by Marlene Berlin
For those who know me as someone who hates to shop, 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 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. There is a new term for this, self-gifting. Also, they now have a book printing machine. How about a family book project to give to the grandparents? After you pull yourself away from P&P, then tootle across the street to Terasol to check out the pottery it sells there.
Then head north to Chevy Chase. Around the corner from Starbucks on Livingston Street, you’ll find Full of Beans, a fabulous kids clothing store. Next door is Periwinkle Gifts ,a fun gift store. Then round the corner back to Connecticut and plan to spend some time at Catch Can perusing the clothes, shoes, and gifts for the home. If kids are 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 movie buffs on your list, stop by or Potomac Video. And don’t forget about a gift card for the Avalon Theater, a wonderful neighborhood institution. Then sit down at one of the local restaurants and have a bite to eat. I think that’s enough for one day.
Another shopping excursion from Forest Hills is to take a hike through Soapstone to Peirce Mill, and then walk up the hill on Tilden. Yes, you can make it. Turn right at the next street, Lenore Lane, and head to the Hillwood Museum, which has a terrific gift sale in December.
Or continue following the trail under Tilden that leads to Cleveland Park, just below Sedgwick. This is part of the Melvin Hazen Trail system. Two gift stores in Cleveland Park are both worth the hike: Wake Up Little Suzie and Transcendence-Perfection-Bliss. Also, check out Potomac River Running. All of these stores are on Connecticut Avenue.
If you still have energy to burn, walk north on Connecticut to Sedgwick, then follow Sedgwick 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, hang a left and walk down to Iona 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. Prices range from $15.00-500.00. Let’s not forgot to mention Ace Hardware. I love hardware stores, and you really can find unusual gifts. What about a double jumbo inflatable snow tube? Middle C Music is another shop not to miss, It has sheet music and instruments, and gifts, as well. How about a recorder or a ukulele?
There is also Hudson Trail Outfitters, not exactly a local business, but a metropolitan wide chain. One year I got the head lamps for biking as a Hannukah gift for my girls. They also make great reading lights for when the electricity goes out. And if you are looking for pet gifts or a pet to adopt, try the PetMac pet store on Fessenden just west of Wisconsin.
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, find a Car2Go. Frankly, I have worn myself out just thinking about all this shopping.
Tell us about your favorite holiday shopping experience… just a walk away.