I spent the day with two ex-coworkers in downtown Schenectady. Anyone from this area who might be reading this blog probably thinks I'm nuts because downtown Schenectady is one of the last places on earth you'd want to spend a nice day off with friends. Still, there are a few great little shops tucked in here and there and it's been a tradition of ours to visit these shops around Christmas time every year. Anyway, we had lunch at Apertivo, a great little bistro that doesn't seem to be doing so well, or so I'm told. The food was excellent, the service was impeccable and I'll definitely go back, so long as they're still in business. Schenectady is tough and I give them props for making a go in such a shitty spot.
After lunch we walked to Jay Street, once a sweet little shopping district that unfortunately succumbed to the typical grime of any neglected city. There are a few little shops still standing tall, one of which (the most important, in my humble opinion) is the Open Door bookstore. This place is the best bookstore in the area and after every annual pilgrimage I question why I/we don't visit it more often. The book selection is wonderful and the gift shop (gift shops are my weakness) has so many quirky things crammed in that you literally have to make three or four passes through to see everything. I love it there. I bought a few new Christmas ornaments for the tree and a sweet dishtowel that I plan to make into an apron to sport around the shop. Sorry the picture came out so crappy but I'm simply too lazy to take a new one, and besides, those ornaments have been on the tree for several hours now and they won't be disturbed until December 26th when the tree comes down. So there. Heh.
We left the bookstore and made our way over to Experience. I'm amazed that more people in this area don't know about Experience. To be honest, I've never been there any other time of year other than in December when they're set up for the holidays, but I make it a point to definitely go every year because this place is just so amazing and you'll never see anything like it unless you're in Disney or some shit like that. These people go all out with decorating the store, and by all out I mean ALL OUT. Every single inch of the place has been considered when they drag out the trees, garland, ornaments and lights. Much like the bookstore gift shop, you have to walk around three or four times just to catch everything, and I guarantee you after those three or four times you've still missed a ton. Amazing.
Experience marked the end of our day out, which was a good thing in hindsight because it was snowing like crazy and the roads started to get pretty slick on the ride home. I can't put into words the things I saw at this place so I'll just post a few pictures I took while I was there and let them do the talking. They frown upon people taking pictures in there so I had to sneak around like Bond snapping away with the flash off. My favorite thing, by far, is the gigantic grapevine wreath suspended from the ceiling. I'd love to have something like that in my shop. Oh, and be sure to note the "naughty Santa" set-up that Hans pointed out. I wish I had this picture in my posession when I planned this year's Christmas card.
Oh yeah! Nabua gave me a late birthday present today, too! I love this little pot so much and would love it if someone could do a sketch of the bird on top for me. I'm still playing around with ideas for a shop logo and this little guy would be perfect!
By the way, have you taken my advice and bought the jammie pants yet? Ben's been following me around the house calling me doily butt all evening. Nice.