Unique finds to be had when shopping in Breck
reck, as it’s affectionately known by locals, stands out as a premiere shopping destination for people with all kinds of tastes and budgets. And you won’t find any big box, cookie cutter or iconic fashion brand stores here! No way, Breck’s boutiques are unique and that’s why this mountain town enjoys so much success on the retail front. As of this writing, there are over 200 retailers in and around Breckenridge. That’s a helluva lot for a small town. Note, however, that it’s a smallish town that draws a lot of visitors, winter and summer and these days, a fair amount during off season, too. (Actually here it’s best to refer to spring and fall as shoulder seasons because during most weeks, the activity is more on than off.)
As the most important town in Summit County and only an hour-and-a-half drive from Denver, Breckenridge ranks as one of the most visited mountain towns in Colorado. Of course many people come for the abundance of outdoor activities that the area offers but by the looks of Main Street Breckenridge on an afternoon during peak season, it seems as though many also flock here for its wonderful shopping scene. I’s a delight to shop in this old mining town where you see picture-postcard views at every turn. Filled chock-a-block with a jumble of Crayola-colored establishments, Breck’s Main Street is punctuated with businesses that have established themselves in historic buildings. Located within an old yellow clapboard house, even their Starbucks is adorable.
Breckenridge, like most of Colorado’s other mountain towns, offers a beguiling experience accentuated with Victorian architecture, Western facades, mountain views and a river walk and alpine garden that skirt a meandering river (or frozen stream depending on the season). Whether it’s snowing or brilliantly bright, this setting conjures up warm and fuzzy feelings the likes of which you’d associate with a Norman Rockwell painting. Add to that folks padding about in everything from flip flops to ski boots (sometimes both on the same day), and you have a town that seizes the senses of residents and visitors alike.
Within many of these establishments, you can find an array of homespun goods. Step into Fresh Soap Company to peruse (and buy) a lush collection of vegetable-based soaps, all handmade on the premises. They look good enough to eat, which is not surprising since they’re made from olive and coconut oil, shea and avocado butter, goat’s milk and more. Just what is needed for the dry, Rocky Mountain climate. Owner and master soap maker extraordinaire, Kim Nieuwoudt, welcomes you with all the warmth of a smooth bar of sandalwood soap. She has a sweet, sing-songy accent, so try to guess its origin.
Magical Scraps Boutique & Studio is another feel-good store where you can easily scoop up a bundle of brightly-colored gift items for yourself and others. Hats, bags, belts, togs and more fashioned from fabrics reminiscent of Marimekko bedeck the interior of this little Victorian house like ornaments on a Christmas tree. Craft-oriented shoppers can rejoice in buying these joyful fabrics from the bolts in the back.
More hand-knit hats (yes, there’s a lot of hat wearing in the mountains) may be found at Wandering Daisy, a small shop in a courtyard set back from Main Street. As the name implies, they also sell a bunch of other random gift ideas full of whimsy.
Love the hippy chic of Colorado? Well, then be sure to check out Young Colors, a local brand that has been selling their handmade confections for over two decades. They’re candy-colored but meant to be worn not eaten. Their kid’s collection is now featured alongside their adult fashions at Cowboys & Daisies. Hope you’re picking up on a theme here.
Inside Main Street Station, a little mall off of Main Street brimming with shops and restaurants, you’ll find Maggie Pond. It’s another locally-owned boutique filled with all kinds of gift ideas, hats, accessories, skincare products and more.
Valleygirl, another favorite with several locations throughout Colorado, presents mountain chic, fashion forward clothing and accessories along with fun and funky womenswear.
If the kids are itchy, take them to Peak-a-Boo Toys, a huge toy store in Breckenridge that even sells candy. Plus, there’s a place where children can play. (Here’s a plan for the ladies:Have your guy hang there with the wee ones while you scour the seemingly endless selection of Breck boutiques.) There’s also YoYo Loco, a very original shop that dazzles young and old with their yo-yos and other fun playthings.
Get lost at Jessie’s, a delightfully cluttered kitchen shop that feels like you’ve just stepped into a flea market. There’s lots that will make you smile, including dish towels with fun messages, cool coasters and swanky knives. Come to think of it, there’s a lot that guys would like at Jessie’s as well.
Into home décor? Go to Lodgepole Interiors and/or Cabin Fever to ferret out just the right je ne sais quoi that will help you achieve that beloved mountain look. Think cowhide throws, rustic lamps and leather furnishings. Woodland also features many charming mountain-themed gifts as well as flowers.
For extra fun, make a stop at Fuzziwig’s Candy Factory where you can choose from over 400 different types of candy from all over the world, either packaged or sold by weight. Then there’s Joy of Sox (get the pun?) where you can find all kinds of socks, tights, hats and other accessories for men, women and children. There’s even a Christmas Shop here. You might not be in the mood for Christmas beneath the sweltering sun of a July day but this is a great place to pick up souvenir items such as ornaments emblazoned with Breckenridge and/or typical Colorado scenes.
And of course there are lots of outdoor shops that present the latest and greatest of outdoor gear, clothing and accessories. The North Face, The Mountain Goat and Charter Sports (with three different locations) rank as great places to start. If you’re into running, don’t miss Vertical Runner, America’s highest running store. (Note the elevation of Breckenridge is a whopping 9,600.’)
Are you convinced yet? Shopping in Breck is tops.
Oh wait, there’s the vibrant art scene, too. Go ahead and explore that on your own, however, make sure you take in the stunning works at Railman Art Galleries, one of the most reputable, locally-owned galleries in the area.