Shopaway: a morning in Woodstock

woodstock shopaway composite

A morning (or afternoon) in Woodstock.

By Kaitlin Resler

Just in time for the weekend, with its promises of good weather, a shopaway guide for a morning in Woodstock.

It's one of the quickest day trips from the Capital Region -- even if it's just for dinner or that "get-out-of-town" feeling. And even if you don't leave with bags and bags of goodies, it's the perfect place to wander on a warm spring day.

The drive is surprisingly short -- less than an hour from Albany. Which means you can do it a few hours -- and a few shops -- at a time.

In no time you'll find yourself pulling onto the aptly named Tinker street, with its funny little shops and nooks to explore. There are several public lots scattered around the town. I tend to favor the one by the town hall, but they're all pretty close to the main shops, of which there is no shortage. Even I haven't checked them all out -- but here are just a few of my favorites from my most recent trip:

Marie Antoinette Curiosities
marie antoinette curiosities.jpg
It's teeny-tiny, and totally packed with all manner of 'wearable art' and whimsical what-nots. Every inch is covered in something: vintage shoes, Barbie dolls, Spiderman action figures, antique telephones, petticoats, embellished denim jacks, monkey-toys that move and talk, mirrors, and beads. Organization isn't exactly key here, and it's the kind of place I'd mostly visit just to explore or get a dose of sparkle, but the proprietress/artist is exceptionally friendly, and even in the tiny space one could spend hours just looking.

Tinker Toys Too!
tinker toys.jpg
This is probably my favorite thing ever in Woodstock -- and not just because of the bucket of bubbles and wand stashed outside the store for passing pedestrians to enjoy. The store is mostly silly toys, both of the most innovative and vintage-ish, mixtures of perfect gifts for babies or small children to gag items like inflatable turkeys.

inflatable turkey.jpg

I especially like the teeny-weeny farm animals kept near the register, that cost pennies, and the Alice in Wonderland watch in the window (the seconds ring around the edge of the face in a dazzle of little cards!).
tinker toys watch.jpg

The Tea Shop

the tea shop inside.jpg

After dawdling around for the better part of the afternoon, checking out all the little shops with tie-dye, postcards, incense holders, and little cloth elephants on strings I headed to The Tea Shop. It's easy to find with its bright yellow sign, It's a charming little place, that makes me make grabby hands at all the teacups ($8-$28) and from which I leave with my arms full of tea.
the tea shop teacups.jpg

They sell only Harney & Sons (although several other little shops in the area do sell their own full-leaf blends) but the variety is dazzling, and in the prettiest little tins. I left with an apricot tea, chamomile in a little blue tin, and a tiny sample of some floral-infused sugar, but begrudgingly left behind the teacups.

Lunch
For a more hearty snack than tea, I like to scoop up a table at the Landau Grill since they have a nice patio and delicious burgers, but for a teeny snack or general food interest, you might want to check out C'est Cheese. With it's cheeky little sign and green door, it's worth a check out if only for that, but you'll probably end up leaving with a package for yourself. It's, also features awesome cheeses and panini which I haven't tried, but have been sorely tempted. Bonus: the little wine shop next door.
cest cheese.jpg

Afternoon browsing
If you're not quite ready to go home yet, here a few more favorites you might want to check out.

Catskill Art & Office Supply Ltd, for every manner of paper, card, brush and art thingy imaginable

The Golden Notebook, for book-browsing or--if you're a clearance skulker like me--for their sale section of art books in the back

Tibetan Arts and Crafts for little elephants on strings, scarves, warm little slippers, or a new piece of jewelry

Castaways for vintage pieces, both little hankies and clothing.

The amount of places to check out in Woodstock is overwhelming. Thankfully it's close enough to try something new each visit.

I'm planning another soon, so what are your favorites?

Comments

I love Castaways and always find something cool there. Hubby has a houndstooth Gaultier suit that fits him like a glove from there - $16. For lunch the Landau is great for people watching, but the Little Bear (south of town, next to the Bearsville Theater) has delicious Chinese food). And, I can't be without soap from Jean Turmo. Ok, so I'm a whore for Woodstock.

Just watch out for those annoying drum circles.

I LOVE going to Woodstock. I went on my birthday last year and had lunch at Garden Cafe on the Green and it was AMAZING! I can't wait to go back.

I love making the drive down to Woodstock all the time for two things: tasty strawberry mint lemonades over lunch at Oriole9 on Tinker Street, and all the amazingly-curated design goodies at Still Life Mercantile (her blog is really cute too: http://www.stilllifemercantile.com/) -- hooray for short drives to charming places!

I had Easter dinner at the Little Bear (my hubby's fam is from Woodstock) and it was amazing.

I love these suggestions, but they seem to not include my favorite Woodstock-y things left.

I still miss the old General Store (now an art gallery last I checked), you have to stop and give some Woodstock nostalgic love to Candlestock, the candle store. In the back there is a large chunk of wax that has had some part burning for over 30 years. It's pretty impressive.

No, there aren't as many head shops and "what do you do with that?" kinda places anymore (fine with me!), but there are other things that remind me of why this town is still so interesting and not like other cute little villages of shops.

There's a great Tibetan goods store if you follow the creek off of Tinker Street. Modern Mythology with its dizzying array of decorating ornaments and pendants. And amazing ice cream at Taco Juans!

My hometown! Check out the Woodstock Artist Association, right in the center of town. One of the first Artist Collectives in the US. Very significant Woodstock collection.

The Gypsy Wolf Cantina, down Route 212 near the Bearsville Theatre, is perhaps the best mexican food in NY outside of the city. Beats Mexican Radio and is 1/2 the price!

Check out Opus 40 while you're down in Woodstock:
http://www.opus40.org/

The world's largest Kaleidoscope is down there too, but it's a total ripoff. Yes, you're standing in a silo converted into a kaleidoscope, but at the top you're just looking at a projection TV screen reflected off some mirrors. The effect is very lame - although they have many amazing, (expensive) real kaleidoscopes in their gift shop.

haha @Paul I visited that kaleidoscope and it is indeed lame. I truly was expecting something cool and unusual and I was pretty disappointed with what we got. Off topic but there is a nice restaurant (or there used to be) right near there with a patio that overlooks a small waterfall and roaring creek (stream?)

Back to Woodstock...I love, love, love those tea cups. I'm seriously considering a trip for them.

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