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Arts & Crafts
Art Supplies Shop: Hull’s University Art Supply & Framing
New Haven, (203) 865-4855 (hullsnewhaven.com)
Hull’s has been the go-to supply shop for artists of all stripes since it opened in 1947. From painting and drawing to printmaking and model-building, you can find the tools of your particular trade here. With a full frame shop, an impressive selection of papers and presentation materials, and an assortment of supplies designed for young Picassos-in-training, Hull’s is perfect for artists of all experience levels. Not sure what you need? The knowledgeable and friendly staff are ready to help you find the right materials for your next masterpiece.
Fabric Store: Banksville Designer Fabrics
Norwalk, (203) 846-1333 (banksvilledesignerfabrics.com)
Discerning fabric seekers will appreciate the deluxe finds in this New Canaan Avenue shop, where purchases from top designers like Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan are sold at dramatic discounts. Fine natural fibers abound here, not only for customers who make clothing, but now increasingly in quality home-decorating fabrics as well. High-end textiles such as silks, linens and brocades obtained as closeouts are priced at as much as 70 percent below retail. The store carries tasteful embellishments, too, from buttons to trim. And for many years it has provided a personalized swatching service.
Yarn Shop: Black Sheep Yarns
Kent, (860) 927-3808 (blacksheepyarnsct.com)
“Welcome to Black Sheep Yarns!” Anyone who has set foot in this charming yarn shop in Kent has heard this warm greeting from owner Nancy Hamilton. An expert fiber artist in her own right—she hosts “Fiber Arts with Nancy” on WHDD 91.9—Hamilton has created a haven for yarn lovers, from the most experienced knitters and crocheters to those picking up hooks or needles for the first time. With an ample selection of beautiful fibers, notions, patterns and more, Black Sheep Yarns should be on every yarnista’s go-to list.
Books & Music
Bookstore (independent): The Hickory Stick Bookshop
Washington, (860) 868-0525 (hickorystickbookshop.com)
Located in the heart of Washington, Hickory Stick has been a beloved Litchfield County fixture for the past 66 years; its staff boasts more than 100 years of collective bookselling experience. Owner Fran Keilty’s mission is to serve and strengthen her community through the shop: The work of local authors is featured among Hickory Stick’s extensive collection of books, and community events abound. Stop by for a book signing, a literary discussion at the “Meet an Author for Lunch” series or Hickory Stick Bookshop Book Club meeting, or to pick up a novel and admire this local business treasure.
Bookstore (used): The Book Barn
Niantic, (860) 739-5715 (bookbarnniantic.com)
When it comes to sheer volume, Book Barn really has no rivals. Books on the shelves and stacked to the ceiling, filling the outbuildings and spilling over into two additional downtown spaces. Books come in by the trunkful, with customers eager to trade theirs for some of the thousands of tomes in the Book Barn’s ever-changing inventory. Don’t believe us? Take a look for yourself—but you may have to buy a new bookcase on the way home.
Music Store: Banko’s Music
Ansonia, (203) 734-0461
This tiny, nearly 60-year-old music shop is crammed with musical instruments and equipment, sheet music and more, and offers in-store music lessons. Longtime patrons rave about the vast selection, competitive prices and, most importantly, the kind, expert service provided by owner Joe Salvati. Step into the shop and, chances are, the person next to you looking at electric guitars has been coming here for decades to browse, shop or simply talk about music. Once a Banko’s customer, always a Banko’s customer.
Records and CDs (Used): Merle’s Record Rack
Orange, (203) 795-9033 (merlesrecordrack.com)
Merle’s has been in business for half a century, and today calls itself “one of Connecticut’s last true record stores.” The shop is packed with music and memorabilia: records from doo-wop to classic rock, new and used CDs, posters, T-shirts, magazines and more. Merle’s friendly staff, led by owner Michael Papa, not only helps you sift through the dense inventory, but also does audio-equipment repair and audio and video transfers. It’s a one-stop shop for music lovers, particularly those yearning for the days of vinyl.
Whether you’ve a passion for high-class vintage furnishings and household appointments or the funkiest historical ephemera, we’ve got the antiques shops for you. Again, some are close to home, some a day-trip away.
Antique & Artisan Center
Stamford, (203) 327-6022 (stamfordantiques.com)
Putnam, (860) 928-0442 (antiquesmarketplace.com)
Antiques on the Farmington
Canton, (860) 693-0615 (antiquesonfarmington.com)
Collinsville Antiques Co.
New Hartford, (860) 379-2290 (collinsvilleantiques.com)
The Flea Circus
Canton, (860) 620-3947
George Champion Modern Shop
Woodbury, (203) 263-8442 (georgechampioncompany.com/modernshop)
Middletown, (860) 344-8576 (irreplaceableartifacts.com)
Nathan Liverant and Son Antiques
Colchester, (860) 537-2409 (liverantantiques.com)
Seymour Antiques Co.
Seymour, (203) 881-2526 (seymourantiques.com)