Shop Talk

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The new Sea Spa Salon retail space, left, and the Butter nail polish selection at Katydid. — Photos by Gwyn McAllister

Riddle: What can go naked all winter but, with the days getting warm, should wear a coat? Answer: Toenails. This time of year, as we expose more and more of ourselves to public scrutiny, things like pasty skin, a few extra pounds, and a couple of leg hairs can be forgiven, but one easy, painless, safe way (as opposed to tanning, dieting, or waxing) to feel ready for summer is to add some color to your nails — both fingers and toes.

Most Vineyard salons that offer nail service also sell a line or two of nail varnishes and, of course, you can always find a range of brand-name colors at the Island pharmacies, but I’ve discovered a few other places on Island — somewhere one might not expect to find makeup — that are now carrying some of the less commonly available lines of polish.

A nice surprise for me was to find Butter London brand polish ($15) on display among the quilt of preppy, patterned, and sleek summer clothing at Katydid. Butter London is a rather high-end brand of nail lacquer that does not have formaldehyde, toluene, DBP, phthalates, or parabens. It comes in cool looking square bottles in lots of colors that are very of-the-moment. Katydid, on Main Street in Edgartown, also carries Butter lipstick and lipgloss, which I didn’t even know existed until I saw them on display there. Also, the boutique stocks a product called Patent-Gel Top & Tails Set which, according to the Butter website, “is a revolutionary duo that puts patent-leather shine at your fingertips, without harsh chemicals or UV lamps. The healthy alternative to gel manicures!” I’m not convinced that it will replace a gel job, but, at $40, I’m willing to give it a try.

It was also news to me that Crabtree & Evelyn offered nail polish, but it’s the 40-year-old company’s newest venture, and Secret Garden in Oak Bluffs has a rack. At $6 it’s a great option for grabbing a new color while checking out all the pretty gift items at the store, including a huge selection of Vera Bradley bags, gift books, candles, jewelry, and so much more.

By the way, I just found out that the Crabtree & Evelyn brand was named for English botanist John Evelyn and a tree that is commonly used in home apothecary. Who knew? I always thought the name was one of those quirky, cryptic Britticisms like Elephant and Castle or Goat and Compasses. Anyway, for fans of the brand, Secret Garden carries a wide range of Crabtree & Evelyn’s affordable lotions, fragrances, and bath and body products.

Just this past January, Sea Spa Salon in Edgartown opened a retail store in Nevin Square. There you can find all kinds of beauty essentials, including hair products and accessories, skin care (from Decleor Paris, Image and Farmhouse Fresh), organic sun care from Coola, and a fun line of makeup called Rouge Bunny Rouge, which the staff swears by.

Of course, there’s also a wide range of nail polishes. Among the brands that Sea Spa carries are Essie ($8.50), vegan brand SpaRitual ($12), and Vinylux ($15). The latter, from company Creative Nail Design (CND) is a polish that lasts for a week and requires no base coat. According to their website “Exposure to natural light secures the patent-pending technology, creating an enduring, long-lasting polish.”

Jenna Wheeler of Sea Spa says of Vinylux, “You can literally walk out the door right after doing your nails. It’s a lot quicker — somewhere in between a regular manicure and a shellac. Dry time is cut way down.”

Upscale apothecary Rouge Luxe in Oak Bluffs offers makeup and nail polish along with its wonderful selection of skincare products, fragrances, and home scent items. Owner Kathryn Magistrini has selected the Deborah Lippmann line of nail polishes for their healthier eco-friendly approach. The varnishes, in fab colors, contain no formaldehyde, toluene, or DBP, and are not animal tested. Polishes range from $18 to $20 and, for $45, you can purchase a gel lab treatment system with a top and base coat that give your polish the look of a gel treatment.

Rouge Luxe has an Island exclusive on the brand, as they do with the following popular lines: – Kiehls skin care, Bare Minerals and Bare Escentuals makeup, and Art of Shaving men’s products.

Whichever your polish brand of choice, there’s a wide array of options available right here on the Vineyard. So, looking forward to barefoot, flip-flop, peep-toe, sandal season, add some extra color to your outlook. Just about any shade goes great with sandy toes.

It’s the new year: are you ready? Have you made some New Year’s resolutions that you are already second guessing? Well don’t: we are here to help.

If you are looking to improve your well-being, you have many avenues to choose from. Fitness can be had in the organized form, such as joining one of the Island’s wonderful fitness centers. Your choices include the YMCA of M.V. or Be Strong in Oak Bluffs, the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven, Blitz Fitness and Om of Motion in West Tisbury, or The Workout at the airport.

You might also choose to take some formalized classes at one of the many yoga studios on the Island or Pilates at either of the Island’s two studios, Evolve in Edgartown or Vineyard Pilates Center in Vineyard Haven. Keep in mind our Senior Centers in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and West Tisbury’s Up Island Council On Aging all offer some form of fitness classes, generally at a reduced rate. Call the centers directly for more information or check the complete listing in the monthly 55 Plus section.

