Rim Country Treasures

Unique local Christmas shopping opportunities include the store at the Rim Country Museum and the Gila Community College art show where you can buy affordable, creative original artwork.

Unique local Christmas shopping opportunities include the store at the Rim Country Museum and the Gila Community College art show where you can buy affordable, creative original artwork. Photo by Teresa McQuerrey. |

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Editor’s Note: Saturday marks national “Buy Local Day.” So to celebrate the start of the Christmas shopping season we asked the Roundup editorial staff to reveal some of their favorite haunts. No need to spend $50 on a tank of gas getting to the Valley to shop, Rim Country has lots of shops, craft fairs, art galleries and other distinctive, local places to get unique gifts. So here are some tips on local shopping treasures.

Mouse Mountain

If you want to have as much fun shopping for holiday treasures as the recipients will have receiving them, plan a visit to Moose Mountain. The shop is packed to the rafters with wonderful gifts in all shapes, sizes and prices.

Moose Mountain Gifts & Moose Mart Antiques (6264 Hardscrabble Road in Pine) is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday (except holidays); 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. To learn more, call (928) 476-3044 or e-mail atmoosemtn@aol.com.

“I feel there is something here for everybody,” said owner Kris Lovetro. She considers the wonderful array of gifts, antiques and collectibles “Pine Country accents.”

“Whether you’re decorating your cabin or looking for the perfect gift, I think you can find it here.”

Now, about Christmas: If you see a decorated tree you like, ask about buying the whole thing, ornaments and all. Otherwise, you can pick and choose from a dizzying array, from beautiful Victorian-style pieces to mountain and wildlife motifs.

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We could “bearly” believe the unique shopping spots that abound in Rim Country.

“We also carry Hearth and Home cake candles and McCall’s country candles,” she said.

There are “moosetivity” and “beartivity” collectibles (the Nativity scenes feature moose and bears) and beautiful greeting cards for both the holidays and all occasions. Moose Mountain is also the Rim area distributor for Big Sky Carvers, suppliers of the popular Bear Foots and Moose collectibles.

The shop has a variety of dealers displaying their specialties for sale as well as gently used furniture. Different dealers contribute to Moose Mountain’s Vintage Linen Closet.

The constantly changing inventory throughout the store is an enticing mix of the old and new, always with some hidden surprises.

Christmas Boutique

The Pine Strawberry Arts & Crafts Guild also has a wonderful selection of holiday decoration and gift items available during its Christmas Boutique.

The boutique is open for a limited time only, so make plans to visit as soon as possible. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Nov. 29 and Saturday, Nov. 30 and again the weekends of Dec. 7 and Dec. 14. The Christmas Boutique is in the Arts & Crafts Guild Room at the Pine Community Center.

Historic deals

Another surprising place to find distinctive Rim Country gifts is the museum shop in Green Valley Park.

The Rim Country Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday through Monday, except Sunday, when it is open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The biggest part of its inventory — books and more books, including works by local authors about the area and longtime residents and many volumes of Zane Grey’s works, there are books about the Pleasant Valley War in Young and many other locales around the Rim.

Check out the décor items, including clothing and accessories. You will find a few specialty food items and a delightful flock of small, stuffed birds. If you have a fan of the Arizona Cardinals on your gift giving list — check out the adorable little bright red cardinal in the flock at the Rim Country Museum gift shop.

Also, the book selection includes topics of special interest to naturalists of all ages, along with maps — trees, birds, geology, insects, etc.

The Ranger Station

Here’s another unexpected entry in the distinct gifts sweepstakes: the Payson Ranger Station. Here, you can find an even bigger selection of books of special local interest. The visitors center also has a herd of little stuffed Smokey Bears and coloring and puzzle books for youngsters and the young at heart.

The Ranger Station visitors center (located on East Highway 260) is open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, except holidays. Starting Friday, Nov. 29 and continuing through Tuesday, Dec. 24, all the books and the stuffed Smokey Bear dolls will be 20 percent off.

Craft fairs and original art

Rim Country also boasts a succession of craft fairs and special events right through Christmas where you can pick up unique gifts, many of them lovingly hand crafted.

For instance, you’ll find an array of unique, handcrafted gifts this weekend at the craft fair at the Mazatzal Hotel & Casino event center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 30 and Sunday, Dec. 1.

If you’re too stuffed from Thanksgiving to make it to that event, other craft fairs crowd the calendar.

Trek down to Young for the 14th annual Community Holiday Bazaar at Braswell’s Chuck­wagon from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Dec. 6 and 7, and from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. Enjoy the food, books and gift items.

The Mogollon Health Alliance Auxiliary is having an Arts & Crafts and Bake Sale in the hospital’s main lobby from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6. Items available to purchase include baby blankets, bibs, toys, scarves, catnip toys, dishcloths, jewelry and more. Proceeds support the many programs and scholarships offer­ed by the Mogollon Health Alliance. For more information, call (928) 472-2588.

Swing by the Payson campus of Gila Community College, 201 N. Mud Springs Road for the seventh annual Student Art Show and Sale from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The show will include oils, acrylics, ceramics, sculpture, photography, folk art, drawings and cake decorating. The event is free and refreshments will be served.

The Rim Country’s oldest civic organization, the Payson Womans Club, will have its annual Holly Berry Fair from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and again from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7 (the evening hours are for the benefit of those attending Payson’s Electric Light Parade on Main Street).

The Holly Berry Fair features crafts and baked goods, plus a Southwestern Lunch with green chile burros, posole, beans and a dessert of pie or cake.

The Payson Womans Club is just east of the Payson Senior Center, which is at 514 W. Main St.

While not a craft fair, the Mogollon Health Alliance will host Paula’s Bags & More of Scottsdale for a sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday, Dec. 9 at the Payson Regional Medical Center main lobby.

The sale will feature a great selection of purses, men’s and ladies’ wallets, fanny packs, travel bags, pet carriers, cell phone covers, Bible covers and various other items.

Proceeds from the sale will go to support the many programs and scholarships offered by Mogollon Health Alliance. For more information, call (928) 472-2588.

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