9 unique mountain gifts to purchase as a souvenir while visiting Summit County
Instead of the usual T-shirt, take home a handmade piece of jewelry, a local bar of soap or a cookbook written by a Silverthorne resident.
T-shirts, ornaments, snowglobes, postcards — all of these mementos are popular trinkets to take home after a vacation, and visitors can get them here. But Summit County is a unique place, and that means there are just as many truly unique goods to take home after a trip to the mountains.
For the homebody
The Breckenridge-based business was started by Kim Nieuwoudt and has had a brick-and-mortar storefront since 2011.
Nieuwoudt and her mother make all of the shop’s products in the back room of the store, and they make over 60 different soaps. Nieuwoudt typically rotates the soaps out seasonally and offers just a select few until they run out.
So what’s different about Nieuwoudt’s soaps? Nieuwoudt said the perk of buying local handmade soaps is knowing more about the process, including the ingredients.
“For my soaps in particular, we don’t use any animal fat,” Nieuwoudt said. “The only animal byproduct that I use in my soaps — and not all of them, just some of them — is honey and goat’s milk.”
Prices depend on the scent and the amount of soap purchased, but most items range from $3.70 to $24.
- Beer Darts, a game created and made locally by two Keystone ski patrollers, could be the perfect souvenir for the person that likes to host game nights. The game can be purchased online at BeerDarts.co and retails starting at $45.
- Grab a handmade piece of pottery or a watercolor painting made by local Erika Donaghy at one of Summit County’s summer markets. Visit her website, ErikaDonaghy.art, to see where she’ll be next.
For the creative one
Looking for something that speaks to the art in Summit County? Then look no further than KP Mountain Metals. The Instagram storefront @KPMountainMetals sells handmade jewelry including rings, bracelets, cuffs, pendants and more that typically sell for $50 to $300.
Katie Pickens, the Breckenridge local behind the online shop, has lived and worked in Summit County since 2005. She was working in the local food industry and was looking for a creative outlet when she stumbled on southwest-styled jewelry while visiting Sante Fe, New Mexico.
She quickly took a silversmithing class in Denver and decided to open her online Instagram store in 2015. Today, she travels to Denver and to Tuscon, Arizona, where she handpicks each of her stones to turn them into wearable works of art.
“It’s so gratifying basically turning materials that don’t look like anything into something … a piece of jewelry that you can wear,” Pickens said. “It’s so great to be out and see people wearing something that you’ve put a lot of work and passion into, and they enjoy it just as much as you liked making it.”
To purchase a piece of jewelry, customers can visit her online Instagram store or visit her booth at one of Summit County’s art markets. She also does custom work. Those pieces typically take four to eight weeks to complete.
For the foodie
Many food lovers have probably come across Half Baked Harvest on Instagram or TikTok. It’s not too unlikely, given that the Instagram and TikTok accounts had 5.2 million and 674,500 followers, respectively, as of this spring. The food-based account is run by Silverthorne local Tieghan Gerard who creates and shoots all of her content at in a studio near her home.
Gerard said she’s always been interested in cooking. Her hobby started out as a way to help her family as a child.
“I am one of eight kids. I grew up with five brothers, and then my little sister was born when I was 15. So it was a wild house for a while, and I grew up cooking for my family just to help get dinner on the table and help my parents out,” she said. “That’s when I started cooking, and I really liked to help out in that way and provide for my family in that way. I really found enjoyment being able to please people and make people so happy through something that was so easy for me.”
Today, Half Baked Harvest doesn’t focus on any particular diet. Instead, Gerard said she tries to incorporate as many whole ingredients as possible into her recipes, which she tries to create for those with busy lives.
Gerard has three published cookbooks, including “Half Baked Harvest Cookbook,” “Half Baked Harvest Super Simple,” and “Half Baked Harvest Every Day.” They typically retail for around $18 and can be found at local bookstores like Next Page Books & Nosh in Frisco as well as on her website.
- Try out one of the 20 flavors of jerky offered through Climax Jerky, which got its start in Summit County in 1999. The most popular jerkies are smoked elk, original buffalo, spicy elk and honey-glazed beef. The buffalo and elk both come in around $17 for a 3-ounce bag and the traditional beef is $11.30 for a 4-ounce bag. Bundles, subscriptions and shopping can be found at ClimaxJerky.com and at their storefront at 100 S. Main St. in Breckenridge.
- Peruse through all the products offered through Rocky Mountain Cannery which has a location in Breckenridge at 302 S. Main St. The business offers a solid selection of pepper jellies and preserves that can be paired with cream cheese and crackers.
This story was originally published in the Summer 2023 edition of Explore Summit magazine.
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