Summer Travel: Shopping
Cool for Crafts Rhode Island: With the Rhode Island School of Design churning out talent and the craze for crafts nearing fever pitch, it’s no surprise that Providence has become a style source. Onetime pop-up shop Craftland has morphed into a gallery/store/school hybrid showcasing the works of more than 80 artists, many of them offering workshops. Heir broadcasts an altogether edgier vibe: what proprietor Tyler Doran calls his “indie rock” take on antiques. Irreverent items for sale include a stuffed owl with wings spread wide and hand-cast silver vertebrae cuff links by RISD grad Vayshalee Naran. And visit the new, larger Queen of Hearts location for girls-just-wanna-have-fun dresses by emerging designers, vintage cowboy boots and clutches, cool sunglasses, and a new makeup line. Craftland, 235 Westminster Street, Providence, 401-272-4285, http://craftlandshop.com; Heir, 231 Westminster Street, Providence, 401-331-5680, http://heirantiques.com; Queen of Hearts, 222 Westminster Street, Providence, 401-421-1471, http://queenofheartsprovidence.com
Down East Decorating Maine: Designer/hotelier Dianne Haas blends contemporary urban sensibilities with a decidedly coastal Maine vibe in Bridge House Design, her newly refurbished B & B/home furnishings store in South Bristol. In the space, which is set up like a living room (with the addition of a cafe counter left over from when it was an ice cream parlor), you can peruse the library of magazines and books or sit on the deck and just watch the boats go by. Of course, all the furnishings, art, and accessories are for sale – even the plants. For more Maine style, Walpole Barn, a 15-minute drive up the peninsula, is an old post-and-beam barn transformed into a shop by Deb and Warren Storch. Wares include Swan’s Island blankets, hand-woven rugs by local Sara Hotchkiss, and puzzles. In case shopping makes you hungry, there are wines and cheeses, plus Wiley Point oysters fresh from the farm, a half mile away. Bridge House Design, 2118 Route 129, South Bristol, 207-644-1478, http://bridgehousemaine.com; Walpole Barn, 135 Route 129, Walpole, 207-563-7050, http://thewalpolebarn.com
Fashion Major? Massachusetts: The shops in the quaint Massachusetts college town of Amherst do a good job of catering to area students as well as year-round residents. Zanna, all 3,600 square feet of it, wants to draw a mother-daughter customer base, mixing Free People tops and Hazel dresses with pieces from Flax and Eileen Fisher. Both generations will like the Frye boots, and there’s a selection of Tevas in case the scenery inspires an impromptu hike. Scandihoovians is smaller, with a Scandinavian decor – white walls, light wood, and Flensted mobiles – and fashion sense, epitomized by the layered tunics and leggings that are the latest from Denmark and the Netherlands. For gifts and home decor, visit interior designer Mary Moore Cathcart’s The Claw Foot Tub. She has impeccable taste in artisan-made, eco-friendly products that are useful and gorgeous, like Colombian pots and organic-wool comforters. Zanna, 187 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, 413-253-2563, http://zanna.com; Scandihoovians, 25 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, 413-256-0004, http://scandihoovians.com; The Claw Foot Tub, 30 Main Street, Amherst, 413-253-3500, http://theclawfoottub.com
Pilgrims’ Polish Vermont: More than a few Quechee artisans share a distinctly modern, refined, produced-in-New England sensibility that makes the Vermont town worth a trip. The most well-known is Simon Pearce; you can shop the full collection of glass and pottery and watch the glass blowers at work. If you’re in the area over Memorial Day weekend, stop at the warehouse for the annual sale. At Quechee Gorge Village, see artisans at work, including husband-wife team Randy and Jennie Cysyk of Whisper Hill Bath & Body, who concoct lotions and soaps on-site, and furniture maker Ben Andrews of Andrews Furniture. Simon Pearce, 1760 Quechee Main Street, Quechee, 802-295-2711, and (warehouse) 109 Park Road, Windsor, 802-674-6280, http://simonpearce.com; Whisper Hill Bath & Body, 5573 Woodstock Road, Quechee, 802-296-7627, http://whisperhill.com; Andrews Furniture, 5573 Woodstock Road, Quechee, 802-295-5776, http://benandrewsfurniture.com
Power Outlets Maine: It’s an easy 90-minute drive from Boston to Maine’s Kittery Outlets, with more than 120 stores. The ever-changing lineup now includes Hanna Andersson (go for iconic organic-cotton kids’ pajamas), Crate and Barrel (for sofa styles that are still in stores, at a discount, as well as discontinued favorites), Barbour (get a price break on those wax-coated jackets), J.Crew (stock up on summer staples), Aldo (sky-high heels at rock-bottom prices), and, of course, Orvis (when in Maine. . .). The newest shops are American Eagle and Charlotte Russe (your teen will love you). And stop by Fair Tide Thrift Store for books, clothing, and housewares; proceeds benefit the homeless. Kittery Outlets, 306 Route 1 (a.k.a. State Road), Kittery, 207-439-4367, http://thekitteryoutlets.com; Fair Tide Thrift Store, 15 Route 1, Kittery, 207-439-2327, http://fairtide.org
Antiques Road New Hampshire: A little over an hour’s drive from Boston in Milford, New Hampshire, the Antique Co-op (323 Elm Street, 603-673-8499, http://nhantiquecoop.com) is a newly expanded 20,000-square-foot space with goods from more than 200 dealers. Browse the thematic galleries: clocks, folk art, fine art, “small treasures,” and more. The inventory is rich and varied, with a recent visit turning up everything from 19th-century Chinese jars to a set of gouache designs for the rug maker Aubusson to French wrought-iron chairs to a pair of Native American snowshoes. If you’ve got the stamina, the stretch of Route 101A from Milford to Amherst, New Hampshire, has even more antique shops. Splurge on a room at Fox Brook Farm Bed and Breakfast in Amherst (17 Thornton Ferry Road 1, 603-769-3044, http://foxbrookfarm.net), a restored 1876 farmhouse. For dinner, make reservations at Mile Away Restaurant in Milford (52 Federal Hill Road, 603-673-3904, http://mileawayrestaurant.com), a converted barn where they serve traditional fare like baked stuffed shrimp and chicken cordon bleu. If you’re there on a weekend (or, from mid-June to Labor Day, any night of the week), skip the formalities and enjoy movie and a pizza at the Milford Drive-In Theater (570 Elm Street, 603-673-4090, http://milforddrivein.com).