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Oh good Lord!

February 5 2005 at 3:59 PM

David  (Login davidbeers)
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Response to HOUSTON to MANITOU move


There's *great* eating in Manitou--and in Colorado Springs. I know what you mean about the good food scene in Houston. I had all these favorite cafe hangouts, there was lots of good ethnic food, and things were starting to get good downtown (finally). Plus you had cool ice houses in the neighborhoods where you could hang out in the open air with a beer and maybe listen to some hot Zydeco music. But the scene here is just as good or *better* as far as I'm concerned. The reason is that when you are in Houston you have to drive in traffic to all these places and park. You have no idea how nice it is to just walk out your door any time the spirit moves you, and 3 minutes later into any one of a couple of dozen restaurants or cafes here in town.

We've got great fusion cuisine (Adams Mountain Cafe and a new one called Blue Vervain), cool coffee houses (Spice of Life, Mate Factor--which is open all night), the best gourmet pizza I've ever had (Marilyn's even beats Star Pizza in Houston), Moroccan food (Tajine Alami), the best bar food I've ever had (The Keg = great steaks and believe it or not a salad that will blow you away), and some of the best 4- and 5-star sit-down dining anywhere in the state (The Cliff House, The Craftwood Inn, the Stage Coach). We've got some really weird, cool stuff, too: how about a wine and chocolate bar with live acoustic music that's inside a mountain bike and climbing store? Sounds crazy but it's cool. And you'll never find it in Houston.

And that's just the stuff that's within 3 minutes walking distance of your door. Colorado Springs has great dining. The best Vietnamese food I've had, for instance. The poshest and coolest piano bar I've ever been in (The Golden Bee). The nicest hole-in-the wall French cafe I've ever been in (La Creperie).

Yeah, there are things you'll miss. Great Cajun food for one. You are not going to get the kind of quality music acts in the bars and music halls here that you get in Houston--although there's great stuff 20 minutes away in Colorado Springs. For me the few things I miss have been more than compensated by several things:

1. The great street life here. You should see Mardi Gras! People come from all over the state for Carnivale, which is going on right now. All summer long there are bands playing in the bandstand in Soda Springs Park. Festivals of one kind or another about every other weekend. My lord, there are some weird ones. Never a dull moment. We will celebrate ANYTHING we can think of in this town.

2. The great weather. Listen to me: no air conditioning! You just open your window in the summer and cool dry air comes wafting in to your home or car. You don't have to breathe refinery fumes all the time and there are no bugs at all. You don't even need screens on your windows here.

3. The great outdoor scene. From my front door I am 10 minutes walking distance from 4 outstanding hiking trails: The Intemann Trail, which has a branch that goes to the top of Red Mountain overlooking Manitou; the Rattlesnake Gulch trail, that goes up the pass to the little town of Cascade; Williams Canyon, which has 300 foot limestone cliffs that soar over your head; and of course the Barr Trail, which goes to the top of Pikes Peak. Again: those are just the ones I can hike on without ever getting in my car. With a few minutes drive I'm in Garden of the Gods, Waldo Canyon, Red Rocks Canyon, Green Mountain Falls... the list goes on and on. Even if you're not really into hiking and mountain biking, Manitou is still the best town to just walk around that I've been in. Just *try* taking a walk in Houston! It's miserable.

4. The great art scene. Unlike Houston where so much of the art scene is comprised of people who live somewhere else and are paid by folks with oil money to come in and entertain them, ours is mostly homegrown. Manitou is an artists colony. Yes, it's a smaller scene because we're a tiny town. But we have terrific galleries and some really world-class artists here. One gallery got an award recently for being the best place to buy art in the State. We also have great performing arts, thanks to a couple of great local performers who make a business of bringing in terrific national and international acts that perform in the old livery that is now called the BAC. Mostly it's small performing acts--not full-blown theater like you'd see at the Alley--but that's some of the most interesting stuff, in my opinion. If I want to see theater I have the Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs that's only 20 minutes away. I saw a terrific performance of Cabaret there just this week, by the way.

I'd add a few more things, but I gotta go. Personally, I think you'd be crazy to worry about the stuff you'll leave behind in Houston for what you'll get in Manitou Springs. I've never regretted it for a single second. Not one!

Hope we see you here!


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