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What I Love Most About Winter Weddings

Snowy Garden of the Gods Club - Colorado Springs
Wintertime at Garden of the Gods Club

This week’s edition of Tuesdays with Tom comes from another member of our sales and catering team–our wedding specialist, Constanze Strader.

It’s hard to believe that I have been back at Garden of the Gods Club for nearly a year already.  Some of you might know that I originally worked at the club from 1999 to 2006 and then left for a few years to pursue other avenues in the world of event planning.  I must say that I am very happy to be back!

I was speaking with Tom Walker last week (you know Tom; this is his blog).  Well, anyway, we were talking about how beautiful the club looks this time of year and the fact that the winter season is truly here.  I mentioned how much I love winter weddings, and he asked me to share with you some of the reasons why:

  • A snow-capped Pikes Peak that can be seen from every area of the club provides the perfect backdrop for any picture.
  • The contrast of snow on the red-rock sandstone at Garden of the Gods Park, along with the deep-blue sky, is enough to take your breath away.
  • A signature drink is a fun idea for any wedding, and this is the perfect time to add a festive twist with a little eggnog or maybe a white chocolate martini.
  • A storefront in downtown Colorado Springs had marshmallows on a string hanging from the ceiling, which I thought would be the perfect idea to have dangling over a wedding cake.  It is creative ideas like this that makes winter weddings so much fun, as there are so many unique touches that you can add.
  • With winter weddings, the colder the weather is outside, the more warm and inviting the venue feels inside.  Add a crackling fire like we have in the Lounge here at the club, and it sets the perfect tone.
Any time of year is a great time to get married, and for anyone getting engaged this year, I offer you my congratulations and warmest wishes.  Happy holidays to one and all!


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This Holiday Season, Don’t Settle for the Usual Office Potluck


Potlucks are known for their mystery dishes.

Whether you have an office of five people or an office of 500, there is a good chance that this holiday season you will be participating in the infamous office potluck extravaganza.  So many things come to mind just hearing those words:  Jello cubes, ramen noodle delight, and the meat-pie casserole (or hot dish if you are from the midwest) that means bragging rights for whoever guesses which meat is contained inside.

Face of disgust or pain


I remember one year when five people all brought chili dishes to the company potluck.  We turned our potluck into a chili cook-off (doesn’t really scream Christmas, now does it?).  At another place I worked, someone brought cold scrambled eggs, and the event started at 6 pm–maybe he thought it was a breakfast event?  How about you; do you have any stories you’d like to share (your own ghosts of potlucks past)?

Don’t settle for the same ol’ potluck office party this year.  This year, come to Garden of the Gods Club on Tuesday, December 2oth, and take part in our third annual Corporate Holiday Buffet.  Chef Nicholas will once again create a lavish buffet filled with all of your holiday favorites that you are sure to enjoy.

Click here for the all the information you need, and don’t forget to RSVP to Karen Serfass at kserfass@ggclub.com or call her directly at 719-520-4982.  We hope to see you here!  Tom

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Top Winter Attractions in Colorado Springs

Snowy Garden of the Gods Club - Colorado Springs

Our snowy view from The Lodge this morning

“Walkin’ in a winter wonderland…”  As the snow is coming down outside my window here at The Lodge at Garden of the Gods Club, I’m reminded of what a beautiful time it is to be in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  Colorado Springs has four seasons, and while there are many things to do here during the summer season, the winter season can be just as fun.  Below I’ve listed a few upcoming activities in the Colorado Springs area, but I also encourage you to check out Nancy Kerstetter’s LiveStrong.com article, “Strange Winter Activities in Colorado,” which describes a local sport called “redneck kneeboarding,” among other ideas.  Have fun, and stay safe!

