shopping local…start here!

we hear it all the time. – shop locally and grow small businesses while helping support our friends and neighbors talents and dreams.

I know there are items you can’t find down the street (I’m sorry but I have my eye on a Garnet Hill sweater I just might have to ask Santa for) BUT there are so many hidden gems to find gifts for family, friends, teachers and even the boss without resorting to UPS.

A few of my favorite things in my neighborhood….(yes, a 20 minutes drive is still considered local!)
(and disclaimer…these are my thoughts and opinions and mine alone)


Garden Dreams – handmade with love and excellent talent by the awesome Jen Kovach, this business boasts goat milk soaps in rose (my favorite), lavender, lemongrass, mint and more. They are the perfect size for holding onto in the shower (too big soap bars are a big pet peeve of mine. and my mom I found out….who knew?). Her Starry Eyes cream makes me feel like a movie star and lip balm is well…the balm. Essential oils, lotions, arnica and her famous funky foot cream (you have to know someone who needs that!)…something for everyone!
Check it all out online as well as other places to purchase her goods.

White Birch Books – Our local bookstore…yay! And not just books but address books (another yay for those who’ve read my other musings), leather bound journals, funny Anne Taintor gifts, calendars and note cards….so much more than books and an actual space to walk around and pick up real books. When I was a child I never understood how my dad could spend hours in a bookstore. Now I do.

Spice & Grain – A health food store with lotions, candles, eco-friendly water bottles, bags and great little stocking stuffer gifts. They sell cute Blue Q bags from coin purse to tote size and lip glosses, gum and candy. A fun stop in downtown Fryeburg. Oh, and they have a great selection of my favorite way to keep the house at least smelling clean…Mrs. Meyers!

The Penquin – downtown in North Conway this store never ceases to excite me. With high end as well as cute affordable jewelry, bags, scarves, art, ornaments, candles, great cards and quirky, fun and totally unique kids toys. There is also a fabulous collection of off-beat gifts for foodies, sports lovers…as well as a few racy items or two. Also great socks. I love giving and getting fun socks! Favorite gift found last year…suction cup toothbrush holders for my boys that looked like toes! Gross but so great!

The Beggars Pouch – Going in here is brutal. The smell of leather and gorgeous boots, bags, wallet and belts overwhelm my entire being. It’s heaven. This is the place with the pricier items but worth every hard earned penny.

Spruce Hurricane – another beautiful shop with cool clothes, boots, hats, gloves and other gifts. I stopped in one day and found the perfect key chains…a beautiful heavy silver heart. a wonderful reminder to have heart each and every day.

Penny Lane’s Boutique & Fused Glass Studio new to the area this sweet shop has handmade jewelry, Rough & Tumble bags (made in Norway, Maine and amazing), scarves and casual chic clothes hidden in a small but full space. I’ve only ventured in once and can’t wait to head back in!

Now please note that these are just shops I visit on a somewhat regular basis – there are many more just around the corner and down the street so before you spend all your time online searching for the “must have” gift of the season…take a breath and a little walk. You never know what you’ll find.

And remember that gifts don’t have to be big and expensive to be special. A collection of Mrs.Meyers cleaning products in a metal bucket with pretty tea towels can be as meaningful as a diamond ring. just put some thought into it. as they say…it is the thought that counts!

Happy shopping…happy gifting….happy sharing the joy.

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