If organized or instruction-based fitness is not your thing, why not buy the pocket-sized book, “Walking Trails of Martha’s Vineyard” by William Flender, which highlights 53 walking trails that you can set yourself to accomplish by year’s end. Purchase this guide, or perhaps a guide on yoga or some other how-to or self-help book at either Bunch of Grapes in Vineyard Haven or Edgartown Books in Edgartown, and get your New Year’s resolution of to a great start.

If slimming down or eating healthier in 2013 is your goal, you don’t have to navigate these waters alone. We have several nutrition and weight loss specialists on the Island who can help you achieve your goals more easily. To start with, there is the well-known Vineyard Nutrition, which is run by registered dietitians Josh Levy and Prudence Athearn Levy. This husband-and-wife duo, who both hold masters degrees in human nutrition, work individually to help you achieve your lifestyle change, be it weight loss or promoting a healthier you by decreasing your cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugars. To reach them in their Edgartown office, call 508-627-3235 or visit them on the web at vineyardnutrition.com.

Another nutrition option is Laura Denman, who owns Abundant Life Nutrition in West Tisbury. Ms. Denman is Certified Life Coach, a registered dietician, and loving mother of three young children who can help you to overcome the daily obstacles that stand in your way to reaching your highest potential in health and wellness. You may reach her to set up your one-on-one session, a video conference, or to find out more about her group sessions by calling 508-212-4950 or visit her on the web at abundantlifenutrition.com.

There are also weight loss centers to help you along the way to a slimmer you, such as the Vineyard Weightloss Center on Union Street in Vineyard Haven, which can be reached at 508-693-8800.

Whatever your resolution, I wish you the best, happiest, and healthiest New Year. I would like to thank you all for a wonderful three and a half years of an amazing time getting to know all of you while encouraging local shopping. The Shop Talk column is coming to an end, but I hope to continue to see all of you supporting our local businesses in the future.

— Photo by Ralph Stewart

New Year’s Eve is well known for its revelry, and this year should be no exception. Whether you are intending to snug-in at home with family around or deciding to step out in your finest to a friend’s celebration or the much anticipated party at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, you will more than likely need to complete some pre-celebration shopping. Here are some suggestions to help you get ready for your chosen celebration venue.

If you are staying at home, you should have a few things on hand for the just-in-case to the will-do’s. Setting up an area for snacking will be a must, as this is by far one of the longest celebrations we will have each year. Make it festive with some new, colorful linens that you can get at the Beach House on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. While there you might choose a new, fragrant body soap or scrub that you can use per-party.

Why not step up your food selections as well? Instead of the old standby chips and salsa, stop by Bunch Of Grapes on Main Street in Vineyard Haven or Edgartown Books on Main Street in Edgartown to buy a new cookbook and get inspired. Games, games, games are a must for a long, family evening. They will provide entertainment, while encouraging family bonding in a fun environment. The Toy Box in the Tisbury Marketplace or Granite Ace Hardware at the Triangle in Edgartown are two stores well stocked with games for the whole family. If you would like to adopt an English tradition that is fun all evening, get a set of Christmas Crackers (a personal party in a cardboard tube that usually contains a colored paper hat or crown, a small toy or trinket and a motto, joke, riddle or piece of trivia written on a piece of paper). Many of our Island stores are selling these colorful creations, such as Past & Presents on Main Street in Edgartown.

Looking to head out for a night on the town? You have the option to take an existing outfit and add something new to make it fresh or you could just splurge on a whole new outfit. Keep in mind many people consider the New Year’s Eve celebrations a more formal event, so you might want to leave the jeans at home.

Ladies, if you are looking to upgrade your outfit, perhaps a new pair of earrings or a new bag might be in order. While many Island stores could fulfill your needs, perhaps you would like to shop the new Italian leather purses available at Sheila Allen Styles on Main Street in Edgartown and while there you could review their very large selection of costume jewelry to see what strikes your fancy.

If you are looking for a full look from head to toe, or just a new accessory to dress up a current outfit hanging in your closet, a trip to Outrageous in Nevin Square (off Winter Street) in Edgartown or Laughing Bear on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs can complete the task in one fell swoop.

Gentlemen, all the outfit help you desperately need may be had from such greats as Vineyard Vines in Nevin Square, at Sundog on Main Street in Edgartown and at Brickman’s on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Both men and women should also remember this season’s newest collections, available at Midnight Farm on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

Whatever you choose to do this New Year’s Eve, may it ring in your happiest and healthiest year yet.

Well, there are only a few days left before Christmas. Have you finished all of your shopping yet? Are you finding it hard to finish the last of your shopping while attending all your pre-holiday events? Not to worry, Island stores are still stocked and ready for you.

