Find the Perfect Holiday Gifts in Dover

Head to Dover to get a start on the holiday season
Craft beer at Garrison City Beerworks
Photo by Lisa Brown

Gee, I bet you all really missed those sweaters that you wore last year for six months, and the boots and the scarves, and the puffy “Pillsbury Dough Boy” outerwear and, of course, the oh-so-fashionable winter accessory, the ice scraper. The good news is that, before all those familiar items return, there are the holidays, and for that you can be grateful. Get ahead of the busy season and head to Dover — it really is delightful.

You can be sure you will never have to bake another pie once you visit Harvey’s Bakery & Coffee Shop. Raymond Guillemette, 89, still does some baking while keeping an eye on this family iconic bakery. At Thanksgiving, the family and staff will bake more than 500 pies. The most popular are apple, pumpkin, pecan and chocolate cream. (They also bake pork pies year-round.) If you’ve never visited, then walk through the door and you’re automatically a part of this sweet family.

The family name is Backowies and, for more than 13 years, they have put their loyal customers front and center at the Dover Natural Marketplace. This is where you’ll find carefully selected organic foods along with specialty dietetic needs, including gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and more. There are also essential oils, allergy supplements and anything else considered healthy for the body. Pick up all your baking needs along with special spices. There’s also a little café onsite featuring smoothies and “nibblies.”

If you have grown up in Dover from birth to marriage, then it’s quite possible you have a few jewelry boxes from Alie Jewelers hidden away in your closet. This Dover landmark has been run and operated by the Alie family since 1914. Counter displays sparkle with estate jewelry, diamonds, gems, silver and gold. Look for traditional gifts in brushed pewter and silver for all occasions. You can also have settings personalized with favorite stones and artsy embellishments. One lucky local celebrating 30 years of marriage is about to receive a gorgeous coral, diamond and gold pair of earrings.

Pear Tree Paper & Gifts is not your typical gift boutique; it’s like a gumball machine where everything is colorful and sweet. This is a celebration of local talent that features sophisticated, locally made crafts, arts, handmade goods and more. The adorable name banners for baby or special birthdays are treasures. Don’t miss the “603” items, from bracelets to NH “Home” shirts that are a must-have. The New Hampshire-shaped pendants with the cut-out heart are unusual, conversational and another must-have under a certain someone’s tree.

It was 12:15 p.m.; there were three men at the counter and another two at a high-top table. They all were good-looking. Where am I going with this? Oh, yes, Garrison City Beerworks. This is a brewery on the main drag and beer tasting is basically all you do. That’s right, imagine, a flight of six four-ounce glasses of different craft brews. Beerworks is a brewery destination for true craft beer fanatics. This fall, stop in and sample the Russian Imperial stout and the Imperial red ale. Growlers to go for the asking.

Sweet treats from Harvey’s Bakery and Coffee Shop.

Photo by Lisa Brown

Dover Wine & Brew is where you’ll want to go if you want to talk wine and the advantages of purchasing exquisite vino from family-owned and small-production wineries. No need to pretend you know your wines, this lovely boutique is anything but snobby. Try the Truvee chardonnay (crisp) or the Acrobat pinot noir for a smoky, lingering flavor. Wine tastings every Friday from 4 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 12 p.m.-5 p.m. 

Appropriately named, Just The Thing!, is, yes, where you will find just the thing for your home and friends. The assortment of doorknobs is luscious, as are the various repurposed and repainted items and furniture. The old door window casing is fabulous and full of décor possibilities. Look deep, this shop will fool you — it goes on and on, featuring 3,000 square feet of inspiration.

Nicole’s Hallmark is like a warm chowder on a cool day; the shop makes you feel good the moment you walk through the door. Now in its 28th year, this is where you’ll find just the right card or gift for a certain loved one. You’ll find Vera Bradley, Crabtree & Evelyn, Willow Tree and more. Do ask about the Ken Sheldon Hallmark Artist collection of gifts that have beautiful sayings that will go straight to your heart and, yes, in your shopping bag.

If you have a big, beautiful climbing tree in your yard, then the Noggin Factory has the thing for you. “The Swing Reinvented” is a curved, wooden swing seat with rope and wooden handles, and it flies. Stand on it, sit on it and travel back in time; this is a must for families. This shop, right across from the children’s museum (location, location and location) is full of games, toys, learning kits and activities and so much more. It feels like the North Pole.