New England Fall Foliage and Gift Shopping
One of the most popular day (staycation) trips to take right about now is one which combines the natural fall beauty of the New England states with early shopping for the upcoming holiday season. These two go hand in hand as New England is filled with unique gift finds and expansive stretches of forests to admire as you drive from place to place. Here are some of our favorite finds:
Olde Mistick Village, Mystic Connecticut
With a name like that how can you go wrong? Located on Coogan Boulevard and right across from the water, this shopping village complete with a little chapel (The Meeting House) is filled with delicious finds. Our personal favorites were:
Franklin's General Store
Here we were overwhelmed by their huge collection of provisions including tins of maple syrup and old time candy. The shop was simply packed with gift ideas including baskets, sailor friendship bracelets, books, hand dipped candles and even pieces by the Nantucket Knot Works. Major kudos goes to their huge selection of very fresh, on site, fudges. These were mouthwatering and delicious. Creamy and reasonably priced.
For more on Franklin's General Store see our past article, Searching For Nantucket Light Ship Baskets.
Silk Road Imports
If you're looking for a pretty wrap for the beach or something exotic to take back home this is the place for you. They had tons of flowing skirts, richly colored shoes and handbags.
We absolutely adored this store and spent the most money here. It's filled with the brim with Scandinavian imported gifts such as tons of delicious chocolate, Trolls and Dala Horses of all shapes and sizes and one of the largest collections of clogs I've ever seen. Best of all they have tons of unique Christmas and advent cards which you'll want to stock up on. You'll be pretty certain that yours will be the only cards like them making the rounds to your holiday card list.
Newport Rhode Island
After you've done the cliff walk and visited all the Gilded Age homes you're going to want to do some major shopping. The funny part is some of the best gift buying spots are in those summer cottages so don't leave too fast.
The good part is you don't have to go to a specific mansion in order to find what we experienced. All of the gift shops are run by the Conservation Society of Newport County and you can even find some of the items online at their website. This means each house has a gift shop with the same collections. Despite being housed in an ornate mansion the gift shop has some pretty major finds at very reasonable prices. Along with a large selection of books I also found a huge collection of glass holiday ornaments, bookmarks, pretty murino glass magnifying glasses, woven beach hats, wraps and more. Find the mansions on historic Bellevue Avenue.
For more see our past article, Children's Books - Meeting Muriel Barclay de Tolly.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Andrew Shotts at a past NYC chocolate show and he was incredibly kind and passionate about chocolate. His chocolate shop, Garrison Confections, was once in Providence but seems like to have moved fully online (?) (lucky us!). Be sure to check out his amazing creations here.
Cape Cod Massachusetts
Cape Cod National Seashore's Province Lands Visitor Center
Out of all of our shopping discoveries this had to be one of the best hands down! Who ever curated the selection of finds in their gift shop deserves some sort of an award. It was that good. First the items were extremely inexpensive yet incredibly unique. Some of the finds included ships Boson's Whistles in wooden boxes, handmade and signed pottery, unique nature toys like a plush flounder and a beautiful selection of art by local artists. I picked up some gorgeous prints by photographer Laine Quinn and now kick myself for not buying up all of her works in the shop. Find it on Race Point Road, off Route 6.
Whydah Pirate Museum Provincetown Cape Cod MA
Out on the end of Macmillan Wharf is a tiny museum on all things pirate like. We were more interested in the shopping of course and snatched up headgear and a few other trinkets. The selection isn't huge but the books are well chosen and gold doubloon jewelry is very tempting. This shop is perfect if you're traveling with small children as they had many pirate themed toys.
There were a couple really great shops for finding regional gifts in one of the best shopping districts I've ever been in. Mind the cobble stones and wear comfortable flats...
Aunt Leah's was on the tip of every child's tongue no matter how small... it was incredible! We followed along to a little enclave and sure enough it was worth it. You'll find sumptuous fudge and even better the speciality, chocolate covered cranberries. Cranberries are a major crop of the island and just as we were passing through they were starting to turn red. Aunt Leah seems to ship so you don't even have to brave the boat ride to the island.
Polo Ralph Lauren
Located on 16 Main Street, I now know why they stay in business. The uniform of New England, need I say more? My top picks are a set of white pants, a classic tie used as a belt and one of those navy blue polo shirts that never go out of style. You'll be all set to sneak onto a yacht.
Le Cherche Midi
I remember popping in quickly and seeing cute displays of very country home decor pieces... sometime later I noticed this was the same Le Cherche Midi of delicious candle fame (the candles took a back seat in the brick and motor setting) and kicked myself for not staying longer. No bother because I just sampled all of their scents (see my review) but to do the same, visit them on 2 South Beach Street, Nantucket, MA. (I've been since told that Le Cherche Midi candles and the brick and motor store are separate.)
Some of our other favorite finds from around the state of MA.
Dedham, Massachusetts - The Dedham Exchange
Located on 445 Washington St, Dedham, 02026 and closed in August and Sat.'s in July this coop gift shop of women crafters and artisans brings together a unique shop filled with quirky finds such as hats, handmade home decor pieces, candles and much more. Even better proceeds benefit various educational and orgs including those supporting the community. 781-326-0627
Provincetown, Massachusetts - John Derian
As some may know from my past coverage of John Derian I am an abosolute fan of his work and while it's much easier for me to shop his wears in NYC, it was super fab to find him in Provincetown (talk about a cool place!), his new studio home. If in the area be sure to visit: Law Street (back of 396 Commercial Street), 508.487.1362 for his incredible decoupage signature pieces along with tons of other unique decor touches.
For more on our travels read, New England Tour-Cape Cod Adventure over at the X-Training Blog.
More blogs to check out:
New England trees even have their own blog over at Yankee Foliage of Yankee Magazine. Get play by play spots to see peak foliage color daily and be sure to view the very cool google fall foliage map. Another really pretty blog is Cape Cod Memories with lovely pictures and posts on island life.
Image: Copyright © MAM for GaveThat.com & MJM 2008.
- Who Knew Nantucket Friendship Bracelets Would Be So Hard To Find