If Santa shopped in the Bay of Quinte area, his sled would fill up fast with a veritable treasure trove of unique and lovely local bounty. Talented artisans from Madoc to Tweed to Stirling and Quinte West abound, toiling away in workshops throughout this beautiful region.
And while these creative craftspeople might not exactly resemble Santa's elves in the traditional sense, they certainly work hard all year round to make extra special, one-of-a-kind items sure to delight even the hardest-to- please recipient on your Xmas gift list.
Give the budding geologist in your life a genuine piece of Canada courtesy of Madoc Rocks. Crediting Mother Nature as the real artist behind their work, owner Nick Butts and son Sam have been polishing slices of local Canadian Shield and turning them into gorgeous coaster art since 2002. Available in an array of natural colours and patterns, these eye- pleasing coasters can also be customized with a line of original art stamps detailing iconic Canadian flora and fauna.
Pack Up Some Alpaca Goodies
Looking for something warm and wooly? Consider wrapping up a pair of toasty socks or comfortable insoles made from Alpaca wool. The folks at Oak Hills Alpaca Farms even make their own line of luxurious baby-ware. Check out Alpaca
fibre handiwork at The Shed by Chetwyn Farms in Prince Edward County or Amazing Graze Alpacas. And if you’re of the “go big or go home” mindset, the alpaca-loving Oak Hills Candler family are quite happy to sit down and chat about purchasing your very own wool-producing herd!
Entertainment for Everyone!
Slim enough to slip into a Christmas card, theatre tickets for a show at Stirling Festival Theatre make perfect presents for those seeking a little culture this festive season. Hosting a variety of first-rate professional acts all year round, this popular theatre summons particularly large crowds when the Christmas Panto comes to town. Reserve your seat early and get ready to help SFT celebrate it’s 20th anniversary by laughing your socks off with 2016’s lively production of Jack and the Beanstalk.
Message in a Bottle
Raise a glass to the perfect hostess gift and take a delicious bottle of wine or six pack of thirst-quenching beer to your next Xmas party. Visit Potter Settlement Wines to see what’s currently on offer courtesy of vines planted on the beautiful Tweed-area property this family has called home since the 1800s. Should the palates in your Christmas crowd clamber for ale instead, head straight to Trenton and have a peek inside the fridge at Wild Card Brewing Company. Brothers Zack and Nate Card consistently work their fine brewers’ magic to produce a number of tasty and satisfying beers, including a limited-run, pumpkin-spiced version of their classic Blonde Barista.
Smile and Say Cheese
What better to go with beer and wine than some tasty Bay of Quinte area cheese! Hit the Cheddar and Ale Trail and sample a slew of fabulous edibles available in cheese factories throughout the region. Good luck choosing between Ivanhoe’s snappy horseradish cheddar and Maple Dale’s fine Monterey Jack. Best advice: get both. Or consider branching out to go buff with some milky rich buffalo mozzarella for sale by the folks at Stirling’s Buff Stuff store. Decisions, decisions….your inner cheese connoisseur will be spoiled for choice!
Visions of Sugarplums
Nothing pleases the young (and young at heart) more than the gift of candy. Let your sweet tooth rule the day and dive into some delectable fudge. Check out the incredible, handmade offerings available at Madoc’s Hidden Goldmine Bakery (Home of the original “fudge nugget”) or check out the plethora of flavours at Grills Orchards and Queen of the Kitchen in Quinte West. Consider honouring the military member in your life with a substantial slab of tempting “Canadian Heroes” fudge or go seasonal with a generous chunk of Peppermint Stick.
For Your Honey
Give in to the aromatic atmosphere at Twin Sisters Hive and Honey Products and let the sweet smells of honey and beeswax be your shopping guide. This lovely spot sells a range of gorgeous candles, from tapers to tea lights, and the bear-shaped jars of honey glisten on store shelves like vessels of liquid gold. Beautiful beeswax Christmas ornaments make great stocking stuffers or the perfect “bow-tie” on a bottle of local maple syrup.
Functional and fabulous, any pottery piece crafted by Roslin’s Bailey Brown studio will easily win over the ceramic-lover’s heart in your midst. A range of gorgeous tableware elegantly serves up seasonal goodies while simultaneously doubling as works of art. Check out their beautiful selection of platters, bowls, teapots, flared coffee mugs and more and wrap up a gift both practical and pretty for the special someone on your list this year.
First Nations Creations
Interested in local indigenous art? Contact Native Expressions in Deseronto and consider investing in a stone sculpture or handcrafted musical instrument straight from the hands of world-renowned Mohawk artist David Maracle. Make an appointment to see David’s haunting images in person, or preview some of his fine artwork online. Join a long list of discerning collectors from actor Dan Aykroyd to the Emperor of Japan and purchase the timeless gift of art.
When the clock is ticking and the names on your good list far outnumber the naughty, visit a local art gallery or speciality boutique. Located mere steps from each other on Bridge Street in downtown Belleville, Gallery 121 Fine Art and the Quinte Arts Council Gallery and Gift Shop make perfect one-stop- shopping destinations for those seeking beautiful and unique Bay of Quinte area arts and crafts in a hurry. From oil paintings to pottery to handcrafted scarves, jewellery and glassware, the array of fabulous gift items on offer here will leave gift-seekers fervently hoping Santa gives both fine establishments a thorough once-over when the jolly old elf starts shopping for them!