While in Downtown Mount Vernon, Ohio, be sure to check out a fabulous bookstore called, Paragraphs Bookstore. It's one of those independently owned and operated stores where SERVICE is the key word. It is cozy, comfortable, and well arranged. Books of all genres for all ages are here; if not, the staff will special order anything not in stock.
You are able to sit down and skim through a book; we struck up a conversation with the man behind the counter who was quite well versed in all kinds of books. Oh, yes, there are gift items and greeting card selections that are varied and unique.
We took a great deal of time to look around and discovered that it has some of the best Children's Books that we have seen...and we are pretty good judges since we frequent bookstores regularly. As a grandmother, I am always on the lookout for books for my 11-month-old grandaughter, Sabrina Dee.
We were also investigating some of our favorite authors and found them all.
What to buy: Jill purchased a couple of her favorite writers in the mystery genre, and lucky me, when she completes them, I will have a chance to read them!
What to pay: The items sell for retail and with a small discount.
One of the most beautiful stores that Jill and I shopped in while in Mount Vernon, Ohio, was called Fibers Gallery LTD. It was certainly "eye-candy" personified!
A group of artists concentrate on fibers to create beauty, and they show their work in a well-arranged setting. They were selling rag rugs, knit hats, crocheted jewelry, fabric purses, painted silk scarfs, fabric wall hangings, picture frames, socks, gloves, macrame purses, hand painted baby sleepers, and pillows (to name a few items).
Jill and I spent a good deal of time in this store because we were amazed and impressed with the quality and the one-of-a-kind feature.
The woman behind the counter was making necklaces as we watched her. She explained the technique to use, and it was fascinating. She crocheted into multi-strand, versatile necklaces of many colors and combinations with a unique clasp system.
So, if you are interested in artistic design, color, texture, and quality, then, by all means, visit Fibers Gallery LTD in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
What to buy: Jill purchased a beautiful navy and light blue handmade rag rug. She was pleased with the price and the quality.
Main Photograph is of the store's business card which pictures items available for sale.
The second photo is of the inside of the store where you are able to see the actual items for sale.
The third photo is of Jill paying for her purchase of a rag rug. The lady behind the counter is the one who was making unique fiber jewelry.
What to pay: This is an artistic store where everything is made by hand or sewing machine. You will never see other people with a gift you purchase here...quite unique. The price is higher than most stores because of the high quality and the artistic flair.
While in Mount Vernon, Ohio, we stopped in Aunt Bee's Quilts & More shop to check out the fabrics. (Jill makes quilts and is always on the lookout for materials).
This shop is a full service fabric and sewing shop with sewing machine sales and service as well as notions, cabinets, alterations, gifts, and classes.
The shop supplies area quilters with a good variety of fabrics, including batiks, tone-on-tone, colorful prints, and traditional reproductions from 1930s and the Civil War eras.
(Yes, there is a quilting guild in Mount Vernon!)
This is a huge store with lots of windows which gives plenty of room to display the fabrics. The positive feature of numerous windows makes possible true identity of colors because of the natural light.
Jill enjoyed the fact that the sales lady did not "hover"; instead, she let us wander until we were ready to ask questions and to purchase goods.
Both Jill and I enjoyed this shop, probably because of the high tin ceiling, the architectually beautiful building, and the abundant natural light.
What to buy: Jill purchased materials for two different quilts (one she is planning, and one she is in the process of making). The prices were reasonable, and the selections were good.
What to pay: The prices for fabrics were fair for the quality.
Jill Martin wrote the majority of this tip because she is a quilter.
In the world of quilting, there are "piecers, appiquers, and quilters. Martha Creasy's "A Touch of Thread" carries materials for all three, but she specializes in Gammill long-arm quilting machines and Statler Stitcher machines. She demonstrates these machines and sells and services them as well. Jill was able to use one for the first time.
A long-arm quilter looks like a large, computerized sewing machine arm with hand grips running on a bed attached to a frame as long as 6 feet. After the quilt top is pieced and/or appiqued, it becomes a quilt when sandwiched with batting and a backing fabric. The quilting machine quickly and beautifully secures the quilt body with decorative thread.
This is a huge shop with plenty of natural light, via numerous huge windows, and everything is displayed for ease of finding materials.
What to buy: The shop carries a fine selection of quilting fabrics, kits, and books. It also offers classes in long-arm quilting. The shopkeepers were most helpful and quite friendly.
What to pay: Since they sell huge machines as well as thread and materials, there is a wide variance in price...from dollars to thousands of dollars.
While drive back from a frustrating trip to see the National Road/Zane Grey Museum, we happened upon a truly lovely shop called Colonial Cottage located on the outskirts of Zanesville, Ohio.
The owner, Brenda J. Higgins has done a super job buying just the right items for a top-notch store. They offer Vera Bradley handbags, quilts, Heritage Lace, baskets, and more.
As you are able to detect from the photograph, it's located in a darling cape cod type of house that is well maintained. The landscaping gives it "roadside appeal".
The photo shows Jill in front of the shop with her new purchase.
What to buy: The trip thus far, Jill had been in the market for a new Vera Bradley Purse or Bag. Finally in Colonial Cottage, Jill discovered the perfect one, a brand new design for 2006. Naturally, it came in many different styles, so we took our time selecting just the perfect one.
What to pay: Being an upscale shop, Colonial Cottage is not a discount place. Expect to pay retail prices.
