Nederland, Colorado, located on the Peak to Peak Highway, is definitely one of those quaint little mountain towns that grows on ya, or at least, it grew on me. When we first arrived at our little Mountain View Chalet and headed into town the next day to get supplies, I wasn't so sure if I liked this little town. We'd visited Nederland before, but I didn't truly appreciate it until a day or two later, as our week went on.
There were all sorts of interesting characters 'round about town. On a visit to the Laundromat, Dan met an old miner who hikes out of the mountains once a month to do laundry and stock up on supplies. You can't make this stuff up. The stories I bet that miner could tell…That's what I love about towns like Nederland. It's like the small town you see in the movies, where everybody knows your name and what you're up to (in this case, I'm specifically thinking about the old John Denver movie, The Christmas Gift). Nederland definitely grew on me, to the point that I didn't want to leave when it came time to head home to Arkansas.
Anyway, we had our favorite haunts in this beautiful little mountain town, a few I'd love to share.
New Moon Bakery & Cafe
After reading a few of the entries in our cabin's guest book, we knew we had to visit New Moon Bakery before leaving town. They serve all sorts of sweet and savory delectables. Visitors can choose to sit inside or outside on the patio, with a view of the mountains. Of course, we couldn't resist sitting outside in the shadow of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. While Jaden and I enjoyed our sweets, I have to say that Jacob's pretzel was very tasty.
Blue Owl Books Coffee House & Ice Cream Parlour
If you're looking to curl up with a good book and a cup of coffee (or in my case, a delicious ice cream treat), Blue Owl Books is the place to go. This book shop is just how I'd imagined it and more. They even have a sweet calico cat that likes to sleep on an old chair in a little reading nook. I picked up a few books while browsing around, including The World of Christopher Robin. Seriously, who can resist a book shop that's crammed out the wazoo with books as far as the eye can see? Look up, look down…books everywhere you look.
Carousel of Happiness
This is definitely a special, must stop place if you have kids or even for the young at heart. Anyone will enjoy a ride on one of the 56 hand-carved animals featured on the Carousel of Happiness. As you glide around, you'll be entertained by music from a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ
The Carousel itself is a beauty to behold, but the story behind the Carousel and the Marine who carved the animals is priceless. A whimsical adventure all 'round, the Carousel charges $1/ride. We happened to catch them just before closing time one night, and boy, am I glad we did. I think I could have ridden that Carousel 50 times and never had enough. So, so beautiful.
Resting above the town of Nederland on the side of the mountain, the Nederland Cemetery may not seem like a place to visit. But we're kinda weird…We enjoyed visiting several old cemeteries, exploring old graves, wishing we could go back in time and hear all the stories. The old, historic cemeteries in Colorado are different than any I've visited before; some of them are very haunting, almost as if you can feel eyes through the trees. I'll definitely be sharing more about them in coming weeks, but for now just a glimpse of Nederland from graves of pioneers who lived really not that long ago if you think about it.The view from Nederland Cemetery is gorgeous with views of the mountains and Barker Reservoir in the distance.
This was one of the first places we visited in Nederland, and they serve up a mean breakfast. While our wait was a bit longer, the food was good and filling.
Shopping in Nederland
Of course, we made several stops for groceries at B & F Mountain Market, a small but really well stocked grocery store in town. The local Ace Hardware carried the fishing gear we needed for our unexpected fishing trip. There were several souvenir/gift shops in town, and I couldn't resist picking up our own copy of the book we'd been reading back at the cabin, Welcome to the Mountains by Geno Kennedy. Definitely a one-of-a-kind book and must read for anyone visiting the Front Range. The Mountain People's Co-Op was a wonderful place to get fresh fruit, health food items, and more. On weekends there were quite a few visitors in town, exploring shops, meeting up with friends. During the week it was much more quiet, though still busy.
We never did make it to the Nederland Mining Museum, but I have a feeling we'll be back. Nederland grew on all of us; only 15 minutes from our cabin, it was an easy trek to make for supplies or exploring, whatever we felt like doing.
Sometimes I wish I could be back in that little mountain town…I can only imagine what it will be like at Christmas and through the holidays. Beautiful indeed.