Shopping in the Lakes Region

A Yankee Doodle Dandy for Shoppers in Center Harbor and Moultonborough

From Home Comfort in Center Harbor.

Photo by Susan Laughlin

Surely you’ve heard of the “world famous” quilting-pickle tour, yes? No? Well, perhaps you’ve been inside too long. This month celebrate your shopping independence and set the GPS for Rte. 25 where you’ll find the American spirit alive and well in the two towns of Center Harbor and Moultonborough.

Begin your tour in Center Harbor at The Bay Restaurant, 23 Main St., Center Harbor, where you can sip hot coffee and order a yummy breakfast while overlooking the lake. You’ll find make-your-own omelets, pancakes, waffles and sinfully good eggs Benedict. The Bay Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and “in between” in case you need an emergency cold beer.

If you or someone you know quilts, chances are Keepsake Quilting is on your radar because it is considered one of the largest quilting companies in the country, to the tune of 12,000 bolts of fabric. Beginner kits with instructions and all the fabric needed to make a baby or lap quilt begin at $29.99. Consignment quilts ready-to-buy range in price from $200 to $900, depending on detail. From handmade batik to Civil War reproduction fabric (trending now) to themed and special interest fabric, it is all under one roof. The staff members are serious and experienced quilters who love what they do.

This home décor furnishing store is where high-end meets relaxed, blending to create a plethora of home decorating ideas from furniture to fabric to flooring and everything in between. If you’ve ever wondered what that big house on the lake looks like inside, you might find your answer here. Scrumptious fabrics, comfy couches, chairs, beds (four-poster) and accessories make this a unique find in the Lakes Region. Home Comfort offers full interior design services and friendly (casual and not pushy) customer service year-round. The overhead lighting selections are scrumptious.

Yikes! American Craft Gallery — the name is irresistible for a “fun-tastick” shop that has the magical ability to convince you that you “need it,” whatever that be. Handmade paper gift boxes, jewelry by NuArt (Manchester-based designer and company), giant fortune cookies drizzled and dipped in chocolate, painted bottles with twinkling lights and so much more. Look for the new cinda b line of handbags and accessories (leaves Vera you-know-who in the dust) and a fine great selection of Lazy Susans (handcrafted, drawn and painted) by Sticks that fly off the shelf because we’re, drum roll please, tax-free! Resort wear, home décor, wedding and baby gifts abound.

Let’s face it, sometimes the closest you can get to a “good summer romance” is at the bookstore and Bayswater Book Co. doesn’t disappoint. Whether you are looking for page-turning thrillers or blushing-red hot romances, you’re sure to find something here to read. This 18-year-old independent bookstore caters to what their customers want and not what big chains say they should have. The second floor is dedicated to children and young adults and full of books and family games. If you go through books in the summer like Friendly’s goes through ice cream, owner Michelle Taft has great recommendations.

From Yikes! American Craft Gallery in Center Harbor.
Photo by Susan Laughlin

If you lean toward country and primitive home furnishings, décor and accessories then you will be right at home here at Casual Cape. This rambling store (bigger than it looks) features an extensive selection of Amish-made goods (comfy handmade wooden glider chair a bargain at $379.95). Look for candles, curtains, braided rugs and scrumptious quantities of bear, moose and duck décor. This is a great place to shop for Americana and Fourth of July accessories.

The porch to the front door slants, the door squeaks and the floor creaks. The Old Country Store is the real deal; an authentic country store built in 1781 and owned and operated for the last 41 years by the Hayden family. This is where you’ll find penny candy, aged Vermont cheddar cheese, unfiltered molasses, soldier beans, peanuts, funky soda (birch beer and sassafras), gifts, tees and almost any variety or hardware store item you can think of. Fun fact: This store sells approximately 10,000 pickles a year (large dill and sour).

There is no better way to wind down your “quilt and pickle tour” than with a memorable meal, which is what you’ll find at Lavinia’s in Center Harbor. Look for lobster carbonara, braised osso bucco, beef Wellington and other tempting entrées, all beautifully prepared and presented. Located in an old mansion and overlooking the lake, this is truly a lovely place for relaxed dining or cocktails and appetizers. 

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