cindy a. stephens | Historic Manitou Springs Colorado

Historic Manitou Springs Colorado

June 23, 2013  •  1 Comment

Posted by Cindy A Stephens


When the opportunity arose to speak at a conference for bank and trust executives in Colorado Springs, I jumped at the chance to extend my business trip by a few days to mix business with pleasure. 


There are few things that I enjoy more than exploring with my Nikon camera to photograph main streets and back roads.  Also, my vacation in neighboring Wyoming last October (read my blog on the Cowboys of Wyoming) wet my appetite for further visits to the Rocky Mountain States.

Historic Manitou Springs Colorado

Copyright 2013 Cindy A Stephens

The plan for this post-conference day was to take the Cog Railway in Manitou Springs to the top of Pikes Peak, a dizzying 14,115 feet above sea level.  What’s that quote? “The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” 


I have been at an elevation of more than 14,000 feet while traveling in South America.  I took several days to get acclimated to the thin Andean mountain air before reaching that altitude.  So the idea of ascending by railway in one hour to the top of Pikes Peak, spending 20 minutes at the top, and then spending another hour to descend had lost its appeal by the time we reached Manitou Springs from Colorado Springs.


It was a spectacular morning and I wasn’t in the mood to get lightheaded or dehydrated.  So I went in the opposite direction of the tourists that were eager to see one of the area's most popular local attractions (ascending Pikes Peak) and decided to enjoy Manitou Springs instead. 


Historic Mantiou Springs Colorado


Copyright 2013 Cindy A Stephens


Manitou Springs is a small city of 4,900 people.  According to the local website it is where “life and art merge”.  I suppose its artistic and slightly quirky vibe is why it held immediate appeal for me.  It had interesting art galleries, trading posts and quaint shops.  These shops aren’t what caught my eye photographically, however.


What drew my attention were an old fashioned ice cream/hot dog stand and a Hemp Store.  They immediately caught my attention for different reasons.  The stand looked like it had been transplanted from one of those traditional fairs that you find in New England during the fall. I loved the sense of nostalgia that it radiated in a vibrant downtown.  I am always intrinsically drawn to scenes that have elements from the past juxtaposed with the present.  I was like a kid in the proverbial candy shop (pun intended) with Colorado Mountains in the background and the beautiful downtown in the foreground reflections.  Also, this was something unique that I hadn't seen before while photographing other main streets. 


The hemp store was interesting for a different reason.  With its Colorado-themed wares and the iconic Adobe architecture across the street these images would be distinctly non-New England in flavor.  Part of the reason for extending my business trip was to expand the Reflections from Main Street USA portfolio to new states and add geographic diversity so I knew I wanted to spend time photographing in front of this storefront.


Taking the time to slow down and enjoy the relaxed artistic vibe that historic Manitou Springs had to offer turned out to be a great way to start the day before exploring in nearby Garden of the Gods.  Manitou is a Native American word for spirit.  And this main street definitely had lots of it.   


Don McLagan(non-registered)
Nice to have main streets of Colorado reflected as well as those of Concord and Carlisle
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I am a marketing professional and a fine art photographer.  With more than 20 years of experience as a marketer and image maker during the digital technology revolution, I now educate creative professionals how to create their artistic presence in the changing art world.  


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