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Did you know that Colorado Springs is also known as Olympic City U.S.A.? Neither did I. Not only is the city home to the U.S. Olympic Training Center, but Colorado Springs recently celebrated the grand opening of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum, a stunning state-of-the-art building showcasing the history of the Olympic games as well as athletes that competed. The 60,000 square-foot facility focuses on the core values of the Olympic and Paralympic movements: friendship, respect and excellence, determination, equality, inspiration, and courage. The museum was voted “Best New Attraction” by USA Today and it’s easy to see why.
Visitors enter a grand lobby and take an elevator to the top level of the building where they can view a chronological history of the Olympic and Paralympic torches, medals, and other items. The museum is divided between the summer and winter games and the self-guided tour includes an emotional video highlighting the greatest U.S. Olympic triumphs as well as some struggles Team U.S.A. has faced along the way.
The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum is within walking distance from the new Kinship Landing hotel, so it is well worth the visit. After a morning at the museum, grab a quick bite at the hotel’s restaurant, Home Café + Bar. I ordered the North Park sandwich, consisting of roasted pork, caramelized onions, banana peppers and served with a black garlic aioli. It was a messy, but delicious way to begin my stay at Kinship Landing.
The hotel is meant to be a gathering place. Many spaces in the lobby are designed so guests can mingle and socialize with each other. The hotel gears towards a younger, more adventurous traveler who is looking to make friends and create wonderful memories along the way. This is no way means the hotel skimps on luxury. The bed was probably one of the most comfortable I’ve slept on.
A brief 15-minute ride from the property is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, which was recently voted one of the best zoos in the country. While the setting is truly breathtaking, the zoo itself was a bit challenging to navigate. There were a few times my guest and I had to back track and ask zoo staff for directions as some of the exhibits weren’t clearly marked. Some of my favorite areas of the zoo included the penguin habitat as well as the Australian exhibit. Visitors can also purchase unique experiences including the chance to feed elephants and giraffes.
For dinner, head over to Paravicini’s Italian Bistro, an old-school Italian restaurant located in Old Colorado City, or "OCC" as the locals call it. The restaurant was featured on an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins & Dives, and I can now see why Fieri was so in love with this place. The chicken marsala and side of penne Bolognese were prepared to perfection. I wasn’t expecting a great Italian meal in Colorado, but I sure got one.
Colorado Springs is home to two LGBTQ bars, Club Q and ICONS. Although I didn’t have a chance to visit Club Q, I did swing by ICONS, which is located in the heart of downtown. The piano bar is probably one of the best LGBTQ bars I’ve been to in recent memory, not only for the theme, but also the friendliness of the staff and quality of the cocktails. The venue opened in 2020 and features a talented group of bartenders, who also perform throughout the evening, singing a variety of music from old standards to more recent hits from icons including Whitney Houston and Lady Gaga.
The next part of my trip focused on wellness and nature. I began the morning with an incredible yoga class from Dragonfly Paddle Yoga where we did yoga on a paddleboard in the middle of a lake. Get ready to engage your core muscles for this one, or you will be drenched before class is over. The class meets at the boat ramp of a man-made lake near downtown and paddles to an alcove surrounded by lush trees, with mountains soaring in the background. At first, I was hesitant to try to stand on the paddleboard, but as time went on, I gained confidence in my yoga skills (or lack thereof) and was able to stand and perform yoga poses on the paddleboard. Some were more challenging than others, but I did get a fabulous workout while enjoying the beautiful surroundings.
After grabbing a light snack and latte from Loyal Coffee located directly across from Kinship Landing, head to the Cog Railway and prepare to ascend to an elevation of over 14,000 feet to the top of Pike’s Peak. The entire journey takes a little over an hour but is well worth it. The view from Pike’s Peak is spectacular and was said to be the inspiration for the song “America the Beautiful.” The original railway opened in 1891 and was recently restored, making it the highest in the United States and longest cog railway in the world. Bring your camera for this journey!
End your vacation in Colorado Springs with a visit to the Garden of the Gods Resort and Club. Located just 15-minutes from downtown, the resort is positioned on the edge of Garden of the Gods Park and the view is nothing short of extraordinary. Guests can dine on the mesa while watching the sunset over the mountains or wake up early for some sunrise mediation.
