Owner Nancy Nagle stocks a colorful rainbow of knitting supplies in her bright and eccentric gallery, which has become a go-to outlet for the local knitting community. To meet the demand, she constantly stuffs her shelves with new styles of material, ranging from traditional yarns to luxury fibers—banana, recycled silk, and Wookiee fur—to carry-along yarns with sequins, flags, and lash. Nagle’s passion for fiber arts has introduced her to a community of artists who dye and spin some of her more than 20 brands of yarn. She uses the shop as a gallery to display the work of these local artists—including Philadelphia native John Stango—as well as share her own bold collection of woven work such as hats, shawls, and sweaters.
City Paper's A.D. Amorosi describes the two-floor Nangellini as a "doubly colorful" space as "bright and open as a bay window in Sag Harbor." Amorosi admires the gallery's art collection, and between the vibrant space's "faux-tin ceiling" and "matronly rugs," Nancy leads open and privately scheduled classes on knitting, crochet, and lace work. Classes cover all the basic techniques required for newcomers to begin creating their own woven pieces, such as scarves and felt toupees.
After moving from London to Philadelphia, Elena Brennan needed a way to fulfill her desire for hard-to-find designer shoes without hopping a transatlantic flight back home. In 2007, she stashed away her aviation goggles in favor of opening Bus Stop, a boutique specializing in stylish kicks and women's apparel. The quirky spot carries lesser-known brands, such as Jeffrey Campbell, J Shoes, and FarylRobin, as well as fashionable favorites from Toms and Fluevog.
White walls outfitted with monochromatic shelves pull shoppers' attention towards a collection of shoes so eclectic it helped Bus Stop win an award for best women's shoe store in 2008 from Philadelphia magazine. Antique wooden tables heave under the weight of handmade accessories and apparel from local and national designers and wayward elephants that thought they smelled peanuts. This Fabric Row boutique also holds monthly events that showcase the work of emerging artists and local fashionistas.
Little Hands Art Studio's owner and teacher, Jessica Heisen, equips budding artisans with the supplies and know-how to explore their own creativity with delectable results. Heisen’s classes for adults, children, and intergenerational duos guide students as they bake cupcakes and top them with decorations such as fondant, mini marshmallows, frostings in piped pastry bags, and cookies hit by a shrink ray. Beyond the regular classes, Little Hands hosts private birthday parties for youngsters and, on Thursday and Sunday nights, grownups-only workshops, which encourage participants to bring their own wine and mingle as they create pastry art that reflects their inner muses’ 401(k)s. The studio also teaches children how to whip up afternoon snacks such as pastas and muffins, and conducts occasional beading and other art classes.
Blue Mountain Vineyards owners, Joe and Vickie, are pinot pioneers. Beginning with a 5-acre experiment in 1986, they discovered that the soil of the Lehigh Valley does a fine impression of French terrain, making it suitable for growing the grapes of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and other European varietals. Since then, they've expanded to a 50-acre plot, where they now produce wines that have won awards from the Fingerlake International Wine Competition and Appellation America.
Panoramic views of the Blue Mountains overlook scenic terraces at the vineyards, where grapes spring from soil that soldiers roamed during the Revolutionary War. Tastings, concerts, and other events fill the winery's glass-flanked deck, spilling onto an outdoor patio surrounded by ponds as tranquil as a silent lullaby. Visitors admire the vines during tours, and they can also adopt their favorites to preserve the vines' flavorful histories.
Susan Botwick Murphy, the self-taught crafter behind Viv Pickle, wasn't always in the handbag business. She was once the VP of marketing for a communications firm with a knack for sewing her own accessories. It took a seemingly unfortunate turn of events––a layoff from her corporate job—to transform her into the enterprising purse maven she is today. With her eye for design and her background in business, she's been able to run a successful custom handbag studio that churns out wares for customers across the globe.
She and her seamstresses put together baguettes, buckets, clutches, and totes using a palette of more than 150 fabrics, and a variety of handle and lining materials. A rainbow of patterned prints catches the eye, and waterproof nylons repel leaky lunches and spilled vials of plutonium.
Just as the Roman god Bacchus represented both wine and revelry together, Pinot Boutique celebrates wine by—how else?—throwing parties. The staff regularly stages wine-tasting events—including the recurring Vino Voyage, held aboard a 19th-century warship, Olympia —and hosts several events amid the exposed-brick walls in its downstairs venue, known as The Cellar. Upstairs, the shop’s main floor is dedicated to fostering at-home celebrations, earning the title Best Gift Shop of 2012 from Philadelphia Magazine. The acclaimed boutique displays accessories such as wineglass charms, corkscrews, and picnic gear to complement an exclusive selection of vintage wines and fresh labels from Pennsylvania's Paradocx Vineyard.