For more than a century, Ring's End has put quality home improvement products in the hands of homeowners and contractors. A Stanley FatMax level ($30.99) ensures all paintings and ouija boards are hung correctly, and a gallon of Benjamin Moore Regal Classic paint ($40.19) creates a vibrant new hue on staid interior walls. Fiberon composite decking ($2.95+/ft.) helps to craft sturdy, colorful backyard-grilling platforms and arrives backed by a 20-year limited warranty. Handymen and women can keep tools easily accessible, organized, and ready to travel with a Veto Pro Pac tool bag ($144.99), which holds more than 100 hand tools and includes six zippered pockets to hide worksite snacks from Bob Vila.
Kaleidoscopic ribbons of fabric, including cotton, canvas, silk, and satin, unspool across Colchester Mill Fabrics’ expansive aisles, enveloping crafters in vivid designs from the industry’s most revered manufacturers. Hundreds of quilting books and patterns incite celebratory bellkicks beneath more than 5,000 bolts of cotton fabrics that dazzle retinas with soul-warming batik, oriental, and novelty prints from the wonder weavers at Hoffman, Timeless Treasures, and Moda ($8.98 - $11.98/yd.). Decorative fabrics (starting at $4.98/yd.), including tapestries and canvas coveralls from Barrow and Robert Allen, reanimate one-note living spaces, and cushion foam and upholstery fabrics soothe threadbare seats ravaged by sandpaper skirts and pantsless porcupines. Cozy crafters find knitting tackle lines and crochet hooks lining aisles alongside felt, stencils, and beads and complementing oblong tubes of yarn, and brilliant bundles of faux flowers wait to be gathered into a festive holiday centerpiece or a chic everyday bouquet.
The careful collectors at Haddam Family Consignments cull gems of gently used upscale apparel, vintage and modern jewelry, and furniture to resell in their cozy shop. Items rotate regularly, but recent collections have included a Ralph Lauren blouse ($13.75) and a J. Crew sweater ($9.75) to keep appendages warm more fashionably than a sleeve made of insulation foam. Juicy Couture faux-fur hoodies ($69.95) and sleek Unik black leather motorcycle jackets ($55) for men and women preserve torsos against whipping winter winds and cool spring breezes. The store also houses a vast selection of goods, ranging from handbags and home décor to children's toys, books, and DVDs, for a collection of items more diverse than the participants at a snowflake convention.
Voted Connecticut's Scariest Haunted House by the Norwich Bulletin, The Dark Manor fills visitors with terror and keeps hearts pounding throughout two floors of haunted rooms, a spooky cemetery, and a haunted village. Thrill seekers stalk through chambers teeming with haunting sights, shrieking at decrepit skeletons in electric chairs and hordes of giant, wall-clinging cockroaches. After surviving the manor's mind-bending set pieces and horrifyingly neglectful housekeeping, adventurers must wander through the cemetery and village. Amid the graveyard's tombstones roams a chainsaw-wielding freak offering free haircuts, and the denizens of the haunted village lurk amid shadows as masked horrors seek to startle the souls out of passersby.
Over the course of 20 years, family-operated Just Like New has inspected apparel, accessories, and home furnishings from thousands of consigners, accepting only the pieces that meet strict quality and style standards. At the start of each fashion season, the family treks to New York City to gather enough designer duds to restock two 5,000-square-foot locations. Clothing, shoes, and accessories by classic brands such as Coach and Ann Taylor adorn shelves and keep mannequins from being charged with public indecency, and a children's section outfits youngsters in apparel purchased exclusively from catalog brands and specialty stores. Just Like New's jewelry selection glitters with 14-karat gold and sterling silver; vintage and costume jewelry occasionally makes the cut by way of jingling the shop owners' favorite songs. Vintage glassware, furniture, and artwork make unique design accents for the home.