Whether they prefer to work with glass, canvas, or ceramic, budding artists can tap into their creativity inside Pottery Isle. The studio's ceramic-painting sessions enable patrons to select a piece—such as a dish or a statue—and customize it with their own color and design scheme. BYOB painting classes inside Canvas Cafe lead students step-by-step through the painting creation process, and summer programs for kids show young ones how to draw and paint on mediums other than kitchen walls or Dad's face while he sleeps.
Pottery Isle also hosts glass-fusing classes that turn molten glass into artwork, as well as field trips and teen events. Plus, it provides pottery-to-go packages, which supply artists with take-home pottery pieces, paint, and brushes, allowing them to create something when they have downtime on vacation or during a board meeting.
The chefs at Off the Vine Tuscan Grille stretch the Italian border all the way to Massachusetts, encapsulating their warm eatery in the Mediterranean’s Old World flavors. Their menu devotes an entire section to flatbread pizzas crafted from housemade dough and sauces, including Nick's pie flecked with grilled shrimp and roasted garlic. While mouths water over penne ala bolognese, slow roasted osso buco, and dinner bells rung after psychological experimentation, eyes feast on games broadcast from TVs hung atop a full bar.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
Well-lit and painstakingly organized, Used Book Superstores upend images of the precariously balanced stacks and dusty hardcovers most people associate with used book stores. More than 100,000 new and gently used books—from current bestsellers to staples of the literary world—sprawl across each of the five mammoth locations, which, like so many shattered crates of tea, dot the landscape of the greater Boston and south New Hampshire region. As bookworms hunker down with hardcovers, paperbacks, and children's books, neglected friends can peruse the store's voluminous selection of music, DVDs, and toys, all of which sell for a fraction of their original cost.
Handcrafted by its nimble-fingered staff, Beadles’ voluminous selection of handmade jewelry began to burst the seams of the 1,500-square-foot Chelmsford store, prompting the launch of the newly minted Rockport location. The new location broadens Beadles’ epic spread of Swarovski crystals, acrylics, and kaleidoscopic glass, allowing browsers to purchase bauble ingredients by the piece or pre-assembled bracelets and necklaces. Crafters of all skill sets can put their purchases to use during free workshops or fashion their own custom creations during parties ideal for birthday girls, girl-scout troops, and newly chosen presidential nominees.
Jacqui Newman helms Salamander Sisters Occult Goods & Services, where she harnesses her doctorate in metaphysics and her clairvoyant nature to help clients find answers. Newman, a high priestess and an ordained reverend, blends her eclectic background to lead introductory classes on witchcraft and grant visitors spiritual advice through consultations.
In addition to the medley of metaphysical services she and her staff provide, Newman also fills the store space with an abundance of mystical items such as magical potions, jewelry, and candles that bring good luck or ward off nightmares.