One thing that did bother me a little bit is that the site does not openly admit that it is a recreation. Many attempts have been made to realistically portray this site as an actual Anasazi construction. When touring the ruins look at the construction style and look at the attention to detail that was taken.
From the thatched roofs to the round beam ceilings to the careful stonework it really is impressive to see. The colors and feel of the place is a genuine experience and the builders have been quite respectful to the Anasazi herritage of the building style. Exhibits and even music are used to supplement the experience and create reverence for the former inhabitants. Even though they never actually lived here.
One thing I was very happy about was that the public is allowed to explore inside the ruins. Anasazi ruins in the four corners areas are being more and more closed off to protect them. This is NOT an actual ruin so having people run through there and touch things will not be damaging it much.
The construction has many informational signs that explain how daily life would have been for the Anasazi and the light quality in the spaces is fantastic if you visit in the afternoon with the sun to the South.
This is one of the spectacular festivals that makes Manitou Springs sorta-unique especially as a place where people can be strange, different, and freakish. It definitely rhymes in with the "Keep Manitou Weird" campaign that's been going around for a few years. Of course, Colorado has at least two of these wacky Coffin Races, the other being the "Frozen Dead Guy Days" in Nederlands, Colorado. Every October, on Manitou Avenue, in the town's National Historic District, thousands gather to watch push-cart coffins be raced down the avenue in honor and memory of the late Emma Crawford. Emma Crawford moved to Manitou Springs as did many to partake of the healing mineral springs that were a known cure for tuberculosis that she was suffering from. However, the summer of 1890 she died just as she was about to marry an engineer named Mr. Hildebrand of the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. She wanted to be buried atop Red Mountain, and even though the city did not approve it, Mr. Hildebrand and eleven other men carried her coffin to the top of the Red Mountain and laid her to rest there at the 7200 foot Summit. 1929 storms eroded the granite holding her coffin and her remains were washed down the side of Red Mountain. Some say her coffin went racing down the roads. She was reburied in the Manitou Springs Cemetery in an unmarked grave. An official grave was dedicated to her in 2004. Coffin Races were established in her honor to keep her story alive. At 12 o'clock, someone is dressed up as Emma to judge the races. Everyone dresses up ghoulishly, festivities take place all over town, and thousands gather to watch the races. Teams push-carting their coffin hosting a "Emma" within race up and down Manitou Ave. Parading of costumes and coffins, The Hearse Con from Denver come down and do a Hearse parade as well. So too come the Ghostbusters. It's a great affair and a fabulous time! Arrive early to grant parking. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.
Located atop a ridge, the Cave of the Winds is a nice place to visit. You'll climb nearly 500 feet (180 meters), by car to reach the modern entrance. The trails are well managed and easy to walk. There's just over 200 steps (up and down) inside the cave. Hand rails help and when we went (summer) it was all dry.
There were several kids on the tour (i'd say the youngest was 3, not counting the baby being carried.) They had a great time. Their dad kept them towards the back, so they could look at things closer as they went. The previous tour was mostly teens and pre-teens. The guide was still in shock from the energy of that group. it was a great tour.
Ever want to gasp for air, become exhausted with little effort? No? Then don't go to Pikes Peak. It's one of only two mountains in the U.S. over 14,000 feet (2600 meters) that have 'easy' ways to the top. You can drive (toll road) - about 1-1 1/2 hours; you can take the cogwheel train - about 1 hr 15 min; or you can walk 16 hours. Regardless, you'll literally have your breath taken away. We took the train (see my Cog Rail tip).
Be sure to visit the Cliff dwellings and tour the museum. Take time to read the info on the self guided tour sheet that is given to you as you enter the gate. Allow about 2-3 hours for this activity. This is a great treat for children as well as adults.
Don’t limit your visit in Manitou Springs only to Manitou Avenue, walk up Canon Avenue, where you can see Cliff Hotel, US Post Office, and also a residential area. The last one is the most interesting because Manitou Springs location on the hills changes the way houses customary built. Instead of being lined up, as we see in modern residential areas, Manitou Springs houses are lined up in figurative meaning, they are spread up the hills like the stairs.
I recommend not to be afraid and try water from mineral springs located in the downtown of Manitou Springs. Springs were restored after the Mineral Springs Foundation was organized in 1987 and safe to drink.
Unfortunately now people don’t know much about the healing effect of mineral waters, so when they see me drinking from the spring and even bottling the water they grow with a surprise. But let me tell you this: in Ukraine, where I was born, we have the same resort in Carpathian Mountains and people pay to drink mineral water, or pay for bottled water. In Manitou Springs I can get it for free, and I rarely loose such opportunity. This is what I advise you to do.
Stratton spring on the picture is my favorite, I think, because of the girl sculpture but not the quality of spring’s water.
Take a train to Pikes Peak that takes its start from Manitou Springs. Round trip lasts more than 3 hours and includes 30 to 40 minutes on the summit. Look a web site for more details, especially for times and prices.
Visit Cliff House Hotel. On the ground floor it has old fashioned sitting room and dining room. Also on the walls you will find old pictures of the Cliff House before fire. We looked at one of the rooms of the Cliff House. It seemed to us very small, although the price for one night was $200. I guess you pay for history not for square feet.
Go up Canon Ave, and not so far from Manitou Avenue you will see individual building with a store named Crystal (maybe it is renamed, I am not sure). The building has interesting paintings on both sides. I think you will like to take their pictures. I, frankly speaking, consider them as a good art work.
The upper floor of the Castle had rooms for servants. Those days servants’ rooms were not count into total amount of room in the Castle. I can understand why, they are awfully small, so small that even one of the rooms is not shown for the visitors, because it used as a closet or some office room by museum staff. Moreover, two or more servants lived in those rooms.
Priest’s mother, Marie Francolon had three rooms for herself in the Castle: dressing room, bathroom, and bedroom. In her bedroom there is a picture on the wall with the bed that she brought from France when she came. It belonged to Empress Josephine.
It was popular in the Victorian era to have a house with unusual shapes, and the Castle rarely has a four-sided room. For instance, the Chapel in the Castle has 8 corners and Guest Bedroom 16 corners.
Former Miramont Castle’s basement now is occupied by The International Museum of Miniatures. It is more as a collection of small toys for children designed in different styles of different times, countries and families. There miniatures that show Taiwan, Japan, Spain, France, England. Also there are many miniatures about day-to-day life of people.
If you look at the picture, you will see the inside of a house. Imagine, the lady doll is like a half of my finger, and my fingers are not so large.