Picture a Grandma Moses landscape northwest of Northampton, dotted with barns and sheds. Then picture those buildings stuffed to the rafters — literally — with high-quality handmade pottery, jewelry, furniture, clothing, and glassware, all on sale. Snow Farm in Williamsburg, home of the New England Crafts Program, continues its annual Seconds Sale this weekend and next. Made by 150 crafts artists all over the country, the goodies range from $5 hand-printed note cards to $500 art-glass plates. Visitors can lunch in the campus cafe and observe glass artists at work. It’s time to let this secret out of the barn.
5 Clary Road, 413-268-3101, www.snowfarm.org
From wrapping paper for $3.50 to Dale Chihuly glass for nearly $10,000, RISD|Works in Providence is a hot stop for fun gifts, all created by Rhode Island School of Design graduates from as far back as 1945. Check out a giraffe-shaped toilet brush for $16 from Christopher Raia and Andrea Zatarain; an exquisite zinc-and-copper bracelet for $370, created with clay found in only one place in India by Priya Himatsingka; and wrapping paper from the pioneer designer Ruth Adler Schnee, whose creations in the 1940s were picked by Frank Lloyd Wright for his buildings. Everything in between is just as much fun. 20 North Main St., 401-277-4949, www.risdworks.com
Out of the closet
Rather than burden friends and family with stuff they have to dig out of the deep recesses of a closet and display when we’re visiting, we like to give consumables for gifts. More specifically, we like to give local foodstuffs. We sometimes dismiss Vermont’s Quechee Gorge Village complex as a tourist trap, but the Cabot Quechee Store carries not only all the Cabot cheeses (including Cabot Clothbound, sometimes picked as the best US cheddar) but also a host of other local products. 5573 Woodstock Road, 802-295-1180, www.cabotcheese.coop
As savvy shoppers know, it’s hit or miss at outlet stores. Not only is the hunt on for huge discounts, but for wide selection. To increase the odds on bagging big bargains, ask when the next delivery is expected. Though it’s a bit of a guessing game, employees can sometimes narrow the timing of when they will be restocking. Unfortunately, they don’t know what will be in the next delivery, but this does offer first
dibs on what could be a great catch.