Finding last-minute Island-made gifts and stocking stuffers is a breeze with the Holiday Pop Up stores run by Island artisans. There is the Vineyard Holiday Gift Shop, located around the corner from Main Street in Vineyard Haven on Spring Street, which contains the work of 20 Island artisans. Here you will find everything from glass works to bags and jewelry to dog or cat treats. There is also the new Pop-Up Co-op located in the storefront known as Lemonade on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Within these holiday walls, a variety of items are available to make your gift giving special this year. In need of a wampum inspired gift? Not a problem. Or perhaps your list includes a cute fabric barrette or an illustrated children’s book for that wonderful young one in your life. Whatever your needs, fulfilling your holiday gift list from a local artisan can feel really good.

If you are looking for presents for your co-workers or friends, why not go the gift certificate route for their favorite restaurant, coffee house, or pizza place? Many businesses will offer additional incentives, such as Edgartown Pizza’s buy $30 get an additional $7 free, or buy $50 get $10 free, and finally buy $100 worth of gift certificates and get an additional $20 free (all amounts can be split into several certificates).

While many restaurants might not offer an additional incentive for their gift certificates, you can choose a restaurant that has a weekly specialty night that your recipient can take advantage of to make your gift worth that much more. An example is The Grill on Main, which offers a fixed price menu Mondays through Wednesdays and their Two for One special Thursdays through Saturdays. Owner and chef Tony Saccoccia says they will be available every day, including Sunday, beginning at 12 noon for gift certificate purchases.

Another gift certificate option might be to Edgartown Cinemas, where they are offering a free weekday movie pass with every $30 or more purchase and with their new digital cinema upgrade, that is great news.

Stocking stuffers, the must-have but too often forgotten items, can sometimes be the most fun type of gift to shop for. Take Alley’s General Store for example. They consistently bring in unique, special items for the holiday that please not only the receiver, but the giver too — from their unusual lines of novelty gifts, from lunch boxes and fun bandaids, to exceptional toys for the kids, kitchen accessories for the adults and distinctive outerwear accessories for the whole family. Leave yourself extra browsing time when visiting for last-minute gifts: there are so many great items to admire.

Gentleman, are you still agonizing over what to get your special lady this year? If so, hurry to RougeLuxe Apothecary, located on Kennebec Avenue in Oak Bluffs, where the knowledgeable staff can help you put together an amazing gift. Find products for skin care and beauty, bath and body, make-up, fragrance, home, accessories, and even men’s products. So go ahead and let them help you make a gift basket that will earn you many, many thanks.

Keep in mind that these are just a few suggestions of the many holiday gifts available at our numerous Island stores.

Happy holidays to you and your family.

Find colorful scarves for her and classically styled, neutral colored scarves for him at Island Alpaca. — Photo by Katryn Yerdon

Hanukkah is here, and Christmas is two weeks away, yet most of us have not finished our holiday shopping even though the revelry has begun. Don’t panic; help is here for those still looking for the perfect gift for him or her and many are derived from the suggestions I gleaned from several locals’ holiday wish lists.

Suggestions for the men in one’s life ranged from a gift certificate to a Vineyard tackle shop if he likes to fish, to a pampering gift such as the Loofah Round from Simply Soaps (located on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, along with being represented at many craft or artisan fairs). The Loofah Round is a bar soap that has been made around a natural loofah to expedite your shower time with its all-in-one ease. It comes in many scents, which actually make it a great gift for men and women alike.

Some men also suggested electronic accessories such as the OtterBox Defender hard case for their iPhone or a Ballistic tough jacket case for their iPad 2. These types of accessories can be bought at MV Tech Inc., Mac Sales and Service, and Radio Shack, all located on State Road in Vineyard Haven.

A great stop for both men and women could be Island Alpaca, located just shy of the four-way stop on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road on the Vineyard Haven side. Here you will find colorful scarves for her and classically styled, neutral colored scarves for him. Stepping up the gift a little, women might enjoy a cozy pair of alpaca fur/suede slippers or a baby alpaca fur hat, while men might enjoy an alpaca reversible watch cap or a pair of ultra-thick 100 percent alpaca glittens.

Most of the women I spoke with desired something sparkly or bright. One such example is a sapphire ring from Claudia Jewelry on Main Street in Edgartown or a sentimental gift from Sanctuary on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs. Other suggestions from Island women included gift certificates for nails, tanning, and waxing from spas such as Treat Yourself on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, to a newborn photo session with Ariel Thomas Photography. Ms. Thomas is a well-known Island photographer, especially of young children and infants, who is available for sittings. Visit her website atarielthomasphotography.com or call her at 774-563-9649.

Other highly requested items included anything from Bryn Walker in both Edgartown and Vineyard Haven. This women’s clothing and accessory store is filled to the brim with clothing that offers comfort and high quality while being designed with easy sophistication. One of the surprise recurring requests is this season’s newest scarf line.

Shopportunity:

The Tisbury Board of Trade is the hosting the 12 Days of Tisbury, which began on December 12 and finishes on December 23.

Find a new event or sale going on each day, such as the Friends and Family shopping event from 3 to 8 pm on Friday, Dec. 14. During this time you will see lots of specials and holiday cheer at your favorite shops from the Tisbury Market Place to Main Street and State Road. For a full listing of participating stores for this event and a schedule of events for the full 12 days, see the ad in The Times.

