I wrapped a bunch of presents the other day, and while I worked, I watched a Hallmark Christmas movie. The plot involved a beautiful, slightly deranged reporter who moved to Vermont, met a handsome man, saved a town, saved the holidays and saved Santa’s life, and I was like, Oh my gosh, they made a movie about me!
It’s crunch time, people, and this time we’re setting out farther afield, but every business or product mentioned this week is owned, created or otherwise commanded by a Charlotte neighbor.
Do you live or hang out with an annoying person who enjoys strumming a guitar loudly and making uncomfortable eye contact with you while others try to have a conversation? If so, get in touch with Adam Buchwald at Circle String Guitars and Iris Guitar Company. He makes sublime custom guitars through Circle Strings and less expensive but still gorgeous-sounding instruments through Iris that aren’t custom but might as well be. If you’re going to have to listen to the strumming all the time, it might as well sound perfect. If your loved one is a crazy guitar-smashing rock star, Buchwald can help with that, too—he repairs guitars as well. Gift certificates are available for all three options through his web site and Iris Guitar Company, and his shop is in Shelburne.
Are you ever out and about and thinking, gosh, I miss my pot stash? If so, you never have to leave a reminder far behind again. Charlotter John Berkey and his partner Rikki Boshears have created B Kind jewelry. (Get it? Last names start with B? Kind as in, kind bud, which I had to Google to find out what that actually means? And they’re both super nice, so it’s like a play on words?) They bronze-casted a unique mold of a cannabis nugget, which is available in silver oxide, 14k gold or rose gold finish. They also have stone-and-bud pendants with fluorite and aventurine. You can’t smoke them, so don’t try, but they’re so pretty, you might still get a high. They’re available at 30 Odd on Pine Street in Burlington, are made in the USA, and sell for $160 and up.
Mysa on Falls Road in Shelburne is like walking into a magazine photo spread where children don’t eat jam on the couch. The home and gift store sells lots of fuzzy stuff and things that smell good. The nice ladies who own it, Katie Bohlin and Jennifer Whalen, were willing to pretend I wasn’t being a creep when I walked around smelling stuff and manhandling the merch, even when I smelled the yoga pants, which would have been well within their rights.
They have organic wool dryer balls (good for the environment and only $15, and my kid threw one at my head by accident and it only hurt a little, so trust me, they’re very soft), an alpaca and faux-fur hot water bottle for $140, and a fun tote that I think probably was created in my honor that only costs $22 and says on the side, “I’m not a regular mom, I’m a cool mom.” There are earrings at every price point and a $25 sage bundle wrapped in pink ribbon with a pink heart gem on the side for when you want to be preppy and adorable whilst ridding your home of demons or ghosts, or bad energy from your last boyfriend. They also have an extensive collection of cashmere sweaters, baby gifts and sheepskins.
Here’s what I think about camping: I’d rather sleep inside chaperoning the fourth-grade recorder band while they give a concert to a bedbug convention after nine espressos each than sleep outside in a tent. Common Deer, which is in Burlington and owned by the Beal family, has a lot of camping-friendly items that I think people must enjoy, like Darn Tough socks and $19 Vermont-illustrated Nalgene bottles and sturdy backpacks in earthy colors that look like they can withstand a hurricane. They have flasks in a variety of styles, which I could actually get behind. Maybe that’s why people like camping? They also have a book called The Pocket Guide to Camping, which as far as I’m concerned should be one sentence long: Don’t do it.
Common Deer is just full to the brim of lovely gifts, like stoneware bowls and mugs that start at $35 and say “Laid in Vermont” on the side…with a drawing of a chicken. For $28, you can get the annoying dork in your life a desk placard that says, “I’m silently correcting your grammar,” and for a politically obsessed person, they have leather-embossed magnets and keychains that bear the visages of political figures like Barack and Michelle, Joe Biden and Mr. Trump.
The store has also teamed up with Vermont Parks Forever, the foundation for Vermont State Parks, to create a series of prints for each park. My favorite is the Mt. Philo print, which is a little retro, a little modern and a lot adorable. It’s $38 without a frame, but the store has some really great rustic ones that are perfect.
Nikki Mudge has a little shop on Greenbush and a lovely online store, Siafu Home, or check with her for hours. She sells home and gift items she collects on her frequent travels to Kenya, where she used to live. Leso napkins made from vintage fabric are $20 each, a gorgeous set of hand-carved ebony spoons are $60, and Ankole cow horn votive holders are $60, and calm down, they’re ethically sourced and the cows are fine. She also sells an aluminum and brass bottle opener in the shape of a warthog tusk for $79, which reminds me…after all this shopping I need a beer and a nap.
Thanks for shopping with me, and if you need any more tips, be in touch. I’ll just be at home, smelling my new pants, correcting people’s grammar and drinking some vodka I got at the Old Brick Store. Happy holidays!