The last time I shopped over here, I bought an organic cotton baby toy shaped like a pea pod, barely resisted a handcrafted lawn sculpture, and downed a creamy, raspberry-topped confection known as Schausse. I was also tempted by vintage coffee cups, imported silk scarves, and a bracelet of strung pennies.
Needless to say, chain stores just don't carry this stuff. And they're worse off for it.
Wearables and edibles
There's pleny to to justify a girls' day out. In Old Colorado City, check out Call to Life (2502 W. Colorado Ave.), Envi (2605 W. Colorado Ave.), Barracuda Bazaar (2603 W. Colorado Ave., barracuadabazaar.com), Eve's Revolution (1312 W. Colorado Ave., evesrevolution.com), and SWISH (1816 W. Colorado Ave., swishvintage.com). These clothing and accessories stores convey the eco-and-style-conscious vibe. Yobel Market (2528 W. Colorado Ave., yobelmarket.com) takes it further, with all-fair-trade wearables and gifts.
Walk a little further on the wild side? Try Nice 'N Naughty (2504 W. Colorado Ave., 633-7277) for that perfect lace corset. More subdued? Piramide Clothing Company (2516 W. Colorado Ave., piramidenf.com) promises a laid-back, natural look. There's another Piramide at 106 Cañon Ave. in Manitou Springs, which brings us to a whole other shopping wonderland. For the girly-girl, hit Safron of Manitou (720 Manitou Ave., 685-5153), which brims with ornamented frocks and one-of-a-kind jewelry. Women who lean "crunchy" will enjoy La Henna Boheme (801 Manitou Ave., 636-2626). And don't forget Ten Spot (742 Manitou Ave., 685-1545): It's usually packed with accessories, and everything is $10.
Good job. Hungry yet?
You can get vegetables that aren't covered in chocolate (plus other healthy groceries) at Mountain Mama Natural Foods (1625 W. Uintah St., Suite A, mountainmamanaturalfoods.com) or, in Manitou, at Naturally's Market & Cafe (110 Cañon Ave., naturallys.net).
Adventures of all kinds
OK, about the kids.
If you're expecting, Baby Cotton Bottoms (1301 W. Colorado Ave., babycottonbottoms.com) will hook you up with everything for natural parenting, from cloth diapers to carriers. For those already outside the belly, Mountain Moppets (2532 W. Colorado Ave., mountainmoppets.com) and Recess (1721 W. Colorado Ave., recessconsign.com) sell way-cute duds.
Is your child into toys? In Manitou, buy her a yo-yo at YoYo Loco (744 Manitou Ave., yoyoloco.com) or a rubber-band gun at American Toy Store (906 Manitou Ave., #104, americantoystore.com), where every dollar supports U.S. manufacturing jobs. Rubber duckies can be had at The Quacker (738 Manitou Ave., quackergiftshop.com).
Older kids and adventurous adults will enjoy Blindside (293 S. 21st St. at press time, but moving soon, blindsidecolorado.net) where you can pick up a skateboard or snowboard, or just a bunch of stickers. Bike-riders will find high-end products at ProCycling (600 S. 21st St., #120, procyclingwarehouse.com), and a more casual atmosphere at CS West Bikes (3020 W. Colorado Ave., cswestbikes.com). Fishermen can visit Angler's Covey (295 21st St., anglerscovey.com).
Those whose adventurous side is musical should duck into the Dulcimer Shop (740 Manitou Ave., dulcimer.net) for hand-crafted instruments, or Earth Pig Music (1953 W. Uintah St., 575-9847) for CDs and more.
If you have a furry "kid" in need of spoiling, visit Republic of Paws (2411 W. Colorado Ave., republicofpaws.com), Wag N' Wash (1625 W. Uintah St., wagnwash.com), or Gigi's (728 Manitou Ave., gigisshop.com).
For the home, try Earthen Artisan House (2611 W. Colorado Ave., earthenartisanhouse.com), where you can work on building a natural, wholesome nest; Domino (10 S. 25th St., domino80904.com), for mint-condition retro finds; and Olive Tree Traders (2526 W. Colorado Ave.; 906 Manitou Ave., olivetreetraders.com) for exotic, embroidered bedspreads or Turkish mosaic lanterns.
In Manitou, be sure to visit Commonwheel Artists Co-op (102 Cañon Ave., commonwheel.com) for a great selection of local ceramic pieces. Cooks and bakers should also stop by the Manitou Kitchen Shop (906 Manitou Ave., #102, 685-9900) and Whickerbill (742 Manitou Ave., 685-1540) for kitchen gadgets and dishes.
If it's your home's energy that's lacking, a very peaceful staffer at Celebration Conscious Living Store (2209 W. Colorado Ave., celebrationstore.com) can likely help you work it out.
Finally, you're not a true west-sider until you have a wooden bear carved with a chainsaw. No no knows why this is, and it's probably better not to ask. Instead, just visit Manitou's Nature of Things Chainsaw Art (347 Manitou Ave., natureofthingschainsawart.com).
Other stores with West locations: Arc Thrift Store (1830 W. Uintah St.); Discover Goodwill retail store (2304 W. Colorado Ave., 721 Gold Hill Square, Woodland Park); Independent Records (3040 W. Colorado Ave.).