As soon as I arrived at the hotel, I went for a walk around the property and was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the resort and the park itself. My room featured two queen size beds and an enormous bathroom with walk-in shower and separate soaking tub. I really didn’t spend much time there as I was too busy enjoying the natural wonders.
After a few days spent touring the city, I was most excited about my treatments at STRATA Integrated Wellness and Spa. I began my spa day with Functional Neurology, a complex science which uses signals from the body to reset the brain. The alternative treatment is used to properly align the body’s musculoskeletal structure and restore mobility. It’s like a combination of chiropractic and touch therapy. Speaking of touch therapy, I had the chance to experience a wonderful treatment in which the therapist used her hands to help treat aches and pains. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but the treatment was quite relaxing and something I would do again. I was able to feel the heat and energy from her hands as she ever so slightly touched problem areas.
My favorite treatment of the day however was the Royal Thai Poultice Massage, an 80-minute experience which combines an organic herbal poultice with Thai stretching, and aromatherapy. How’s that for a day of pampering?
Begin the following morning with Breathwork and Mindfulness on the mesa led by the STRATA’s wellness coach Kelly Stoinski. It’s rare that I have a chance to slow down, especially in the morning, but this was a perfect way to end an incredible visit.
Colorado Springs is a great place for LGBTQ travelers seeking a combination of outdoor adventures as well as city life. While the city itself isn’t as large as its neighbor to the north, it is very walkable, easy to navigate and everything you need to experience is within a 15–20-minute drive from the airport.
To book your Colorado Springs gaycation, visit Orbitz.com/Pride.
Enjoy the Journey!
After the last 2 years of dealing with the pandemic and packing on those COVID pounds here are some motivational quotes that can be the spark plugs to our wellness engines. You can have a full tank of gas, a clean carburetor, all the fluids topped off, and 300 horsepower of Detroit’s finest under the hood, but you’re going nowhere without that initial spark. In your quest for well-being, you need a catalyst to move you from idle to ideal. Here are some motivational jolts to inspire you to get your health and fitness vehicle moving.
Make time for exercise each dayPhoto by Victor Freitas on Unsplash
Thomas Paine said, “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.” You will have conflicts with making time for exercise each day. The treadmill will conflict with your enjoyment of the living-room couch and its fluffy pillows. Your body will engage in conflict with dumbbells and exercise balls as it seeks better health. Embrace these conflicts with excitement, and walk through the smoke and fire. Triumph is waiting on the other side.
Marathon runnersPhoto by Miguel A. Amutio on Unsplash
John F. Kennedy said, “Things do not happen. Things are made to happen.” The firefighter’s 55-pound weight loss did not just happen one day on a call. The computer programmer’s success in the Chicago Marathon did not just happen on a Sunday in October. The 4th grade teacher’s significant drop in cholesterol level did not just happen the day before spring break. These people made things happen…and it took time.
Ralph Marston of The Daily Motivator website, wrote, “What you do today can improve all your tomorrows.” Let today be the first day in 28 years without a cigarette. Stay an extra five minutes on the recumbent bike at the gym today. Start training today for the three-day breast cancer walk that is scheduled for the fall. Tomorrow is always waiting to see what you put in your piggy bank today. Invest wisely and watch the dividends grow.
Full MoonPhoto by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
Jill McLemore once said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land amongst the stars.” Set that goal to trim 75 pounds from your body. Only losing 42 pounds puts you way out there with the North Star. Aim to run 750 miles this year. Coming up 68 miles short will still put you past that former planet Pluto and on your way to the Orion constellation. Dropping eight waist sizes by Christmas instead of the projected 10 will let you glow with the luminescence of several brilliant wonders in the sky. By the way, I think there’s a full moon tonight!
Zig Ziglar stated, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” Tom Cruise was another aspiring pretty face in Hollywood about 30 years ago before starting to audition for parts in TV shows. Jared Fogle was a morbidly obese college student at Indiana University in the 1990s before beginning his Subway diet. Mark Zuckerberg was just another starry-eyed Ivy Leaguer until he began to implement a social network idea. They all have that common bond: They started something.
