Shopping Spots in Contoocook and Hopkinton, NH

Hopkinton and Contoocook in a blender for one delicious retail smoothie

Leaf peeping already? Set the GPS for the town of Hopkinton and the twin village of Contoocook, where you can spend a day shopping without feeding the parking meters. Why? Because there aren’t any; there’s barely a traffic light, yet serious shoppers always see green in this quaint New England hamlet.

The Calico Hen is like a warm apple pie — you just want to dig in. This is where you’ll find a lovely blend of well-made, whimsical and sophisticated items for home or garden. Look for wire egg baskets and egg racks, hand-carved and locally made folk art as well as framed inspirational sayings, hanging cage planters, angels (the owner totally loves them!) and an impressive collection of collector teddy bears. Repeat customers call this “their happy place.”

Covered Bridge Frame Shop and Gallery is where you will find beautiful custom picture framing choices, antique frames and local art, including original paintings and prints, pottery, blown glass and more. There is a second room in the store just for antiques and unique finds. Be sure to check out the collection of sepia pen-and-ink wash drawings of Tall Ships by local artist John Kendall. Each drawing contains a “secret" that you will have to discover.

You know it when you see it. You walk into a home and your inner voice says, "Why can’t my house look like that?” Welcome to 3 on Main. This two-floor home décor shop is a poetic blend of sophistication and inspiration. Look for wall art, re-purposed items (old door knob plates for hooks), framed distressed mirror-candle holders, unique side tables, dainty hostess gifts and so much more. Framed art, lotions, potions, jewelry and “happy thoughts” fill this friendly place from floor to ceiling. Owners Marie and Judy have a great eye for finding clever uses for old items.

Bring your smile because you are going to need it at Polkadots Gift Boutique, the gift store that caters to all generations with an emphasis on little and big kids who deserve one-of-a-kind toys, gifts and books. The Gather Round the Restaurant Game, a “take-along game” for the family that travels and eats out a lot is brilliant. Look for “unbreakable” glass water bottles, outdoor writing notebooks (the paper “sheds the rain”), water clocks that use water instead of batteries and other unusual finds.

Want to dress as hip as a rock star? Slip in to Indigo Blues & Co. and indulge yourself in a great pair of jeans (including the hard-to-find SkarGorn line), add an amazing shirt from Rockmount (Western type shirt usually worn by Bob Dylan and other celebs) and you’ve got it going on! The beaded belt buckles from Beadorable Designs and made locally are drop-dead gorgeous. 

Sage & Twine, 214 Stumpfield Rd., is the new kid in town and destined to become a shopping favorite. The cozy cottage is full of up-cycled, re-purposed, refurbished, shabby chic, country cottage furniture and more. Nearly all items have been hunted down and re-imagined by owner Amy Rothe. Look for distressed mirrors, unique dishes, art from local artists including candles, soap and jewelry. Open only one weekend out of the month; Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Polkadots Gift Boutique caters to all generations with one-of-a-kind toys, gifts and more.
photo by melissa boulanger

Animal lovers in Hopkinton and Contoocook don’t need big box stores for pet supplies, toys and treats; they have Rusty’s General Store for Animals. Look for a grand selection of New Hampshire-made collars and leashes in a rainbow of colors and themes from Yellow Snow and Lupine Pet. Pet carriers, pet beds, grooming tools and even doggie outfits fill this rambling store. Owner Lynda Kimball knows pet nutrition and can usually help if your dog or cat has digestive problems.

You might think it is the mailman who knows everything that happens in a community, but you are wrong. It is the local florist. JulieAnn’s Florist and Gift Shoppe is where news of joyful and sad events arrive first. Along with flowers (which are handpicked, custom-arranged and known for longevity), this little shop is stacked with fun little items. Look for large rocks with painted scenes from around town by local artist R. L. Garvin ($29), harvest thyme dips, specialty foods, scarves and "lol" tees from Breakwind Farm! (Think baked beans.)

The Marketplace at Marklin (Marklin Candles) is where you’ll find New York sophistication inside a quaint New England village. Look for high-quality giftware from Simon Pearce, imported table linen from Marmara and breathtaking stain glass hanging art. There’s a room just for sacred art and artifacts including the full line of handmade custom liturgical candles.

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