Longtime Forest Hills Connection readers know how much our editor Marlene loves to walk, and how much we love local businesses. In 2012, Marlene combined the two into a “shop-local workout,” a guide to walking off Thanksgiving dinner and getting the holiday shopping done at the same time.
We’ve chronicled a number of changes in neighborhood businesses and holiday events over the past seven years, so the shop-local guide has changed over time, too. (Since the last update in 2017, we’ve lost Soapstone Market, Terasol, Wake Up Little Suzie, and in September, the children’s clothing shop Full of Beans) What hasn’t changed? The guide is full of great local destinations and gift ideas on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and year-round.
Before we get into the 2019 edition of the shop-local workout, some offerings with expiration dates:
Black Friday/Small Business Saturday
- I’m Eddie Cano sells gift cards and from 3 to 5 p.m. on Black Friday, you can pick up $100 gift cards for $75.
- Tenleytown Main Street brings us DC’s only Yeti-themed winter celebration! The eighth annual Tenley WinterFest starts Friday, November 29th and ends Saturday, December 7th. Tenleytown businesses are offering Small Business Saturday specials and daily retail and restaurant deals. The Janney Winter Market on the 7th will have around 100 vendors. There are also historical walking tours, caroling, live music, the Yeti scavenger hunt and much, much more. Find details at tenleywinterfest.org.
Politics and Prose members get 20 percent off their purchases during its Member Sale. Not a member? Here’s more on the program.
Van Ness Main Street is hosting its fourth annual Van Ness Holiday PopUp Shop with around 20 local makers, artists and designers. It starts the evening of Friday, December 13th with a “sip and shop” preview. The following Saturday and Sunday, shop Made in DC creators, plus enjoy hot crepes and visits by Santa and the Singing Capital Chorus. Here are more details on the vendors and schedule, and to keep on top of additions and changes, we recommend following Van Ness Main Street on Facebook.
Saturdays through December 21
The Cleveland Park Business Association is hosting a Cleveland Park Holiday Market in conjunction with the Cleveland Park farmers market every Saturday through December 21st. Shopping hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside the Uptown Theater. Learn more about the artisans at cpbiz.org.
And now, without further ado: the 2019 walking and shopping tour of Forest Hills/Van Ness, Cleveland Park, Chevy Chase and Tenleytown!
Those who know me best know I hate to shop. So you might wonder why I am writing about holiday shopping. I do hate to shop in large department or big box stores. They overwhelm me. My favorite type of shopping is only a walk away.
I like supporting the local shops. All you need is a backpack with one or two reusable bags and off you go on a pleasant shopping excursion. You don’t have to walk, but it’s healthier and much more fun.
Some of the best shopping for the holidays is right here in the Forest Hills neighborhood, at Politics and Prose. There is nothing I enjoy more than browsing through books for friends and family. I can’t help but slip a book or two into the pile as gifts for me.
On Connecticut Avenue at Little Red Fox, start gift baskets for the food, coffee, wine and beer lovers on your list.
From here you could head north to Chevy Chase or south to the Van Ness commercial strip.
For those trekking north on Connecticut Avenue instead, Chevy Chase is a treasure trove of locally-owned and operated shops. Around the corner from Starbucks on Livingston Street, you’ll find Periwinkle Gifts , a fun gift store, and newcomer Park Story. The store sells women’s shoes and apparel, jewelry and home accessories, all made or designed locally or by independent brands.
Then, round the corner back to Connecticut and check out the women’s active wear at Core 72 and plan to spend some time at Catch Can perusing the clothes, shoes, and items for the home. For the kids and game-loving adults on your list, don’t miss Child’s Play.
On McKinley, a half block off Connecticut, is Write for You stationary and gifts. One day I went into explore and came out with a watch. For the local movie buffs on your list, stop at the Avalon Theater, a wonderful neighborhood institution, for a gift card. Another great stop for kids is Ramer’s Shoes on Northampton. You don’t have to worry about getting the right shoe size – just pick out one of the colorful umbrellas hanging festively from the ceiling.
I think that’s enough for one day. Whether you’re in Van Ness or Chevy Chase, sit down at one of the local restaurants and treat yourself. You’ve earned it.
Another shopping excursion from Forest Hills is to take a hike through Soapstone Valley to Peirce Mill, and then walk up the hill on Tilden. Yes, you can make it. Turn right at Lenore Lane and head to the Hillwood Museum, which has a terrific gift sale in December.
Or continue to follow the trail under Tilden that leads to Cleveland Park, just below Sedgwick. This is part of the Melvin Hazen Trail system. Shops in Cleveland Park that are worth the hike include Transcendence-Perfection-Bliss and Town Jewelers. Or stop into All Fired Up to make a gift.
If you still have energy to burn, walk north on Connecticut to Sedgwick, then follow Sedgwick west to Tilden. Upon crossing Tilden, you will find a bank of 98 steps (yes, I have counted them) leading to International Drive.
If you want a good cardio workout, take the steps. Hook a left when you get to International Drive, which sweeps around in front of a bunch of embassies and leads to the corner with the Israeli Embassy and the Chinese Embassy (map). Take another left onto Van Ness and walk to Wisconsin Avenue.
On the southeast corner of Van Ness and Wisconsin is Sequels. It is a consignment shop located in an apartment building and packed to the gills with stuff. They have some funky jewelry. Across Wisconsin and slightly to the north Sullivan’s Toys and Art Supplies. This is where we often went to get art supplies when my girls were growing up.
When you get to Albemarle Street, hang a left and walk down to Iona Senior Services at 4125 Albemarle. On sale there is one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry, pastel paintings, prints, collage, found object sculpture, paintings, note cards and smaller unframed prints, too. Nearby is Tenleytown Ace Hardware, a locally owned and operated member of the national Ace cooperative. I love hardware stores, and you really can find unusual gifts. What about a double jumbo inflatable snow tube? Middle C Music is a don’t miss for the music lover in your life. It has sheet music, gifts and musical instruments you could give as gifts. How about a recorder or a ukulele? And a few lessons?
Keeping heading north on Wisconsin to check out the bikes at City Bikes. If you are looking for pet gifts or a pet to adopt, try the PetMac pet store on Fessenden just west of Wisconsin. And remember the gift basket items you’ve been collecting? You’re going to need baskets now! Extend your walk a bit and pick up a a few at the Friendship Heights World Market.
Well, it’s time to head home to put your feet up and relax. If you have bought too much for your backpack and shopping bags or just too tired to lug it all home, call an Uber or find a Car2Go. Frankly, I have worn myself out just thinking about all this shopping.
What did we miss? Tell us about your favorite holiday shopping experiences… just a walk away.