As the holiday shopping season begins to heat up, so do our shopping anxieties. The stress of parking. The long lines. The guilt of spending too much money.
One bad shopping trip can rob anyone of their vacation spirit. But hold on. Breathe deeply. Drop your shoulders. There is an oasis for your holiday shopping excursions that will help you restore your Christmas spirit.
Just add a stop at your local restaurant or bar, and your shopping dismay will disappear with a mug full of spiked hot chocolate and a plate full of melted nachos.
We are fortunate to have so many local shops and artisans on the island where we can purchase some truly unique and special gifts for everyone on our list. It is a buyer’s paradise. But we’re also lucky that all of these amazing boutiques, boutiques and specialty stores can be found alongside our great restaurants and taverns.
This means that there are easy ways to keep yourself fit and energized on your shopping spree. There is never a reason to “Shop to you Drop”. Instead, shop until you’re hungry, then head to your favorite restaurant to eat and drink.
For example, if you walk around the shops in Long Wharf or the Brick Market Square and suddenly feel a weakness like you can just tip over into a sweater display, you need to get yourself a quick boost of energy. .
Take a break from shopping and head to Stoneacre Garden for a quick Stoneacre Mule and maybe some short rib Korean tacos. By the time you are done, you will be a new person and you can resume this shopping trip with new found vigor.
If you browse through all the curiosities found in the shops of Bowen’s Wharf and catch yourself in a lying gaze contest with a well-dressed mannequin, you need to focus. A few Buffalo-style sliders and a pint of Reject’s Czech Lager at Wharf Southern Kitchen & Whiskey Bar will straighten you out right away. We shop best when we’re happy, and when our bellies are full, we’re happy.
No matter where you shop on the island, there is always a place nearby to help you out when your vacation spirit starts to dip. You might get hungry on a trip to the Clock Tower Square in Portsmouth. The Portsmouth Publick House is literally here for a quick Margarita Pizza break.
Or if you’re browsing all the great gifts at the Portsmouth Shop or Cory Farms and need a quick helping hand, drop by Fieldstones for wings and a cold beer.
Your excuse for eating out on your shopping trip doesn’t have to be just to refuel. You can also celebrate the success of your purchases. If you’ve been through the crowds and the lines and found the perfect pick-ups for everyone on your list, this is good reason to celebrate. End your shopping spree with dinner at your favorite spot.
You might still be fainting at the cute little ornament you found and Bannister’s Dock. Go up the stairs with a glass of Prosseco and fresh oysters at Benjamin’s Raw Bar.
Have you grabbed something perfect for that person that can’t be bought for? That’s a reason to raise a glass at Malt on Broadway. While you’re at it, you might as well feast on their famous fries and a southern fried chicken sandwich.
Shopping is an accomplishment, even if you come home empty-handed. You have arrived at the store. You have watched. You have sailed. You made the effort. You’ve earned yourself a Painkiller at The Mooring.
If you want to make holiday shopping super easy, all of your favorite restaurants, bars, cafes, and cafes are eager to sell you a gift card. It’s the perfect gift for anyone who enjoys eating or drinking, and we’ve heard that some people on your shopping list fall into this category. Fancy a lesson in efficiency? Take your list of all the people you need to buy from and head to your favorite restaurant. Once there, sit at the bar or grab a table and order a delicious dinner and refreshing cocktails.
Then tell your waiter or bartender that you need gift cards for everyone on the list. You will leave with a full stomach, a happy heart and the shopping list complete. Many restaurants offer deals on gift card purchases, so you can even save money. It is a win-win if there is one.
Racing can be stressful, but there are ways to make your adventures more fun. Go out and support your local merchants, artists and stores. Keep it local. There are truly some unique gifts to buy.
But while you’re outside, have fun too. Eat well. Sip on some holiday cheer. To be happy. Don’t treat holiday shopping like it’s a burden. It’s a night out on the town with a literal bow on top. This is the idea!
Dan Lederer is a Middletown resident with 30 years of experience in the New England restaurant industry. He continues to work locally behind the scenes of the industry and remains a staunch fan of all things food and hospitality. His column appears on newportri.com and Thursdays in The Daily News. Cheers!