’t think of a better way to wrap up this Summer season. The most amusing part of the festival for me happened when children competed to make the best sound on the long Swiss horn, called an Alphorn. It surely looked like you needed a lot of wind to make that thing blow! The culminating event of the Oktoberfest involved a performance by the Bon Jovi cover band called Bad Medicine. I am not a cover band aficionado per se, but to me the band played well, sounding and looking eerily like John Bon Jovi. I wonder if they were local or actually toured nationally as a cover band. So all in all the Oktoberfest was a great kick-off to our Beaver Creek Labor Day Weekend festivities. Next time I will discuss our accommodations at the Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa. I leave you with this question to ponder; When and where was a memorable Oktoberfest you spent? 

Last Minute Labor Day Deal!

 

Beaver Creek , CO Landscape

Beaver Creek , CO Landscape (Photo credit: baba1627)

For the last two weeks I had been searching frantically for a Labor Day weekend trip into the Rocky Mountains. My two target were Steamboat Springs and Breckenridge. I tried a variety of searches through the usual suspects; Travelzoo Supersearch, Kayak, Expedia, Hotwire, and Priceline. I used different travel combinations such as leaving on Saturday and coming back on Monday, leaving on Friday and coming back on Sunday, and even shortening it to one night to offset the jacked-up hotel prices for the holiday weekend. That was just it, I couldn’t find a deal justified in my mind where the price of the hotel matched the value.

View at the Beaver Creek Village.

View at the Beaver Creek Village. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Tuesday of this week I had all but given up when a light shone at the end of the tunnel. I went back into Travelzoo and instead of using Supersearch, I went to Travel Deals, clicked on hotels, and then chose the Seattle and Mountain West region. Low and behold a deal had been found! There it was about three options down the page, a stay at the 41/2 star Park Hyatt Beaver Creek Resort and Spa at 60% off. Where the price showing at other travel search engines showed $259, we got it through this special for $109. In addition the deal offered free valet parking, a waived resort fee ($25) and 25% off spa treatments. All in all we are looking at a savings over $200 a night. The only catch was that the deal begins today, so we delayed our trip a little bit.  Regardless, I am just so pleased we were able to find something, this being one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. What was your most memorable holiday travel deal? Next week I will return to begin breaking down my stay at the Park Hyatt and the accompanying village of Beaver Creek.