Fashion Village

Salzburg Square in Amherst

Don't you just want to dance? The days are getting longer, little buds are poking through the soil and change is in the air. Lazy summer days are finally within reach and life feels like a "Mardi Gras." What better time than now to spend a few hours at The Village Shoppes at Salzburg Square, 292 Route 101 in Amherst, where you'll discover a blend of romance, nostalgia, sophistication and whimsy for both your closet and your home.

Handcuff the fashion police; it is now perfectly fine to wear aqua, yellow, pink and classic patterns! Look no further than Roxie's Fashions, where you will find one of the largest selections of Lilly Pulitzer in the area, featuring great skirts, slacks, tops, dresses and accessories. The shop also carries many Canadian designers and offers the Papillon Blanc collection of comfy travel wear. Look for "vegan-friendly" handbags from Mad Bags, which really do look and feel like leather for only half the price of the real thing ($49). The Yummie Tummie collection of tops, pants, dresses and more offers "built-in shapewear," which is just like fairy dust – evaporating "love handles" in an instant. Look for a generous mark-down rack.

Antiques at Mayfair is one of the best antique shops in the area and it's all because owner Linda May is very selective when it comes to her venders (more than 100) and what they each have to offer. The bottom line is that this rambling two-story, multi-room shop carries a lot of good quality collector items that are beautifully displayed and not ridiculously priced. It's never too late to begin a "collection" that will give your home a sense of personality. Think old mirrors, picture frames, medicine bottles, milk bottles, old irons, kitchen tools, bells or whatever speaks to you. Vintage jewelry collectors will not be disappointed. One section of the store is dedicated to old Life magazines (find your birthday year) as well as old print advertising ads for items long gone.

For 10 years Karen Dumoulin Farren of Gallery Portraits has been photographing life's special moments for families in and around the Bedford-Amherst area. Her newborn portraits are legendary and creative and make perfect baby arrival notices. Look for unusual props, including live bunnies for Easter photos. In celebration of 10 years in business, this spring Farren will be offering specials. The "baby plan" – a series of four photos over the course of a year beginning when the baby is just days old ($79) – makes for an ideal baby shower gift.

The Gift Shoppe at Salzburg Sqaure
Photo by Susan Laughlin

The Gift Shoppe at Salzburg Square is bursting with sophistication and creativity. Popular items include the Beatrize Ball (reclaimed metal and handmade) entertainment collection, which is simply breathtaking and affordable. The small detailed oyster dish ($39) is perfect for housewarmings. There's a whole line of what is called Blessing Bowls, which are bowls designed to be held in both hands and savored for the little scrolled messages they deliver. For anyone who has ever touched your life, these bowls are the equivalent of a warm hug. From cards to candles and in between, you'll find Kameleon jewel pops, and elegant and affordable jewelry from John Medeiros whose work is two toned (silver and gold) with cubic zirconium gems (prong set) and very similar in appearance to the designs of David Yurman.

Enchanted Lace may surprise you. While it is known for its large collection of high-end lace curtains (privacy with sunlight!), this store is full of romance. Look for vintage lace tier dresses and vintage lace wedding gowns from the Nataya collection (worn by Anne Hathaway and Katie Holmes) as well as crisp elegant sleepwear (think Romeo and Juliet), hats and fascinators, lace evening bags and lovely table linens and home décor. This is one charming boutique.

For a little post-shopping pampering, visit Aurvara, an Aveda Concept Salon. Here you can have your hair done and indulge in a whole buffet of services including massage, manicures, pedicures, facials, body wraps (rosemary mint) and more. The spa area is lovely and tranquil.

For the final touch to a perfect day, there's no better place to unwind than the new bluAqua restaurant and bar, which is chic, inviting and fast becoming an "A-lister" destination. The décor is fresh, the walls look like white waves and the fish tank over the bar is exotic. Though Executive Chef Chris Noble is French trained, the menu is "New American" and features such favorites as braised short ribs, duck, beef and lots of seafood including seared tuna. The martinis don't disappoint.

Categories: Features