Sharon and Wendy are "sisters in spirit," if not by blood. They have been friends for almost 30 years (yes, they were 2 when they met!). Wendy was born and raised in New York and worked in architecture for years before obtaining a degree in Culinary Arts. Sharon was born and raised in Toronto, Canada and relocated to Los Angeles to work in the legal profession for many years. Meeting through mutual family friends, they discovered a shared love of great food and new adventures. Following her quest, Sharon went east to join Wendy in her established catering business in New York. Later, wanderlust and the fulfillment of a dream prompted them to sell everything and buy a 20-foot Winnebago to start looking for the perfect place to open their bed & breakfast.
Two Sisters Inn is situated one block from the center of the Manitou Springs Historic District and century-old Town Clock. The Inn is located where the original El Paso Livery Company (known as the Big Barn) and stables was built in the 1880s by Austin Hutchinson. Being three stories high, it was the tallest structure in Southern Colorado at the time. Unfortunately, in 1900 there was a huge fire and the stables burned to the ground, but the separate wagon shop was left unscathed.
Two sisters from Iowa, Florence Geidell Maltby and her sister, bought part of the property and in 1919 built the Sunburst Boarding House for school teachers. In 1948 a newlywed couple, Arnold and Marie Shupe, bought the property from the sisters and turned the Boarding House into their private residence with a summer rental cottage in the back garden (the original Wagon Shop). In 1990, Sharon Smith and Wendy Goldstein purchased the house from the widow, Marie Shupe, restored it, and that summer opened the Two Sisters Inn - a bed and breakfast named for the original two sisters.
The rose-colored Victorian Bungalow is now a five-bedroom B&B, including a cozy Cottage in the back garden, and is suggestive of the turn-of-the-century Manitou Springs, CO hotel accommodations.
A magnificent stained-glass front door designed and crafted by a Manitou artist opens into the living room, which features a native Manitou Greenstone fireplace and original hardwood floors. An 1896 piano (which was located in a brothel in Leadville, Colorado and still bears a bullet hole acquired during that period!) is tucked into the parlor next to a red velvet fainting couch and a library highlighted by an entire wall of cookbooks (in which some of the Inn's recipes have been featured). Original artwork from some of Manitou's talented artists may be enjoyed throughout the Inn.
News Update: Two Sisters Inn is sad to report that in the cold of 2009, the oldest working toilet (103 years to be exact) in a bed and breakfast in Colorado had a shattering experience! Come and see the resurrection of "John," the centenarian wonder, as a planter!
Travelers have been coming for Manitou and Colorado Springs accommodations beneath the "purple mountains majesty above the fruited plains" for ages. In 1893 Katherine Lee Bates wrote "America the Beautiful" after climbing to the top of Pikes Peak, "America's Mountain." Now Manitou Springs is one of the largest Historic Districts west of the Mississippi.
Centuries ago Native Americans--Mountain Ute, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and other Plains tribes-- would congregate in the nearby Garden of the Gods for their religious ceremonies and then would come to Manitou Springs to drink or "take" of the healing waters. The eruption of bubbles in the mineral water was considered the "Breath of the Great Spirit" and offerings of fetishes and beads were left in gratitude for the waters' healing properties. All tribes were free to share in the gifts of the waters without the worry of conflict.
In the mid-1800s, the British discovered these mineral springs during the Westward Expansion. The town's founder, Dr. William A. Bell, developed a settlement around the mineral springs and Pikes Peak, making it a destination resort for people desiring a health vacation in the "Saratoga of the West." Visitors arrived with doctors' prescriptions to drink specific waters as a cure for their ills. "Manitou" which means "Great Spirit" was mentioned in Longfellow's poem "Song of Hiawatha," popular at that time, and was chosen as the town's name. Mineral springs water was bottled and "Manitou Pale Ale" was served at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City and was even served as a beverage of choice on the Titanic! It is still bottled today and shipped as far away as Korea. You can visit 11 mineral springs and taste the "magic waters" too!
"The laughter, warmth and joy we felt from both of you made us feel right at home."
- Jocelyn P.