Happy Holidays!

One of the most anticipated weekend Island events is arriving soon, Christmas in Edgartown. This annual event is a well-attended, fun, festive weekend filled with events, discount shopping opportunities, and holiday cheer. Here, learn about what the shops have in store for the celebration.

With many events to attend, there are plenty of opportunities to do some major holiday shopping. Friday’s sale highlights include 35 percent off all Christmas items during Tracker Home Décor’s Open House from 12 noon to 5 pm. While there, enjoy cookies and hot chocolate. This might also be a great time to peruse the store’s various display rooms filled with furniture, bedding, Hunter Douglas Window Treatments, fabric samples, and a unique selection of catchall items including jewelry.

Libby Ellis, award-winning designer and book author, will sign her holiday book, “A Very Veggie Christmas – Share the Veggie Love!” at the Harbor View Hotel from 4 to 6 pm. Switching hats, Ms. Ellis will also host a trunk show with Rebeccah J. on Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm at the Vineyard Square Hotel. Ms. Ellis will feature her custom designed scarves and tea towel calendars, while Rebeccah J. will have her full array of handmade leather accessories.

Saturday seems to be the day for shopping for good causes. First there is the annual Jewelry Jingle, which features jewelry for sale donated by Islanders, at the M.V. Museum. Another opportunity that you may prosper from is the Handmade from the Heart, which benefits Hospice of Martha’s Vineyard. It will be held at the Dr. Daniel Fisher House from 10 am to 3 pm and it offers distinctive, handmade gifts along with a Hospice-tality Café.

The Plum Hill Preschool Program is the beneficiary of the 21st annual Elves Fair, which presents an array of fantastic holiday crafts at St. Andrew’s Parish, from 10 am to 4 pm. J. McLaughlin, a classic American clothing and accessories store, is donating 15 percent of all purchases to the Island Food Pantry. It will pay to be there early: when the sale starts at 12 noon, they will hand out $25 gift certificates to the first 15 customers entering the store.

Saturday also brings us the holiday spirited Boneyard Surf Shop, which will have an hourly Christmas drawing, from 11 am to 5 pm, for items from Hurley and Quicksilver. Then there is local jeweler Brenda Benware’s trunk show at Claudia Jewelry from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Stop by Edgartown Books to meet Clifford the Big Red Dog and author Norman Bridwell from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. If you buy a book to donate to the Red Stocking Fund, you will receive 25 percent off that purchase. Other artist opportunities are Joe Palermo at Wheel Happy and Ray Ellis at North Water Gallery, both from 1 to 3 pm.

Local artisans can be found around town in many places. On Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am to 4 pm in the Chappy Room of the Kelly House, the Local Arts & Crafts Bazaar will feature holiday gifts and goodies in many styles. Saturday also brings the highly anticipated 20th annual Holiday Art & Craft Show and raffle at the Edgartown School Gym, from 10 am to 4 pm. Don’t miss this opportunity to shop the large selections of art, jewelry, food, candy, photography, candles, fiber, and more.

Throughout the weekend, many stores will have continuous sales. Vineyard Vines is offering 20 percent off your purchase and they will take care of your gift-wrapping. Further, they encourage you to bring the kids, as they will have treats, coloring books, and a guessing game worth a $250 gift certificate to the closest guesser.

20 Main is full of holiday cheer. They will be hosting A Cashmere Christmas Trunk Show featuring Cortland Park and Claudia Nicole all weekend and on Saturday only a deJardim trunk show will feature deJardim’s line of fashion apparel, nightwear, and undergarments. As if that isn’t enough encouragement to stop in, the $300 in-store raffle will be, especially when you can shop their clothing lines of Lacoste, Hadley Pollet, Stephen Bonanno, and more.

Summer Shades offers big savings on sunglasses, and Sheila Allen Styles offers a free gift with purchase along with the opportunity to see their new collection of Italian leather handbags, plus stocking stuffers starting at $5.

There is Pink Madness at In the Pink with the deepest discounts of the year, along with a gift with purchase and gift giveaways all weekend.

If you are looking to invest in some new or antique furniture and fireplace equipment then run, don’t walk, to Past & Presents (both stores) as they are offering 35 percent off those items. Island Outfitters is filled with great gifts for the whole family with a 10 to 70 percent off storewide sale along with a buy one get one free option on Reefs. You shouldn’t miss this opportunity. If you feel Life is Good, then stop by Shirt Tales for their Life is Good Yard Sale, which offers a limited quantity of $5 and $10 shirts along with a 50 percent off sale storewide.

Keep in mind that there are many more shopping opportunities in Edgartown this weekend, including at Donaroma’s Nursery. Whether you are there on Friday night from 5 to 7 pm for their Star of Wonder Open House or plan on attending their hands-on Wreath and Boxwood Tree Workshop on Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm, you should take some extra time to peruse their vast selection of holiday decorations for sale or perhaps pick out your Christmas tree, wreathes, or poinsettias.

