Surprising Shop Finds in Claremont and Newport
Claremont and Newport are “The Ticket”
By Melissa Boulanger
Tucked neatly in the northwest area of New Hampshire are the twin towns of Newport and Claremont that, over the last couple of decades, have struggled with a disabled economy. But all that is changing and what has emerged will surprise you.
It’s getting colder and there is no warmer place to be than in The Dorr Mill Store, 16 Hale St., where you’ll find more wool than in New Zealand. This store caters to fiber artists and craftspeople involved in traditional rug hooking, braiding, wool appliqué (classes abound) and costume making for military reenactment groups. Part of the store features men’s and women’s clothing from Pendleton and other labels.
Don’t let the name “Z Pharmacy” confuse you — this is more than a pharmacy. This lovely white building (239 Sunapee St.) is a drugstore, gift store and café all combined. Look for specialty foods, Earth-friendly biodegradable cleaning potions, old-fashioned candy and more. Upstairs you’ll find the “irreverent corner,” featuring “wash away your sins soap,” fragrant candles with a “cat butt scent” and other naughty items that will make you LOL.
“Spectacular” describes the newly interior designed space at MJ Harrington & Co. Jewelers, 35 Main St. In this classic jewelry store, look for Pandora charms, religious crosses and medals and one-of-a-kind modern and traditional pieces. The estate jewelry counter contains an elegant two-sapphire, one-diamond ring that is breathtaking ($13,000) and guaranteed to elicit a response of “I do!”
By Melissa Boulanger
Fragrant flowers designed with a lyrical flair and sophistication is what you’ll find at the Petal Patch, 2 Main St. The shop also carries personalized gift baskets, adorable inspirational stars and hearts and a generous supply of thoughtful gifts.
What’s a Main Street without a cupcake bakery? King of Cupcakes, 29 Main St., doesn’t disappoint. Baker/owner Chris Kelly could give the television show “Cupcake Wars” a run for its money. Store favorites include chocolate peanut butter, raspberry cheesecake and, of course, red velvet cupcakes ($3). Gluten-free cupcakes are also available.
Autumn is in full bloom as is hospitality at Kathan Gardens, 146 Elm St. You’ll gush over the selection of mums, plump pumpkins and purposeful items for all ages. Look for wind chimes, bird feeders in all shapes and colors, and an eclectic assortment of gifts and home décor. The water fountains are irresistible.
The Old Courthouse Restaurant, 30 Main St., is reason enough to take a drive to Newport. Situated in an old courthouse, the atmosphere is restful, sophisticated and elegant. This restaurant offers warm hospitality and a memorable culinary experience.
Be prepared. When you open the door to The Naughty Vine, 18 Opera House Square, you will be charmed. This newly opened regional wine, cheese and chocolate boutique is brilliant; a blend of fine wines from small vineyards throughout New England paired with specialty cheeses (Von Trapp) and gourmet chocolates against a backdrop of modern interior design punctuated with local sculpture and fine art.
Claremont Spice & Dry Goods
By Melissa Boulanger
Take your nose on a magical mystery tour and step into Claremont Spice & Dry Goods, 10 Tremont St. Here you will find deep, robust and authentic international spices guaranteed to take your cooking to a whole new level. Savor the paprika, pungent Vietnamese Cinnamon and elegant truffle salts. The saffron, which is under lock and key, is a treasure at $15.75 a gram.
Amidon Jewelers, 124 Washington St., is family-owned, growing and known throughout the Upper Valley for its personalized customer service and quality of selection. It is also the "go-to” place for the ever-so-popular Alex & Ani bracelets, Pandora charms and Vera Bradley handbags and accessories.
At The Blackberry Patch, country gifts and primitive décor, 124 Washington St., you'll find sofa throws from Family Heirloom Weavers (they provided textiles for the movie “Lincoln”), candles, table linens, wall décor and more. New Hampshire-made furniture is well-made and affordable.
OK, crank up the “classy” meter. NeW Socials Bar and Grill is crazy fun. This innovative eatery features an eclectic menu and doesn’t disappoint. The name NeW Socials means New England Fare globally inspired.