The cold had started to settle for the autumn months on Main Street, leaving a light skiff of snow around the lampposts, encouraging the early morning crowd to add a wooly scarf and gloves to their cargo shorts and boots. In Idaho Springs, long pants with real coats weren’t considered necessary until mid-November, and even then you kept your hoodie close by for those “almost like summer” days. Ricky pulled off her vest as she found a place at one of the front tables at the Mainstreet Restaurant and ordered her favorite short stack of plate sized buttermilk pancakes and apple cider glazed pork loin. Mainstreet Restaurant was one of those places in town where people gathered to see “what was up on the street”, and there was a crowd seated now discussing if the Christmas tree lighting should be on December first, or if they should move it to December 2nd since it was a Friday. One of the guys, in his early sixties, looking like he was fit to climb Mount Evans that afternoon, seated himself across from Ricky as she was having her coffee refilled. They discussed the tree dilemma and Ricky voted for the Friday lighting. A younger man, one she’d seen coming out of Tommyknocker Brewery a time or two walked over to the table and seconded Ricky’s opinion about the tree lighting. He suggested that Friday was a better “date night”, then he left his card on the table and sauntered out the front door.
Nowhere in Colorado is the state’s mining history more obvious than in Idaho Springs. Gold was first discovered in Colorado here in 1859. If you’re looking for a fun-filled destination for a day trip, the town is full of family-friendly activities sure to entertain you. Idaho Springs – as an old minig town teeming with history to be savored in museums and tours, is also the home of quaint shops, art galleries, locally-owned restaurants and more. You can tour a gold mine, pan for gold, or even go river rafting in Cleer Creek.
Several mine tours give visitors insight into local mining history. In town is the Argo Gold Mine and Mill, where you can see what a working mill looked like. And not far from town is the Phoenix Gold Mine, a working mine, where you can learn about modern and historical mining techniques and do a little gold panning yourself.
Adjacent to Idaho Springs is Mount Evans. The road to the peak is a 14-mile ascent on the highest paved road in North America, rising to 14,200 feet above sea level. It’s a beautiful drive above timber line, and if you keep your eyes open, you might see some local mountain goats.
And if your pace tends to be slower, or you’re just looking for a day to unwind, imagine pampering yourself with a therapeutic and relaxing treatment at Indian Hot Springs Healing Waters and Spa. At this century-old destination, you can enjoy a massage or just relax in the hot springs mineral waters (for which the town is named), which have been rated as one of the top ten mineral hot springs in the world.
So much to do, and so little time. Maybe on your way home, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip!