So often, a visit to the gift shop is considered an afterthought after visiting an attraction. It’s common to dismiss this kind of shopping unless actively seeking a souvenir. That would be a mistake, especially in the gift-giving season.
The Whiteface Region has delightful gift shops. They are a place to find Adirondack-themed decor, crafts from local artisans, and special treats. In other words, that most sought after holiday quest: unique gifts. Here are some places you might not think of for gift shopping, and reasons why you should.
Go to the source
What would Santa get? Answer this question with the wonderful options at Santa's Workshop. If the list is about kids and magic and Christmas, it's hard to think of a better place, especially since it is at the North Pole and there are elves hard at work there.
And while there's an entry fee to tour the entire Chritsmas village — which is highly recommended if the kids are with you — there is no admission to visit the gift complex.
Santa has toy makers and other craftspeople on duty who demonstrate their skills and can customize those gifts. There's a toy, candle, hat, and candy maker. The glassblowing shop can make a very special ornament.
The wild side
Real live nature is the theme of the Adirondack Wildlife Refuge. This is a place for injured animals to recover and be rehabilitated so they can go back into the wild. If their injuries prevent their release, they stay on as Wildlife Ambassadors and are used to educate the public.
Inside the rehab center's gift shop there are hoodies and zip-up sweatshirts, long and short sleeve shirts (with sizes for toddlers and babies,) and ball caps and wool hats. The wearables feature AWR's logo and unique wildlife graphics. There are greeting cards by local photographers Joe Kostoss and Cathy Stolz, books on wildlife for all ages, and stuffed animals such as wolves, owls, and eagles.
With a daily tour, so many animals, and fine trails on the property, it's a wonderful way to get outdoors, entertain the children, and support nature. And the best part of all — the proceeds go back to the general support of AWR's education and rehabilitation center.
A special feel
High Falls Gorge is a popular attraction with paths and catwalks, so almost anyone can view the incredible rock formations carved by the Ausable River. They have recently expanded their cafe and gift shop to feature a wider variety of Adirondack items, especially from local artisans. Some, like the maple syrup, can't get more local.
Children will love the many different rock samples, which make great stocking stuffers. Choose from many kinds of books about the Adirondacks.
There's also a wide selection of clothing and treats, which fits almost anyone's tastes.
For something soft and cuddly, there's the finest of wool at The Alpaca Shoppe. While this is a working farm and doesn't do tours, the gift shop is all about being warm and stylish. This is the category of "gift that keeps on giving," since a fine pair of gloves or socks will keep a person happy winter after winter.
There are scarves and bags, vests and hats, and a great selection of yarn that will thrill any knitter on your list. I especially like the cuddly ponchos, as seen above. It is like a throw that is wearable and stylish.
The element of surprise
Stop by the Adirondack Life magazine office in Jay —it's the old church building on the corner of Routes 9N and 86 — for a high quality gift selection, even for the dogs and cats. There are ceramic food and water bowls for pets, carved wooden decor, and the magazine's famous calendar.
Since 1969, Adirondack Life has been a gathering spot for the finest in nature photography. Their annual photo contest showcases up-and-coming photographers. All of them chronicle the ever-changing, incredibly gorgeous scenery that covers the six million acres of diverse ecosystems that make up the Adirondacks. A calendar or a gift subscription to the magazine are wonderful ways to have a bit of the Adirondacks around all year.
There's more at Candy Man Homemade Adirondack Chocolates & Gifts than candy. But do not pass up the candy. These chocolates are made on the premises, using an old Adirondack recipe. The children who clamored for the goodies from the first Candyman now bring their children to enjoy the treats made by the second one. I think he makes the best mint patties in the world.
Pair up the chocolates with a stuffed animal for a now-and-later kind of gift, or browse their wide selection of clothing, decor, and gift baskets. They will be happy to make a custom one for any kind of person. As long as that person loves chocolate, which would be most of us.
This year, maybe think small with the Whiteface Region's small businesses. That's authentic Adirondacks.
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