Last week I took a couple of hours to meander my way home from work, from Richmond in the most eastern edge of Wayne County, to Hagerstown in the northwest corner. I made a few stops to pick up items I’ve wanted to buy and get inspiration for our Welcome Center’s Gift Shop holiday display. I found some great buys, saw things I want to go back for, and happened upon really good treats (of course), so my afternoon turned into a nice little “sampler” of the county.
I first stopped at Coco’s By Hand, in The Loft in the Depot District, to see what was new and purchase a beautiful bottleneck gourd my artist friend Carvin Rinehart painted and varnished. He says his choice of colors was inspired by Persian turquoise, red onions, and lapis lazuli . I love visiting Coco’s because they have such interesting and beautiful clothing, jewelry (like Viva Beads), purses & accessories, and home décor items, many of them one-of-a-kind and hand-made.
I was thrilled to learn they are in the midst of expanding, adding a collection of upscale cooking and kitchen items. The boutique especially appeals to high school girls and their mothers, but really to anyone who is looking for something decidedly different and artistic. For example, I recently bought a rock-inspired purse for my step-daughter’s 16th birthday, which was made from a recycled license plate. For those who want lunch or a chocolate treat after they shop, Ghyslain Chocolatier & Bistro is right next door. Or, if you want to make a relaxing day of it, Metamorphosis Spa is upstairs.
My next stop was Scott Shafer Pottery, just north of Centerville. Scott creates beautifully simple functional stoneware – plates, bowls, pitchers, etc. – that are very reasonably priced. When I travel to other areas I always hope to find such lovely handmade pottery to take home as functional souvenirs. You can watch Scott create his wares in his studio that is connected to the gift shop. He also has a holiday open house on December 4th and 5th.
My next stop was Warm Glow Candle Outlet, north of Centerville on I-70. It is a huge building (look for the giant candle!) filled with locally-made candles, home décor, giftware, kitchen items, Christmas and holiday decorations, cloth purses, bath items and more. They also have a lunch counter, the Stonehearth Cafe, which has the most fabulous peanut butter pie – homemade crust, layers of crumbled peanut butter and powdered sugar mixture, homemade custard filling and meringue. I also saw a peach cobbler I will have to try soon. There I bought a large wooden lantern for about 75% off.
My last stop was in Hagerstown, at Abbott’s Candy, which has been in business and with the same family over 100 years. There I watched the ladies pour a huge vat of caramel into a pan to cool, to later cut and wrap – Abbott’s caramels are shipped all over the country. I also saw Gizmos, clumps of caramel and pecans, waiting for their chocolate covering. The Abbott’s store also carries giftware items. Quaint Hagerstown is also home to The Corner Oak, Two Sisters Gift Shop, Across the Street Antiques, and Willie & Reds (Facebook page), formerly Wellivers, which will be re-opening soon.