By Stephanie Williams
The Destination: Greenwich Avenue; Greenwich, Connecticut
Travel Costs: $16 Round-Trip Off-Peak Fare from Grand Central (New Haven Line)
Don your WASPiest scarf – Hermès preferred – as you traipse up the Rodeo Drive of the East and give your AmEx the workout of the season. The Hedge Fund Haven of Greenwich, CT, draws personalities from Ron Howard to Justin Timberlake and cosmopolitan tastemakers alike for its accessible New England charm and idyllic waterfront lifestyle. For the shopaholic, Greenwich Avenue’s half-mile stretch of well-preserved historic buildings houses a carefully curated mingling of independent boutiques and premier luxury shops.
GREENWICH’S EPONYMOUS “THE AVENUE”
Where to Shop: Two’s Company, purveyors of home décor, tchotchkes, whimsies and everything in between have opened their first-ever concept store just in time for holiday shopping at the top of the Avenue (68 Greenwich Avenue). A staple of the neighborhood “fun and colorful things!” gift shop for decades, Two’s Company’s high-style/low-cost products range from interchangeable watchstraps for girls to Victorian-era decorative busts.
Stop by Ella Vickers when shopping for the prepster on your list, an exceptional collection of repurposed sailcloth accessories and luggage exciting natty nauticals up and down the Gold Coast (85 Greenwich Avenue). Additionally, Vineyard Vines’ flagship store is a non-stop celebration of “Real Good Life” via ski and sail (145 Greenwich Avenue).
Where to Eat: Situated around the corner from Vineyard Vines in a ski chalet-style building, Black Forest Pastry Shop (52 Lewis Street) beckons the curious and hooks them in with its heavenly aroma of authentic, made-fresh-daily German pastries, cakes, tortes, cookies, and just about anything else dancing in your head. Any low-this, low-that diet can make room for a light-and-airy danish (cherry, cheese, and apple crumb are the top three) paired with the perfect hazelnut ice coffee. Visiting on a Saturday morning? Line up early for a chance to snag a soft German pretzel, the bakery’s signature savory treat.
BLACK FOREST PASTRY SHOP
What to See: Kennedy Watchers and admirers of old stone architecture will enjoy the picturesque Saint Mary’s Catholic Church (178 Greenwich Avenue), the site of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy’s wedding.
ST. MARY’S PARISH
BOBBY & ETHEL KENNEDY ON THEIR WEDDING DAY, 1950
Shop Like a Local: To avoid the risk of being ticketed, those traveling by car have the best chance to find parking in the Municipal Lots off of Lewis and East Elm Streets, which offer 12-hour metered spaces; most shops are happy to make change for those wanting for quarters. Be advised that real-live traffic cops patrol the Avenue at its busiest intersections until 5pm – don’t even think about crossing the street without their permission.
The Destination: Katonah Avenue, Katonah, New York
Travel Costs: $21.50 Round-Trip Off-Peak Fare from Grand Central (Harlem Line)
GREETINGS FROM DOWNTOWN KATONAH!
Do you ever watch reruns of Gilmore Girls and wonder if close-knit small towns like Stars Hollow really exist? As hard as anyone may try, it’s difficult to describe Katonah without using the words “charming” or “quaint,” and like Stars Hollow, the hamlet has its fair share of colorful characters and classic small-town shops.
NOKA JOE’S KITSCHY CAFE
Where to Shop: Katonah’s aptitude for finding the perfect balance of quirky without bordering on “eccentric” is evident at NoKa Joe’s/Little Joe’s Books (25 Katonah Avenue), and Suburban Groove (33 Katonah Avenue, (914) 232-3300). Shoppers will find at both shops an appealing array of kitschy vintage and vintage-inspired gift items, from custom decks of cards, novelty books and naughty gags to antique and space age furniture. Above NoKa Joe’s 1950s-inspired café and gift shop lies Little Joe’s Books, Westchester’s first bookstore dedicated to children’s and young adult literature.
THE KATONAH RESTAURANT
Where to Eat: The town’s equivalent of “Luke’s Diner” is absolutely the Katonah Restaurant (63 Katonah Avenue, (914) 232-9241). Familiar faces, freshly brewed coffee, and a menu of classic wraps, burgers, and Greek staples without the typical Westchester County markup make the upscale-casual diner a prime spot for a sit-down meal. Willing to spring for a three-dollar-sign meal worth every nickel? Willy Nick’s (17 Katonah Avenue) lures the savvy epicurean with its delightful interpretations on New American dishes and imaginative martinis – I personally recommend the Pear-megranate Martini.