My husband and I spent last Saturday exploring downtown Culpeper (one of my favorite small-town Main Street areas). Along the way we found some pretty great stuff, both for sale and on display—the dapper camel in the top-hat was my favorite! We picked some of the top shops to make the cut as “Best Places to Buy Gifts”, and they’re listed below.
My Secret Stash
Looks (and smells) like an old-fashioned candy store, complete with candies of every description in glass jars lining the counters. Gourmet chocolates, peppermint bark, and some rare finds, like licorice Scottie dogs and green Army-men gummies. The grapefruit gummies are a favorite with the Elswicks (all except for Shadow, who’s a bit dubious.)
Culpeper Cheese Company
Lots of cheese (including my local favorite, Everona Dairy’s “Stony Man”), meats (my husband is mildly obsessed with the black-pepper-coated Italian salami), and a vast variety of craft beers and fine wines.
A store stocking merchandise from over 80 countries—and the only place I know where you can buy “merino & possum-down” socks. Hand puppets, leather hats suitable for wear in ‘the Outback’, beautiful knit clothing, carvings and sculptures, linens, soaps & salts, and lots more.
The Frenchman’s Corner
If you can think of something you want dipped in chocolate, they probably have it, in a long glass display case running the length of the counter. According to their website, they’re the #1 independent authorized Neuhaus chocolate dealer in the US. Additionally, they have a number of European items you don’t normally see on this side of the pond, such as French soaps and teas.
The Balsam Fir soy candles (made in small batches) when you first walk into the store smell amazing. Also—cardboard deer-heads on the walls? Made me smile. They’re a “kind-to-the-earth” gift shop featuring clothing, vegetarian/vegan cookbooks, natural lotions & soaps, and really cool all-wood watches.
Harriet’s General http://www.harrietsgeneral.com/shop-c-20.html
A “made in America” store. I used to love paper dolls, so it was cool to see them again—even if the selection was somewhat bizarre: the Clinton family? TV moms? Woodstock? Also small-batch candles, attire for men/women/children, mugs, footwear, colognes, soaps, and a whole lot of Miscellaneous. Kudos to them for their “Partridge Family in a Pear Tree” Christmas tree.
Love the ambiance of this store. They stock Pandora jewelry, soft toys and apparel for baby, handbags, personalized ornaments, and the smile-worthy “Happy Everything!” plate set. This is a “pretty” pastel store.
The majority of this shop is devoted to the holidays, making it the only year-round Christmas shop in the area. One-stop shopping for all things Christmas, be it ornaments, Byers Choice Carolers, lighted house collections, or nativity scenes.
Reigning Cats & Dogs
Lots of custom, unique gifts for pets (and their people) that you won’t find at Petsmart. T-shirts, patterned collars, stuffed animals, toys, hand puppets, jewelry, keychains, pet-food bowls— there are lots of breed-specific gifts, which makes buying a custom gift easier. The store is filled to the brim, so it’s unlikely you’ll walk out empty handed—at the least, you’ve got to get these awesome dog-friendly Christmas cookies!