A Trip To Nederland – Part 1 – The Carousel of Happiness

Larry and I didn’t have anything on the books and decided it was time to do one of our little drives, to take in our local sights. We do this all the time, and we learn so much about our beautiful state of Colorado. Yesterday’s drive took us in a big loop, that ended up in Nederland. The drive up was so scenic and picturesque. The distant mountains, at the higher elevations, are still blanketed in snow.

This particular drive, as are so many in our small little mountain towns, is like going back in time, and going back through the Wild, Wild West. Most of the residents of these tiny towns live simple lives, and are often farmers or ranchers. Many of the original log cabins are still around as a reminder of the way things used to be in the bygone eras.

These cows were very wooly. They are known as Highland Wooly cows, originally from Scotland.

Nederland is a little tiny town of about 1500 people, nestled in the mountains of Boulder County. Today it is kind of an artist hangout, but originally it was an old mining town. Nederland is known for being unique and eclectic. It is a very colorful little town in more ways than one.

The name Nederland came from Breed’s Caribou Mill in Middle Boulder that became known among the miners as “the Netherlands,” meaning “low lands” Nederland’s elevation is 8,236 feet above sea level. Nederland is a little under 2000 feet lower than it’s rival, the tiny town of Caribou.

One of the main attractions in Nederland is the Carousel of Happiness. “The Carousel of Happiness is [Nederland’s] magical menagerie featuring 56 whimsical, hand-carved animals on a restored 1910 Looff carousel, turning to the music of a 1913 Wurlitzer band organ”. Charles I.D. Looff was one of the great carousel makers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A skilled woodcarver, he arrived in New York City from Denmark in 1870 at the age of 18 and by 1876 had manufactured the first carousel for New York’s Coney Island. During his lifetime, he produced carousels for parks across the nation. In 1910, he delivered a carousel to Saltair Park, just outside Salt Lake City, Utah, which would eventually find its way to Nederland, Colorado.

The animals did not come with the carousel, and had to be either made or bought. The were all hand carved by a young Marine named Scott Harrison, who was a Nederland resident. Harrison had never carved before, but he mastered the skill and handcrafted all of the wooden animals for his carousel. The Carousel of Happiness is a blending of new and old creations. It is the spirit of the century-old carousel combined with new carvings, along with the inspiring story of Scott’s creation, that encourages a new set of smiles from young and old visitors, alike. The Carousel of Happiness is indeed a very happy place, for young and old alike. It is also a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization.

Of course I had to ride the Carousel of Happiness. I do every time I am in town. I wanted to ride the Saint Bernard, since we are proud Saint parents, but there was a little girl ahead of me in line that had her heart set on riding that Saint. I had to give in and let her ride it.

Instead, I opted for the mermaid, which is just as apropos.

Other features of the carousel were fun little whimsical creations scattered all around, as well as an old Wurlitzer for the sound. Today the music is recorded, but not that long ago, it was still manually cranked.

This is Charlie. He was our historical guide for the duration of the ride. He knew all there was to know about the Carousel of Happiness and he was very happy to share his knowledge with all.

After the carousel ride, we ventured across the parking lot for an adventure in wine tasting. Our mistress of the wines, Rebecca, was also the very same painter of the characters on the carousel, but more on that later. Stay tuned. I have a lot more fun stuff to share with you all about our little day trip to Nederland coming up.

Never stop being a kid, even if only a kid at heart. Find the fun in everyday.

Stay safe and stay well. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

20 thoughts on “A Trip To Nederland – Part 1 – The Carousel of Happiness”

      1. Not much to speak of, I am afraid, but perhaps the situation will change by the time I make it there. Now, when you come here, that’s a different story! On Sunday, The Boss is taking me to a Persian kosher restaurant for Mother’s Day. You walk in there, as if into a Thousand and One Night, and the food is to die for. I’ll take some pics and post a recipe or two at some point.

        Liked by 1 person

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