Article by Stavros
Located right off of the main road in Epsom, New Hampshire a well decorated handcrafted store caught our eyes. As we were headed east on route 4 towards our weekend Getaway , we saw the banner hung above the store that read “Handcrafted Gifts Since 1981” and decided that we could not pass up an opportunity to buy locally made gifts.
Making our way through to two wooden doors we were greeted by the site of many handmade crafts, ornaments, knitted and woven articles, paintings and glasswork. A number of the items were hung from the exposed wooden beams running across the ceiling above our heads. The windows in the front of the store were lined with colorful glassware which reflected more light into the building and made it pop with color. Hanging on the walls are many framed pictures and paintings from the surrounding areas in New Hampshire. Everything on display in the store is made by one of the 18 Cooperatives or any of the 40 plus artists that contribute their work.
Our gift purchases included a wooden Christmas tree ornament in the shape of the state of New Hampshire. It makes the perfect addition to our tree at home. We hung it next to our lobster ornament that we purchased in York Maine last years during one of our other weekend trips.
Our second purchase was a panting of a lobster enjoying a nice drink on the beach after breaking out of a lobster pot that washed to shore. In the background is a beautiful sunset which surrounds an interpretation of one of the lighthouses in New Hampshire. During our time at the Coop we talked to a few of the curators and asked a bit about its history and for recommendations of places to visit for dinner that night and lunch the next day. Bill and Joyce recommended the Barley House in Concord which we visited for dinner. Then speaking to a second Bill and Cheryl, they recommended to us that we visit Petey’s Summertime Seafood in Rye for a great seafood lunch.
While talking with Bill and Cheryl, they also shared with us a clipping from a local newspaper that gave a little more on the history of the Coop and the Valley Artisans that ran the store. It was a great experience seeing all of the hand-made goods and meeting the people who made them and learning about their stories. In the days when we buy the majority of our goods online and they come from all over the world, it was very refreshing meeting the skilled artists behind their work and hearing their stories on how they made them and how they sourced their materials locally.
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