Barbara Lawlor, Nederland. A highway runs through Nederland. That and a river running perpendicular to the highway divide the town into sections that create shopping segments. Visitors intending to spend some time in Nederland’s shops usually park in the public spaces and once they find a place, they stick close to it.
The shops along the highway sometimes get bypassed because people who don’t know the town don’t realize that there are other great places to shop on the other side of the highway, with pedestrian walkways to help them get there.
On Saturday, the weekend before Thanksgiving many of the businesses in town were trying to attend to Thanksgiving needs as well as prepare for the big shopping day, Black Friday. This is the last chance to fund their shops before the coming winter. With the exception of snowsports traffic, the long, slow economic slump that is typical of a tourist town is approaching.
It is also the time to put their best Nederland gifts out front, to nudge holiday shoppers into sudden “special gift” inspiration.
In the hub of the downtown area, the Nederland Visitor’s Center has many of the Ned-ish items that tourists love to take home with them and locals love to send to those who can’t visit. Where else in the world can you get a Frozen Dead Guy Days anything? There are shot glasses that say, “I am so dead.” Also, Awaken Blueberry Hot Sauce to impress guests with your other worldliness. Books about the area written by local authors and trail maps of everywhere you might want to go in the Indian Peaks, Nederland and Gilpin County region. Center manager John Scarffe says free maps are in abundance. An extra added attraction this year is safety lights that can be attached to bike handles. The best part is that they are free, a gift from Boulder County Open Space.
Tucked off the highway, behind the bank, Ace Hardware store has so many cool gifts it is hard to make any decisions in one day unless you know exactly what you want to purchase. Even then, there are many stocking stuffers that can change your mind in a second. It is the art of spontaneous consumption. Ace Hardware has laser lights to shower your home with dancing angels and snowflakes. One can purchase Santa hats, blinking scarves, giant stockings, wrapping paper and clip-on red and green ribbons. There are toys and bird feeders, tools and chain saws, dog gifts, camping equipment and even Christmas trees. When one has paid for all the items on their list, there are specialty root beers and free popcorn to go with them.
Every Ned shopping experience is a party.
Things are popping at the Blue Owl Bookstore. Often people feel like they want to give a more meaningful gift than the hoards of toy promotions found in advertising inserts. A book is forever, no batteries needed. John Haworth says they just received the local author’s anthology published by Janette and Julian Taylor, which will be a hot item for locals. On a shelf where they will be easily seen, mercury glass candle holders are filled with dancing light and candles to accompany them. While contemplating their purchases, visitors are compelled to sip hot chocolate topped with generous amounts of whipped cream.
Above the book store, the Grow in Peace Hydroponic shop is filled with myriad types of compost, soil and all the pots and grow lights that will be needed to create your indoor crop of plants. Kyle Busey says his trellis netting is popular for canopy management.
“We have a new 1,000 watt grow system that uses more efficient technology.” This year Kyle is experimenting with various kinds of peppers, mostly the really hot kind that he plans to grow and then clone for the holiday season next year. His favorite hot pepper right now is the chapilita which is way up there on the list of burn.
Just off the highway, next to the Alpaca Hop Inn, the Alpaca Store and More is filled with soft, warm fleece classic coats and shawls and jacket/sweater jackets, socks and gloves. Anything made with alpaca is a treasured gift. The fleece is harvested from the big-eyed, humorous and curious animals that you can’t help but hug.
At the Carousel of Happiness, riding a one of a kind lovable critter, and listening to the music is always a gift. One can purchase punch cards for up to 10 rides for a great present, insurance for the recipient that he or she will ride again.
Melissa and Doug series of toys and gifts fill a wall and have been popular this season. There are tons of Carousel label items: water bottles, baby onesies, t-shirts, hats and awesome Christmas tree ornaments.
The Carousel puppet room is available for parties all season long.
Next to the Carousel, the Train Cars offer a comfortable place to have a snack and a drink and enjoy the quaint, warm atmosphere while you take a break from walking around town. The booths in the antique car are perfect for enjoying a game of dominos or backgammon or cards. Dennis and Beverly Potts of Boulder come to the Train Cars every weekend to relax and play a game together.
Across the highway, in the A-frame, is the Harvest House, where Stacy Johnson’s marijuana is locally grown. During the holiday season, the shop is holding a Dab Rig Raffle with the proceeds going to the Wild Bear Nature Center. The Dab Rig is a new bong used for concentrates, a new hash.
The Harvest House also sells t-shirts, hats and a whole bunch of delicious cookies. They have partnered with a local ski area for a punch card which gives a free 10th ticket for purchasing nine.
Not only is shopping locally convenient and therefore cheaper, it is a fun way to find the holiday gifts that will please everyone. Meeting the local business owners and employees is a good way to become a part of the community. These people aren’t part of large chains, they are our neighbors and friends, and like us, they are working hard to keep Nederland’s economy sustainable.