For a full listing of all Christmas in Edgartown events, visit their website at edgartownboardoftrade.com.

Noteworthy

There are still many other shopping events and opportunities happening in other Island towns. An example is at Timeless Treasures on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. They are hosting an annual Holiday Soirée tonight, Thursday, Dec. 6, from 5 to 8 pm. Enjoy cocktails, canapés, and a storewide discount.

Further, from now through Christmas Eve, they offer a daily 20 percent storewide discount to all Islanders.

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The Holiday season is upon us, and many people having already started their early shopping. If you are still stumped as to what to get the child in your life, here are some on-Island suggestions.

Vineyard Haven has many options for toys, from the Toy Box at the Tisbury Market Place to Brickman’s on Main Street, from Sports Haven on Beach Road across from the west end of Main Street to BiBi’s Baby & Kids on Main Street.

The Toy Box (508-693-1838) is dedicated to “providing toys and games to children that have a long playing value that are classic in nature, as exemplified by such items as dolls or arts and craft items,” according to owner BeeBee Horowitz. The store is designed for all ages, from the toddler to the 100-year-old who loves jigsaw puzzles, of which they have a very large selection.

“We really try to offer toys and games that are worthwhile, whether they are educational toys for young ones or games that span generations, such as the retro Risk game,” Ms. Horowitz says. “We continue to try to entice children of all ages to continue to play, versus growing up to quickly. Our display of the European Playmobil exemplifies this as even 12-year-old children, whom you think would find this toy too young for them, find themselves riveted by it.” Playmobil’s signature toy is a 7.5cm tall human figure that is produced in themed series of sets, as well as individual special figures and play sets.

As for the current popularity of games, Ms. Horowitz suggests, “Settlers of Catan is a really fun strategy game that is made for ages 10 to 14, though high school students to young adults seem to play it often. Keep in mind that it is a 4-person game, though you can make a 6-player game by purchasing an extension for the game. Another extremely popular game is Apples to Apples, a four to ten person game that is generally played in 30 to 60 minutes and allows for ages 12 and up.” I personally would second this vote, as it is a regular at holidays and on game nights in our home.

Brickman’s (508-693-0047) is known best as a clothing, shoe, and accessory store for the whole family, but there’s an ample toy and sporting goods section too. In the back room that leads to the parking lot is a space dedicated to toys and games for the whole family. Whether you are looking for a board game or a kite to fly on Christmas, you will find it here, and you will be able to cross of many other items off your list in the department store area.

Sports Haven, a specialty sports shop for athletic apparel and equipment, is geared up for the holidays. According to owner Bill Miner, “Our most popular holiday line is the Vineyard Apparel for soccer, hockey, basketball, football etc. in both tee-shirts and sweatshirts,” he says. “We have already seen an even larger run than usual on these items since we took over the MV Arena’s pro shop this fall, so I recommend getting yours early.” The Pro Shop, which is open seven days a week, starting at 3:30 pm weekdays and all day on the weekends, offers apparel, skates of all types, and hockey gear. The original store on Beach Road is only open on Fridays and Saturdays, though you may arrange through the Pro Shop or via the Internet contact form at www.mvsportshaven.com, to have the store open or items dropped off for pickup at the Pro Shop. “Other popular items, after sporting equipment, is our Under Armour line, both branded and plain, along with some of our less expensive lines which include fleece zips,” Mr. Miner says. “We also carry the continually popular Butterfly Ping Pong table and accessories.” You may also contact Mr. Miner and his staff by phone at either the Pro Shop 508-693-8003 or at the store 508-696-0456.

If you are looking for some holiday clothes or perhaps it is time for your little one to upgrade from the crib to a toddler bed, BiBi’s Baby & Kids is open to assist you. Here is a dream of room décor, bedding, accessories and some of the most beautiful clothes for babies to toddlers that you will ever find. For questions and current hours, call the shop directly at 508-696-7500 and speak with owner Kimberly Biggs.

Other great shopping venues for kids are The Boneyard Surfshop on Main Street in Edgartown, The Green Room on Main Street in Vineyard Haven, or The Lazy Frog on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, along with Granite Hardware at the Triangle in Edgartown.

The Boneyard Surfshop is well known for their surf and skate boards, along with the freshest coordinating gear, including their very own, highly sought after, logo’d items. The Green Room is also well known for its surf and skate equipment and clothing by such greats as Surf Tech and Element. The Lazy Frog, a store dedicated to leisure, is fully stocked with toys, to board games and many unique, popular items that kids are craving this holiday season. With items designed for toddlers to adults, you might find yourself spending a lot more time perusing the store than you thought. Finally Granite Ace Hardware has a large section of their first floor dedicated to kids. From a wall covered with boxed games, to racks filled with little tidbits and collectables, this is a tough area to get kids to leave when they visit, which means it is a place you want to shop.

Remember, there are many, many more Island stores that offer a wide variety of gifts guaranteed to bring happiness to the kids in your life.

