panoramic view of small town, stores, monument

It’s that holiday shopping madness season again, so my trusty photographer friend and I took in a preview of what’s literally “in store” in downtown Hillsdale, NY (not that there’s really a midtown or uptown to Hillsdale, but you get my drift). And if you haven’t visited my favorite hamlet lately, you will be pleasantly surprised by the new shops, new sidewalks and street lights, and even a renovated building or two.

poached egg on toastWe started with a delicious breakfast at Casana T House, the newest addition to Hillsdale’s shopping and restaurant establishments. One side of the building is the tea house offering an excellent selection of more than 20 loose teas, properly brewed, along with espresso, lattes, cappuccinos and all things coffee, baked goods, quiches, and sandwiches (including gluten free) to pick you up at breakfast or lunch. The other side is Casana Designs, with beautiful cashmere scarves, throws and wraps created by owner Carrie Chen. Ms Chen also conducts Japanese Tea Workshops. Find more details about the next one taking place, Saturday, December 30th from 4:30 – 6pm, on her website.

store display of apron, cookbooks, bowlWe then headed next door to the beautifully restored pink Victorian housing HGS Home Chef. This is owner Matthew White’s second business in the hamlet (he opened the Hillsdale General Store in 2011) and it is great to see this creative investment in our town. There are holiday gifts galore here for the foodies in your life.

woman looking at omelette panI love the Swiss Diamond brand omelet pans I purchased here, as well as my Krups coffee grinder, and glass Chemex coffee maker. Our timing was excellent as In-House Cook, Louise Roback, was in one of the demonstration kitchens testing a yummy butternut squash lasagna recipe for a “Winter Comfort Food” class she will give in late January at the store. Neighboring store owner Carrie Chen is teaching a Chinese New Year Feast class at the Chef Shop, February 10, 2018. I missed her sold-out Chinese dumpling class, and hope that comes back around in the schedule! Check out all the classes here. A gift certificate for one would be a great stocking stuffer.

store display of towels,robes,bath amenitiesNext we popped into the Hillsdale General Store, a delightful emporium in a tastefully restored building that offers the shopper all sorts of wonderments from Christmas ornaments, local jams, jellies, honey and coffee, to garden items, vintage glasses and barware, and games for adults and children. And don’t miss the antiques, bath, and stationery collections on the second floor. It’s truly a general store, which was how it started out in 1855. And check out Crossroads Food Shop in the back of the same building – a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant open for breakfast and lunch.

Then on to Passiflora Home where I defy you to come away empty handed. Owners Kevin Draves and Ken Davis love to travel, and they describe their shop as a “treasure trove of exceptional pieces from home and abroad selected for their individuality and affordability.”

toy animals in store display - giraffe, horse, leopardCards, scarves, soaps, candles, jewelry, Christmas ornaments, Kopper’s chocolates, and framed photographs by the wonderful Donna DiMari are just a few of the choices that demand your attention in this gift store. In the warm months, Ken and Kevin also operate the Village Scoop located between the General Store and Passiflora. Excellent ice cream from Jane’s of Kingston, delicious coffee and Harney teas, and baked goods make for a great stopping point in the midst of a shopping spree. I still remember a root beer float I had there last summer!

Next, on to the new Hillsdale Fine Wine and Spirits on Anthony Street (or enter from the parking lot of the local IGA Supermarket. Stop here on your way to the Inn (we don’t have a liquor license, so can’t offer you any alcoholic libations), for an excellent selection of wines and liquors in a smartly designed retail space. interior of wine store with bottles in racks

table with wine bottle holder belowAnd taking the small town spirit to heart, our businesses try to promote each other, so you might even buy a piece of furniture here. I loved the industrial looking wine rack/table (right) from C. Herrington Home +Design (located at the junction of Routes 22 and 23 on the eastern end of the hamlet in the beautiful brick 18th century building).

That does it for the first round of holiday shopping, and we didn’t get to all the stores and galleries and restaurants in Hillsdale, so stay tuned for more photos, or come up to the Inn soon and make some serious progress on your own holiday shopping list! Or any time of year. Shopping in Hillsdale is always fun.

Find even more fun things to do in the area on our Things to Do in Columbia County and the Berkshires pages.

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