Cool Places to
Shop for the Holidays
Christmas and Hanukah
are the best known annual holidays in December. Plus, kids of all
ages the world over are sending out their lists for Santa Claus to
grant their wishes. Shopping after work and on weekends for family
and friends, clients and suppliers, and the household pets can be a
daunting challenge or great fun. Having a list of great places to
shop helps make holiday shopping fun. Most of these favorite shops
can be visited by ferry or a combination of ferry, bus, or cab.
Happy holidays from all of us at Bay Crossings, and please enjoy the
second installment of COOL places to shop for the Holidays.
A favorite place to shop for the holidays continues to be the
festive PIER 39. PIER 39 has held the distinction of being the #1
tourist attraction for years, but in the fall and winter months the
majority of shoppers are local Bay Area residents. The Ferry and the
Embarcadero F line make visiting the Pier easy. With 110 retail
shops, 11 fine restaurants, 1 restaurant on the water, 23 casual
eateries, and 11 entertaining attractions, there is much to see and
do at the Pier. PIER 39 management is always on the lookout to add
special shops to its interesting roster. Two shops, new for 2004,
join the Bay Crossings list of particularly Cool Places to shop.
“Holidays, Special Days, Everyday” tagline epitomizes a company that
recognizes the importance of celebrating life’s extraordinary
momemts. Walking into Department 56 on PIER 39 is like walking into
a wonderland of festive cheer. A display of Snowbabies(TM) playing
with Disney characters followed by sugar-coated gumdrops that were
really candles set next to a replica of a gum drop factory. Among
the many sparkling Christmas tree ornaments was a tree filled with
sea lions. One wall offered fanciful long-legged land and sea
characters, including a tree top angel, eliciting smiles from
company began almost 30 years ago when a group of friends, out for a
nighttime holiday stroll, were inspired by the twinkling houses
nestled into the hillsides of Stillwater, MN. They loved the look of
the buildings so much that they wanted to take the buildings home
with them. They did, in a way, by carefully handcrafting six
replicas of the buildings, creating the beginning of the still very
popular Snow Village(TM). Throughout the shop are displays of
Department 56’s famous village replicas including: Snow Village(TM),
Dickens’s Village Christmas in the City, and the North Pole.
Each building is a work of art. Each building is
lovingly handcraftedand hand-painted. The entire process from
ideation through completion involves 60 steps. Creating one finished
builing takes almost as much time as building an actual home. Each
November, selected creations are retired and the mold destroyed,
making Department 56 building replicas collectibles. New pieces
range in price from $20 to $120.
PIER 39’s Department 56 shop is one of six
corporate stores around the country plus there are 1400 licensed
retailers. Their web site, www.department56.com, gives store
locations. Whales and Friends in Alameda, Ironworks in Oakland, and
Giftique in Tiburon are licensed Department 56 shops.
Department 56, PIER 39 G-1, San Francisco (415) 391-1660.
Nantucket Natural Oils
Fragrance lovers have a fun new option in California. Nantucket
Natural Oils provides a wide selection of fragrances for men and
women, and they even offer a unisex scent, all from a base of
natural almond oil. People with allergies and sensitive skin can
also wear these fragrances. What makes these fragrance and perfume
oils so different is that by not using alcohol as a base, one or two
drops will last all day.
Natural Oils opened this summer to the delight of Pier visitors.
walls are lined with designer scents on one wall and natural single
and simple combinations plus aroma therapy oils on the other.
Attractive hand-blown and cut crystal perfume bottles from around
the world adorn the center of the shop and the front window. Dead
Sea bath salts fully dissolve in a bath making them greatly
appreciated by any lady on your list. Popular fragrances are already
made up, or you can select unscented salts and have them scented
with her favorite scent. Or, give her a gift certificate to come in
to make her own choice. Simple scents are $18, $25 for blended, and
$45 for designer fragrance (1/4 oz.). There are specials available,
or bring ten or more friends and have a Fragrance Experience party.
Nantucket Natural Oils closes the shop to all but your group for the
private party. They provide libations, hors d’oeuvres, or discount
certificates for one of the PIER’s 11 fine restaurants. Stop by for
a free drop of fragrance. Nantucket Natural Oils, PIER 39 D-02, San
Francisco (415) 986-3350
What’s new at the Ferry Building?
Kingdom of Herbs
Opened this summer by William Rosenzweig, the creator of the
Republic of Tea and a lecturer at UC Berkeley’s Business School, and
partner Chiquita Woodward.
store has a splendid selection of fresh herbs in dry form and as
live plants. Herbs can be planted for customers in one of their many
pots. Among the products are herb books, books on the use of herbs,
cookbooks featuring herbs, herb and lovely festive wreaths, mortar
and pestle selections, and many more special gifts for the cook and
herb lover on your list. Check www.kingdomofherbs.com for more info.