These motivational quotes should help get your wellness engine running and once your car is started there’s no telling where your health and fitness can go. Don't forget to end me a postcard when you get there!
This health and fitness article is brought to you by that guy who’s sneaky like a black hole and bright like a nebula. My name is Ron Blake and I can be found playing with my telescope at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Curative has announced that it is currently providing COVID-19 no-cost testing in your area at Metropolitan Community College.
Stay safe and get tested!
You can schedule COVID-19 Test at curative.com, and receive results in 24-48 hours.
Curative is the leading provider of COVID-19 testing in the United States. Curative’s mission is to end the COVID-19 pandemic by providing simple-to-use and painless testing at scale to produce reliable data for patients and health officials. We know that broad access to testing, robust contact tracing, and a vaccine are necessary to end the pandemic.
Is there any cost?
Regarding the tests, there is no out of pocket cost to the individual. Through the CARES act, all individuals with health insurance will be covered for a COVID-19 test. No one is ever charged a copay or deductible.
For uninsured individuals, they are covered under the HRSA fund under the CARES act. Curative will never send a bill to any individual getting a COVID-19 test through any of our testing sites.
How soon do I get the results?
Curative provides results within 24 hours of arrival at our lab (if not sooner). We pride ourselves on our ability to distribute tests rapidly, test patients easily, and send them their results quickly. Other highlights include:
· Non-invasive cheek swab (video) that is more accurate (~90%) than a nasopharyngeal test (~80%)
· Can be self-collected under supervision by lightly-trained individuals (so no onsite medical professional required)
· Results within 24 hours of receipt at our lab
· Lab capacity to process tens of thousands of additional tests
· Manufacturing capacity to meet any order size
· Minimal PPE requirement due to the test’s self-collected method
Please visit curative.com to schedule your no-cost appointment TODAY at a site nearest to you. Together we can end this pandemic!
Curative believes that communal well-being is fundamental to individual health.
Curative is building infrastructure to make essential health services easier to access for everyone. Their infrastructure is designed to change as the world does—offering nearby access, affordable services, and science-based guidance.
Their efforts are supported by the optimism and ambition we share with communities across the US, and together we’re imagining new ways to help more people stay safe, healthy, and informed wherever they are.
“I wish I could work out, too, but I just don’t have the motivation!”
Give me a dollar for every time I’ve heard that and I’d be in Cabo San Lucas with an umbrella drink right now. Let’s identify a few of your motivations to get you on the right path. They are there … you just need to realize them so you can make it a great 2022.
How about getting healthy so you can be at that Christmas celebration in 30 years with all the family gathered around and exchanging presents? There will be nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, children and maybe some grandchildren, all enjoying the sounds and sights of the season. That would be amazing!
How about being healthy so you can watch the first man land on Mars in 2030? You hear all the talk about preparing for a mission to Mars, but it will be a long time in coming. Just think if you were alive and well to see it happen!
How about being healthy so you can attend that 60-year class reunion? It might even be nice to walk into the function with a spring in your step and a glow of health about you! Many of your classmates will have walked past St. Peter and those pearly gates by that time, but you can give yourself a chance to stay here with some proactive measures.
How about being healthy so you can spend more time being relaxed and retired? It would be awesome to just not have to do anything you didn’t want to do! Get up every day and use that watch they gave you as a fashion accessory only. With a healthy body, you can spend ample time in the lap of leisure well into your 90s.
How about being healthy so you can walk your dog with your grandkids or great-nephews after that Thanksgiving meal many years down the road? It will be so cool to have that turkey dinner with all the relatives, but it’ll be even more fun to be able to move around without having to catch your breath between steps.
How about being healthy so you can continue to enjoy vibrant sunsets, thrilling football games, colorful leaves in the fall, summer barbecues, or birthday cards in the mail?
Everyone can find the motivation to work out! You just have to identify which motivation will get you to your starting line each day and which will help you get to your daily finish line.
There are plenty of great things to enjoy in life. Find your motivation and start earning your frequent flyer miles for your healthy life. Then soar into the future with excitement about what will be!
This article of motivation is brought to you by a guy who knows a good thing when he sees it. That guy of good vision is Ron Blake, and he can be spotted on that bright horizon at email@example.com.