Local Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List
A curated selection of New Hampshire shops and gift ideas for everyone on your list
For the foodie: Specialty food stores
A visit to one of these charming shops comes with (delicious) rewards for the gift-giver. — Ideas courtesy of Managing Editor Erica Thoits
Head to the Squam Lake Restaurant & Marketplace in Holderness around lunch, order a Best of NH-winning BLT, follow it with an ice cream sandwich, and then start your shopping on a full stomach. Reopened and renovated by the owners of the Squam Lake Inn in 2013, they sell an expertly curated selection of local goods, from beer and coffee to cheese and jams, all perfect for creating your own gift basket.
Pressed for time? Zeb’s General Store will do the work for you, drawing on their decades of experience to craft a custom gourmet gift basket. You can do this over the phone (or order pre-made baskets online), but we suggest you walk around this North Conway favorite. That way you can pick out a treat for yourself, like something from the 80-foot candy counter or the store’s own kettle corn.
Feel good about supporting local agriculture — and find great gifts — at Tendercrop Farm in Dover. All year long, they offer a number of handmade items such as soaps, dried flower arrangements, wreaths, gift baskets, candles and more. Plus, around the holidays, the top floor of the barn is dedicated to even more gift ideas and festive décor. You can also stock up on produce, cheeses, coffee, jams, syrups, snacks, baked goods, dips, salsas … basically, whatever you need for either edible gift-giving or party-hosting. Plus, if you’re wiped out after a day of shopping, take home one of their prepared food items for a tasty and simple dinner.
For the person who has everything: Curiosity shops
Look, if you can’t find the perfect gift for the quirkiest person on your list at one of the following shops, then they truly are impossible to buy for. — Ideas courtesy of Managing Editor Erica Thoits
Pickwick’s Mercantile and the related Deadwick’s Ethereal Emporium in Portsmouth channel a Victorian-era apothecary and the occult, respectively. Pickwick’s, which happens to be the largest niche perfumery in New England, also sells everything from artisanal soaps and shaving cream to a Harry Potter Gryffindor wax seal set and secular “saint” candles (think Ada Lovelace and Jane Austen). Deadwick’s dips into the mystical, and is the place to go for all of your tarot card and crystal needs. They also stock herbs, candles, clothing, incense and, for the really interesting person on your shopping list, a muskrat skull.
RavenWood Curio Shoppeisn’t exactly an in-and-out kind of place, so plan to spend a good deal of time exploring this Jackson emporium of all things, well, curious. The fact that you have to drive through a picturesque covered bridge to get there adds to the charm. This is probably the only place where you can walk out with a garden gnome, pink lawn flamingo, local artwork, a metal moose sculpture, a funky bracelet and an antique clock.
For the reader
“Covid Spring II: More Granite State Pandemic Poems” edited by Alexandria Peary
When New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary began the “Covid Spring” project in April 2020, there were no plans for round two. Yet, as the pandemic wore on, the writing continued, and the latest volume was released this fall. To compile both volumes, Peary shared prompts every day during National Poetry Month (April), inviting writers to submit their work for consideration. You can certainly read the second anthology on its own, but to experience a broader view of how the pandemic affected the Granite State, why not gift both? Each is available for $18 through Concord-based publisher Hobblebush Books. Tip: Check out the Hobblebush online gift shop, where you can add on items like “Read Local” stickers or book darts to tuck inside the pages. You can also visit your local bookseller for more great recommendations and to find other items readers will love.
For those who love the gift of experiences and activities
For your loved ones who prefer a gift that’s a bit more hands-on, give them the gift of experience. And why not consider buying two tickets so you can join them on a new adventure? — Ideas from former intern extraordinaire Anna-Kate Munsey
Granite State Whale Watch, which departs from Rye, is a great gift for the snowbird on your list, or just someone who loves wildlife. As the season doesn’t commence until spring, this gives them something to look forward to in the new year.
Canterbury Shaker Village in the quaint town of Canterbury will make for a memorable visit for the history buff. Guided tours include the original buildings, forests and fields that make up this National Historic Landmark. All of it is both beautiful and educational.
The Currier Museum of Art, located in Manchester, is one of the premier art museums in the country. It features exhibits ranging from the Renaissance to today, with core strengths in European, American and contemporary art, along with revolving special exhibits and events. This makes for the perfect gift for the artsy friend or family member.
The museum also offers tours of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Zimmerman House for the architectural enthusiast, as well as art classes for your young budding artist.
Art with a Splash, located in the heart of downtown Portsmouth, offers nightly guided painting classes — and it’s BYOB. Each month’s calendar has a variety of paintings to choose from, including local spots and more general scenes.
Muse Paintbar in Manchester combines a bar and restaurant with top-notch painting instruction — and absolutely no art experience is required. The calendar of events is filled with classes on landscapes, theme nights and seasonal paintings. The bar selection is curated to help you get those creative juices flowing, and their food menu caters to those who strive to have a brush in one hand and a fork in the other.
For the outdoor explorer
Everyone has that one family member. On vacation, they’re up at 6 a.m. for a sunrise workout, with a full itinerary of hiking, biking, snorkeling or exploring. Embrace their beloved outdoorsiness this holiday season and gift them something for their next adventure. — Ideas from former intern extraordinaire Anna-Kate Munsey
Plymouth Ski & Sports, has outdoor equipment for every season. And for the skier on your list, take inventory of what they already have, and find the perfect complement to make their time on the slopes even more enjoyable. This shop offers footwear and apparel, along with both sales and seasonal rentals of new and used equipment.
The Mountain Wanderer Map & Book Store is a small but well-stocked retail store located on the Kancamagus Highway in Lincoln. If they already have all their outdoor gear needs covered, you can’t go wrong picking out some light reading from this store specializing in New Hampshire-based outdoor recreation books, travel guides
Sam’s Outdoor Outfitters in North Swanzey has the gear, no matter what the weather is like outside. A walk in the woods is lovely any time of year, but a thick coat of snow on the trails can present some challenges — mainly, what to wear. Sneakers will get soaked, chunky boots will be uncomfortable, so there lies the brilliant invention of the snowshoe.