The Tour set up a “basecamp” outside of Boulder. A woman we met told us that locals go to Nederland to experience one of the coolest small towns around. What she didn’t tell us was that Nederland is at an elevation of 8,236 feet. Enough already with these picturesque, white-knuckle, steep mountain, corkscrew drives.
Slow and steady got us to our destination. Nederland began as a trading post between European settlers and the Ute Indians in the 1850s and then morphed into a mining town. It’s now a quirky destination with unique businesses and a mix of students, hippies, boomers, and retirees. Check out Nederland’s Town Hall, circa 1874.
One of the biggest attractions in Nederland is the Carousel of Happiness. Created by Vietnam Veteran Scott Harrison, who rescued an abandoned carousel and spent 26 years hand-carving the critters for customers to ride. Truly a magical experience.
It was lunchtime and we were famished. Amazing how terrifying rides can increase one’s appetite! Before strolling through the town, we headed to what folks told us was a great sandwich shop: The Deli at 8236’ (https://www.deliat8236.com).
A couple of friendly bikers were standing outside and told us we HAD to order The Rachel! They said they often ride to this mountaintop village and always order that sandwich. We did and were really happy about our decision. Crispy, gooey, cheesy, pastrami deliciousness. Nederland is located next to the beautiful and pristine Barker Reservoir, which is surrounded by the Indian Peaks Wilderness.
Our next adventure took us to another hidden gem of a small town: Niwot. This town was named after the Arapaho Indian Chief Niwot which means “left-handed”. The community sits on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains and is filled with vintage charm.
For all you piano-playing gardeners out there, here’s a unique way to simultaneously showcase your musical talent and your green thumb. Gotta love the piano “chair” shaped like a hand. In fact, these hand-painted chairs are found in front of businesses throughout the town.
The local newspaper, the Niwot Tribune, was originally housed in this old building and rolled out its first issue in 1921. Continuing its history with the printed word, the building is now home to the Wandering Jellyfish Bookshop.
Wanting to soak up some more local flavor, we headed to Longmont. This Colorado town was actually established in 1871 by a bunch of folks from Chicago who decided they wanted to build a community from the ground up. You can’t get more “local” than the Farmers Market held on the historic Boulder County Fairgrounds.
Nobody could resist one of these giant monsters. Decisions, decisions.
These veggies had the most amazing vibrant colored produce we’ve seen anywhere.
Known for its goat milk and cheese making, we headed over to Briar Gate Farm (https://theartofcheese.com/briar-gate-farm/). Owned by Kate Johnson, she not only runs the farm, but also teaches “The Art of Cheese” classes and, in her spare time, volunteers at the County 4-H program.
Bart stopped into the barn to have a little heart-to-heart with Mr. Ed. He did not say “Hello Wilber”.
Although known for its warm wool, this llama was a little camera-shy and gave Bart the cold shoulder.
Briar Gate Farm is in a stunning, bucolic setting.
Where does all that goat milk cheese go? How about this family-owned, can’t miss, foodie destination – Cheese Importers, which carries over 500 types of local and imported cheeses and specialty items. The store has the largest walk-in refrigerated cheese and cured meat market in Colorado. Holy charcuterie board! Check it out online (https://cheeseimporters.com).
Parked outside of the cheese shop was this vintage VW bus. Loved the “slow wins” bumper plate but wasn’t sure if that was in reference to aging cheese or Rorie’s browsing pace.
We’ve never been in a place that carries so many different varieties of cheese from all over the world.
While the Tour wanted to spotlight small communities near Boulder, it didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see this popular college town “up close and personal”. So, off we went. Boulder boasts a very cool, historic downtown – and it delivers. Its most famous street is Pearl Street, considered the cultural heart and soul of this pedestrian-friendly area. It was great to see an independent bookstore thriving in this era of e-books.
Pearl Street is also filled with well-preserved old buildings, and interesting outdoor art including murals and sculptures.
This buffalo (or is it bison?) pays homage to the University of Colorado’s mascot named Ralphie.
It was time to feed the beast. This was the “feed trough” we went to. Lindsay’s Boulder Deli (https://lindsaysboulderdeli.com) was very good.
Yes, she wanted one. No, she stayed strong and didn’t get it.
Rorie, the puzzle queen, has one of Liberty’s gorgeous, hand-cut wooden puzzles. The company is based in Boulder (https://tinyurl.com/2zve82wm).
Well, this wraps up another exciting chapter of Bart & Rorie’s Discover Small Town America road trip adventure. Next stop: Laramie, Wyoming. See you in “Laradise”.