The holiday season is a time for making wish lists, and shopping lists. In an effort to help you with both, we're asking a handful of people what's on their local holiday wish list this year.
Today's list comes from Laura McCarthy.
My number one wish? For a fluffy, white holiday season with plenty of time for adventures in skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, and skating! That said, there are lots of other things that would fill me with almost as much delight. Aside from snow and the outdoor gear, stuff that makes me happy can be summed up in just a few simple categories:
This season I've really been really enjoying gatherings with friends -- often working on projects while drinking wine and nibbling on cheese. A gift certificate to The Cheese Traveler on Delaware Ave in Albany would probably mean I'd come home with my two current cheese loves: Shushan Snow, a soft camembert style cheese crafted by 3 Corner Field Farm, and Berkshire Blue, made by Berkshire Cheese L.L.C. I brought them both to a party recently and they were just gone. If you get me these, I'll probably invite you over to help me eat them.
My most favorite meal, whether home or out on the town, is a cheese and charcuterie platter shared with fine company. A gift certificate to the Lucas Confectionary & Wine Bar in Troy (where I first tried the aforementioned Shushan Snow) or to the Wine Bar and Bistro on Lark Street in Albany would be among my top selections.
What could pack in more creative potential than the possibilities a blank watercolor tablet suggests? Only a gift certificate to Arlene's Artist Materials, where I could pick out exactly which kind of watercolor tablet! Or fine point pens, oil paints, pastels, linoleum block cutting tools, Japanese paper, a self-healing cutting mat, colorful India inks, shiny new brushes... holy smokes, I love this place.
Beautiful handmade stuff
Even with all the possibilities of Arlene's at my fingertips, there are some things I can't make:
The charmingly packaged skincare balms and potions crafted by Tara of Forage Restoratives are on my wish list, too. True to name, Tara gathers all her ingredients locally and grows many of her own medicinal herbs. She recently put together a limited edition of tiny wearable apothecary bottles, full of beautiful little treasures like juniper berries, pine needles, and sea salt inspired by traditional smelling salts. They are too cute!
Baths are my favorite. T&J Soaps (T for Theresa and J for Jim) just opened a store in Troy, adjacent to the Arts Center. I've already been using their soap, and would love to try any of the other creations. Theresa also made shaving kits from handmade bowls from a local potter -- they're filled with shaving soap and come with a boar's bristle brush. Surprise, Dad, this is what you're getting!
Dove and Hudson Books in Center Square is my favorite destination for a lazy Saturday spent milling about town. I think they give gift certificates, but a stack of those purple dollars would suit me just fine, too.
Nights on the town
Tickets to all kinds of things! Lots of these have been mentioned, so I'll just say that I'd love to see a play at Capital Repertory Theater. I can't believe I've never been!
I do a lot of stuff, and I do almost all of it while listening to WAMC. Our local public radio station is a wonderful resource in our community, and the quality of shows they produce is great. And I love the good stuff from NPR, too. Just don't bring me to a trivia night: If Terry Gross hasn't interviewed them, I don't know who they are. If you're looking to make a donation for the holidays, this is one of my top picks. Super bonus if you can still snag a crank radio, one of the most sought after pledge drive giveaways ever. And it would make a really perfect gift for me, too!
I hope this list helps you shop for me, or perhaps someone a little like me. Happy Holidays, everyone!
Laura McCarthy works for Audubon New York, a wildlife conservation organization focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats (on Facebook). She loves sticking around town, but you can often find her hiking up mountains and big hills for half the year, and skiing or sledding down them the the other half. She's working on her ADK 46 with only single digits to go.
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