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Stores in downtown Northampton offer myriad of shopping experiences

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(Daily Collegian Archives)

(Daily Collegian Archives)

A quick ride from Amherst to Northampton is all it takes to immerse yourself in an incredibly unique cultural experience. After catching a show at The Academy of Music Theatre or grabbing a bite to eat at Osaka restaurant, make sure to wander around downtown for its shopping experience alone. Here is a list of my personal favorites that are definitely worth a stop. If you’re headed into town in the next few weeks when the temperatures begin to drop, make sure to pick up a drink from the seasonal menu at Woodstar Café. Nothing says autumn better than a fragrant-hot cider in one hand while you peruse shelves lined with handcrafted soap and piles of soft scarves.

Casa Del Sol

This quaint, cute little boutique on Main Street offers the comfiest finds. The store specializes in handmade accessories found throughout the countries of Ecuador and Peru, as well as both Latin America and Asia. Casa Del Sol uses a series of sustainably-harvested materials such as the tagua nut and guayuru seed.

The shop offers a colorful selection of virgin wool jackets from Ecuador and incredibly soft Alpaca blankets that provide optimal warmth for the coming winter months. If you’re a fair-trade enthusiast and want to support local craftspeople, be sure to check out Casa Del Sol. Its red storefront on matches the vibrancy of its selection and is pretty hard to miss.

Cedar Chest

Cedar Chest is my favorite store in all of Northampton. I remember wandering the store in awe when I visited my sister at Smith College years ago. Going back recently, after all that time, reminded me of the store’s magical quality. When the holiday season rolls around, Cedar Chest is a great store for one-stop gift shopping. If you’re looking for quirky socks with sayings like “cute but psycho” and “hellraiser,” check out an entire wall lined with an amazing selection. The clothing section has both large and soft scarves with beautiful prints and chunky cardigans – all to bundle-up in.

If you wander over to the collection of soap and lotion, and you might end up spending an afternoon trying to decide between its multiple scents like pumpkin spice or warm vanilla sugar. Upstairs, you’ll come upon a nice selection of home goods and dorm décor begging you to return for a second trip. You’ll find your eyes wanting to take in everything at once, in which case a second trip is in order.

Faces

The clothing section is downstairs in Faces, and offers a selection with an aesthetic that can be best described as watered-down Urban Outfitters. There are the regular trendy pieces in constant rotation but there is also a decent selection of basics. If you head over right now, there are some really nice dresses on sale, too.

Faces also has a shoe section where you can pick up some winter boots. The store’s Chelsea rain boots sell really fast, so if you come across your size, don’t miss your chance! The jewelry selection offers velvet chokers and delicate jewelry alike and might be the best part of the downstairs area.

If you’re looking for quick pieces to complete an outfit, Faces is a good place to look, but if you want something that will carry over into the next year, you might want to check elsewhere.

2nd Time Around

2nd Time Around is a consignment-store located on Pleasant Street in Northampton. The store stocks both clothing and accessories with name brands as well as off-brands. If you’re looking for something a bit pricier – think $45 for a top – 2nd Time Around is a great option. It stocks vintage and used finds that cost a bit more for higher quality than the average thrift store. 2nd Time Around is good for purchasing wardrobe staples that you will wear over and over again, but if you want something trendy and of-the-moment, head over to Urban Outfitters.

Urban Outfitters

Located in a beautiful, historic building on Main Street, Urban Outfitters isn’t exactly the cheapest option available, but its sale section is always worth perusing. The trends are all here with a hipster edge dominating the floral dresses and denim jackets. This Urban Outfitters has a small selection of accessories and home décor, but it always remains one of the few global retailers available in quaint downtown Northampton.

Roz’s Place

Roz’s Place is a thrift store that is located a bit out of the way from downtown but definitely worth the trip. There is a large selection of vintage and used finds. Clothing is separated based on type and color for the ease of shopping. Don’t plan on going to Roz’s with something in mind. Instead, anticipate an adventure in finding deals for a steal.

Sophia Liao can be reached at [email protected]

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