Along with supporting local arts, The Golden Stage Inn has much pride in our local businesses. We try to source our foods and products from small businesses in the area as often as we can. Lucky for us, this is a fairly easy task because Vermont has legislation that makes it tough for chain stores to open in the Green Mountain State. I believe I’ve seen two McDonalds during my entire time wandering the state, and certainly never a single Walmart, Target, or mall! As a way of encouraging guests to visit these mom-and-pop stores, we have set up a promotion that allows you to get holiday shopping done in a stress-free – dare I say delightful – way. Check out the I Hate Malls package to see what sort of savings and complimentary treats are currently available at the Inn. Meanwhile, take a peek at our smorgasbord review of Ludlow’s small businesses and gift shops that provide an eclectic diversity of offerings for seasonal shoppers in Vermont.
Blue Sky Trading Company is one of my top two favorite gift shops in Ludlow…mostly because everything (and I mean everything) inside the store appeals to my taste. They offer a few Vermont Products, most notably the slate coasters from Vermont Stoneworks and fine natural candles for Bennington Candle. Even if you wander in with no money, as I did, the stunning visuals of colorful scarves, seasonal photography and creative earrings may keep you occupied and exploring for several minutes, and Greg or Betsy will likely strike up a conversation with you in the meantime.
The Silver Spoon Gallery is my other top Ludlow shopping destination. When I walked in for the first time, I expected to spend my time quietly staring at do-not-touch paintings and statues way out of my price range. While there are indeed some amazing pieces of art that I didn’t even think about laying my hands on (including pieces by Robert Sydorowich featured on the Inn’s first floor!), the Gallery is an accessible, almost participatory New England-based artisan and craft store. I found myself unashamedly laughing out loud at the custom magnets and cards in one room. The best part is – many of the products are totally affordable! I bought two hilarious refrigerator magnets from Maine for my dad, handmade Hawaiian soap for my aunt, and the Silver Spoon’s own cutlery earrings (for myself…oops). The owner brings his own crafts, which usually involve cutlery in unexpected ways, to fairs and festivals across New England. When he meets artists he finds particularly compelling, he offers to sell their products in his store. So not only does The Silver Spoon exhibit the owners own imaginative flare, it showcases his personal taste when it comes to offering a well-selected array of appealing products.
Right next-door to the Silver Spoon Gallery is the Wine and Cheese Depot. I don’t need to go into any more detail about how well wine and cheese are received at any point in the year, only to mention that many of the cheeses and a few of the wines and hard ciders are Vermont-sourced and produced. Across the road is Tina’s Fun Stuff to Wear clothing and accessories store. I have yet to go inside, but I’ll bet the name speaks for itself. Other stores within walking distance include Chrisandra’s Home and Furniture, a small pet boutique, Chaos Casbah. Within a five minute drive is The Fletcher Farm School, a dynamic organization whose VT crafts gift shop is just one facet of what it has to offer.
Stay tuned for more profiles of nearby towns with abundant locally owned businesses – up next week: Chester!