All posts by John Cameron

Visit Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs

Early travellers were drawn to Colorado Springs for the high altitude, sunshine, mineral waters, and dry climate. Present-day travellers visit for many of the same reasons.  At 6,035 ft., Colorado Springs  even surpasses Denver, the mile high city. Most travellers fly into Denver International Airport and drive 75 miles (121km) south on Interstate Highway 25 to Colorado Springs, the second largest city in Colorado.

Where to stay

Terrace Garden of the Gods Resort photo credit: John Cameron

For unparalleled views of The Garden of the Gods Park and Pike’s Peak, stay at the luxurious Garden of the Gods Collection. We loved the over-sized, quiet, comfortable suite, the infinity pool, and the delicious breakfasts.

Things to Do

The poetically named Garden of the Gods, containing 300 million years of geologic history, was donated to Colorado Springs in 1909, with the proviso that it be operated permanently as a city park, open to the public.

Climbers in Garden of the Gods Park photo credit: John Cameron

Hiking, biking and horseback riding are popular activities in the 1334-acre park. If you only have time for one trail, the paved Central Garden Trail is the best introduction to the geology and plants of the Garden. Garden of the Gods Visitor and Nature Center is a Trip Advisor traveller’s choice for #1 park in the US. Admission to the park and the state of the art visitor center is free.

Kissing Camels Golf Course photo credit: John Cameron

Golf at Kissing Camels Golf Club at Garden of the Gods Collection.   J. Press Maxwell and Mark Rathert designed this challenging, well-routed and well maintained 27-hole championship track.   Five sets of tee boxes (look for the colourful camel markers) make this an enjoyable course for every level of golfer.

Cheyenne Mountain Golf Course photo credit John Cameron

Cheyenne Mountain Resort features an immaculately groomed 18-hole Pete Dye championship track designed to challenge golfers at all skill levels.

Cheyenne Mountain Resort boasts tour-quality greens and broad fairways on a course set beside a private, 35-acre lake. Hole nine is a short par four. Keep your tee ball left for a short approach in and a good opportunity for birdie.

Manitou Springs Stagecoach photo credit: John Cameron

Colorado Springs was named for the natural mineral springs in nearby Manitou Springs. This historic, quirky town is known for its mineral water. Manitou Springs’ visitor center can supply you with a map to the springs and a cup. The eight springs (or fountains) are easily found walking along Manitou Avenue. Each spring has a distinctive taste due to the difference in mineral content. Our favorite is the Shoshone Spring, which has the highest lithium content.

Colorado is teeming with natural hot springs but unfortunately, there are no local options for residents and visitors of Colorado Springs. The nearest hot springs are 2 hours drive, depending on the traffic.


Bianchi Winery, Paso Robles, California

No newcomer to the party, Glenn Bianchi and his father Joseph ’s love affair with wine began with a vineyard and winery in the Central Valley of California in 1974. Their desire to create a boutique winery with an emphasis on premium varietals led them to Paso Robles. Impressed with Paso Robles natural beauty and reputation for wines with finesse and complexity, they purchased 40 acres of vineyards on Branch Road in January of 2000.

Bianchi Winery Paso Robles

The Paso Robles terroir is best suited to red varietals. The winery’s sloping vineyards feature Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah and Merlot vines. These varietals make up their  Heritage Selection. The Italian red varietal Refosco is only available at the Winery Tasting Room.

Bianchi also has produced a great line of four whites: Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Moscato. All are made with grapes sourced from cool marine-influenced Santa Barbara and Monterey County vineyards. Their crisp Chardonnay follows the current trend, moving away from the buttery notes by splitting fermentation between stainless steel tanks and oak barrels.

Bianchi Winery Tasting Room

Bianchi is a member of the Wineries of Paso Robles 46 East. Their Wine Club offers members 30% off any purchases on the day of sign up. With the purchase of a case of wine,  Club Members can earn a complimentary one night stay at the adjacent Vineyard House.

The Vineyard House at Bianchi Winery

Bianchi Vineyard House

The perfect spot for a wine country getaway, the Vineyard House is a 3 bedroom/2 bath house which can sleep up to three couples. The large house features a wood-burning fireplace, a fully equipped kitchen, a wine fridge, outdoor BBQ and ensuite laundry.

Bianchi Vineyard House front patio

Guests can sit on the peaceful front patio overlooking the waterfall fed pond or the large back patio, enjoying the sun setting over the vineyard with a glass of wine. City dwellers beware – the silence of the peaceful countryside is deafening.