Inspired by 19th century general stores, Walden’s is a love letter to the American West in a unique space in Hahndorf.
Walden’s General Store brings the American West to Hahndorf
Stepping into Walden’s General Store and Trader immediately transports you into the American wilderness.
Walden’s General Store
84 Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf 5245
Mon—Sun: 11am ’til 4pm
The first thing you notice as you walk in the store is the smell of leather, timber and burning incense.
Looking around, you’ll see reclaimed wooden shelves, cow skulls, southwest Native American-inspired rugs, and a store counter and bookshelf made from railway sleepers.
Moving to the back of the store, there’s a cosy setup by a fireplace, with two armchairs inviting customers to stay for a cup of coffee, or a dram of whiskey if you’re in the mood.
Co-owned by Kat Romeo and Jon Di Pinto, it makes sense Walden’s has perfectly executed its vision of an American West-inspired cabin with old world tools to take on the wilderness.
Travelling through American national parks in a van, Kat gained an appreciation for the country’s wilderness and terrain, while Jon’s affinity for American-inspired aesthetics can be seen in his Gilbert Place projects.
Kat and Jon set out to create a place where their interests could intertwine.
“We sat down one night and imagined a place where you can drink both coffee and whiskey, surrounded by items that are aesthetically pleasing as well as useful,” Kat says.
Walden’s opened last month, taking up occupancy in a 150-year-old building in the heart of Hahndorf – one of the originals in the town.
Despite its German heritage, Hahndorf provides a fitting backdrop for the rustic general store, as well as a breath of fresh air for visiting city folk.
“It’s nice to escape the hustle and bustle of my busy city bars and surround myself in a more relaxing environment in the Hills a few days a week,” Jon says.
Since opening, Kat says Walden’s has been warmly received by locals, as well as tourists who’ve come in for a browse or a drink.
The store carries a range of handcrafted goods, including bags, blankets, rugs, candles, leather-bound journals, practical carrying tools and even axes.
Almost all its products are imported from the United States, giving customers the opportunity to obtain “American-made goods without suffering the exponential shipping costs,” Kat says.
A selection of books by well-known American authors, including John Muir, Jack London and Henry David Thoreau (whose most famous work Walden inspired the name of the store), are also available to purchase.
The back room is open for coffee and/or whiskey by the fireplace. There’s a table where you can sit and journal, where a rotation of American indie folk artists, such as Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver, will soundtrack your stay.
The whiskey selection has been curated by Jon from his bars, and the coffee is roasted by Vittoria.
Customers may fill store-bought flasks with aged bourbon from a port-seasoned barrel, which sits atop the store counter.
In terms of food, the menu currently consists of one item: fresh apple pie from Applefields Orchard Shop in Balhannah.
Even if you don’t stay for whiskey and coffee, you’ll want to hang around for Kat’s canine companion, Scout, who often makes an appearance. Pats are welcome.
Walden’s is currently open from 11am ‘til 4pm every day, and Jon plans to extend the closing time on weekends.
“We’re planning on keeping the fire burning later on weekend nights and leaving the door open for people to come in and enjoy whiskey,” he says.
Walden’s is located on 84 Mount Barker Road, Hahndorf.
Connect with the business on Instagram.
You can also find their products on Walden’s online store, which just launched.