Downtown Exeter Shopping

Fashion, antiques, decor and more

Serendipity Boutique offers an impressive jewelry range.

Courtesy photo

You can’t really get to know Exeter without visiting Gerry’s Variety Store, the town’s gathering place for newspaper reading, breakfast and storytelling. The shop has all you would find at a typical convenience store and more. The floors creak, the ice cream case is full to the brim, and you can still buy a corn cob pipe or single-edge razor. The Trackside Café (located in the back of the store and run separately) serves breakfast and lunch, with an average price of under $7.

Trends is the one store in town that caters to everyone, especially when it comes to bridal invitations and last-minute hostess gifts. From cocktail napkins (Caspari) to fine cabernets ($14-$35), you’ll find it in this newly expanded fine gifts and stationery store. Don’t forget presentation: The store carries sophisticated wrapping paper, fun gift bags, and rows and rows of thoughtful and funny cards.

Two-piece gowns and dresses with plunging necklines, high slits and low backs are what you will see during this year’s prom season. Getting the right undergarment that won’t show through is a problem you can solve at Top Drawer. This sophisticated shop carries bustiers, stick-on bras, seamless thongs and more. As for brides, Top Drawer’s wedding night lingerie (that you can show to your grandmother) may be as important as picking out flowers. Expect expert advice and amazing personal service.

Need to keep your hands busy? Pintuck & Purl might be your solution. It’s a little shop with a big following, and there are plenty of reasons why. Look for high-quality fabrics, yarn, patterns and a changing menu of classes. The shop offers Bernina sewing machines to rent on premises, which is a great perk considering these high-tech machines cost thousands of dollars. Times have changed — today’s sewing is more about creating wearable art. Patterns for jeans, leggings, summer wraps and more are available in more “realistic” sizes. Ask about stitch-and-sip nights.

Serendipity Boutique is fashion-forward and brims with summer tops, capris, wispy sundresses, straw hats and more. Look deep throughout the shop to discover the hidden jewels. You’ll find organic skin and body products, fair trade candles, soaps, jewelry, wallets, bags and such. Be sure to ask about the mugs by Healing Touch Pottery. Each earthen vessel contains a polished stone embedded in the handle that is believed to give out healing energy. This is the perfect one-stop shop for last-minute romantic getaways.

Antiques, Etc. is a little antique shop with enough pizzazz to keep you lingering. Seven local women, each with her own taste, own the store. You’ll find miniatures, Depression glass, nautical items, home décor (shabby chic) and repurposed items. Make sure to check out the lamp made from a gas pump nozzle; it’s hilarious and would make a fine Father’s Day gift. This lovely and welcoming shop is spit-spot clean and free of that musky antique smell.

So, your co-workers think they have you pegged as the serious one in the office with the tidy cubicle? Bring on Saturday night! Little do they know LunaChics is where you get your fairy dust. Sizzle in a pair of skinny jeans with ragged hems (or holes) and pair them with a flowing, flirty top with lace or embroidery. There’s more. Vintage is back, and LunaChics carries the Unique Vintage line, designed for women who “step out of the box.” Think Audrey Hepburn and at least try on the blue dotted swiss summer dress — it’s truly stunning.

Puddlejumpers is like diving head first into a gumball machine. This happy and colorful children’s shop is delicious. Look for Hatley fine clothing (think family portraits) and the British line JoJo. You’ll marvel at the wooden teaching toys, cute raincoats, boots and selection of classic children’s books. The infant selection will melt your heart. Beautifully packaged organic gowns and onesies by MilkBarn are outrageously adorable and perfect for that baby shower in the Hamptons. Ask about the Mini Flip, two rideable toys built into one. Brilliant design.

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