Shopping off Exit 32
Can’t wait for spring to arrive? Take exit 32 and visit Lincoln and North Woodstock
The chorus for most people this time of year in New England is united, “Give me mud or a black fly bite; anything will do to deliver spring faster.” While you can’t rush the calendar, you can take action and enjoy a retail refresher. Set the GPS to Exit 32 off I-93. You many not find spring, but you will find some great year-round shops in Lincoln and Woodstock, and the “sweetest of sweets of the season” — pure maple syrup.
Look for the bright, purple shutters, the silly name, The Dreaming Pig (603-745-6900), and find yourself a parking space. This is a lovely little antique store full to the brim with carefully selected treasures. For the nostalgic side of you, you’ll find old hay hooks, tools, tin boxes, old baking ware and more. If you have a second home, pick up some colorful glass, linens and wall art.
Need a little pick-me-up? Check out the Purple Tomato Farmers Market and discover some fresh, locally baked energy bars, warm chocolate cookies, hot coffee and fruit and vegetables from local farmers. While visiting, have owners Jim or Susan make up one of their famous sandwiches. Looking for bison or elk? Check the meat case; it’s all there and it’s local.
Are you yearning to drop $200? (Who isn’t, right?) Look no farther than Abbey Cellars, where you’ll find more wine than reasons to dislike politicians. The entire wall is adorned with the silky libation and the Insignia Red Wine from Napa Valley Estate, 2005 is only $199.95! All kidding aside, this is a remarkable store, well-stocked (more than 400 kinds of wine) with a very educated staff. Look for wine-themed gifts, gourmet foods, specialty cheeses, crackers and hostess gifts. Wine tasting Saturdays shouldn’t be missed.
Oops, you don’t like wine? Well, one door down from Abbey Cellars is where you’ll find Abbey II, which is all about beer and cigars. This is where people come to talk beer and do a little tasting at the same time. The coolers are full of only the best craft beers from select brewers. But that’s not all; you’ll find an entire wall of cigars from around the world and more. Look for cigar paraphernalia, including cutters and humidifiers. This is a fun shop with a great vibe.
As the season melts into spring, what interior couldn’t use a good little facelift? Total Interiors (603-745-9993) is a treasure chest of fun items for the home. Look for great lamps and lighting, old ski patrol signs, moose motif items, wall art and anything that relates to the area and living comfortably. This is a full-service design shop, offering window treatments (custom, beautiful fabrics and Hunter Douglas) as well as flooring and accessories. Meg, the owner, caters to all needs. One out-of-state family, heading to their ski home, called needing a decorated Christmas tree, lights and Christmas décor just hours before their arrival. Done!
Encore! Thrift Shop is huge non-profit second-hand store featuring used clothing, shoes, furniture, household items, small appliances, sleeping bags ($24.99) and skiwear and gear. You’ll find bargain racks (99 cents), infant and children’s wear and toys such as Beanie Babies and Barbies ($9.99). All profit (after expenses) is returned to the local community in various ways, as well as to special missionaries in the Philippines.
Looking for a handsome expert skier? Chances are good he’s sitting at the bar at the Woodstock Inn, Station & Brewery; however, he’s probably not for sale. But there is plenty to warm your heart at the Woodstock Inn Company Store (across from the station). You’ll find beer-making supplies, books, souvenirs and spectacular handmade door screens made of sculptured wood. Look for beer growlers (free fill-up back at the bar) and other fun items (beer soap) for the home and outdoors. This is where to get the oh-so-prestigious “Exit 32” car decal.
The sweetest store in Woodstock is one of the oldest stores on Main Street run by one of the nicest families around. Fadden’s General Store is where the door groans, the floors creak and the ambiance is unsurpassed. Yes, you can get just about anything here, from woolen coats and jackets to the award-winning Fadden’s maple syrup. Pick up milk, a fly swatter or a pack of beer; this is what a true general store is all about. One section of the store is an informative maple syrup museum of sorts.
Nature lovers and environmentalists can’t get enough of Gifts from the Fields, Farms and Forest. This cozy shop carries a great line of “everything you need to know” books when it comes to the outdoors. You’ll find wall art, stationery, soaps, candles and New Hampshire-made specialty food items and personal care products. Pick up something for your garden or to take on a hike; it will make the wait for spring seem shorter.
Lift your spirits at Sunburst Trading & Import Co., where you’ll find two floors of laugh-out-loud and happy items including the (not-so-happy) Grumpy Cat. Everyone in the family will be entertained, exploring this store full of fair-trade items, pottery, jewelry, incense, peace flags, readers, silly boxer shorts, redneck wine glasses and more. The Ilan Shamir “Advice from Nature” T-shirts are really touching. Next door is the Sunburst Handcraft Jewelry shop, where you’ll find beautiful pieces of jewelry, wind chimes, clever night lights and ribbon wick candles ($27.99) that cast a truly lovely light.