A thought to keep in mind while you are out shopping for kids, you might want to purchase some toys or clothing for the children that are being sponsored this year by the Red Stocking Fund, the Island’s not-for-profit group that provides meals, toys, and clothing to families in need. This year they are planning on making the Christmas wishes come true for 475 kids, from newborns to 8th graders. To learn more about this well-run, much-needed program, call organizers Kerry Alley at 508-693-2324 or Lorraine Clark at 508-693-0725. Not only are they in need of gifts, but also monetary donations to buy food and clothing. And they need volunteers to help wrap presents.

Jewelry by Monica Fernandes, on sale at Wendy Weldon's Studio Sale this weekend. — Photo by Katryn Yerdon

If you think you must head off Island to take advantage of Black Friday sales, you would be mistaken. Island stores have banded together to offer a host of amazing sales to help you get a jump-start on your holiday shopping.

Main Street in Vineyard Haven is a good place to start: Rainy Day‘s eighth annual Black Friday Early Bird sale starts at 7:30 am. It might behoove you to arrive much earlier if you would like a special gift to start the morning off right. The first 25 people in line will receive a free gift — think Frasier Fir Candles, sea salted caramels, or an ornament, and the first three people in line get a super gift.

FYI: last year’s first in line received a $75 gift certificate to the store and if you think waiting in line might not be worth it, know that the staff arrive at 6 am to get ready, which includes passing out hot cocoa and baked goods to those waiting. Even if you don’t want to get up to try for one of the 25 first place spots, it still is worth arriving before 9:30 am to receive a coupon worth 25 to 50 percent off your entire purchase. This coupon can be used all day, but don’t be late as they will stop giving them out promptly at 9:30 am. For your enjoyment, they have already placed the last ornament on their trees and are ready for you to shop within their five major themes: gingerbread men, forest critters, vintage home, seaside, and of course kid’s ornaments.

CB Stark Jewelers is again doing its special offerings all weekend, with a special treat for those willing to arrive between 7:30 and 9:30 am on Friday morning. For the entire weekend, CB Stark offers 10 percent off storewide and for those Friday early birds, you will get to pull a ticket worth and additional 10, 20 or 30 percent off your purchase. While you are there, you might want to check out their 50 percent off cabinet: it is currently full of wonderful items.

Midnight Farm hosts a Thanksgiving Weekend Sale that includes all clothing, shoes, furniture, lighting, bedding, and more. They decided to reward some of those late sleepers with an afternoon extravaganza that offers 30 to 50 percent off during their Opening Party on Friday from 3 to 6 pm to celebrate their new home. Refreshments will be served while you peruse the two floors of unique items.

The Green Room will be open 10 am to 7 pm Friday and Saturday, offering a weekend-long sale of 20 percent off denim, shoes, boots, as well as sweaters to help everyone get ready for winter. Further, if you spend $100 on North Face products, you will receive a free bag worth $20.

Bespoke Abode is also having a weekend-long, storewide sale of up to 50 percent off starting on Friday at 9 am. Further, on Saturday, the store has partnered with American Express to offer you $25 statement credit if you purchase an item for $25 or more. To learn more about this great offer, visit americanexpress.com/us/small-business/shop-small/.

If you’re looking to do some good while shopping, visit Vineyard Vines on Winter Street in Edgartown between 9 and 11 am on Friday. Enjoy light breakfast foods and juices while shopping and supporting the Tisbury Class of 2013. All will receive a 10 percent off discount and they will also give 10 percent of each purchase to the class so that they may go on their annual trip to Washington, D.C.

Around the corner on North Summer Street, Once in a Blue Moon will be open from 10 am to 5 pm all weekend, hosting its major sale of the year with clothes being predominantly 50 to 75 percent off. There is also a fabulous selection of bangles and bracelets available in the under $40 range and a lot of earrings in the $30 to $40 range.

Oak Bluffs is also a hotbed of sales, with daRosa’s hosting an unheard-of sale beginning on Friday and running through December 31. They are offering a 20 percent discount on all cash purchases that are not already reduced products. Included in this discount are printing for personalized notepads, business cards, personal stationary, and Christmas Cards that can be personalized or plain. Head in now to beat the rush.

In the heart of the island, across from the Airport, is Vineyard Decorators which offers 10 percent off storewide both Friday and Saturday from 9:30 am to 5 pm. Take this opportunity to shop for everything from new bedding to new living room furniture and accessories.

Up-Island, visit the Wendy Weldon Studio Sale in Chilmark. Ms. Weldon, a well-known Vineyard artist, will open her studio to sell her paintings, monotypes, and drawings. Also included in her open studio will be a selection of her cousin Monica Fernandes’s one-of-a-kind jewelry collection, wire-wrapped stones that are both an artistic statement and infused with energetic holistic properties. For directions and to make your personal studio viewing appointment, between 11 am and 4 pm both Friday and Saturday, call Ms. Weldon at 508-645-3199. You may also preview the artists work at wendyweldon.com or lisbonstyle.com.

