Gift Giving in New Paltz

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By Sophie Brassard and Julia McCloskey

Gift giving is often cause for stress as you search for the perfect item for your loved ones. Of course, one of the easiest ways to find a present is online, where all you need is a smart phone or computer and you have millions of options at your fingertips. But when you really think about it, is this the best way to go shopping? Staying local when it comes to buying gifts has so many benefits and is often overlooked. Besides getting your items quickly and conveniently, when you make purchases from small businesses in town, you’re helping the economy of your community and profiting schools and libraries. In addition, you help prevent fossil fuel pollution by not having items shipped across state lines and over hundreds of miles. Buying locally supports small entrepreneurs and contributes to keeping them in operation. 

Water Street Market

A wonderful place to start your search for gifts is at Water Street Market. The unique shopping village is located right on Main Street and is full of independently-owned stores. If you don’t quite know what you’re looking for, the Antique Barn has plenty of options for everyone. From antique glass, vintage jewelry, pottery, clothing, and furniture, you could find something for almost everybody on your list. With new items arriving daily from the late 1800s-1970s, there is a large variety of artifacts to choose from. 

Are you shopping for a pet? If so, Paws of Distinction could be the place for you. They sell clothing, accessories, and toys all made for your beloved cats and dogs. If you are interested in purchasing from them, make sure you look at their home-baked and all natural treats that are perfect for your pup! 

Krause’s Chocolates 

One of my personal favorite stores to buy from in town is Krause’s Chocolates. Krause’s has been making candies for over 80 years and sells them at  three locations all over the hudson valley in New Paltz, Saugerties and Rhinebeck. With more than 50 choices of hand-dipped chocolates, creamy-homemade fudge and peanut brittle, there are endless options to get your special someone. Krause’s even gives you the option to select individual chocolates to fill a box, or you can buy pre-assorted ones. Some of their best sellers include extra dark and “break up” chocolate, sugar free chocolate, and gummies. For 18 years Krauses has been voted Hudson Valley’s Best Chocolate/Candy store. Who wouldn’t love a sugary treat from there? 

Manny’s Art Supplies

If you have an artist in your life, Mannys is the spot to go. The aisles are full of different craft supplies, handmade papers, stationery, yarn, journals and greeting cards. The business is family owned by Tom and Marilyn Golgoski and has been running for 58 years!  You can even find novelties such as rings, jigsaw puzzles, and Mad Libs. 

Dancing Hands

Jewelry is a gift I love to give, however, sometimes it can be quite pricey. At Dancing Hands you can find affordable necklaces, earrings, rings, and bracelets of all styles and designs. No matter who you want to buy something for, it is certain you will find something you know they will treasure. Dancing hands is also known for selling different types of crystals and minerals that range in size and shape. Believe it or not, they have only been in New Paltz for slightly over a year, but they are constantly bustling with happy customers!

Handmade and More 

Handmade has been in town for over 40 years, and is run by Melinda Minervini. The shop contains two floors with the bottom being full of jewelry, ceramics, and stationery while the top is dedicated to women’s clothing. The jewelry for sale is handcrafted to be unique and offers every taste. The clothing section has a variety of tote bags, wristlets and crossbody bags. Lots of these are vegan and composed of manmade materials. You can find tons of sizes, styles and fabrics. When you head to check out, you can even get your gift wrapped for free, making your holiday shopping one step easier. 

Inquiring Minds Bookstore 

Inquiring Minds has two stores: one located here in New Paltz, and one in Saugerties. To learn more about the small business, we interviewed one of their employees, Sofia Loyer. The first question we asked her was, “What makes inquiring minds different from larger book businesses?” 

Sofia says, “Inquiring minds is different from other larger book businesses because so much of our selection is based upon customers. A large amount of what we order to stock is by customer request, and as an employee, we can form deeper connections with them because of our small size.” 

What could be better than a store that puts that much effort into pleasing their shoppers? We also asked Sofia, “Do you have any recommendations for someone looking to buy a gift from Inquiring Minds?” 

She responds with, “If someone is looking to buy a gift, I would recommend different books based on what genre they like to read.” She mentions that they also have vinyls as well as albums for a reasonable price. For children, they sell activity books and board games. 

Gift Cards

If you’re not looking to buy someone a physical object, the better option could be a gift card. New Paltz is full of delicious restaurants that vary in price range and style. Garvan’s is located just outside our town, and sits overlooking a golf course. The building was constructed in 1759 and the atmosphere is an experience by itself. Executive Chef Josh Paige has worked across the USA and clearly shows his talent on the table. 

Another popular eatery in town is Main Course. The Main Course offers fresh daily specials using local ingredients and always has the most delectable desserts displayed. For the excellent quality of food, the prices are surprisingly affordable. 

Do you know a sushi lover? If so, a Hokkaido gift card might be the perfect present. The menu is full of Japanese foods such as sushi, tempura, and Soba. The building is very quaint and located slightly off Main Street. 

Or perhaps you are shopping for a vintage clothing lover. If so, check out Rock Candy Vintage or Nettle and Violet. 

If you’re looking for anything from books and cookware to stuffed animals and jewelry, Cocoon or Verde may have what you need. 



-Comedic socks

-Nice pens/pencils

-Key chains






-Winter gloves

-Comedic socks



-Bath salts/Bath bombs







-Winter gloves/hats/scarves


As New Paltz residents, we are fortunate to live in a town chock full of unique, independently-owned shops. No matter who you’re looking to please, I have no doubt you will be able to find something. The next time you find yourself at a loss for gift ideas, consider doing your shopping in town and support the local community. Happy shopping!