[May 2019 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Kathryn R. Burke]
Images, Kathryn R. Burke.
Hartwell Park is where the summer music happens, and the Ridgway Rendezvous on the second weekend in August. At dusk, you can also find free outdoor movies there all summer long. But these are just ‘happenings’, and you don’t have to wait for one to experience some summer excitement. Across the highway from Hartwell is a row of great shops where a lot is happening. And the best part is getting to know the folks you will meet there.
Step up the steps to the boardwalk. Start at the east end and visit Lupita’s Bizarre Bazaar. Susan Baker’s shop has been there the longest, and it has a long history of year-round visitors looking for the unique and unusual. She’s got everything in there from jewelry and clothing to furniture and kitchen gadgets. For kids, there are games and toys. Half the people in Western Colorado have one of her humorous magnets on their fridge. People come from miles around just to buy her clever greeting cards. Allow time to browse. You’ll need it.
A couple doors west is Ridgway Wrench. Nate Miller is the newest tenant on the boardwalk. He fixes, racesand rents bikes. “I’ve always been around bikes,” he said. “I grew up on Nantucket and started working in a shop there.” Since then, he has gone on to work in several other shops, and now, has his own here in Ridgway. His specialty is mountain bikes, but he works on everything from around-town road bikes to high-end tri-bikes. Nate also competes in single-speed world championships and Ridgway’s annual RAT Race. He invites you to join him. The race is June 8th—a 34-mile trail from town to CR 10, by Second Chance. Be warned, though. You’d better be ready. Nate won it two years in a row and he’s planning on winning it again this year.
Next stop is Art by the Park. This isn’t the first Ridgway gallery for owners, Suzzane Ulrich and her husband, Larry. When they first moved here from New York, they opened Sunrise Southwest, a gallery on the other side of the park, near True Grit. Suzanne has a flair for exhibiting southwestern art. Inside Art by the Park you will find paintings, clothing, jewelry, greeting cards, and art by regional and local artists.
Last stop, next door, is the ice cream shop, Café Ridgway Open year-round, it is run by Suzanne’s daughter, Suzy. She carries specialty ice creams in ‘small batches’, so they are always fresh, served in a bowl, sugar cone, or waffle cone. The shop offers an extensive menu of sundaes, shakes, Italian sodas, and floats. “You can do endless things with floats,” she says. Café Ridgway is open year-round, seven days a week, from mid-June into the fall (and shorter hours in winter).
Why did she open the shop, and how does she feel about it? “It’s delightful,” Suzy says. “I love being part of the community, seeing people come in, making them happy.”