Downtown Montpelier is full of cute, little shops from clothing boutiques and art galleries to independent book shops and antiques dealers. It's a lot of fun to walk around and check out them out if you have time. You can find some really unique things. One of my favorite shops downtown was the hardware store. It's a real old-fashioned hardware store, the kind that you don't see much of anymore. The front of the place was crammed with rakes and garden hoses and bags of fertilizer. Old men were hanging around at the counter drinking coffee. It reminded me of when I was a kid. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture! The downtown also has a lot of regular shops like a drug store and a small grocery store if you need something practical.
In the day time this shop sells Collectable Vynls and original Posters which I thought rather unique. Right at the back of the shop is a small cafe. At night it was transformed into a life music venue featuring mainly Vermont groups.
I didn't whether to classify this shop as selling music or antiques - it could have been either.
What to buy: Vynls and original Posters
It was good to compare the Farmers Markets in New England with those of England, UK. Here at Montpelier weather dictates that the market is not held in the winter. The second difference was that there was a much bigger range of items for sale. About half the stalls were selling craft items which you will not normally see in the UK. My local markets are very cautious about so called added value items. Here produce has to be made in the State of Vermont compared to England (Outside London) the produce has to be grown or made within 30 miles of the market. I was unclear on the policy for added value, particularly cooked and baked items on the percentage of the ingredients that had to be local (for example in cakes did the flour have to be local or the grain that was used in the flour, or was the fruit in a cake the only local item. On the crafts stalls it was not clear whether only the maker of the cushion had to be local and/or the items were so called hand made from materials sourced worldwide.
It was interesting to see that live music was encouraged - again I was unclear on the rules governing who could perform or whether they were paid for by the market organisers.
A good experience!!!
What to buy: Locally produced Maple Syrup and Maple wood craft items.
What to buy: We bought a cheeseboard and wooden knife made of "birds eye" maple - all beautifully crafted from timber by the man on the right of the picture. He told us that he had had the timber for 25 years before he made our cheeseboard and that he had bought from second-hand from someone who had had it for years.
I was quite impressed with the number of bookshops in Montpelier. This one had a good selecton of 2nd hand books. You can also obtatin their books on the internet via ABEbooks