What a beautiful site. Who doesn’t like pancakes, let alone steaks, so it makes absolute perfect sense in a whimsical town with competing carved bear statue stores to have a pancake & steakhouse all-in-one restaurant. Even better was the fact that it was across from the “hotel”.
When handed an opportunity like this, you must take it. Myself, Jennifer, and her three 5 year olds (yes, I said three 5 year olds – who are wonderful by the way, partially because they think that I’m silly, which coming from kids is totally cool) made breakfast plans. We informed the host of the party of 5 and after looking around at all of the four person booths realize this town might possibly have a population control law forbidding more than two children per family unit. Luckily we spotted the one such exception, and entirely too large grand dining table smack dab in the middle of the restaurant for all to see. So Jennifer and I looked like quite the happy “couple” with “our” children for the remainder of the morn. Now, I pretend to eat healthy most of the time – but when my egg white-spinach-mushroom omelet came out with a heaping stack of hash browns, I gobbled those things up like there was no tomorrow. They were the sluttiest bunch of greasy, crispy, salty potatoes I’d ever partook of, and I would be lying if I didn’t say I dream daily about them.
ENTER THE NORTH POLE
Contrary to popular belief the North Pole is actually located a country mile north of Manitou Springs – per a giant billboard. I decided to impose on Jennifer’s family vacation and join them in their trek to make three 5 year olds and a baby very very happy. The scene of approaching the North Pole reminded me of Lampoon’s Family Vacation – the parking lot was bare – we wondered if it was open. We looked through the cloud cover and impending drizzle and saw the rides were still moving so it was a go. Plus the kids had already seen where we were going and it’s kind of mean to turn around at that point. The price of admission was quite steep to experience the vision of sugarplums dancing through our heads, but once again, remember, the children are our future (and secretly I knew this would be ridiculously funny to blog about).
When the ride operator (who is dressed as an elf with striped socks, addidas tennis shoes, and just bummed a smoke to another elf) sits the two people getting on the ride so the weight is distributed evenly, it’s probably not a good sign. After a few attempts Jennifer and I wedged ourselves into a kiddie ride. I then heard Steve mention something about llamas, which entirely peaked my interest. There were llamas sitting literally 5 feet away from the ride – I had NO clue the North Pole had such species – red nosed reindeer, yes; llamas, no clue!
The creatively named the 17 gift shops as “boys toy shop”, “girl toy shop”, “gift shop”, “souvenir shop”, “mother hubbard cupboards”. It was in these shops that you could buy confectionary treats and sweat pants that said “colorado”. While getting cider to warm up the troupe I inquired about the mocha. Suggestion to the North Pole: invest in some barista elves – because a mocha is not “ummm, we fill the glass mostly with hot chocolate and then top it off with some coffee”
I don’t know if you have seen killer clowns from outer space, but this was kind of the Christmas version. Amongst the rides, and shops, and Santa’s House, and the Elves there were animatronic shows with Christmas songs that sounded as though they were plucked from the dulcimer I bought in town.
Throughout the freezing drizzle and naseating rides we were able to maintain our Christmas cheer – and serenaded the park with a lively rendition of Jingle Bells.
end of day 2