Sunday, December 04
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Shop Local For The Holidays

You make a list, check it twice, and probably buy something similar to the year before. It’s the same old song, but you don’t need to buy the same old gift. With the North Fork abound of local, unique shops, there’s something to be found for everyone. Mix it up this year with these finds that will have that lucky recipient letting out oohs and aahs this holiday season.

It’s the most popular time of year for engagements, but even if you’re not in the market for a diamond ring, you can’t go wrong with a little jewelry. Taking this up a notch is Greenport-based silversmith Alexa Suess and her jewelry company Common Ground Adornments. Working with recycled sterling silver and gold, conflict free Kimberly Accord Verified stones, sustainably sourced exotic wood, and other materials the designer finds interesting like hides and horse hair, Ms. Suess creates one of a kind pieces that are beautiful, intricate, and ethically sourced.

“My favorites for holiday giving will always be my herkimer diamond line,” shares Ms. Suess. “It’s a little sparkly, a little raw, a little organic, a little architectural, and really pretty with all styles. I also have been working with American mined turquoise a little more in the past year and those pieces are a favorite for many. That capsule collection can be found at The Weathered Barn in Greenport.”

Speaking of, The Weathered Barn is another must-stop on the holiday shopping list. Owners Jason and Rena Wilhelm offer a curated collection of works from local craftspeople within their Front Street shop. Repurposed silverware, clay bowls and cups, decorative kitchen linens, and other homewares make for a nice present for your friend with a farmhouse-style aesthetic. Handmade bath products are a no brainer stocking stuffer, while custom made coordinate signs are a sweet welcome to someone who just moved to town.

The North Fork is home to many artisans and artists, and the newly opened North Fork Art Collective houses the works of seven founding members, along with a rotation of community guest artists, with an eclectic offering of styles in every size. Whether you’re looking for an original piece for a special art lover, or a print of a unique piece, art is accessible to all types of buyers. Check that off your list.

Put the candles aside this year when buying someone a gift for the home. At touchGOODS in Southold, what you will find is modern and vintage home furnishings and décor, and probably a few things for yourself too. You deserve a treat too, after all. For the holidays, owner Norine Pennacchia says handmade, fair trade, or small production are best.

“The small production and sustainability movement continues to grow on the North Fork (and globally), and who wouldn’t want to receive unique gifts that give back?” shares Ms. Pennacchia. “Some of my personal favorites and top sellers that make great gifts include our vintage kilim coasters. Each coaster is individually cut from a hand-woven vintage kilim, and is entirely unique. Or anything from our kantha collection – women in India stitch together layers of old saris to create throws, cushions and scarves. Kanthas have beautiful and very different patterns on each side, so it’s like a two-for-one deal.”

A fail-proof favorite will always be wine. With Long Island now an established region, the wine trail has become a standout in not just the tourism industry, but for the local economy as well. Winemakers, vineyard managers, tasting room staff, and more have made careers on the North Fork with a product that, as they say, will only get better with time. There are more than 40 wineries open to the public on the North Fork, and plenty of varietals and vintages to choose from when shopping this holiday season. In the spirit of convenience, one road can lead you to a few tasting rooms where you will surely find a bottle or two for the aficionado on your list.

Peconic Lane is home to the family owned and operated Sanino Vineyard, which offers dry to sweet white, red, and dessert wines in their rustic, historic barn turned tasting room. Further up the road is Anthony Nappa’s Winemaker Studio, which also offers an eclectic mix of vintages by the winemaker, who also serves as the winemaker for Raphael Vineyards. Adjacent to this tasting room is the newly opened Peconic Cellar Door, owned and operated by winemaker Alie Shaper of As If Wines and Brooklyn Oenology and winemaker Robin Epperson-McCarthy of Saltbird Cellars. The two have offered up some of their favorite pairings just in time for the holidays.

Try Brooklyn Oenology 2013 Broken Land orange wine with charcuterie, roast pork and harvest vegetables, or As If Courage Rosé with turkey, green beans, or as an aperitif holiday sipping wine. Haywater Cove non-vintage merlot pairs nice with Long Island duck, while Saltbird Cellars Migratus barrel fermented and aged sauvignon blanc complements Provence herbed roast chicken and root vegetables. Bonus: they’re offering discounts and specials the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Friday before Christmas. Stock up for the table, and for hostess gifts.

Fill in the gaps this year with North Fork produced goodies like North Fork Roasting Co. or Aldo’s coffee, Greenport Jerky, Backyard Brine Pickles, Holy Schmitt’s Horseradish Sauce, Peconic River Preserves, and more. Find them at farmers markets, online, or check out Taste East End in Riverhead for more local products.

Support the community and shop local this holiday season. The North Fork has the goods, all you need to do is decide who gets what. Happy Holidays!