In the weeks leading up to Christmas I always put out a top 5 list of some sort, and this year I decided to share with you my picks for the top 5 made in Colorado gifts for 2012. The prerequisite for making my list was that the product made by each company had to be manufactured IN Colorado.
This list is in no particular order.
1. MouCo Cheese Co. I’ve had the pleasure of touring MouCo and writing about them for several other publications over the years. They just so happen to make my favorite cheese of all-time, Truffello, which is saying a lot because I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like. Their website describes Truffello as a “mystical soft cheese to be savored and shared with reck-licious ease.” MouCo sells their cheese all over the world, but it’s all made in their small factory in Fort Collins, Colorado with milk from local cows.
2. OZ Snowboards. I don’t ride, but if I did I’d ride an OZ board. I ran into these guys on Facebook and fell in love with their concept and the beauty of their boards. They make these works of art in Evergreen, Colorado.
3. Moonflower Essentials. This small company is located in Denver, and they make my favorite lotion, Forest Muse. I’ve known owner, Barb Donnelly, for a number of years, and she’s a creative lady with a talent for making body products that truly impress. Moonflower Essentials has a Holiday Open House planned for Sunday, December 9. Learn more here.
4. NeedleForge.com. This company was brought to my attention by a HeidiTown citizen and I couldn’t resist putting them on this list. I don’t know exactly how to explain what it is they make, but my Facebook tipster put it like this: Geekery + yarn = win. Every yarn creation is made by hand in Denver, but if you want something by this Christmas you’d better get your order in real soon, because according to their Facebook page, orders are stacking up and they only have so many hands to do the knitting!
5. Nova Monda Cacao & Chocolate. I have not had the pleasure of trying this chocolate yet, but it made my list because it’s made in Lafayette, Colorado and it was highly recommended to me by two people; the Chef at the Welsh Rabbit Cheese Shop and a trustworthy friend with good taste.
This could have easily been a top 50 list, as there are many wonderful Colorado companies and craftsmen I would have enjoyed highlighting in this piece. If you have a favorite please feel free to share it in the comment section.
Please Note: A lot of Facebook friends helped me with this list by sharing their favorite Colorado companies and I’ve compiled a list of all their suggestions in a NOTE on the HeidiTown Facebook page. Click HERE to see it!
I encourage you to shop local this year, as much as possible. Spending your hard earned money at a small Colorado-owned business will ensure that all boats rise.
Small towns are full of character and characters, and that’s what makes travel across this country so great. Meeting interesting people, trying new restaurants, exploring the unknown and learning a little about an area are the reasons I enjoy being a tourist.
However, when you meet a tourist in your own town, are you excited to tell them about your community, or do you struggle to find something nice to say?
You can be an advocate for your town, and if you are, the economic impact is beneficial to all.
So, how can you be an advocate of your town? First, you need to become a tourist, and here are a few ways to make that happen:
1. Visit the local museum or historical sites. Most towns have a museum or two, and some have historical landmarks. You may be amazed at what you learn. For instance, the first time I visit my town’s museum I learned that the region used to be covered in cherry orchards. This was news to me, and explained why the community celebrates a Cherry Pie Festival every summer.
2. Try a new restaurant. We all have our favorite hometown eatery and often we fear branching out and trying something new. But if you don’t stretch your taste buds a little, you won’t know everything your town has to offer. The new bistro down the street may have the best eggs benedict in the world, but if you don’t try it out, you’ll never know.
3. Visit your town’s parks. Driving by a park every day is a very different experience than stopping and sitting down on a bench for a little while. This summer, make a point to go on picnics in your town’s parks. We lived in our community for several years before discovering a renowned sculpture park, and now we always take visitors there to share this amazing place with them.
4. Visit your Visitor Center. Sound strange? It is very possible there are interesting things about your community you haven’t yet discovered. It’s also helpful to know how your town is being branded, and this all happens at the Visitor Center.
5. Attend a festival or event. A local celebration is the perfect way take to the pulse of a community. Every town is different and often a festival is where you can identify the uniqueness.
Once you start looking at your town through new eyes, you’ll recognize that you live in a delightfully interesting place, thereby enabling you to become an advocate for your town. When citizens feel proud of their community it leaks into their speech and actions, and speaking with optimism about your town does have a positive impact on your town’s economy.
“The word on the street” has more sway than ever before because the Internet and social media have made “the street” a lot bigger. How you feel about your community does matter and people are listening.
Become an advocate for your town today, and become part of a thriving community.
Note: Should you wish to reprint this article at no charge, please contact TheMayor@HeidiTown.com.
Lit up with holiday lights, downtowns across the country are charming places to shop and dine. As we head into the holiday season, I want to encourage all my readers to shop local. Shopping locally not only supports your town, but you may discover some real gems right under your nose.
Loveland, Colorado has a charming downtown with a variety of shopping and dining options. My favorite is Merchant Voyage at 246 E. 4th Street. You’ll want to spend a little time poking around in this store. From jewelry to antique microscopes, from unique wall art to handmade scarves, Merchant Voyage makes shopping an adventure.
This Saturday, December 4, is Loveland’s annual Winter Walk, a downtown celebration that tempts Northern Coloradoans to come to 4th Street and enjoy a day of entertainment and shopping.
During Winter Walk stores will be offering refreshments, prizes and specials. Santa Claus will be at Mandolin CafÃ© at 210 E. 4th Street. While at the cafÃ©, warm up with a bowl of homemade green chili. Stop in at Artisan You at 341 E. 4th Street and check out the gingerbread party. Grab a free hot chocolate at Cloz to Home (120 E. 4th Street) and browse their collection of newly arrived hats. Enter to win prize drawings at both Cloz to Home and Almosta (43 E. 4th Street).
In Thompson Pocket Park. at 4th and Lincoln Ave, there is an entertainment lineup starting with the Light Up Dancers at 10:30 a.m., caroling by Loveland Opera Theater at 11:30 a.m., Santa’s Trombone Band at 1 p.m. and ice sculpting starting at 2 p.m. Mrs. Claus will be telling stories at Anthology Book Co. from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tour Loveland in style by catching a ride on the horse drawn carriage in Anthology’s parking lot.
Before leaving downtown be sure to stop and get your gifts wrapped at Alternatives to Violence at 313 E. 4th Street.
Lyric Cinema Cafe is hosting the first Annual Local Food Festival, by featuring three food-related documentaries and presenting a farmers market featuring delicious, healthy, locally grown foods.
The Farmer’s Market runs Wednesday, August 26, from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“Food Inc.” is the main feature. This American-made documentary sheds light on large-scale agricultural food production in the United States. You will never look at food the same way again.
“Pressure Cooker” is a documentary about a culinary contest at an inner city school. It highlights the process the students go through in order to win scholarships and confidence.
“End of the Line” asks the audience to imagine a world without fish. This documentary takes a long, hard look at the fishing industry and who profits the most from overfishing.
Lyric Cinema Cafe is located at 300 E. Mountain Ave., in Fort Collins, Colorado. For showtimes, visit www.LyricCinemaCafe.com.
Nothing says “summer” like a frosty mug of root beer, and nothing is as American as A&W. Berthoud, Colorado, located 30 miles south of Fort Collins, has had a geniune A&W for over three decades.