Unique gift ideas for the holiday
Berlin – For shoppers looking for something unique, there is a wide selection of items that can be found only in the varied shops of downtown Berlin.
Beginning at the north end of town, Toy Town Antiques on North Main Street has a floor filled with classic items from all eras. There are classic pub games such as a pinball table and quarter shooting gallery game along with Byer's Choice hand-made figurines from Pennsylvania, which are new but look vintage.
Coconut Bay Trading Company on William St. is also packed with antiques, some even centuries old. "Everything here is unique," co-owner Leslie Carson said.
Some rare items include 19th century Russian Orthodox icons of Madonna and Child, Buddhist statues and a half-hull of a ship built in Maine in the late 1800s called Cyrus Wakefield.
Other choices for those looking for vintage is Town Center Antiques, which has two locations, one on North Main Street and a second on Pitt Street. Both are filled with a variety of used, and like-new items that have been crafted in several different decades. Products include collectable knives and a parlor organ made in the early 1900s.
Stuart's Antiques on Pitts Street has reindeer wreaths as well as sterling silver candleholders, along with upscale vintage jewelry pieces. New art from Massachusetts artist T.R. Blood is also featured.
People looking to treat someone to updates for the home might want to visit A Thread of Elegance on North Main Street. It does custom pillows, drapes in an array of fabric choices. All the work is done on site in the store workshop on Main Street.
Mark Showell Interiors on William Street focuses on interior design and has several unusual items, such as varied potpourri and a 5-foot tall drummer boy statue.
There are a number of shops offering housewares and jewelry, including TaDa on North Main Street. Featuring Patty Falck's hand-painted glassware, the shop is run by Falck’s daughter Blair, whose custom jewelry designs are also displayed. Additionally, the shop has other interesting products, such as “Garden in a Bag,” where a plant literally grows out of a brown paper bag. All that needs to be done for the plant, in this case a Christmas tree, is to place the bag in sunlight and the plant will grow until it is large enough to be placed in soil.
Next door at j.j. Fish, shoppers will find stone jewelry made by Cindy Calahan, as well as festive hang-painted figurines by Dianne Fox, along with numerous other items made by craftspeople selected by owners John and Judy Fisher.
A large variety of gifts can be found at Sisters on North Main Street. Aside from its popular Pandora beads, there are gourmet foods from Robert Rothschild Farm, high-end bags made by Amy Butler and hand-painted glassware from Salisbury artist Ruth Culver.
For craft beer lovers, Burley Oak Brewing Company on Old Ocean City Boulevard has several gift options such as pint glasses, long-sleeve shirts and hoodies. Growlers are also available to bring home some freshly tapped beer.
Nest on South Main Street has plenty of gifts for the home, as well as personal items. These include Owner Dee Gilbert's own handbags under the company name Boppyowl, named after how her daughter used to describe the action of a bunny hop. Gilbert has been making these bags for more than 15 years.
Bungalow Love on William Street has many works created by 46 local artisans.
"Most of my items are one-of-a-kind," owner Heather Layton said.
Products include an Ocean City photography line called “Boardwalked,” which features artist Chris Maxa’s Ocean City photographs mounted on blocks of wood from the Boardwalk. Chris' wife, Kristie, also offers hand-made handbags, wallets and other accessories.
Toys are guaranteed to be on the top of many children's wish lists, and World of Toys on North Main Street has parents covered. A new educational game called “Findit” has just been stocked, along with products from the Melissa and Doug line.
Victorian Charm on North Main Street has all sorts of gift options in all price ranges, for both adults and children. For people who would like to spice up their wardrobe, there are faux fur boot toppers from Too Kyoot. In the back, the store's children's section has books and clothing, while the front of the store is filled with products from Vera Bradley, Brighton and Kameleon.
Women’s clothing and accessories can be found at Bruder Hill on Commerce Street. Vintage-looking bracelets and necklaces, such as a key draping from a chain made by Creative Co-op, are available, along with coats, scarves and hats made by Lee Anderson. And don’t forget to check out the new addition to the store, The Closet, for those high-end vintage pieces.
Newly opened, A Little Bit Sheepish on South Main Street is the perfect shop for those on your list that like to knit or crochet. The store carries skeins of yarn in all types and colors, along with a plethora of accessories.
Thinking of proposing this holiday season? The Treasure Chest on North Main Street has jewelry from $10 to $10,000, with settings in white, yellow and rose gold and any variety imaginable. Owner Terri Sexton just returned from her annual diamond-buying trip in Belgium where she selected the most desirable stones.
If she says “yes,” there are many essentials for brides-to-be at Bustle on South Main Street. Gowns, dresses, jewelry and more are available for brides and their wedding parties.
From Bustle, you can walk across the street to Gold Crafts, which has custom-made pieces of jewelry in its display cases. The shop also provides ring sizing and jewelry engraving.
John's Cigars on Broad Street has various gift boxes of cigar brands such as Padron Anniversary, Alee Bradly and Prensado, along with some unusual ashtrays and humidors.
New and used model trains and accessories are fully stocked at Walt's Train Shop on Pitt Street. All sizes of model trains are available, from the smallest scale, N, to the largest scale, G.
For those who appreciate a gift of art, the gallery of the Worcester County Arts Council on Jefferson Street will feature a variety of artists’ work this season, and include smaller paintings and photographs that are suitable for gifts. Water’s Edge across from the Atlantic Hotel and upstairs from A Little Bit Sheepish, features the works of resident artist Kevin Fitzgerald. And don’t forget to stop by the Artist Studios at the Visitors Center on Main Street. Studio artists Jim Adcock, Don Grafer and James Coltellino have a number of items suitable for holiday gift giving.
Jeffrey Auxer Designs on Jefferson Street has numerous blown glass gift items personally constructed in-house by owner Jerry Auxer. These include golf clubs, which can be personalized with sports team logos. He also carries ornaments and more. Auxer will hold ornament-making classes every Saturday in November and December by reservation. Hurry, as those classes fill up fast.
Further up on Main Street, Downtown Video is the place to look for “Runaway Bride,” set in Berlin along with many other videos and hand-painted Santa creations.
Extravagant set pieces and vases are sold at Berlin Florist on Pitts Street. Some themes include Santa, snowmen and candy canes.
Rainbow Florist on Williams Street is fully stocked with vibrant and varied flowers as well, but also has a variety of cacti and lawn tools essential for those who travel but want their gardens to be maintained while they’re away. Called Plant Watchers, the porcelain devices look like ladybugs and gradually water the soil over time.
Shopping locally has other benefits as well, including a level of service not found at many big box stores. In the event that you don’t find the perfect gift for everyone, Berlin gift certificates are available the Berlin Chamber of Commerce in increments of $25 or $50. More than 30 downtown businesses are participating in the program.