The definition for “raw beauty” may be found in Chelsea at Libra Leather, a 12,000 square-foot leather fashion house, the largest in the city. Operated by the Alfus family since 1977, the company houses about 100 European tanneries under its roof and supplies designers and celebrities like Alexander Wang, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein, Lady GaGa and Prince. In addition to coloring, cutting, perforating, stretching and distressing of skins, Libra also sells finished products such as handbags, vintage clothing, pillows, rugs, throws and leather-bound journals. Even if not actually shopping, the warehouse-sized space creates enough magical ambience with its combination of textiles, metalwork, antiques, drapery and statuary to earn a visit.
By setting out to provide visitors with one of the most beloved Christmas traditions, Anthony Gallo Nurseries has practically become a tradition in itself—the Christmas tree farm has spent more than a century decking homes with the holiday’s decorative centerpiece. At the nursery, tree-seekers peruse a lineup of firs hand-picked from Gallo’s tree farm, including Fraser firs, a modern-day favorite seen in many American homes including the White House, and Balsam firs, a classic choice known for filling spaces with their festive aroma. In addition to trees, the nursery offers mixed garlands and florist-designed wreaths sprinkled with colorful berries, handmade bows, and tiny cameras that stream footage to Santa's behavior-analysis department.
In 1919, Henry H. Elbers hung up his hat as director of the Buffalo Botanical Gardens to start a new adventure: founding Elbers Landscape Service Nearly a century later, his enterprise still mows lawns and equips gardeners with trowels to comb their hair. The company’s landscaping experts spend their summers enlivening yards with new shrubs and trees, installing burbling fountains, and paving walkways. Their garden center outfits green-thumbed clients with supplies such as mulch, topsoil, and perennials and annuals. During icy winters, the professionals exchange their mowers for plows to evict squatting snowmen from driveways, sprinkle salt over sidewalks, and chip ice from stoops.
Clasped between Saguaro National Park and the Ironwood Preserve, Double R Ranch appears as though it were plucked straight from the frames of an old Western movie. The windswept grounds stand as a gateway to the thousands of untouched acres that quietly stitch together the Northwest side of Tucson. The ranch gives visitors a chance to explore that land with horseback rides and birthday parties. It also offers weekend getaways and RV hookups to city-dwellers in need of an escape from the crowds and door-to-door minivan salesmen that come with urban living. Double R also accommodates guests who have their own horses with overnight stabling services.
Nestled in a renovated coal barn from the 1920s, Village Gardens of Brightwaters welcomes visitors with its quaint cedar-wood interior, and lofty ceiling beams overlook myriad garden tools, decorations, and plants. Outside the building, the bright blooms of perennials and annuals soak up sunlight, the fragrance of herbs fills the air, and verdant shrubs beckon gardeners who’ve had their thumbs tattooed green. In addition to root-bearing loot, customers head home with bags of mulch and topsoil for spreading over the graves of accidentally ripped paper dolls. Elegant statues and birdbaths further personalize gardens, and custom wreaths twine together silk flowers, fruit, birds, and berries for creations that brighten front doors or the necks of prize-winning rocking horses.