Brake for Bristol

Find specialties and great shopping in Bristol



Bulk herbs from Cornucopia Bakery and Deli.

Photo by Susan Laughlin

Sometimes getting to a destination can be a blur because you're just so focused on getting there, especially when it comes to visiting Newfound Lake. But take note: If coming from the south, you really can't get to the Lake without "going through" Bristol, and that's a good thing. In Bristol, there's plenty of reasons to park and explore.

Open flags, park benches and the narrow Newfound River swiftly flowing behind historic old buildings make stopping in Bristol Square irresistible. Of course it doesn't hurt that the Mill Fudge Factory, 2 Central Street, calls your name. Located in the oldest building in Bristol, what appears to be just a fudge and ice cream shop is actually a full-service restaurant; The Back Room features beer, wine and "ridiculously good ravioli." Unbuckle your belt, this little shop of "horrors" has 24 flavors of fudge. Cornucopia Bakery and Deli, 26 Central Square, is also full of surprises. Walk through the door and take in the little sitting area with cozy love seats just steps from the bakery counter teaming with amazing macaroons, cupcakes and glass jars filled to the brim with homemade cookies. In a side room you'll find natural food products, hard-to-find spices and herbal remedies. The deli downstairs, which features build-your-own sandwiches, salads, soups and more, is a lovely little spot to sit and eat overlooking the rushing Newfound River.

Horsefeather Traders is a consignment store with a funky attitude. Look for block art (painted blocks with artsy designs), old wooden snowshoes and unique old household items. The old wooden ironing board made into a coffee table is a steal at $22. Next door at NJ's Tangles (hair salon), 20 Central Square, is where jewelry designer Nancy Mills has set up Brownie's Beads. She uses a lot of semi-precious stones and Venetian glass in her designs all at affordable prices. All proceeds from her cancer awareness bracelets ($20) go to the American Cancer Society.

Head off toward the lake and check out Parkhurst & Company, 90 Lake Street. It's a huge hardware store, garden shop and more; you can find anything from jewelry to live chickens! Farther north along Lake Street, stroll through Sammy's Buried Treasures and see what you might find. We spied sparkle blue tinware cups ($3), milk glass and some very delicate handmade christening gowns.

At Earthly Treasures and Iron Horse Metal Works, 150 Lake Street, we had to catch our breath. This welcoming showroom features the combined talent of husband and wife team Elaine (designer) and Vic (blacksmith) MacAdam. Look for pottery, glass, jewelry, gifts, upholstered furniture and unique hand-forged metal work. MacAdam's metal work is museum quality, breathtaking and a privilege to touch and see up close. One piece, a metal forged-sculptured king-size bed frame featuring delicate leaves, pinecones and a raised mountain range (which is lit from behind the metal) recently sold for $18,000.

Don't forget to stop in at Renaissance Florals, 265 Lake Street, where you'll find a friendly welcome and some exotic flowers for that "summer love" of yours. Finally, toast to a wonderful day with a glass of wine on the porch overlooking the lake at one of my favorite places, the Inn on Newfound Lake. Cheers!

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