October Street Smarts: A quickie guide to a few of the cool shops on Main Street in Bethlehem.




If you are looking for the eclectic and the unexpected, head north to the little town of Bethlehem where, even on Main Street, the ordinary is in short supply. 1. The Local Works shop at 2013 Main St. is the outlet for the creations of WREN, the Women’s Rural Entrepreneurial Network, so each object displayed is one of a kind and made with local pride. Handcarved wooden spoons by Kitchen Art are popular, as are Eileen Alexander’s birdhouses covered in a mosaic of broken crockery. 2. Billed as a “store of 1,000 coincidences,” Ragamuffins at 2053 Main St. does seem ripe for synchronicity, offering tribal rugs and “flying carpet” designs in one end of the spacious storefront, while antiques and crafts dominate the other. Owner/potter Barbara Thompson is there to weave it all together. Her commemorative tiles of the Old Man of the Mountain manage to be tasteful and artistic but still make great souvenirs. 3. Color-loving Carol Stanigar fills her Carol & Co. store with rich fabrics and reupholstered furnishings, and surrounds it with fantastic flowers and floral baskets. Her home at 2043 Main St., across from the Colonial Theatre is also her display room, workshop and store. 4. 3 of Cups. With two floors of vintage clothing, art, books, prints and antique jewelry and with a slightly mystical aesthetic, wandering through this shop at 2019 Main St. is a bit like stumbling upon a hidden floor in your grandmother’s home, filled with treasures and history. The store was an apothecary in the 1900s. Now it’s run by a couple of semi-retired midwives, one of whom just happens to be the mother of Olympic skier Bode Miller. 5. The New York Times declared it the best coffee bar in the mountains, but Street Smarts doesn’t believe everything it reads in the newspapers. After due diligence, we’re convinced that the Maia Papaya, right next to the Bethlehem Post Office on 2159 Main St., is pretty special. It’s not just great coffee, but offers organic veggie lunch specials and homemade smoothies. And their Trail Mix cookie is a specialty that deserves a headline of its own. 6. In spite of the fantastic array of found-art hand-made birdhouses festooning the lawn, the home at 2028 Main St. isn't exactly welcoming to browsers. The sign on the porch says to take a chance and ring the bell but the owner can be found by chance or appointment. The owner is Ron Smith, a noted furniture designer and artist and when he’s not hard at work, he’s happy to show folks around. His mixed media furniture and sculpture are worth taking the time to see. Bird houses that he has on display run from a couple of hundred dollars to $450.

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