A very interesting store to see while in Mount Vernon is Ohio's oldest general store, Woolson Company, which has been in operation since 1897!
Larry Woolson, the owner, waited on us. He is also in the real estate business for Coldwell Banker.
This store is remarkable to see. It offers a wide variety of merchandise with one-of-a-kind gift and hard to find items. You'll think that you have stepped back in time because of all the displays of antique and period items.
There are also endless choices of vintage items that will, no doubt, bring a smiles to your face.
What to buy: They sell soaps, candies, pottery, vintage clothes seeds, old tools, etc. It seems cluttered because there is merchandise just everywhere. To see it all, it would take hours.
What to pay: There is so much in this store that it would be impossible to estimate prices. Many of the items are antiques, and they are probably the most expensive. However, there a penny items in the candy area.
Once we completed our First Ladies tour, we visited the gift shop in the hallway area of the Saxton McKinley House. They displayed the merchandise quite attractively. There was no pressure to purchase. There were lots of books pertaining to US First Ladies, both recent ladies and more historic ones. There were toys for children to make learning more fun, collectibles, dishware, statues, pins, postcards, note cards, pens/pencils, and numerous other items.
Jill and I, of course, were most attracted to the books and toys for learning.
What to buy: Jill and I purchased a gift for a mutural friend of ours which was Victorian note cards with a small card to match. I purchased the First Ladies Fandex, which is a learning tool, of sorts. After touring the library, education center, and home, I wanted to know more about First Ladies in history. This device has all the first ladies in history in a concise, compact format which fans outs for easy use. Jill purchased a book.
The Gift shop was just as "classy" as this entire Historic Site itself. It opened in 2000, the same time as the renovated home.
What to pay: Very reasonably priced, especially for a gift shop for tourists
We LOVED this store. There's not another quite like it anywhere in the world. Started in 1955 to supply the local Amish community, Lehman's has grown until it has a worldwide clientele (by mailorder) of all kinds of people who by necessity or by choice live without the modern convenience of electricity. The first time I was at Lehman's I stayed four hours, and didn't see it all. More than a store, Lehman's opens a window on a whole way of life.
What to buy: Oil lamps, butter churns, hand tools, wood stoves, propane appliances, kitchen gadgets, pickle kegs, grain mills, hand water pumps, canning supplies, books, and much, much more. Lehman's carries 70,000 items, some custom made just for them. There are things here that you thought they didn't make any more, and others that you never knew existed.
What to pay: Because the Amish are thrifty and are the original customer base for this store, I have found the prices here much more reasonable than in a few other speciality outlets which carry some of the same items.
The decor is way over the top. As you drive up it appears you are entering an amusement park with large as life animal characters in a zoo like enclosure. The fish department has a lifesize replica of the SS Minnow sailing over the fish counter. An animal Elvis impersonator plays guitar and sings. There is a real fireengine over the hot sauce aisle and an authentic Indian Taxi waits for a fare at the Indian food department.
What to buy: There are such a large number and variety of specialty and imported foods that I hesitate to try to list them. A complete Aisle for each country and not just the usual international fare. Such not usually seen places as South Africa, as well as France, Germany, England, Ireland, Poland, Greece, India, Indonesia, Australia, Hungary, Spain, Mexico to name just a few. There were cheeses, wines, beers, olives , candies and sweets. Frozen caribou, kangaroo, eels, elk, and ostrich.
What to pay: Prices very reasonable
Karen doesn't particularly enjoy shopping, but she loves this store because she can save so much money here on women's shoes. The outlet is in front of what was once a shoe factory, although they haven't made shoes here in a dozen years and the factory space is currently used for manufacturing metal tool boxes. The shoes are now made in China, but you can still buy them here for a bargain in this small out-of-the-way Ohio River town. If you have even a little bit of Elmeda Marcos in you, and you enjoy saving money, this store is for you.
What to buy: Nothing but a very wide selection of ladies shoes, and a very limited number of accessories such as handbags.
Mon. - Sat. 10-6
What to pay: About half or more off department store prices.
UNIQUE ISLAND GEAR DESIGNS A variety of Put in Bay Island designs on t-shirts, sweat shirts, sweat, intimate wear, hats and sweat pants. Many styles and colors to choose from for both him and her.
What to buy: Shirts, Clocks, Hats, Stationary, Souveneirs of all types.
All designs will only be found online
What to pay: 15
This is small town America and the only big retailers for department store merchandise are Walmart and JC Penney. Chillicothe has the biggest selection of stores and they do have an "old town" area close to Water Street with many unique shops but I didn't have time to visit it. Next time!
Stone barn furnishings has a little bit of everything for the interior of your home; however, their specialty is their Amish-handmade wooden furniture. We bought a dining room table and hutch there that we will be happy with for the rest of our lives. The worksmanship is exquisite and the selection quite large - dining room sets, bedroom furniture, desks, chairs, etc...
You can order items exactly as they are on the floor or have things made specially for you. We had several changes made to the dining room set we ordered and everything came out perfect.
Almost all of the wood furniture is made locally by Amish craftsmen after you place your order. It usually takes from 2 to 4 months to receive your furniture after ordering so don't expect to drive home with it that day.
Believe me when I say that it is worth the wait.
What to pay: The wood furniture is more expensive than the paperboard stuff made in China as you might expect; however, it is not outrageous either. I think the prices are very fair for the quality of the merchandise.
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