Nestled near Rincon Beach and stocked with gear from makers such as Volcom, Billabong, and Dakine, A-Frame Surf’s modest shop could never host a reunion for its surfing lessons’ alumni. They wouldn’t fit inside—more than 10,000 surfers have honed their craft with the shop’s CPR- and first-aid-certified instructors during both private and public lessons. Each session is held on a surfboard or a standup paddleboard and has a customizable curriculum that covers topics such as transitioning from paddling to standing and surf etiquette, which mandates that you write a thank-you card to every wave you surf.
When Rebecca Costa-Smith took a church trip to Haiti, she never dreamed it would change her life. Edhat.com reports that Costa was deeply moved by the destitution she witnessed among the Haitian youth, and knew it was her fate to make a difference. Less than a year later, she returned with her best friend Lindsey Connolly. It was on that trip that the duo formulated the Destined for Grace concept. Destined for Grace is a non-profit organization that provides food and education for more than 125 grade-school children in poverty-stricken Haiti. As part of this continued effort, Rebecca and Lindsey established the Destined for Grace Thrift Stores, whose profits are used solely to fund their humanitarian efforts.
Owner Andi Newville works alongside her daughters at Viva Oliva, stocking the shelves with more than 20 flavors of gourmet olive oils and 20 varieties of balsamic vinegar imported from Italy, Greece, Spain, and France. Olive oils add zest to entrees, infusing them with garlic, blood orange, and spinach, while balsamic vinegars flavored with black currants provide rich flavor. Customers can sample gourmet liquids before buying full bottles and preview suggested recipes such as barbecue rib glazes with honey ginger white balsamic and toasted sesame oil. Newville also stocks bath and body products containing skin-soothing olive oil and gourmet groceries such as balsamic pesto, pinot pomegranate jelly, and black truffle sea salt fresh from Mediterranean oceans of black truffles.
The old ways still reign supreme at il Fustino. The store?s interior is lined with rows of stainless-steel containers called fustis, all of which hold flavor-infused and extra-virgin olive oils and aged vinegars. Used in the Mediterranean for centuries, fustis keep oils fresh in bulk or can be used to store a stack of unread Mediterranean diet books. As shoppers browse fruity oils and vinegary vinegars, staffers kick open the taps to dispense samples of them as requested. The fustis empty newly purchased liquids into bottles that can be brought back for refills, long after their contents liven up salads, pizzas, and water-balloon fights.
Oreana Winery's festive, eclectic style is embodied in its facilities, housed within a revamped historical tire shop. While in the tasting room, dabbling imbibers will enjoy dipping their senses into a rotating selection of six different wines, ranging from charming chardonnays to mystical merlots (a $10 value per person). Each tippling pair will receive a bottle of signature 2007 Oreana pinot noir, in which aromatics of wilted rose, strawberry, and wild berry bolster an elegant structure and dimension before fading to a delicate finish (a $30 value). After bathing tongues in sophisticated flavors on Oreana Winery's outdoor patio and attempting to describe a particular sensation as "supernatural taffy," tour the wine shop, gourmet gift market, and fully functional winery.