The joys of small town Christmas shopping

Gretchen and I set out this morning with the idea of getting in some last minute Christmas shopping. Initially, we had considered driving to one of the nearby cities where large department stores and malls abound, but then we started thinking, what if we did all of our shopping in Floyd?

We first visited the Jacksonville Center where the Co-op Retail shop displays work from 80 local artists. I am continually delighted by the number of beautiful items I discover in this shop that make exquisite gifts.

While we were there, we visited the artisan studios and watched McCabe Coolidge make pottery with a studio full of onlookers. Linda Osborne’s jewelry and Sarah McCarthy’s pottery are very popular with visitors, as are George Lipson’s Green Label Organic T-Shirts and David Hedge’s photographs.

Next, we visited the Cafe Del Sol and enjoyed espresso drinks and caught up on the latest news from proprietor Sally Walker. While we were there, I bought Cafe Del Sol gift certificates because they always seem to come in the right sizes and colors.

We were taken across Locust Street by our friend Dennis Ross and were introduced to a bookstore that we had never visited before. It’s called  NoteBooks – Arts-Music-Ideas and carries new and used books, art supplies and music supplies. Of course, this being a small town, we had already met Avis McCutchan, the owner, at a number of civic functions and we felt right at home.

Our next stop was the Bell Gallery and Garden, where we were warmly welcomed by Bill and Joanne Bell who reminded us that we were their first customers when they opened the store earlier this year. The Bell Gallery and Garden is the kind of success story that every town needs. Beautifully decorated with extraordinary attention to every detail, this gallery is a must-see destination for every visitor to Floyd.

With prices ranging from a few dollars to more than several thousand dollars, there is something here for every budget. We managed to find a buttery-soft leather purse to add to our collection of Christmas presents.

Just down the road from the Bell Gallery is The Meadows, a casual clothing store carries select casual clothing for discriminating tastes. I had already visited it earlier in the week and found several gifts that were just what I needed.

A few more stops and we were ready to head home. We had done all of our shopping and visiting in a one mile radius and we had greeted many of our friends who were doing the same. We drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to our end of Floyd County and enjoyed brilliant blue skies and vistas that extend for miles in all directions.

With the gas money and time we saved by not going to the nearest city, I feel we came out ahead financially as well as emotionally. Our small town Christmas shopping trip will linger as a pleasant memory for a long time.

One of the most rewarding aspects of shopping in Floyd is that many of the articles we purchase are made by our artisan friends!

Giving someone a Christmas gift that is made by an artisan we know and admire makes the entire process of gift-giving more spiritually satisfying.

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