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Sunday, March 27, 2016

If You Like Florence & Canon City: WATCH THIS

If you like Florence (the antiques capital of Colorado) and Canon City, then you might want to watch this:

The moving postcard is exactly what it sounds like--and is edited by Luci Westphal, a German New Yorker currently exploring Colorado and the Wild West.

                                        Picture From Luci Westphal's website of Canon City

The moving postcards show Fremont County in a beautiful light. Hats off to Luci for visiting the "Wild West" and producing this visual treat.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Florence, CO: Florence Brewing Company

It was nice to see the Colorado Springs Independent do a story about one of their neighbors to the south this week when they highlighted the Florence Brewing Company in Side Dish by Matthew Schniper. Did I ever have any association with the Independent? I'll never tell--but hats off to the weekly newspaper in Colorado Springs for covering a great slice of Florence industry and creativity.

You can read the story at:

Regular readers of this blog know that I extol all things southern Colorado--and especially Florence, so I am constantly keeping tabs on what is going on in Florence--and what coverage this fair burg receives.

I'm seeing a theme here. Even the Independent story captures it. The owner of Florence Brewing Company, Hans Prahl, according to the story was, "attracted to the tiny town of around 4,000..."

Yes, once you've been to Florence, it's hard not to be attracted. Is it the historical buildings? Perhaps. Is it the fact that we are in the 'banana belt' of Colorado and when it's snowing like a son of gun 30 miles away and we are sunny and mild with a few lackadaisical flakes? Perhaps. Is it our ridiculously low (compared to major metropolitan areas) real estate prices and property taxes? Perhaps.

But it's something more. Just the other day I was at an appointment with a professional who has a business in Florence, and he and his assistant told me in casual conversation that they have heard several Canon City(where they both live) business owners and  officials say, "We should do things like Florence."

There's just an atmosphere here. I can't totally explain it in words. But it's evident in all the little blog posts I do about local people and businesses. It's just the way Florence does things. And even though I've never met, Hans Prahl of the Florence Brewing Company--I understand why he was "attracted to the tiny town of around 4,000..."

But as in every "true story," the story is best told by the person living it. You can read more about Florence and the Florence Brewing Company at:

All I can say, is there will be a lot of happy people on May 14 (targeted date for the brewery's opening) in Florence when all of us will be able to sample this top-drawer craft beer.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

FLORENCE, CO: Tour of Spirit Riders

Spirit Riders, located at 111 W. Main St. in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado, is one of the more interesting local shops. And that's saying quite a lot, since all of Florence's shops and galleries have many unique features.

The shop is owned by Barb and Barry Brierley. Barb is the force and organizer behind the 2nd annual Escape In Time To Steampunk And Wine festival that is a fundraiser for the historic Rialto Theater, which was built in 1923 as an opera house.

And Barry is well known for his many historic fiction novels. Spirit Riders specializes in his books and also his original artwork--some of which has graced the covers of his books.

Our goal on this blog is to take a virtual tour of every shop in Florence--so let's see what happening at Spirit Riders.

A display of Barry's novels. He covers the gamut--from Native Americans to Bass Reeves, a heroic African-American lawman. Barry is often at the shop, ready to autograph a book and share about his research and passion for historical fiction, based on facts and research.

Western boots of most every style, color, size and vintage are always in stock at Spirit Riders.

And there is steampunk galore at Spirit Riders, from dresses, skirts, blouses, hats, corsets, goggles and much more.

Steampunk, western, Victorian, wedding-appropriate clothing... Spirit Riders has it all covered.

And you can always stop in an find out more about the steampunk festival coming up on April 9 and 10.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Steampunk Window Displays: Spirit Riders

As you all know, I've been roaming around Florence-the antiques capital of Colorado to view some of the steampunk window displays in evidence as the town gears up for its 2nd annual Escape In Time To Steampunk In Wine Festival, April 9 and 10.

Of course, we'd expect Spirit Rider, at 111 W. Main, to have a tantalizing steampunk window display, because store co-owner, Barb Bierley, is the driving force and organizer of the steampunk festival.

Barb has done a fantastic job of of turning Florence's steampunk festival into a tour de force.

She's organized and inspired the town to embrace the steampunk identity. And it's an identity that Florence had all along--but just needed a festival to celebrate what it already had for many years.

If you've read previous blog posts, you know that Florence, with its many antiques shops and art galleries was already embracing the Victoriana, steampunk and industrials arts for years.

