by Karen Maserjian Shan
Had enough of the shopping malls? Catch a breath of fresh air on Beacon’s Main Street.
"Saturday nights…until Christmas the stores are going to be open for late night shopping," said Linda Hubbard, a member at large of the Beacon Arts Community Association and co-owner of the RiverWinds Gallery. The stores also will stay open late the two Friday nights before Christmas.
In addition to familiar retailers, like Hudson Beach Glass and Alps Sweet Shop, new-comers along Main Street include the Artisan Wine Shop, Paper Presence, Beacon Barkery and Homespun Foods. For antiques and collectibles, stop by Early Everything, Iron Fish or Finders Keepers and for an eclectic mix of furnishings and accessories check out Feel Design and Sanctuary Home Furnishings. There’s also World’s End Books, Jacqueline (for hats and bags), kids’ stuff at Echo and, for course, Kringles Christmas House.
And, if shopping the mile-plus stretch from Main Street’s east to west ends leaves you feeling fatigued, stop by Chthonic Clash Coffeehouse, Cup & Saucer Restaurant/Boutique, Muddy Cup Coffee House or any other of Beacon’s neighborhood eateries for a tasty treat that’ll have you rejuvenated in no time.
"We’re making a big effort to make it easier for people to find the gifts that aren’t standard issue – the ones that are more unusual and expressive of a more personal statement," said Carl Van Brunt, owner of the Van Brunt Gallery and vice president of BACA.
Candles and accessories
Beacon D’Lites, 327A Main St.
Owner Donna Trappe’s handmade candles are made of hydrogenated soy oil wax, which is 99 percent soot-free. Trappe makes and sells the soft-wax candles in 5-oz. to 16-oz. jars and has votives and tarts although they’re blended with beeswax for added hardness. Customers can choose from candles in a range of pastel colors and scented in one of 65 different fragrances, including floral, fruity, bakes, soapy and other aromas. "Our homemade apple pie smells like there is one right in the oven, baking," Trappe said.
Beacon Lights, 209 Main St.
In addition to handmade candles, shop owner, Mandy Bergamine, sells paintings, pottery, jewelry, goats’ milk soap, hand bags and other goods made by Hudson Valley artists. "I have three different jewelers’ (designs) in the store and they make different styles," Bergamine said. "One of them is silver with crystals and another has stones." Bergamine’s palm- and paraffin wax candles come in chunky, pillar, votive and other styles, some of which are scented with essential oils.
Galleries and gifts
Van Brunt Gallery, 460 Main St.
During December the gallery is hosting The Gift that showcases the work of nearly 30 artists, most from the Hudson Valley. Works by Colin Barclay, Simon Draper, Jane Bloodgood-Abrams and others will be shown, including paintings and sculpture.
"The Gift refers not only to the obvious seasonal object that you give to somebody, but also of the gift of artistic talent," said owner Carl Van Brunt. "The gift that represents for the community."
Bannerman Island Gallery, 150 Main St.
If you hurry, there’s still time to participate in the Bannerman Island Gingerbread Contest. Donate a homemade gingerbread house to be displayed in a store on Main Street and auctioned off during December’s Second Saturday event. Proceeds will be shared by the artist and the Bannerman Castle Trust Fund for preservation efforts of Bannerman Island. For rules and more information, contact Neil Caplan, president of the Bannerman Castle Trust Fund, (845) 234-3204.
RiverWinds, 172 Main St.
Pottery and jewelry, lamps and chairs, hand-woven and hand-painted silk scarves and more are available here, with nearly everything made by Hudson Valley artisans. "We have paintings and photography and a whole bunch of hand-made Santas and ornaments," said Linda Hubbard, co-owner.
The Beacon Institute for Rivers & Estuaries, 199 Main St.
Historic, fictional, art and educational books on the Hudson River and City of Beacon can be purchased at the center, including large coffee table books adorned with picturesque photographs. Among the most popular tomes are Denning’s Point: A Hudson River History by Jim Heron (signed copies are available), Don Nice: The Nature of Art by Garrison artist Don Nice, plus Historic Beacon and Beacon Revisited, both by Robert J. Murphy and Denise Doring VanBuren.
