Wit’s End showcases a splendid selection of spectacular surprises for all manner of occasion. Wine lovers will find a bevy of bodacious wine bottles priced from $5 to $20, and art fiends will feel like art thieves when they pick up a piece from a local painter or alternative artisan. A supply of locally crafted jewelry decks out necks in style, and those born sans silver spoons can fill deserving face holes with an entire decorative measuring spoon set for only $20. Prepare for an upcoming day at the beach with a fun, fashionable Wit’s End tote bag ($15–$20), which can be branded with a free three-initial monogram to distinguish it from the tote-bag herds that populate the prairies. Stuff-happy gift seekers can also find holiday decorations, picture frames, and much more within Wit’s End’s charming confines.
Edible Arrangements' fresh-fruit bouquets merge the beauty of a floral display with Mother Nature's most delicious candy. At more than 1,000 stores across the globe, fruit florists carve pineapples into flower forms, hand dip bananas into semisweet and white chocolate, and swathe Albion strawberries—sweeter and darker than regular strawberries—in coats of coconut and almonds. Then, they arrange the morsels into eye-catching displays to fill mugs and vases or line decorative gift boxes. Patrons can find an arrangement for nearly any occasion, whether they want to honor Mother's Day, sweeten an anniversary, or send condolences after the death of a friend's pet rock. Customers can shop online and opt for delivery or pick up finished displays at a storefront location.
Bob Meyer, who has spent many a tour alongside bands such as Metallica, The Rolling Stones, Phish, and The Allman Brothers, helms Give To Live Guitar Studios, which provides music lessons with a focus on community outreach. He and his staff of experienced, enthusiastic instructors welcome students for lessons in stringed instruments such as guitar, violin, banjo, mandolin, or bass as well as drums, vocals, and keyboards. They teach in all styles, from Bach to rock and roll, and help their students move from basics to live performance, hosting benefit concerts for local charities.
The bibliophiles at Mr. Mike's Used Books sort and shelve hundreds of inexpensive reads each day, creating a literary feast of fiction, nonfiction, and reference texts of every stripe. Nearly every paperback in the store retails for half the original publisher's price or less, causing angry literary agents everywhere to storm out of their offices and move into new ones without Olympic–size swimming pools. The staff at Mr. Mike's hunts down and displays all manner of children's books ($0.99+), ranging from colorful, toddler-proof board books to appropriately mature teen fiction. Half-priced audio books allow listeners to interrupt obnoxiously rambling internal monologues or combine two audio books simultaneously to create hip-hop style Dickens mash-ups. One-of-a-kind texts make a thoughtful gift for a hard-core bookie, and heavy hardcover books and large paperbacks ($3–$5) bolster anemic bookshelves and clothe naked coffee tables in alluring cover art.
Since 1949, the Monahan family has roasted peanuts, experimenting with recipes to cultivate a slew of tasty variations on the salty snack. Classicists munch the simple flavors of mixed nuts ($18.95/20 oz.), and bold noshers salivate at the array of flavored nuts, such as tangy, smoky barbecue ($10.75/22 oz.). Indulge a craving for a cayenne- pepper-covered beehive with a jar of hot honey peanuts ($16.95/40 oz.), or test taste buds’ spice threshold with jalapeno peanuts ($10.75/22 oz.). Sweet teeth delight in myriad dessert nuts, including chocolate-covered almonds ($18.95/22 oz.) and decadent honey-roasted cinnamon pecans ($18.95/18 oz.). More chewable than pound cake and more durable than a pound of deli meat, a can of peanut brittle ($12.50/16 oz.) delivers a welcome gift any time of year.