It took someone like Barb to organize the festival into an event that perfectly showcases what Florence had for years-a multitude of shops, artists and resources that embodies the spirit of steampunk.

And this festival is a double-win. No, it's more like a quadruple or more win. The festival not only celebrates the spirit of steampunk, but the small-town community feel of Florence and all the creativity that has always been here. It also celebrates a town treasure: The historic 1923 opera house, the Rialto. The event is a fundraiser to restore the town jewel that is the Rialto. And that's something we can all get behind.

See you there--on April 9 and 10!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

STEAMPUNK-A-LICIOUS: Get your steampunk fix here

There have been a lot of steampunk posts on this blog. And it's no wonder, since Florence had a great inaugural steampunk festival last April and is gearing up for the 2nd annual Escape In Time To Steampunk And Wine Festival, April 9 and 10, 2016.

I decided to round up  the steampunk posts and put all the links in this one blog post, so you could get your steampunk fix and also see a bit of the evolution of steampunk in the fair burg of Florence. Florence is the official antiques capital of Colorado. And I've sassily dubbed it the unofficial steampunk capital of Colorado. Why? Because I can. Aw shucks, just read all or some of the huge amount of steampunk posts and you can come to your own steampunky conclusions. Links are below this year's steampunk festival poster.

Steampunk posts from this year below. I'll round up the numerous posts of what Florence was up to last year for the steampunk festival in another blog post.









FLORENCE, COLORADO: Tour of Legends and Lace Antiques

I was sneaking around Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado--taking pictures of the steampunk window displays. Legends and Lace Antiques, 131 W. Main St., has one of the best window displays in town. And while I was there, I thought, why not go on a virtual tour of Legends and Lace?

I've been saying for over a year (when Florence had its first steampunk and wine festival) that Florence should be the unofficial steampunk capital of Colorado. Not just because of the newish steampunk festival--but because Florence has so many shops that have carried steampunk, Victorian and industrial items, for years and years.

One of the best examples in town is Legends and Lace.

If you love Victoriana like I do--prepare yourself.

Yum! Legends and Lace also provides handmade, handsewn custom lampshades like the one above. I should know. I have a custom Legends and Lace lampshade in my over-the-top gypsy, Victorian decor at my own house.

Double yum! Downton Abbey--eat your heart out.

If you love vintage and vintage-style hats--the Legends and Lace is for you.

Meow! Yes, the whole shop is the cat's meow.

These boots are made for walking.

Hats off!

OK, the peach hat with the feathers would be perfect...

Ah ha! Plenty of totally intriguing steampunk goodies at Legends and Lace.

Steampunk ornaments. Have yourself a merry little Steampunk...

Steampunk all the way and EVERY day...In Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado AND the unofficial steampunk capital of Colorado.

Steampunk Window Display: Legends & Lace In Florence,COLORADO

Florence, the antiques capital of Colorado is getting ready for its 2nd annual Escape In Time To Steampunk And Wine festival, April 9 and 10. So, I'm peering in all the town's shop windows and giving everyone a virtual tour of the window displays.

Legends And Lace Antiques, 131 W. Main St., ALWAYS does its window displays up right all year round, but totally knocks it out of the park for steampunk.

                                               STEAMPUNK GIRL IN FLORENCE,CO

Steampunk girl is new  (from last year) in the Legends And Lace window. She's just so dang cute I want to squeeze her pudgy cheeks and goggles off her adorable face.

                                                  COLONEL STEAMPUNK IN FLORENCE,CO

I'm just making this up. I have no idea if this guy's name is Colonel Steampunk. But, hey, it's my blog and I can do whatever I want. I personally think the Colonel is a good spy and commands covert missions and he's Steampunk Girl's favorite uncle.

                                                 STEAMPUNK BOMBSHELL IN FLORENCE,CO

I was going to make this bombshell, Steampunk Girl's mother or aunt. But I think I'll make her an undercover spy that attempts to seduce Colonel Steampunk from his righteous mission.

See how cool the steampunk window is at Legends And Lace? Come on--get up to Florence and see if for yourself--and you can have the fun of making up your own (better than mine) stories about the characters in the window.

And don't forget to come to the steampunk festival. There are more activities, contests and goings-ons than you can shake a pair of goggles at.

Friday, March 18, 2016

What I Found In Florence--The Antiques Capital Of Colorado

Well, here's what I found recently roaming around Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

I love this old wooden restaurant sign. We all need a bit more quality and good cheer also! Ah, what I wouldn't give to be able to buy a cheese sandwich for two bits. DISCOVERED AT: The Iron Gate Antique Mall, 109 W. Main St.