  • Full Moon Hike at the Garden 6:30 pm to 9 pm on Saturday, December 10, 2011 The Trails and Open Spaces Coalition and Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center invite families of the Pikes Peak Region to celebrate the pristine beauty of Garden of the Gods Park during a guided night-time hike under a December full moon! Participants will begin their outing at registration at Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.  Be sure to dress for the weather, wear sturdy shoes, and bring along a flashlight. Groups will venture into Garden of the Gods in waves, each group led by a volunteer docent who will share interesting historical details about the park. When finished with the hike, enjoy complimentary cocoa and cookies at the Visitor Center.  The cost to participate is $5 per adult or $12 for a family.
  • A Holiday Evening 4 pm to 8 pm on Saturday, December 17, 2011 – Presented by Rock Ledge Ranch, which is located within one mile of The Lodge at Garden of the Gods Club, this events will feature  jingle-bell wagon rides, old-time musical entertainment, lantern light tours to the 1860s homestead cabin, blacksmithing demonstrations, a barn dance, Victorian celebrations in the 1880s Rock Ledge House, and Edwardian festivities in the 1907 Orchard House. The Ranch will be transformed with the sights, sounds, and aromas of this traditionally festive season!  St. Nicholas will be in the Carriage House to visit with children and adults, and a photographer will be on hand to capture the moment. Purchase those extra-special gifts at the General Store. Hot cider and other goodies will be available at several locations around the Ranch. Admission price includes all activities and tours. Volunteer assistance provided by the Living History Association.  Admission is $8 per adult and $4 per child  ages 6-17; children 5 and under will be admitted for free.
  • 23rd Annual Madrigal Christmas Banquet - 5 pm from December 9-21, 2011Glen Eyrie Castle’s Christmas Madrigal is a gourmet five-course meal surrounded by all the glorious color and music of Christmas. Eight performing groups including bells, recorders, bagpipes, a lute, storytelling, and choral groups accompany each course.  Be greeted with complimentary valet at the entrance to the castle, warm yourself by the fire with a cup of wassail, and immerse yourself in the joyous festivities of a Renaissance Castle Christmas, where you will enjoy a variety of song and dance, musical instruments, and tales presented by the Lord and Lady of the Manor.  Admission is $99 per person.
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Electric Safari - 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm from December 9, 2011, to January 1, 2012 – The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is excited to celebrate 21 years of holiday lights and winter family fun at Electric Safari! Over one million sparkling lights illuminate crisp winter nights, including over 40 animated light sculptures. Warming fires throughout the Zoo offer a reprieve from the chill, as do select indoor animal exhibits that remain open during the event. And if you haven’t seen the city’s lights from the Zoo at night, you’re in for a double treat!  Adults $8.25 and children 3-11 $5.25.

 Click here for more information on the events listed above, courtesy of Experience Colorado Springs.  We hope to see you soon!

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This Holiday Season, Give the Gift of Presence, Not Presents

Cookies for Santa

Our Home for the Holidays Package includes cookies

Black Friday and Cyber Monday have come and gone, and the holiday season is truly upon us.  When I reflect upon Christmases past, my most striking memories involve the people with whom I spent the holidays, not the particular gifts I received.  In other words, PRESENCE seems to be more important than PRESENTS.  This holiday season, I encourage you to make the time to connect with your loved ones.  Whether you enjoy a feast together, play football out in the cold, attend services, catch a movie, or debate politics, what is most important is that you are doing these activities TOGETHER.

Thinking about heading home for the holidays?  Since costly airfare and rising gas prices can make holiday travel tricky, and Colorado is one of the most festive places to be this season anyway, maybe this is the year that you should consider bringing your friends and family to you.  The Lodge at Garden of the Gods Club has a great Home for the Holidays Package that would be the perfect gift to offer your loved ones this year.  Click here and enter the code PKGHFH to book the following package for those whom you’d like to invite for a visit:

  • A special rate of $139 for one night or $199  for two nights
  • An assortment of fresh-baked holiday cookies in your room upon arrival, along with a couple of Verna’s signature holiday cookie recipes to take home

We look forward to seeing you around Garden of the Gods Club this holiday season!


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My Advice for Surviving Black Friday: Stay Home!

Black Friday Shopping

Black Friday shopping

To be honest (actually, I hate when people say that because shouldn’t one always be honest?), all of the Black Friday hysteria confuses me.  Black Friday used to mean stores opening earlier than usual on the Friday after Thanksgiving and providing their best deals of the year.  Now, however, some stores are opening on Thanksgiving night, forcing employees to cut their time with families short so that they can go to work to sell electronics and other items to bargain hunters.  Just typing about it makes me tired!

Online shopping

Shopping from the comfort of home

Want to know my advice for surviving Black Friday?  It’s simple–stay home!  We’re fortunate to live in an age during which we don’t have to leave the house to get a jump on our holiday shopping.  You can grab a cup of hot cocoa or tea, jump on your computer (many retailers now offer free shipping!), and avoid being trampled by others as Christmas carolers stand by singing about peace on earth and good will towards men.  I have also read that better deals may actually be available a week or two AFTER Black Friday.  Did I mention that I was confused?


Mmm... Pie

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the non-material things in our lives:  our family, our friends, our health, our freedom.  If you still want to go out on this holiday (and believe me, I understand the art of the deal), then I ask that you please do one favor for me:   do not leave the house until it’s actually Friday!  Stay home on Thanksgiving night and fall asleep in front of the television with a half a piece of pecan pie in front of you.  The deals will still be waiting for you at 4 am on Friday.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all!


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