Ellsworth for Example
Here’s proof that small-town streets offer big-time shopping.
- By: Kathleen Fleury
- Photography by: Jennifer Baum
The intoxicating smell of the house-roasted coffee wafts up the three stories of this kitchen store across the Union River. The compilation of kitchen goods, gourmet foods — including the popular Rooster Brother homemade sausage — cookbooks, and miscellaneous foodstuffs will entertain any cook for hours. If you’re feeling festive, pick up a vegetable ornament (we love the sliced tomato), but many stockings can be stuffed with the cool gadgets lining these shelves. Don’t miss Maine’s own Vic Firth wooden pepper and salt grinders or the nifty Bobble — a portable water bottle and filter all in one. 29 Main Street. 207-667-8675. www.roosterbrother.com
Beal’s Gift Shop
Take a step back in time at this family-run store that has been on the block for eighty-five years. But you wouldn’t know its age from the modern collection of china, jewelry, clothing, and other gifts inside. Three generations of the Beal family can be found behind the counters — Grandma Norma, son Lloyd, and grandson Ben — to help you find the right Waterford crystal, Godiva chocolate, or diamond for whatever the occasion. 97 Main Street. 207-667-2161. www.bealsjewelry.com
Union River Book and Toy Co.
You’re never too old for a trip to a toy store, and this one, which opened this last January, is a great stop for inquisitive kids of all ages. With a great selection of educational toys — we’re talking a working solar-paneled dollhouse — and a large book section, this diverse store has a little something for everyone. Don’t miss the moose marionette made by Fish River Crafts in Fort Kent or the handcrafted wood toys from Elves and Angels of Wytopitlock. 100 Main Street. 207-667-6604. www.unionrivertoys.com
The Bud Connection
Looking to satisfy a sweet tooth or be sweet to your sweetheart? This florist and chocolate shop is a lover’s lair. Make off with an assortment of Maine-made chocolates like Needhams and chocolate-covered blueberries or pick out a tasteful flower arrangement. Owner Barbara Courchesne, who claims that the store has the biggest walk-in flower cooler in the state, prides herself on adding a little special something to every arrangement, whether it’s a bird or a bee or a rose petal pouch filled with sprinkable petals. 89 Main Street. 207-667-9595. www.thebudconnection.com
What kid in your life wouldn’t love a pair of moose boots or ladybug umbrella or a stylish fleece hat? Look no further than Ruth Foster’s charming children’s store. For twenty-six years, Ruth Foster has been offering an adorable collection of childrens wear, for infants to age six. Oh, and for the moms, there is a section of vibrant Vera Bradley bags. Those moose boots have to go somewhere! 95 Main Street. 207-667-2593.
The Grasshopper Shop
Located in five different locations in Maine (two in Bangor, Rockland, Searsport, and Ellsworth), the Grasshopper shop is Maine’s go-to store for funky and fun gifts, books, kitchen and bath ware, clothing, calendars, and more. The Ellsworth branch, which has been here since 1982, is no exception, with two rooms filled to the brim with gadgets and goodies, like Sea Glass Candy from Saco and Borealis Press cards from nearby Surry. 124 Main Street. 207-667-5816. www.grasshoppershop.com
J&B Atlantic Co. (Crossroads Antiques)
“Everything from cigars to armoires” — that’s an apt description, courtesy of co-owner John Hutchins, of this home goods store chock full of furniture, decorations, and gifts. Part new, part old, with a large selection of antiques, this ten thousand square-foot roaming showroom, a former J.J. Newbury, is a delightful place to get lost in. Punctuating the different levels are curious and very affordable animal sculptures by an anonymous local artist. But don’t bother asking for his name: The storeowners are sworn to secrecy. 142 Main Street. 207-667-2082. www.jbatlantic.com
The Sand Castle
This treasure trove of nature and ocean-themed gifts and goodies opened on Main Street in April, after eleven years of satisfying shoppers in Southwest Harbor. Owner Jess Morehouse has amassed a thoughtful and whimsical collection of everything from jewelry to books to pottery, with a good number of quirky, locally crafted gifts like Morehouses’ own key wind chimes or walking sticks from Stick, Sticks, Sticks in Brewer 163 Main Street. 207-667-9399.
Tucked into the former Masonic Hall that now houses the Maine Grind coffee shop, this gallery showcases some of the immensely talented local artists in the Ellsworth area. For about two years, this group has sold their wares together — paintings, glass jewelry, pottery, and more. Don’t miss the funky bags, aprons, and headbands by Autumn Soares or the twelve-dollar lobster claw paperweights. It’s a small space but it’s packed with plenty of gems. 192 Main Street. 207-667-1968. www.sevenartsandcrafts.com
John Edwards Market
What do you get when you combine a health-food store, a wine cellar, and an art gallery? Well, you get the truly one-of-a-kind John Edwards Market, featuring a downstairs gallery with paintings, sculptures, and more than nine hundred kinds of wine. If you need to pick up vitamins or find the perfect painting for your living room, this place, a Main Street fixture for forty years, offers one-stop shopping. 158 Main Street. 207-667-9377. www.johnedwardsmarket.com
The Grand Theater has been the foundation of the Ellsworth downtown district for more than eighty years. The 480-seat facility hosts performances of all kinds throughout the year. (This month local pianist sensation Paul Sullivan performs on December 3.) Now the Grand has expanded its arts offerings by opening a rotating gallery next door. Different artists enthusiastically fill the space monthly — recently Helen Douglas showed her vibrant and fun finger paintings paired with raku pottery pieces. 165 Main Street. 207-667-9500. www.grandonline.org
The Harlow Gallery on Maine
Located right in the coffee shop and cafe at the Maine Grind, this gift shop and gallery has plenty of Maine gifts and art. Owner Leslie Harlow represents six different Maine artists at a time. So while you wait for your smoothie, peruse the small but quality selection of maps, prints, artwork, and books. Don’t be surprised if some fun items catch your eye, like the Maine license plate brilliantly transformed into a dustpan or the Day on the Coast batik flags by Karen Edelstein. 192 Main Street. 207-667-0011. www.mainegrind.com
- By: Kathleen Fleury
- Photography by: Jennifer Baum