Out of the box

Skylands for Christmas!

Avoid messy mall parking and that faceless (and getting dangerous) big-box MaulMart syndrome. And get yourself some real service without resorting to pepper spray! Pick from hundreds of handmade, original items from any number of gift shops and galleries on the Main Streets of Northwest New Jersey.

Or how about a gift certificate at a special destination in our area?

Calm Waters by Ron Orlando

Decoys and Wildlife Gallery contains an extensive collection of original paintings by some of the nation's most renowned artists as well as the area’s largest selection of hand carved decoys, representing carvers across the US. Choose from a world-class collection for the most discerning art-lover or collector.
55 Bridge St., Frenchtown; 908/996-6501.

Made To Order, the distinctive jewelry and gift shop in Clinton, offers exclusive access to the popular line of Pandora jewelry. There is also a wide selection of gold and platinum jewelry, fine art glass and crystal, Peggy Karr glass, and wildlife photos and beaded jewelry made by Dan Bacon.
44 Main St., Clinton; 908/735-4244.

Local Flavor

A selection from any of the Vintage North Jersey wineries will go well on your holiday table or under the tree. There are several Holiday Trails that you can follow, and combine your winery trip with antique and crafts shops, Christmas tree farms, and restaurants. For example, here's a trip through the lower Musconetcong valley. Here's a map and directions to each winery. Or check for offers and order by phone or online:

Visit Gallery 23 in Blairstown for personalized holiday shopping featuring unique gifts and art, including a huge inventory of paintings, photographs, jewelry, fine woodworking, wooden toys, pottery, stain glass, quilting, handmade ornaments, cards and more—all by local artists.
23 Main Street, Blairstown, 908/362-6865.

A wolf-watch at the Lakota Wolf Preserve in Columbia makes an outstanding gift. From an observation area in the center of four packs of wolves, visitors learn about the social structure of wolf packs, their eating habits, their interaction with man and many other interesting facts. You will be able to watch the wolves play, interact with each other and maybe even hear them howl! This award-winning attraction, loved by thousands, presents wolf watches twice daily all year (closed Monday).

Lakota also offers private, guided photography sessions that focus on each group, even separate individuals. Through portal openings in the fencing, you can take unobstructed pictures of the wolves as they go about their business, roaming deep in the woods or almost close enough to touch (please don’t!). You’ll get to know each personality and each pack’s dynamic. Sessions are available at any time during the year. Late fall and winter are special though, when the wolves' fur bulks up and they are most energetic.

Photographers range from serious amateurs and professionals to point-and-shooters who just want to be as close as possible to the wolves. All come away with pictures that make them proud, delighted with the additions to their personal portfolios and the one-on-one experience with their subjects. A perfect gift for the photographer in your life!
Located at Camp Taylor Campground, 85 Mt. Pleasant Rd., Columbia, 07832

Call toll free for gift certificates or more information: 1-877-SEE-WOLF. go to Lakota Wolf website.

At this time of year, the Well-Sweep Herb Farm garden fairies transform the shop into a Christmas wonderland. Featuring an ever expanding collection of handcrafted gifts and quality decorations; ornaments, wreaths, arrangements, Santas, and angels overflow the shelves. The greenhouse is also stocked with a selection of attractive windowsill herbs, unusual tender perennials in bloom and unique topiary’s -- all to help with your shopping list of special gift giving needs.
205 Mt. Bethel Rd.. 908/852-5390.

Get A Tree!

Christmas tree farmers plan years in advance, provide year-round care, and invest time, labor, and love into a crop which takes 7-15 years from planting to harvest. Opting for a real Christmas tree for your holiday decor helps the local environment, local economy, even rural landscapes. Cutting your own Christmas tree can be a day-long and memorable event for your family. Remember to wear boots and bring a warm jacket as the conditions could be muddy and it is always chilly. Here's a good list and a map.

Evergreen Valley Tree Farm is open from 9 am to 4 pm Tuesday thru Sunday (closed Monday) until December 23rd. 10,000 trees stand at attention, awaiting your review. Walk through the fields, breathe the fresh air, choose and cut! The farm is located at 71 Jackson Valley Road in Washington Township, just off of Route 31 (map)

This story was first published:
Stay in the Loop!

Get our newsletter, This Week in the NJ Skylands, with updates, special offers and good ideas!

Read current newsletter

Privacy Statement