Richard Bruce’s paintings of bodies of water are on display and available for sale in the center’s gallery and the gift shop has plush Audubon birds that chirp, wood puzzles, Sierra Club note cards and Beacon Institute T-shirts and maps. "We also offer some sustainable gift wrapping," said Patti Dunne, project coordinator. "It is all environmentally friendly, recyclable and recycled."
Homespun Foods, 232 Main St.
Put together your own food gift-baskets or purchase wrapped and ready-made hostess platters and gift sets filled with domestic and imported cheeses, jams, jellies, spreads and other goodies. Baked goods also are available, including coffee cakes and other loaves plus mini bags of Christmas cookies that make great stocking stuffers, said store owner Jessica Reisman.
"People can come in when they’re tired of shopping and sip spicy Myan hot chocolate or have soup, salad, sandwiches," Reisman said.
Stationary and more
Beacon Art Supply, 506 Main St.
Note cards, wrapping paper and gift bags can be found here, plus paint sets, paint brushes and scores of other art supplies for creative adults and kids. Toys, like replicas of old-fashioned Colorforms sets, also are offered, along with Oliblock kits of architectural and organic-shaped interconnecting blocks.
There’s also Bilibo, a rounded piece of molded plastic that owner Nicole Ashey said is one of her most popular toys. "It’s an imagination toy," she said. "(Kids) use their imagination and it becomes anything they want it to be – a vessel to hold their toys, a sand bucket, a hat."
Morphicism, 440 Main St.
Artist Jay Palefsky’s brightly colored cards, books and accessories feature images that change or morph from one image to another with the flip of partial page or panel. In his Metamorphimals, book, for example, portraits of cats become birds and fish.
"It’s been a lot of fun," said Palefsky, who has been doing his art for 15 years. Prices range for $2 for cards to $300 for wall art.
Hearts to Heaven, 504 Main St.
Owner LoriAnn Paul sells artisan-crafted jewelry and a broad variety of religious pieces from various traditions, including crosses, Stars of David, prayer beads and more. She also does Reiki therapy from her Main Street studio and teaches Reiki, yoga and mediation classes for adults and children from her studio and the Beacon Community Center.
"I have small intimate classes – no more than five people," she said of her studio sessions. She also sells support equipment, like yoga mats and straps, eye pillows and such.
Outdoor gear and classes
Mountain Tops, 143 Main St.
Screaming for ice cream lately but worried about packing on the calories? Stop by Katy Bell’s place for an ice cream ball. The hard plastic ball has compartments for ice, salt and ice cream ingredients that once filled are closed. "You roll it around, throw it around and it makes ice cream," said Bell, for a pre-treat workout.
Bell also has collapsible table settings by Orikaso that feature plastic mugs, bowls and plates that fold flat for easy packing. Included in Bells’ selection of outdoor clothing are sweatshirts and T’s with Beacon designs plus Teko’s earth-friendly socks, including a fully bio-degradable pair made from Ingeo fabric that has a corn base.
Hudson Valley Pack and Paddle, 45 Beekman Street
Disappointed that you didn’t have a chance to get out on to the Hudson this summer? Never fear, Hudson Valley Pack and Paddle (hvpackandpaddle.com) offers winter kayaking classes starting in January—a perfect stocking stuffer for your avid outdoorsman!
Tired of sitting around the fire and putting on the pounds? HVP&P also has a wide selection of snowshoes in sizes to fit the whole family.
Beacon Barkery, 192 Main St.
Pet pampers Libby Faison and Nancy Pate know how to treat cats and dogs during the holidays. "We have gourmet dog treats that are very healthy, but also very Christmasy," said co-owner, Faison. Among her cookies are one shaped like Christmas trees, Santa hats, ornaments and snow flakes as well as menorahs and yarmulkes, all of which are sugar-free and made with human-grade ingredients, like peanut butter, honey, yogurt and molasses.
Cat treats include tidbits flavored with freeze-dried mackerel, cod and salmon, plus tuna cookies. Regular cat and dog foods also are available, as are vitamins and pet accessories, like collars, leashes, toys, disposable dog booties, fleeces and food dishes.
"We’ve been open for three months and this is our first Christmas season," said Faison. "We’re really looking forward to being a part of the festivities."