Best of NH 2019 Shops & Services

Who doesn't need a little retail therapy now and then? From funky vintage shops to local jewelers, here's where to indulge yourself. Plus, find the best services in pet care, fitness and more.

Find all sorts of fun vintage items at Editor’s Pick The Melamine Cup in Jaffrey. Photo by Kendal J. Bush

Editor’s Picks

Comfort With Style: If you think it’s strange that an upscale women’s clothing boutique is located in Littleton, you haven’t visited this White Mountains town lately. It’s worth a stroll along the river and delightful Main Street, bustling with independent shops, the new Schilling Beer Company tasting room, bakeries and excellent restaurants. Amid all of this is Bella Funk Boutique, where you’ll find premium labels that are as cozy and comfortable as they are beautiful. The idea that quality fashion has to be restrictive or even painful is nowhere to be found. Find dresses, footwear, accessories, denim and more, plus handmade items from local artisans.

Gift Shop and Apothecary: Walk into Lonesome Woods in Bethlehem, and you’ll find there’s not an inch of the store that doesn’t have something of interest to ponder. The sign outside says they have antiques, apothecary, dry goods, candles, vintage, clothing and records, but there’s way more than that. Somehow it doesn’t overwhelm; it invites. Need an ax? Got them. Paddles? Smudge sticks? Organic soap? Honey dipper? “Live Free or Die” sign? Cast-iron frying pan? Got them all. You can also get soy wax candles, bath salts, room mist, potpourri, and even Mountain Man beard oil, all part of an apothecary line made by the proprietors. If you want to buy someone a not-your-usual gift, this is the place.

Local Lighting: When designing a space — be it your kitchen or an office — one of the key elements to making it inviting is lighting. To go a step further, Derek Marshall of Derek Marshall Custom Lighting in Sandwich will turn your lights into works of art. He designs wall sconces, pendant lights and chandeliers, all of which are crafted by hand with American-made glass. As he says, they are “the jewelry that sets off an interior space.”

Men’s Vintage Boutique: The alliterative slogan — “Purveyor of the Pleasing & Peculiar Past” — says it all. Old as Adam in Portsmouth buys and sells an eclectic mix of antiques that includes menswear. Yes, menswear. You can buy vintage men’s clothing dating back to 1970 or earlier. You might even find an item 100 or more years old. They also buy and prefer casual clothing, like cotton shirts and denim jeans, but they’ll consider formal clothing too. Don’t expect to go there without calling, texting or emailing first. Their hours, they say, are “sometimes.”

Haberdashery: A trip to a haberdashery was once a chance for a man to update his fashion sense, check his measurements, and learn a few style points from someone in the know. Now most men dash into a department store (or shop online — shudder) and get none of that. And we wonder why dads are failing at fashion. Miller Bros.-Newton in Keene has been around since 1844 so they remember and have preserved the old ways. Drop by, allow yourself to be cared for by practiced and seasoned fashion observers, and you may never want to shop in the 21st century again.

NH Merchandise: NH Fish and Game has been known for protecting and managing the Granite State’s fish, wildlife and marine resources since 1865, but we are also making them known for best state merch. Take your pick from NH hats, sweatshirts, mugs, calendars, NH Wildlife Journal, novelty license plates, or their very own cookbook, “New Hampshire’s Wild Eats: Cooking Your Catch.”

Neighborhood Grocer: Look, we’re as excited as the next person about the new Trader Joe’s in Bedford, but sometimes it’s nice to walk into a charming grocery store where the owners know your name and all your favorite items. Roy’s Market in Peterborough is just such a place, with staff that will let you in just after closing up for that one last thing you really, really need. It’s the kind of old-fashioned customer service that feels more like genuine friendliness — because it is. Roy’s has been a Peterborough staple since 1938. In 2004, Peter Robinson bought it from his uncle Albert Roy, and in 2010 Robinson remodeled the store, adding green technology in an effort to make it more environmentally friendly. You can feel good all around when shopping here.

Nostalgic Shop: The Melamine Cup in Jaffrey is a mid-century modern shop that gives you affordable ways to redecorate your home with trends that will take you back to yesteryear’s designs. Purchase vintage items like furniture, barware, linens, pottery, electronics, industrial office items, wall art and many more unique treasures. Stop by and enjoy a trip down memory lane.

Paper Lives! Rumors of the long-predicted “death of paper” will draw a few yawns at Little Dog Paper Co. in Meredith. The beauty, function and fun of paper in its spectrum of colors and textures has been the inspiration here since it was founded as a greeting card line in 2014. Now the line has expanded to nearly 200 different original cards, and they stock an extensive inventory of notecards, planner inserts and sticker albums, plus their “suck it up baby” set of screenprinted baby bodysuits.

Vinyl Vanguard: Its purple storefront studded with LP record “polka dots” is a beacon to those who must have the warm sounds of pure, classic vinyl to fill their audio brain grooves. Skele-Tone’s punk roots show through the free-form décor and pop up in the depth of history and inventory on hand — classic vinyl, CDs, cassette tapes, audio equipment, and a passion for the hidden gems and relics of the once-monolithic music industry. Skele-Tone of Rochester is self-proclaimed as the most organized record store on the East Coast. Seek and ye shall find.

Vintage Advantage: Walking into antique shops can be overwhelming — many are stuffed to the rafters, overflowing with so many items that it can be difficult to even pick a place to start. At The Quince and Quail in Ashland, the owners have made a considered effort to carefully curate their wares, intentionally avoiding the clutter of traditional secondhand shops without turning it into a sterile space. The result is a charming shop where you can happily peruse antiques from the 18th century through the mid-20th century, as well as vintage clothing.

Categories: Best of NH Winners