April Street Smarts: A quickie guide to a few shops on Main Street Rochester
It’s a little early for lilacs in Rochester, New Hampshire’s “Lilac City,” but it’s not too early for some great spring shopping.
1. As you walk by Strafford Stained Glass at 91 N. Main St., the bright colors of the stained glass artwork in the window catch your eye. Look closer and you see its quality. Inside co-owner and artist Dar Rocheleau says most of her works — windows, mirrors, clocks, lamps and more — are commissioned for residences, churches and commercial buildings. When she’s not creating, she’s giving classes and selling supplies for stained glass hobbyists and artists. www.straffordstainedglass.com
2. Go into the Jenny-Wren Gallery in a restored 1800s house at 107 N. Main St. and you find a veritable feast of beautiful things, all made by New England — but mostly New Hampshire — craftspeople and artists. Gallery owner Jennifer Stimac, a craftsperson herself, has added some of her own stuff — check out the handbags she makes from sweaters. Stimac, who was executive director of a League shop in Exeter before she opened the Jenny-Wren, says her wares are not only beautiful, they’re affordable. www.jennywrengallery.com
3. The small-“a” artstream at 56 N. Main St. is a three-in-one enterprise — art academy, media design studio and gallery. “It’s one of the largest galleries in the state,” says owner Susan Schwake-Larochelle. Indeed, the bright and spacious gallery offers a satisfying variety of fine art and craft from New Hampshire and around the world — paintings, sculpture, textile art, jewelry, ceramics, paper goods and glasswork. April 4th is artstream’s 5th anniversary celebration and you’re invited. www.artstreamstudios.com
4. At Trinkets & Treasures , 31 N. Main St., you find such a variety of antiques, collectibles and curiosities that it’s a bit dizzying — here an old Victrola, over there a huge Pooh bear and in between dishes and dolls. Prices range from $1 to $800 (that’s for the Victrola). Owner Brian LaBanches says people tell him his store reminds them of their grandmother’s house. For sure it’s nostalgic, but what fills his shelves is as useful as it was in grandma’s day. www.trinketstreasuresand more.net
5. It seems everybody in town knows Mark Traeger, owner of Tri-City Bicycles at 48 S. Main St. And no wonder, he’s chatty and funny, as well as knowledgeable about bikes and all the gear that goes with them. Mountain bikes,touring bikes, trick bikes, BMX bikes — he has them. Need tamer transportation? Try what Traeger calls the “grocery-getter,” which has upright handlebars and, ah, comfortable seats. Even Traeger, once an avid racer, takes an occasional spin on one. (603) 335-6440
6. If you’re a handbag lover, you have to see what Clutch at 65 Hanson St. has on its shelves. No boring black-bag-with-a-buckle here, these bags all have a personality; many of them sure to be conversation pieces (one is in the shape of a guitar, another has a Bible verse, one says “Spoil me”). Want classic elegance? Owner Barbara Duston makes sure you can have that, too. Swarovski crystals add sparkle to many, including the store’s signature clutches. (603) 330-0150