Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. Except for the wind, Black Friday in Nederland was almost balmy; the icy temperatures of the preceding week just a rapidly-melting memory. Crowds did not clog the sidewalks, but there was a steady stream of visitors strolling in and out of First Street shops.
Last week, The Mountain-Ear explored the shops and restaurants of the shopping center. There were a couple that we missed.
The Greener Mountain Grow Shop shelves are stacked high with pots and trays and lights and all kinds of plant food and cloning helpers.
At the counter, several welded copper pieces are on display, an experimental project in which the plant crystals inside the pipe change the molecular structure of water to make it wetter. The owners are interested in finding out how it works.
A selection of biophotonic products is available as cloning packages that include heat mats, plugs and a thermostat for gardeners in general: a good way to replace the plants that you like before they die.
It is a shop filled with neat little gadgets for anyone who loves plants, a garden store for everything.
The Backcountry Pizza shop has a habit of blowing pizza fumes across the parking lot, luring shoppers to the upper bay of the shopping center. On Sunday, Backcountry sells $1 beer with the lunch specials. They have a great Monday Night Football party package for those who would like company during the game.
First Street storefront windows glitter with snowflakes and ornaments, Santas and jewelry displays. The pedestrian bridge and the Visitor’s Center light up the highway as people drive into town. This Friday, during the First Friday celebration of small businesses, the small town of Nederland’s mayor Joe Gierlach will officially start the season with the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree.
On Wednesday, December 17, at 5 p.m., the Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery is hosting an ugly sweater party—you know, the ones with reindeer and a blinking red nose or the silver sprayed wreath that has flaked its shiny sequins off over the years. First and second place prize winners will receive surprises, but only if the sweater is worn for the duration of the party. The deal of the night will be $9 for a pint of beer and a dozen wings.
Ross Alper of the Deli says every other Monday from 7-9 p.m., soup, pasta, and sandwiches are available for anyone who wants a free hot meal. The Lovin’ Cup Community Kitchen accepts donations.
Walking into the Mountain People’s Co-op is like entering an old-timey general store: the bins and large jars of grains, spices, teas, and nuts in bulk. The blend of fragrant candles, oils, and soaps made by locals
A large, wise, round Buddha sits happily on the floor waiting for someone to give him a home. My First Buddha is sure to be a unique gift.
Shelves of Guatemalan accessories, beautiful hand-made African Market baskets. Soups simmer next to the homemade muffins and scones: Apple Beet Borscht, or Green Energy Soup. In the kitchen Andrea Frazer creates African peanut stew and on Wednesdays, the special is Jambalaya. A great stocking stuffer would be a membership card, offering discounts on the already low prices.
The Rustic Moose has a diverse inventory of Nederland t-shirts, fleeces, hoodies, vests, all of them designed. Keith Kline of Tennessee and his parents and children and other family members filled the store, exclaiming over the treasures they found. “We come here when we visit Colorado and make a habit of shopping and having lunch at the Sundance Restaurant. This a wonderful store, with a great selection and wonderful people and music.”
Rustic Moose employee Lisa Wolford said “People came in in bunches of families. They often came in and then left, making the rounds of the shops to look around and then come back to buy something.”
On the corner of First Street and Highway 119 is Nature’s Own, a Nederland destination shop. This store is known for its high-quality gemstones, geodes, and natural gifts that are hard to find in other gift shops. One of the more popular items are the bags of Himalayan Bath Salts used for relaxing and healing the body.
Children will find a large selection of fun scientific and nature-related games that parents are sure to approve of, and cuddly stuffed animals, including an especially appealing snake. The employees are probably the friendliest in town, because they enjoy being around the vast selection of nature’s wonders.
The Pioneer Inn, the oldest restaurant in town, is planning a makeover this week, closing down as of Monday, December1 through Friday, December 5. They will refinish the hardwood floors and do a major cleanup; returning all bright and shiny for the rest of the holidays. They plan to have holiday happy hours, with discounted drinks and an extensive appetizer menu during the Christmas season.
The Crafted in Colorado shop is small and elegantly decorated with fine gifts such as candles and soap from Sad Cat in Black Hawk or citrus cedar goat milk castile soap from Nederland Naturals. Another hard to find item is the Southfork Traders fur hats brought in by Derik Stevens of Ward. Cheryl Goodman, also of Ward, has on display her wire-wrapped jewelry that is the hot item right now.
The last shop on the First Street block is the First Street Pub and Grill, which proudly announced that they are featuring a walleye fish and chip special on Fridays. The walleye is from Canada and is a hefty portion of perfectly battered, light and crispy fillet, sure to please even the Midwest palate. Happy hour is from 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, with $1 off everything.
Second Street is becoming busier with Salto and Tin Shed holding down the corner of Second and Schneider Street. Known for its gourmet appetizers and home-baked muffins and scones, Salto serves chai and just about any kind of coffee drink you can imagine. They are preparing to roast their own coffee.
Their Kickstarter is looking to raise $10,000 by Friday, December 5, “so we can bring our own craft coffee to you.” Salto is also starting a Super Secret Supper Club, with the first event talking place on Friday, December 12: a family style/casual dinner at 6 p.m.
Heading west up Second Street, the Nederland Feed Store is well-known to the animal owners in the area. This small shop has every kind of toy and treat for your dogs and cats, horse candy, large blocks of wild bird seed that won’t blow away and a crunchy bone for every dog that visits.
Black Friday came and went but the season is still upon us. There are many businesses that are housed on the outlying section of Nederland, and on the other side of the highway; we will visit them.
Remember, you can take your money down below and it will stay down there. You can purchase gifts in Nederland and Gilpin shops and it will come back to you in many ways.