Only a few more days of shopping left before the kiddies will expect Santa to have gifts under the tree. Are you ready?
Don’t even think of going to the mall right now. Crowds, terrible parking, frustrated and tired store employees, yuck. Shop Local, New Jersey!
Montclair has the distinct pleasure of having three great shopping districts. Last year, we showed you what you could find in the Watchung Plaza area. This year, we walked the Valley Road and Bellevue Avenue area and got some shopping in. Pick up all your last minute gifts in just one block. Keep reading for how to do that.
The intersection of Valley Road and Bellevue Avenue is kind of the epicenter of what is locally known as Upper Montclair. It’s not an official designation according to USPS or anything but don’t try to tell that to residents who live nearby. Whatever you want to call the town that this area is in, you can definitely get some great shopping in as well as some entertainment and dining to rest in between stores. The Upper Montclair NJ Transit train station is right up the street on Bellevue so on weeknights and weekends, there’s plenty of parking nearby with all the off-peak commuter lots at your convenience. There’s also Clearview’s Bellevue Cinema 4 by the station. You can take in a movie after shopping or you can drop off the kids at a movie while you shop. I won’t go into details about the dining in this post but some of our favorites are Jackie’s Grillette and Falafel Hut. There’s also one of the three Tinga restaurants on Bellevue if you feel like a Mexican snack.
But, enough about the area… on to the shopping! Fancy That is a blending of the beautiful tableware, furniture and accessories from MacKenzie-Childs and delicious candy and treats from Dylan Lauren. Yes, that Dylan Lauren of Dylan’s Candy Bar fame.
Over the Moon has lovely children’s clothes and toys. Think special occasion and other elegant clothes for your little ones. Their holiday window dressing was especially beautiful.
Piazza Della Sole is great up-scale shoe store with more than just shoes. Handbags, winter-wear and other accessories which would be great as gifts when you don’t know a shoe size can be found here.
Sweet Home Montclair had the most unique collection of home goods that we saw the day we were shopping. I really liked that they had a nice amount of men’s gifts which can be hard to find sometimes. They also have an amazing homemade candy selection in the back. They’re chocolate-covered pretzels even have their own Tumblr page. Pretty cool, right?
Little Shoebox is a children’s shoe store with lots of gift ideas for the fashion forward kid on your list. Love the little rainboots you can see in the window on the left.
Saunders Hardware is the place to go to get the grill master a new grill. Check out this line-up. Also, how great is it to have a real independent hardware? Find lots of gifts for anyone who loves fixing things, landscaping or just puttering around the house.
Murph’s Sport Shop has lots of Montclair sports merchandise but they also have a great NFL selection (we had our choice of two 49ers hats to choose from… how many other stores would have that?) along with tennis and running gear. The staff was really, really nice here, too. That’s one of the things I love most about shopping local and independent.
One of our favorite stores on this strip is Montclair Stationery (612 Valley Road, 973.509.8345). If you have a stationery geek in the family like we do, you’ll find just the right notepads, pens or calendars here. They also have a great holiday card selection… as long as you’re going to hand deliver those cards. It’s a little too late to mail those now!
Jafajems is another of our ultimate favorite stores on Valley Road. They have gift ideas everywhere you look. Books, cuff links, mugs, spices, jewelry, handbags and apparel reflect the owners’ multinational travels and there’s even a story about most items. They also have a really nice children’s corner with handmade and special items like stuffed animals, cotton clothing and fun books and puzzles. The staff are super nice and the store is so big that you’re bound to find exactly what you DIDN’T know you were looking for. Seriously, lots of cool and different stuff all over the store.
There’s even really cool art along the way down Valley Road.
While you’re on Valley Road, don’t forget to walk down Bellevue Avenue, too, because there are lots more really nice stores just around the corner. We’ll have to bring you all those stores next year because there are just so many great shops in this one little area.
Now get out there and finish up that shopping!
Read more about our Shop Local, NJ! project here.
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