It’s that time of year again when the Maritimes city streets twinkle, and store windows entice us with dazzling holiday displays. Everything seems to take on a dusting of magic that lingers in the air, inspiring you to bring on the festive cheer with friends and family. Keeping that cheer intact often means avoiding the madness of department store shopping and going “local”. The Maritimes is filled with fabulous finds like handcrafted imbibes, top-notch fashion and sugary treats that will make your sweet tooth dance. Travel Maritimes picks some of the top must-haves of the season.
Caldera Distilling: Caldera handcrafted whiskey has a story to tell, and its a good one. Cultivated in River John, Nova Scotia, an area once filled with ship builders, it’s only fitting that this superb whiskey be named after one of the largest ships built in town. Every exceptional batch that filters out of the aged oak barrels is filled with grains grown right on the property. It’s as local as you can get. Even the label on the caramel hued “Hurricane Five” bottle is made of birch wood, a subtle homage to the shipbuilding past. Caldera whiskey makes the perfect holiday gift and can be found at various locations noted at www.caldera.ca.
North Brewing Co.: With two locations in Halifax and Downtown Dartmouth, this Belgian inspired brew is the “perfect grab a growler and go” for holiday visits. Try the Winter Saison, infused with holiday hops, a bit of a ginger, and a peppery kick at the end. North Brewing’s classic Belgian blonde is a Maritime favorite. Who needs to be naughty or nice with a dash of citrus and spice. www.northbrewing.ca
Room 152: Forget the words “second hand” when it comes to Room 152’s Downtown Dartmouth boutique. It’s all about refined designer pieces (new and gently used) from top designers Kate Spade, Michael Kors, Tory Burch and more. It’s all there to snag, but snag fast as the exceptional finds barely linger. Room 152 is offering free shipping until Christmas Eve. www.room152boutique.com
Bodega Boutique: If its funky flare classy edge fashion you’re after then look no further then Downtown Dartmouth’s Bodega Boutique. Stocked full of fabulous finds of all sizes, from petite to voluptuous, you’re bound to find the perfect holiday attire for that special someone – yourself included! Don’t be surprised if someone stops you on the street to ask, “Where did you get that?” Bodega is open six days a week. www.bodegaboutique.ca
Leather Works by Jolene: Cape Breton Island may seem to come to a stand still in the winter, but you can still find gorgeous handcrafted leather products at Leather Works online shop. The hipster purse in tan leather or the classy iPad sleeve (perfect for meetings) makes the ideal affordable gifts. Even the family pooch has leather collar and leash options. Leather works ships all through Canada and internationally. www.leather-works.ca
Ganong: It’s Canada’s oldest candy and chocolate company, so if anyone knows how to kick-start your holiday sweet tooth, it’s them! Each year during the holidays Ganong puts out the famous Maritime favorite “Chicken Bones”. The name leaves many who are not from the East Coast baffled. In fact, these Chicken Bones are a cinnamon-infused candy filled with a bittersweet dark chocolate. They have been a holiday tradition since 1885. If candy is not what your after, you can choose from an array of boxed chocolate medleys ranging from assorted caramels to truffles. www.ganong.com