It might be one of the most bizzaro Christmastimes we’ve ever experienced, but Covid won’t stop the spirit of the season. Year after year, we hear, “shop local, shop local, shop local,” but now more than ever, our local business community needs our support. Newport’s downtown is charming for many reasons: century-old architecture, waterfront views, extraordinary restaurants and so many diverse retailers that offer curated (I know, it’s an eyeroll word, but in small shops, each item was truly chosen by owners with their shoppers in mind) finds. These businesses are the backbone of our local economy. It’s been shown that of every dollar spent at a small retailer, 67 cents stays local, so now is the time to gift thoughtfully. Also, most shops are offering curbside pick up and some even do local delivery. Here are some of my favorite gifts from small local businesses, with more to come.
I’m obsessed with these ceramic oyster shell measuring cups from the Newport Historical Society Museum & Shop (I adore this place, and its free shipping and curbside pick-up). Set of four includes 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, 3/4 cup, and 1 cup and unlike the ol’ Pyrex measuring cup, are a beautiful addition to any kitchen open shelving, etc. $34.95. Details.
How do I love Newport Sea Salt? Let me count the ways. I wrote about the company in this feature here (pg. 68) and have given their perfectly packaged authentic sea salt (for the waters off Newport’s Brenton Point – doesn’t get more local than that) many times over, admittedly with a “one for me, one for you” approach more often than not. The reef-to-table salts come in a variety of sizes and flavors, plus in tins for cocktail rings (best. margarita. garnish. ever.). Starting at $10. Details.
Sometimes I write stories about businesses and it’s simply an assignment. Other times it’s the start of a beautiful beginning. More than a decade ago I wrote about Newport’s own Farmaesthetics for Edible Rhody and I’ve just watched this woman-owned company grow by leaps and bounds. Everything in their Bellevue Avenue flagship makes for a beautiful gift but this Midnight Honey Body Buzz set with the beauty oil and body scrub is delicious (probably literally). Tip: Save 15% on your first order by signing up for their email newsletters. $39. Details.
It’s like walking around in a snuggly over-sized sweater onesie while also looking, you know, presentable. Groove Newport has brought us what might just be the ultimate cozy WFH set that you can take from the office (by office, I mean your home office or dining room table) to the couch. Ps: it’s on my wish list, Santa. (Sold as separates but set is $110.) Details.
Here’s what I adore about this insulated wine bag from Athalia of Newport — if it were The Before Times (you know, when we had a million Christmas parties to go to with people shoulder to shoulder? Good times), then I’d recommend this as a hostess gift. But seeing as though there won’t be much party hosting this year (please don’t go to in-person Christmas parties, people), this is perfect to tuck a favorite bottle of wine into, dress up with a bow and hang from your giftee’s doorknob for contactless gift giving! 26 Franklin Street, Newport.
It’s extraordinary when you consider how much talent thrives on our little island, and Stabbin’ Stitch is one of the best. there sassy cross-stitch pieces by Newporter Amy Harrelson are the cutest (see the ‘Ew, David’ Christmas ornament). I’m featuring this Old Bay piece as I’ve lived in Maryland and have family there, and Old Bay is a staple at our crab feasts, but in 2018, I asked for a custom piece displaying the “Philly Special” play diagram which helped the Philadelphia Eagles win Superbowl LII. Her Etsy shop is great for teacher gift ideas too. Starts at $15. Details.
You know what kind of gifts parent love for their kids? Things that keep them busy and creative. Jennifer at Island Art Spot is always creating things to captivate little kids and this Gingerbread Play Doh Discovery Kit comes with everything needed for an awesome activity: soft homemade play dough, cookie cutter, rolling pin and decorating details ($20). Want to step it up a notch? Gift the kid in your life with a 3-month subscription box of discovery kits ($75). Details.
Three things I’m a sucker for: beautiful illustration, Little Rhody merch and punny sayings — which makes Eileen Graphics my love language. Over the pandemic, this local artist’s cards have been my go-to, but this Ocean State tote is too cute. $25. Details.
It’s like one day you’re a young and wide-eyed kid at CBGBs and the next you’re coveting this Sex, Drugs and Lobster Rolls t-shirt from The Salt Shack in Tiverton. If you haven’t been there, the cozy shop that is like walking through the pages of Coastal Living Magazine with all of its beautiful island life wares.Contact The Salt Shack, 401-816-5963.
Three things that are awesome about these vintage-style headbands with an 80s vibe from The Pink Pineapple: they’re ultra-soft cashmere, they’re in awesome color combos they are one size fits all, which makes them the perfect gift. $48. Details.
I stopped in my tracks the other night when I spotted this metallic, water-resistant, three-quarter length glossy pink down quilted coat at Tyler Böe on Bannister’s Wharf. With light down filling to keep you warm and cozy, it’s perfect for my must-plan trip to Park City when things get back to normal ! $225. Details.
I admit, I wasn’t enthused about diffusers when they first hit the market but have become a believer. This one from Soap & Water Newport is next gen: it’s a smart home diffuser that via an app, you can customize and control scent preferences and intensity. It’s the result of a partnership between Pura and Nest Fragrances and this set features bamboo and grapefruit fragrance refills. $85. Details. (Check out the car diffusers at Soap & Water too).
I just featured Block Island Organics in the skin care series as this awesome small business has been bringing clean, chemical-free products to market for years. For gifts you can pick up one awesome product or build a set online. The purifying facial cleanser is my fav and lasts forevvvvver! Tip: use code HOL15 to save 15% on your order. Starts at $17. Details.
We can’t forget our four-legged friends at Christmas! In addition to treats and maybe a new coat (it’s winter after all!), check out this sweet cotton nautical rope 5-foot leash with leather and brass detail from Newport’s Port of Paws (comes in a different colors). $30. Details.
More to come this week!