Not to be outdone by the individual stores, we have shopping events for your pleasure. First is the Holiday Gifts Antique Show and Sale at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury, this Friday and Saturday from 9 am to 3 pm. Here you will find a variety of multi-dealer collections from historical Campground homes to treasures from abroad.

Also in West Tisbury is the much anticipated 16th annual Vineyard Artisans Thanksgiving Festival from 10 am to 4 pm Friday and Saturday. This event highlights more than 85 Vineyard artisans’ jewelry, glass, ceramics, clothing, book art, and more.

Another artisan opportunity is the 10th annual Holiday Gift Show at Featherstone in Oak Bluffs. It is open daily from 12 noon to 4 pm from now through December 19, and it highlights dozens of Vineyard artisans’ affordable gifts ranging from $5 to $250.

Other family fun events include the Fiber Fair at Native Earth Teaching Farm in Chilmark from 10 am to 3 pm on Saturday, and Felix Neck’s Fall Festival in Edgartown from 11 am to 3 pm on Friday. At the Fiber Fair, find demonstrations of spinning, knitting, and fiber arts along with gifts and clothing by local artists. Kids will love the farm tours, popcorn, face painting, and more. The 22nd Annual Fall Festival includes hayrides, face painting, live music, food, wreath making, and more.

This is just a sampling of the amazing sales and events offered on Island this holiday weekend. Some others are Crane Appliance, Bananas, and Beetlebung.

The Net Result continues to offer quality seafood and take-out year round. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Who says we don’t have a mall on the Vineyard? Have you visited the Tisbury Marketplace on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven lately? For a location that has been around for many years, it has recently seen new additions to round out its spectrum of businesses.

Whether you are arriving or leaving, you have delicious food options available to you. On arrival is The Net Result, owned by the multi-generation Larsen family, which offers quality seafood, and a take out counter with prepared foods including sushi, fried clams, lobster, and burgers. For more information, visit mvseafood.com or call 508-693-6071.

Next door lends itself to the kids in the family, as The Toy Box is the Island’s premier toy store. After 25 years in business, The Toy Box still offers the perfect toy for fun or for educational purposes as well as arts and crafts supplies. To find this year’s hottest toy gift, visit them from 10 am to 5 pm, year-round, or call them at 508-693-8182.

French Accent, a relatively new boutique home design studio that specializes in custom cabinetry and kitchens, is decked out with ideas for your upcoming interior projects. Call them at 508-687-9812, visit frenchaccentmv.com, or stop by the store Monday through Saturday, 9 am to 4 pm.

Martha’s Closet is next, and a great spot to find consignment clothing along with gently used clothing and accessories for women. Here you might find your holiday party dress or the perfect outfit for your next date. Regardless of your purpose, Martha’s Closet is there to help. For pertinent questions, you may reach them at 508-696-5488.

Thinking of building a home on the Island or renovating your current home? Call Andrew Flake, general contractor and builder of more than 40 Vineyard homes over the last 27 years, who specializes in residential and renovation construction only. You may reach his team at 508-693-3340.

Looking to lower your ears? Visit Bert’s Barber Shop for an efficient, smart-looking short cut in no time. Walk-ins are welcome, or call ahead at 508-693-2277.

If you, like most of us, have the need for some financial advice, Duncan Business Associates is within your reach. They are available for any financial service, including taxes, and can be reached at 508-696-9400.

Are you tired of not being able to clearly hear your state-of-the-art TV? Have you been dreaming about a surround sound system that will make you jump out of your chair every time a scary movie plays on TV? Well, Home Electronic Design can help you with that. How about integrating all of your household electronics into one panel, so that your audio, lights, and heat are adjusted with one touch? Stop in or call them at 508-696-4899 to find out how much easier your life can become.

Have you been avoiding your annual dental cleaning? Dockside Dental is open and ready to accept new patients. Call today to make you appointment at 508-693-7300.

Phew, you must be getting hungry after visiting all those stores, but before you refuel why not relax at the brand-new Martha’s Vineyard Film Center? Run by the membership driven Martha’s Vineyard Film Society, the newest theater on the Island has stadium seating with large cushioned chairs.

The Society is “dedicated to screening the best independent films, movie classics, documentaries and world cinema for diverse audiences of all ages,” according to its website, mvfilmsociety.com, which is where you can find out more information about their screenings as well as membership.

If you just finished a movie and are famished, a step next door will lead you into Rocco’s Pizza, where you can pick up a pizza, calzone, salad, or other luscious Italian dish to eat in or take home.

Speaking of homes, RE/MAX on island is one real estate office to check out and see what’s available on Island to buy or rent seasonally, along with a welcoming place to list your home should you want to sell. Pop in the office upstairs or call 508-696-3704 for an appointment.

