April in Glenwood: Celebrating & shopping local | PostIndependent.com

April in Glenwood: Celebrating & shopping local

I’m a big fan of tradition. I love that the holidays are steeped in them, from tree lightings and family dinners to shopping trips and Christmas concerts.

When I lived in downtown Glenwood Springs, I loved the tradition of walking along the decorated sidewalks toward the Hotel Colorado for the annual tree lighting and fireworks display. There’s always something magical about bundling up in winter wear, especially when the snowflakes fall softly in the night air, to gather to celebrate the season with the community. A stop at the Glenwood Canyon Brewpub for a few IPAs and a soft pretzel with mustard was usually in order. Or Juicy Lucy’s for a gin martini – dirty with extra olives — and a steamed artichoke with drawn butter and mayonnaise.

A few of my favorite Glenwood things.

On the Friday evening after Thanksgiving, the Hotel Colorado is where the magic really happens. The historical gem is decorated from floor to ceiling with lights, trees, tinsel, wreaths, trimmings and all that make the holidays sparkle in the 123-year-old hotel. I love the nostalgia of walking the halls of this beloved establishment, or visiting the bar to see old friends for a nightcap and post-festivities merriment.

While the official tradition of holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday is a new one — per Wikipedia, it was first observed in Roslindale Village, Mass., on Nov. 27, 2010, to encourage holiday shoppers to patronize small, local, brick-and-mortar businesses — I now make sure to celebrate it every year. The idea is wonderful for all of the small business owners out there who have been making America great well before it was a campaign slogan.

The businesses don’t always have to be brick and mortar, of course, as online shopping is now becoming more of a tradition each year based on the convenience of buying holidays gifts in your slippers and pajamas. But it can be heartwarming to walk into a smaller-than-big-box store, greeted by locals who personally help find that perfect gift with whimsy or sentiment for a special person. I recommend Sioux Villa Curio for the quirkiest of gifts.

Whoopee cushions are always fun at the holiday dinner table.

From New Jammies, the 100% organic cotton kid’s pajama company started in Carbondale, now run out of Marble, to the Marble Distillery Company, a Carbondale craft distillery where artisan spirits are distilled in copper pots using American-made equipment, there are local small businesses throughout the Western Slope that can benefit from our support. Shopping Colorado products on these exciting weeks leading up to the holidays, or specifically tomorrow on Small Business Saturday, can be a tradition passed down through the generations. Anyone can bring a taste of the Rocky Mountains to their family through gift-giving this year.

And years to come.

Marble Distillery makes its Marble Vodka from local Colorado grains, featuring labels such as Gingercello – think the lemon Italian classic — and Moonlight EXpresso. The Roaring Fork Beer Company, founded in 2013 in Carbondale, makes craft beer in a can for a fun gift for microbrew lovers. Brewery tours can be scheduled by appointment (email cheers@roaringforkbeerco.com), and tasting room hours are from 2-8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. That could be a sweet personalized present for the craft brew fan in your life. Or a clever way to celebrate the holidays with a group of friends or co-workers who enjoy beer.

That’s the gift that keeps on giving, in my humble opinion.

Toasting to the holidays at local brewpubs and enjoying festive cuisine with friends at the Pullman, Zheng’s or Smoke for the holidays will always remain some of my favorite traditions. The fireworks at the Hotel Colorado are amazing to behold on a cool November night. I also treasure those sunny afternoons spent shopping for mountain-centric gems and jewelry for my mom in the Glenwood gift shops. And making sure to bring my dad a Brewpub T-shirt home for Christmas. Although I can’t be in Glenwood for those holiday traditions, I’ll continue to fondly recall when shopping local and gathering at the area’s hot spots were an integral part of my life.

The mountain cheer will always be a part of me.

April E. Allford loves that the Hotel Colorado is going locally owned. She can be reached at aprilallford@gmail.com.

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