After Bethany’s wedding in Boston earlier this month, Danny and I had a week to explore the area on our own before heading back to California. This was Danny’s first visit to New England, so in addition to some Boston history, food, and fun I made sure to include some of my old stamping grounds in Portsmouth and North Conway, New Hampshire in our itinerary. The fall foliage up north did not disappoint.
And, of course, what would a vacation be without yarn shops? The count was 6 on this trip, 3 favorites from my last trip in March and 3 I had never visited before.
1. Uncommon Yarn
Uncommon Yarn just opened about a month ago. Very easy to get to by public transportation. The owner was a pleasure to geek out with about yarn and fiber. Her inventory was limited when I visited (2 weeks after their grand opening), but she had some really beautiful finds including some luscious silk yarns and some unique indie dyed sock yarns. All of her knitted samples were gorgeous, and I loved the cute sheep in the window!
2. Newbury Yarns
I wrote a little bit about Newbury Yarns in a previous post back in March. A wonderful little luxury yarn shop with a unique location in the basement of the Old South Meeting House. Danny and I stopped into the shop quickly while we were spending the day walking the Freedom Trail in Boston. My only regret is that we didn’t get to stay a little bit longer, but we had a lot to do and see that day. My favorite thing about Newbury Yarns is how the owner arranges the yarns by texture as well as by shade. It’s a very cozy space with lots of positive, creative energy.
3. Mind’s Eye Yarns
I LOVED Mind’s Eye Yarns. Seems fairly easy to get to by public transportation, but parking was pretty icky. This was the shop I’d been itching to go to since March. It’s set up in a little pink house with 3 rooms of yarn. The selection is incredible, both domestic and imported yarns, including Bluefaced Leicester wool, which I was really excited about. There was a nice little selection of wool roving and spinning spindles in the back room. We might have spent a really long time in here.
4. Circle of Stitches
I just had to come back to Circle of Stitches, guys. It’s probably still my favorite New England local yarn shop so far. It is just so darn cute. I tell you, if I opened a yarn shop, I’d want it to be like this. Full of natural light and gorgeous hand dyed yarns. It’s very community-centric and looks like they offer some great classes. The owner’s own line of hand dyed yarns, Toil and Trouble (Bookishly Inspired), is wonderful, and I would buy it all if I could. There’s also a great little selection of dyed spinning fibers next to the rear window (more natural light!).
5. Nancy’s Alterations and Yarn Shop
Nancy does it all, folks. She alters and mends clothes, rents tuxes, and, in half of her shop, she sells a nice selection of yarn including Classic Elite, Malabrigo, madelinetosh, Handmaiden, Brown Sheep, and more. I’m so glad she’s in North Conway. I lived/worked here for a short time and wish she had been open then. A little ski town/vacation spot needs a good yarn shop. Also, I love that Nancy gave Danny a cookie while he was sitting and waiting for me while I perused.
6. Spinning Yarns
This was the local yarn shop that I frequented during my high school years. I pretty much consider it my first LYS, and I will always have a soft spot for it. Since I had visited the shop earlier this year in March, I only stopped in briefly while Danny and I were strolling around downtown Dover on the last afternoon of our trip. It’s a very impressively packed little shop. So much selection! (Their sale bin has always been a personal favorite.)
Because I like to make things fair, we made sure to check out as many bookshops as Danny the bibliolept desired. Some of our stops included brookline booksmith (Brookline, MA), Porter Square Books (Cambridge, MA), Bookistan (Boston, MA), Commonwealth Books (Boston, MA), Baldface Books (Dover, NH), The Local BOOKie (Conway, NH) and Book & Bar (Portsmouth, NH).
And then there were the bakeries…
Danny and I both love baked goods so much. I’d say we behaved ourselves pretty well, but we caved from time to time to check out some local places.
- When Pigs Fly Bakery (Brookline, MA) – Right next door to Uncommon Yarn. We sampled some amazing breads, and noshed on a couple of slices of their pumpkin cranberry bread with jam to tide us over ’til lunch.
- Sweet (Boston, MA) – After a long afternoon of walking the streets of Boston, we treated ourselves to a yummy maple cupcake. So. Good. Even Danny, who isn’t much into cupcakes, really liked it here.
- Mike’s Pastry (Boston, MA) – I heard that you can’t visit Boston without stopping in here. We only had time to take a peak unfortunately, but it all looked unbelievably delicious.
- A&J King Artisan Bakers (Salem, MA) – The best walnut sourdough. Sooo good just by itself. I’m missing it already.
- Peach’s (North Conway, NH)-An old favorite of mine. Did someone say fresh fruit pancakes?!
- Ceres Bakery (Portsmouth, NH)-Three words: peanut butter brownie. Man. Do you think they would ship across country?
See you again soon, New England. ❤