Have a sweet tooth in the afternoon? One of the newest additions to the Tisbury Marketplace is Not Your Sugar Mamas, which is a raw chocolatier company. Here they carry the extremely popular line of raw chocolates, but also herbal energy beverages and a coffee alternative, Chilmark Coffee Company coffee, and more delicious chocolate-based healthy treats such as cookies and brownies. Most products are gluten-free, dairy-free, and sugar-free.

Not to be outdone by all the other business, the award winning Hutker Architects is available for full service of architectural and interior design. To view some of their most popular designs, and to learn more, visit them on the web at hutkerarchitects.com.

The only seasonal business, Saltwater Restaurant, is now closed, but we look forward to seeing what they have to offer come spring. Visit saltwaterrestaurant.com for more information and a peek inside.

Jessica Lyon, co-owner of Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs, only had positive things to say about the store's first summer in business. — Photo by Katryn Yerdon

The high season is over, and many observers agree that main streets were bustling — in all three down-Island towns. The question is, how did some of our freshmen stores find their first season here on the Vineyard?

Thankfully, three of our newest additions — Kissmet in Edgartown, Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs, and Juliska in Vineyard Haven — were kind enough to share their first-season impressions.

Recep Dinli, owner and operator of Kissmet, a unique Turkish-inspired store that offers items such as handmade ceramics, furniture, rugs, Kilim (tapestry woven) bags, and home décor, was very effusive about his first season on the Vineyard.

“It was a wonderful year and we felt very welcomed,” he said. “People thanked us for bringing all these flavors and not being another tee-shirt shop, which was exhibited by our having to ship all over the country this past season. One of our most popular items, the Kaftan Boot, sold over 300 pairs, while our lights did very well — people really enjoyed them. They came back for a second and sometimes third lamp. The Kilim Bags were also very popular.”

Mr. Dinli also shared his favorite moment: “My favorite thing this summer season was being able to share our Turkish customs with new people we have met here.”

He is also already looking forward to next season: “I am most excited about meeting new people who will become our friends next season. We were very blessed that our many customers this year have been talking so positive about us that new people come in daily.”

Jessica Lyon, co-owner of Slip 77 in Oak Bluffs, was also very enthusiastic about the clothing boutique’s first season. “It was a really great summer for us,” she said. “I think it turned out better than we expected, and we got really great feedback. I don’t think there really was a downside as it was such an excellent summer and with the help of great weather from the moment we opened on Memorial Day weekend we were really able to enjoy being part of Oak Bluffs.”

Slip 77’s location turned out to be their favorite part of their freshmen season. “[It was] the positive feedback from the town itself, as we had numerous year-round people of Oak Bluffs stop in to share their positive comments and really made us feel part of the community,” Ms. Lyon said.

In regards to their most popular items and what is in store for the future, Ms. Lyon was quick with her response. “The HIHO clothing line from the Virgin Islands was by far our most popular line. It is primarily island wear, linen wear, and beach cover-ups that fit a lot of different body types, hence its popularity. As far as what we will carry in future seasons, well, we are moving toward carrying our own line of Slip 77 that will cover all products, not just tee-shirts and sweatshirts. We will also be carrying a lot of new brands as we have learned more about what people want so that we can tailor our selections to the community and the shoppers that come here.”

Veteran Main Streeter Robert Cropper manages Juliska, a home goods store specializing in tableware located on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Mr. Cropper was extremely pleased with the first season’s success.

“We did very well. We opened Memorial Day Weekend with a running start and continued with a very strong July and August,” he said. “September was a little off and then now, mid October to mid November, tends to be the slowest time of year. This of course being my experienced opinion as I have been on Main Street since 1997, having worked in this building when it was Bramhall & Dunn, to Bongo next door, and even having opened the original Café Moxie in 1998 with Tina Miller.”

Looking forward to the holiday season, all three businesses will remain open. Juliska is currently preparing to set up the store for the holidays, and they they already have a small enticement for early shoppers.

Mr. Cropper has some tips for you as well: “We are going to have a lot of holiday items for the home, not just Juliska products but a lot of different things,” he said. “It is also the time of year in which we decide which items we are going to retire and then they go to sale at half price. Our red and green selection titled Ruby & Garden Green is now all half price and they are perfect for the holidays.”

For more information, call the store at 508-562-4010 or visit juliska.com.

Slip 77, located on Lake Street across from Jim’s Package Store, will also be open on weekends through the holidays, with many great sales. Ms. Lyon reminds everyone, “We still have some summer stock, and buying out of season is when you will get the best deals. Also our Slip 77 tee-shirts and sweatshirts are very popular, and they are in stock and make great gifts.” Slip 77 will be closing after the holidays to shop for their new lines before they reopen in April. Call them at 508-687-9975 or visit slip77.com.

Finally, Kissmet will also be open through the holidays, but you might not catch Mr. Dinli himself in the store when you visit, as he will be traveling up and down the East Coast hosting trunk shows with his rug line. He will ensure that the store is open each day and stocked for your holiday shopping. Kissmet will then close in January for a short break so that Mr. Dinli can visit his family back in Turkey before he returns to open with many new items. For more information, call 508-939-4527 or search them on Facebook.