Insider Guide 2010
At Kendall York's new Manitou Springs store, every rubberband gun, robot and play kitchen was made right here in the U.S. of A. And prices start at just a few bucks.
Best Of 2012: Place to Eat Local/Sustainable
Best Of 2012: Restaurant for Herbivores
Best Of 2012: Neighborhood Restaurant: Manitou
An institution in downtown Manitou Springs, Adam's takes multiple titles each year. There are a couple major reasons, says owner Farley McDonough: "First, we try to be as consistent as possible. ... Second, we don't waver from that which we do well." And why would they? Look at the huevos rancheros, for instance. "It seriously rocks: The green chile is great, the avocado is fresh, the beans are spiced just right, and the eggs are local," says McDonough. As for those most partial to dining on Adam's creekside patio, McDonough has more good news: "My hope for the future is that we can find a way to keep the patio open all winter," she says. — Celine Wright
Bites 2013: Christmas Mountain Falls
Yeah, the menu says Green or Red Mountain Falls, but locals know you can mix them to dramatic effect. Onto a bed of toasted polenta (yup — 'dem ITALian corn grits) capped in cheddar cheese come the vegetarian chilies garnished with scallions and tomatoes and cooled slightly by a dollop of sour cream. Get the added eggs your style (over medium, perhaps?) because the yolk adds another pleasing dimension. There you have it: Christmas year-round. ($7/$10.25 with two eggs).Click here for Adam's Mountain Cafe's Indian Braised Romanesco Recipe!
The Mariner hosts a variety of musical acts, but the every-other-Sunday acid jazz jam remains the must-hear attraction. Led by Kim Stone — the former Spyro Gyra and the Rippingtons bassist whose current band, A New Brain for Arnie, released an impressive debut album last November — the improvisational musicianship can get positively transcendent.
Happy hour: Monday-Friday, 5-7 p.m.
The goods: 50 cents off all drinks
Best value: "Our microbrews."
Best of 2012: Bed and Breakfast
Some B&Bs are more showy than utilitarian. Not the Avenue. The sprawling, three-story structure, originally built in 1886 as a boarding house, is homey, uncluttered and not too frou frou; it blends antiques, Victorian throwbacks and mountain décor for an eclectic feel. Not to mention two dogs and three cats, which owner Gwenn David calls a "big draw." David, a former wallpaper-hanger, bought the property four years ago with her husband, Randy Hodges, and revamped it. Now nine spacious guest rooms boast king- or queen-sized beds, private bathrooms and extras such as afternoon wine and an outdoor garden hot tub. "It's become an industry," David says, "and people expect more out of breakfast, and they want interaction with the host and other guests." — Debbie Kelley
Insider Guide 2010
Blue Skies offers 10 different suites "especially well-suited to visiting parents and relatives of Colorado College students and United States Air Force cadets ..." Look for free Wi-Fi and a fireplace in every suite.
Best Of 2012: Restaurant for a Wedding Reception
There's no more romantic setting for a post-nuptial celebration than a stately Victorian manor house built in 1876 (incidentally, the same year Colorado became a state). On the outside, ivy climbs and balconies beckon, from which the bride can unfurl her veil or toss her bouquet. Inside, woven rugs, carved wooden stairway railings, glowing fireplaces and fine dining in every room, including the master bedroom, help guarantee that the Briarhurst further appeals to those given to flights of fancy and formality. So it is that this elegant fixture wins this category for the seventh consecutive year. — Pam Zubeck
Have a prix fixe four-course meal in the cozy castle, perfect also for periodic murder mystery dinners. Savory items include decadently prepared game meats like red deer with mushroom duxelle; sweets include well-executed classics.
The BAC houses several galleries, studios and coveted workspaces but also Venue 515, which now boasts a lively schedule of film screenings, regional and national music acts and monthly raw food dinners in the Canvas Café.
Insider Guide 2010
Spelunking, stalactites, stalagmites ... Cave of the Winds offers two tours for those hankering for some Colorado rock: the family-friendly, 45-minute Discovery Tour, and the 90-minute Lantern Tour, where children under 5 are not permitted and it's possible somebody will get lost forever. (Not true.)