A magic lantern. This is so cool and well, steampunk. I've been reminding blog readers for over a year that Florence is the unofficial steampunk capital of Colorado, because the shops have so many steampunk, Victorian and industrial items, 365 days a year. DISCOVERED AT: Iron Gate.

 And do NOT forget, Florence's steampunk festival is coming up April 9 and 10.

Big wheels keep on turning...There is always a fantabulous selections of good junk outside Florence Antiques, located at 103 Main St. The selection changes daily and if you slow down enough as you are driving by, you can usually find something eye-poppingly strange and delicious. The inside of the shop is also packed with antique finds, jewelry and more.

Ah, spring has sprung at The Iron Gate Antique Mall. I love this cast iron bench and table and bright yellow accessories.

Yes, Florence has many authors and writers! One of the best known is Barry Brierley. He's the author of many historical fiction novels, as well as a talented painter. He and his wife, Barb, own Spirit Riders, where Barry's books and artwork are sold--as well as western decor, clothing, boots, antiques--and vintage and steampunk clothing and lots more. Located at, 111 W. Main St. And check out the author's Facebook page at:

I like this bookcase made out of reclaimed wood, discovered at The Iron Gate Antique Mall.

Eating My Way Across Colorado: Aspen Leaf Bakery & Cafe

You want some of the best baked goods and fresh salads, sandwiches and soups that southern Colorado has to offer? Look no further than the Aspen Leaf Bakery & Cafe, located at 113 W. Main St. in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado.

Usually I eat my way across Colorado alone, but this time the girls and I went to see what was happening at one of the most popular spots in Florence.

The Aspen Leaf is so popular that people drive from out of town to feast.

Two people in our party had the turkey panini, which I've had before also. Imagine a stunning artichoke spread, provolone, sliced red onions, alfalfa sprouts and marinated tomatoes complimenting all that turkey on some flat bread. No, just don't imagine it. Get to the Aspen Leaf and have one. The garden salads at the Aspen are always clean, fresh and crisp.

Our salads were chock full of tender baby spinach, other greens and plump, bright tomatoes.

I had the egg salad accented with celery and a special seasoning on a croissant. Beyond divine.

I could blather on about the veggie mushroom melt, the organic, vegan burger, the fresh soups and tortilla and lettuce wraps. Yes, I could.

But let's be honest. We all have these healthy offerings and then want to get to the baked goods.

The Aspen Leaf even has a good selection of gluten-free offerings. They also have cookies, macaroons, scones, danish, brownies, turn overs, bear claws, cinnamon rolls, muffins, bundt cake, coffee cake, cheese pockets with various fruit fillings, tiramisu with mocha sauce, strudel, banana bread, bread pudding with vanilla sauce, pies and cheesecakes.

If that wasn't enough--the Aspen Leaf semi-recently added soft serve ice cream to the list of temptations.

Breakfast, served until 11 a.m. is just $4.95 at the Aspen Leaf and includes quiches, biscuits and gravy and breakfast burritos.

As if all the food and beverages at the Aspen Leaf weren't enough to keep one lingering in delight--then the ambience would be.

The Aspen Leaf's walls featured local artists' works.

This bakery and cafe is located in a historical building (complete with skylight) as are most of Florence's businesses.

Local handmade pottery for sale.

And local food products.

We loved this culinary collage.

Vintage aprons and kitchen tools.

More local art.

And if you really want to vicariously set your taste buds aflame, make sure and visit the Aspen Leaf's Facebook page:

Florence, CO: Taxidermy On Steroids

When I don't have time to visit a natural history museum, I like to go upstairs in The Iron Gate Antique Mall and look at a booth that I call, taxidermy on steroids.

The Iron Gate is located at 109 W. Main St. in Florence--the antiques capital of Colorado. But there is a lot more than antiques in this FUNky town.

What amazes me about this booth is not just the selection of animals--but the prices. Cheap!

Just $65 for both of these guys--including their neat mounting platform.

Cool cockatiel. He looks a little ticked off, but I guess I would too.

Argh! A large lizard who speaks with a forked tongue. I'm just trying to figure out if he'd look weird in my bathroom.

Maybe this fish would look better in my bathroom.

Shucks, this chipmunk is so cute I don't want to see him anywhere, except frolicing in the forest.

Cool. A golden pheasant.

And a deer. Just $65.