With all that rain coming down, I wasn't quite sure where to go, so I just started near the beginning and ended near the end—simple enough, no? And I wanted to make it a point to go into stores that I haven't been in before, stores that I've heard people say marvelous things about. I'm so glad that I did.
My first stop was Collector's Paradise (35 Nason St.). I've only seen the shop from the outside, and only in passing. It's worth a visit—you'll likely find something that reminds you of your youth. The owner's name is Bernie. He's a bit of a joker and, of course, an avid collector of all kinds of things. I was amazed at the number of different things he has in there and how very organized it all is. Star Wars?—oh yes, lots, and still in the original packaging. Vintage Battleship—yup. There are also skeleton keys, board games, still-in-the-wrapper Pez dispensers, blue-glass bottles, a display of vintage, cast-iron pans, and a gazillion other things! You can be sure that whatever you get in there would only otherwise be obtained through a vigorous Ebay bidding war.
My last visit on my sipping tour of shops was to Bon Marche. Are you wondering where that is? Well shame on you and me as well! This is a lovely little antiques gift shop that is at 41 Main Street, after Willy's Philly's, but before Aubuchon.
Annie and Paul Smith are the owners. I spent half an hour talking to them—really lovely people. While there I was shown their collection of millinery embellishments, which I invested a few dollars in. They are from Carlisle and were telling me how much they love our downtown. The specifically mentioned that they have felt a lot of support from the business community. I brought up how there seems to be some kind of mental hurdle that people need to make to get them to walk beyond Halfway Cafe to go anywhere—myself included. They agreed, but said they are really looking forward to Jimmy MacDonald's building across the street being completed and having more life come to their end of Main Street.
Annie and Paul were gracious and didn't point out to me that the Sip & Stroll had actually ended. When I realized, I did my best to say a quick goodnight, grab a picture of them in their space, and let them go home. I then grabbed my umbrella, ran into a friend outside and we went and had a cup of peppermint hot cocoa at Serendipity Café, where live music was still playing into the night.