It’s that time of year again . . . that time when you begin to panic because you haven’t gotten any presents for the folks on your list. So I figured I’d do my part and help with a few gift guides, centered around goods made in New England. First up in the New England Gift Guide, the vacationland that is the state of Maine.
For the beer enthusiast, head to Oxbow and fill up a couple growlers. An American Farmhouse Brewery located in Newcastle, Oxbow (operating since 2011) specializes in Belgian-style ales with a contemporary American influence. Their slogan, “loud beer in a quite place” hits the nail on the head. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of their cozy tasting room before taking those growlers to go. My favorite so far is their holiday offering, Freestyle #20.
North by East Building Co. made these cutting boards for fellow Portland residents More & Co. In maple or walnut with smooth clean curves, they are too pretty to just chop vegetables on. Utilize it as an appetizer tray! More & Co. curates their rotation shop selection around themes and concepts. So if you find something you like, snag it! It is most likely a difficult to find item, or a special collaboration with the artisan or brand.
What’s more festive and appreciated in New England than a flannel shirt? This red brushed flannel one from my buddy Daniel’s brand Seawall is hand cut and sewn in Portland. Cut in a contemporary fit with beautiful fine narrow-width Japanese fabric, it’s a signature shirt that will hold a solid spot in his wardrobe. Be sure to stop by the workshop/store, which also goes by the name Seawall (the back wall of the shop is the original Portland seawall), to get a first hand look.
In my mind, one can never have too many scarves. These linen ones from South Street Linen in Portland are contemporary yet classic. I love the printed geometric shapes and color blocking. The company was founded in 2011 by three friends who wanted to try something new, and sold out of their first line of printed linen scarves in a hot minute. Since then they have committed to the re-emerging textile industry in Maine and have collaborated with fellows in the industry within their grand state.
Nothing is more handsome than cordovan leather, especially when it’s in the form of a pair of penny loafers made by Rancourt & Co. Based in Lewiston, this family owned business has been making genuine handsewn moccasins for three generations. I’m tempted to get a pair of these for my husband so I can just stare at them all day.
You can’t go wrong with a beautiful item for the home, like a Swans Island throw. I love this white one with indigo stripes. The white comes from the natural color of the organic merino wool, and the stripes are created with natural dyes. Swans Island was founded in the early 1990s by two lawyers from Boston who wanted to move closer to the land in Maine. Using local wool and traditional hand looms, they began their weaving operation which was met with immediate national acclaim.
For your new wife or fiance, why not grab her some lingerie that she’ll actually wear. I love the intimates and apparel that my friend Brook makes for her line Brook There. Her line is all organic and handcrafted in a studio that she shares with husband Daniel of Seawall. Located on in Portland, it’s an easy shop to pop into and immediately get sold on the softness and unique quality of her garments.
For the foodie, a case of Nervous Nellie’s James should do the trick. Their place of operation is a one-time summer cottage on Deer Isle and they have been pouring, capping, and labeling each jar for 25 years. In the late spring to mid fall you can visit the cottage and grab a bite and some coffee at the cafe, then peruse co-founder Peter’s sculptures native pain and metal artifacts. My favorite flavors are the Wild Maine Blueberry Preserves, Blue Razz Conserve, and Rhubarb Ginger Chutney.