2. Discover new shops that you’ll love.
3. Get a head start on holiday shopping or fill in your fall wardrobe at a discount.
One North Main
I have yet to walk out of One North Main empty-handed and good on you if you can. Deb Thompson’s assortment of oversized cashmere vee-necks, long sweeping cardigans, and always, always the perfect black pants is augmented by a serious selection of great bags and scarves. Really, what more do you need? A coat. And Deb found the perfect one. It actually pains me to tell you about it, because I happen to own it at a much higher price by a different designer. But this is THE coat: a puffer that is not too bulky, with a high neck and an a-line to fit several layers or a blazer comfortably underneath and in an uber chic champagne. Not too long, not too short, but covers the bum and is car-friendly in a lightweight but toasty down alternative. It is THE coat. $225.
Here’s what I want to know…what did our homes smell like before we were firing up candles, diffusers and room sprays? Nowadays the choices are literally endless. A go-to gift has been these delicious Lafco candles with aspirational names like beach house, ski house, and family room. Poured in handmade glass vessels, they are a perfect gift for just about anyone. I’ve cheaped out for myself, though, so I’m happy Lafco just released a less expensive version of their signature scents in handy room sprays at $40. The talented team at Pough Interiors has stocked their shop with plenty of holiday gifting goodies (love the vast selection of picture frames and design books), but I always like to snoop around for genius decorating ideas, too.
I generally think the candle/diffuser/spray category is on the girlie gift side, but Mandles are decidedly not. This hilarious line is meant for The Biker, Mr. Mom, Happy Camper and Mountain Man (and the Stoner, but it’s beyond me why anyone would WANT their house to smell like pot). You’ll find these soy-filled tins at Scensibles, in their new digs next to Aegean Treasures and Toys Ahoy, along with a trove of one-size wraps and ponchos for the ladies!
Goods and Curiosities, The Griswold Inn Store
Zen Puzzles belong on my letter to Santa. Handmade in Massachusetts, these birch jigsaws sport stunning woodland scenes and are packed in a heavy gift box; just the thing for the one that has everything because they don’t have these. For those of us who couldn’t quite get our mind around the coloring craze, here’s your relaxing moment. NOTHING like fiddling around family style with a puzzle in front of the fire ($15 to $65). I’m also quite mad for these cheap and cheerful floursack handtowels, reminiscent of Mexican Otomi prints at only $12.50.
I never leave Essex without a quick tour around Weekend Kitchen, but then again it’s never quick. The longer you linger, the more treasures you’ll find: antique serving spoons and gravy boats for your holiday table, plus every kitchen accouterment known to man, AND a delightful array of scented soaps nested in vintage soapdishes. Nancy Kirkiles hand letter-pressed cards are legendary, too (but not on sale during Girls’ Night Out).
While you’re in town, pop in to see Olive Oyls’ new home at the start of Main Street. One of our favorite stops for sandwiches and house-baked treats, they’ve added seating (yay!), and plan to pick up a few bags of their housemade jerky for stocking stuffers. (no discounts, sorry).
There’s lots more, too. See the whole list of participating shops here. Hope you’ll join us. It’s fun and free (except the shopping and drinking part!).