Kingdom of Herbs, Marketplace #20, Ferry Building, San Francisco
Opened just in time for the holidays, this is a different kind of
food lovers’ shop. Created to supply home cooks just getting
started, home chefs increasing their level of ability in the
kitchen, and fully prepared dishes to select from to create whole
meals for anyone to take home to finish in the oven for a fabulous
home cooked meal. Chef partner Amaryll with business partner Lori
Rogis wanted to create something useful. Amaryll said, “Most people
in the Bay Area know good food. They eat well and travel enough to
know quality ingredients. We offer the products that can boost
confidence in cooking. We make quality ingredients typically only
used and available to fine Bay Area restaurants.”
seven days a week, they sell pantry items such as beurre compose
(Meyer lemon, hallots, and fat leaf parlsley), citrus juice (Meyer
lemon or Satsuma mandarin orange), organic pomegranate reduction and
organic baby foods, and more. To bake at home are options such as
Brined Prather Ranch Pork Chops, Apple Farm Golden Delicious
Applesauce and Hungarian Cream Cheese spread and Chocolate Bon Bon
Cookie Dough for dessert. They also serve breakfast and lunch onsite
Monday thru Friday in front of their open fireplace used to slow
cook stews, ember roast vegetables, or grill meats.
Schwertner has spent the last 25 years in fine restaurants. For the
last four years, she was the chef at Stars in the city and before
that she worked for Sole Luna and the Santa Fe Bar and Grill.
Amaryll started cooking at Chez Panisse, along with Peg Smith of the
Cowgirl Creamery and a few others scattered about the Marketplace.
After graduating in Neurological Science, she continued cooking
because it had become her passion and continues to bring her great
joy. Amaryll’s excellent kitchen offers classes for 2 to 20 by
reservation after 6pm, and she will also host private seminars and
dinner parties. Boulette’s Larder, Marketplace, Ferry
Building, San Francisco (415) 300-1155
Gallery 108 has moved down the hill and around the corner from Ark
Row, so it is now visible from the ferry dock walkway. Nina and her
dog Nicky greet customers six days a week under the distinctive
black crane sign. After many years at 108 Main Street on Ark Row,
Nina and Gary Gerhard made plans for the move to the hub of downtown
together. They planned the remodeling and new layout for the long
narrow shop, the new logo and signage, and then Gary died suddenly.
had to implement the plans and move just days after losing her
husband. It was a true challenge for this fine lady to reinvent
their pleasant gallery and expand their fine gift store. The result
is wonderful. New products have added dimension and the shop is a
pleasure to visit.
Gallery 108 is the only gallery on the West Coast
to showcase Jie-Wei Zhou, a famous young Asian artist who paints in
a classic style. Among Gallery 108’s extraordinary gifts are tasty
hand-crafted jellies, wonderful teas including a potent blend of
Chai, hand-blown glass seashells and starfish, local artisan-crafted
and beaded jewelry, work of a local metal sculptor and functional
artist, and Chinese silk pillows. There are gifts in all price
ranges. Displays of new hand-crafted gifts are among the many
beautiful Asian antiques and collectibles. The antiques are for home
decorating and practical use. They are artfully arranged around
hand-crafted designer American furnishings used to create homelike
settings to spark the imagination. Nina also offers a collection of
beautiful fabrics from all over the world for the discerning
interior designer to choose from. Gallery 108, 1704 Tiburon Blvd.,
Tiburon (415) 435-2511
Zellique Art Glass in Benicia is a very Cool place. Benicia is
directly east of Vallejo. Benicia is an old-fashioned town with lots
of history and historical buildings. Zellique Art Glass and their
neighbors are located at the eastern end of H Street. Joe and Debbie
Morel created a business in Benicia that attracts attention from
around the world. Their shop
the hand-blown glass created in an open work shop that can be viewed
through a window, allowing customers to observe the artisans blow
glass pieces while shopping. Zellique’s neighbors are two
glass-blowing companies not to be missed. The shop displays a
variety of fine wine and water goblets, lamps, vases, perfume
bottles, jewelry, Christmas tree ornaments, and much more, including
fine art glass pieces that are truly stunning.
Zellique Art Glass, 701 East H Street, Benicia 94510, (707) 745-5710
Ho Ho Ho from the Wild Side.
On Sunday, December 12, 2004, Safari West is throwing open their
gates and doors for their first open house. Welcomed by friends
(furry and otherwise), guests can visit the fabulous African
Preserve for the special rate of $18 per adult and children 12 and
under are free!
the holidays with Safari West giraffes, Macaas, Ostriches, and
Cheetahs. Say Ho Ho Ho to the many hoofed animals of the African
plains. Hourly tours on the African Queen and the Nairobi Express
leave between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for a slightly shorter tour to make
it possible to start each tour on the hour. Plus, enjoy reptile
rodeo, winged animal encounters of the closest kind with colors
fitting for the bright and cheerful holidays!
The Safari West store features wild stocking
stuffers. Enjoy 10 percent off holiday gift certificates and items
from our gift shop for purchases valued at $25 or more. It’s a
chance to do something really unique and delightful for the whole
family...while contributing toward the well being for all our
There’s one important catch: Reservations are required. To reserve
space, call 707-579-2551 or e-mail email@example.com. Identify
yourself as a “friend of wild life” to get the discounted rates.