As continued from my last post, although I was staying in Maine, Portsmouth, New Hampshire was just close enough for the perfect day trip. Portsmouth may seem like just a small town landscaped by the sea, but it has many stores of interest that I keep coming back to (or want to) each year. On this particular visit to Portsmouth, I stopped over at Gus & Ruby Letterpress, 29 Congress Street. The store itself is named after owners Samantha Finigan and Whitney Swaffield’s two dogs, Gus and Ruby and pays homage to Whitney’s grandfather’s printing press business. This paper boutique is certainly a gem with its intriguing stationery and wrapping paper ranging from bicycle motifs, gum drop prints, and 50’s-inspired food graphics--- all of which I could see framed.
Walking down Portsmouth’s various alleys, I found Fa La Lo at 51 Ceres Street. Owned by Liz Wright and Scott Segee, the shop is devoted to women's clothing, accessories, and household furnishings that are ALL locally made or Fair Traded. If you’re not familiar with the term Fair Trade, it is a social movement, the purpose of which is to help local craftersmen thrive and obtain better trading conditions for locally produced goods (as opposed to mass produced) while promoting sustainability. When I saw Fa La Lo’s sign outside their store I knew I had to stop in. Everything in the store is eclectic, ranging from embroidered eyeglass cases and coin purses, peace sign earrings made from recycled plastic, to Batik pillows, and so, so much more!
Each nook of the store transports you to a different part of the world. The pendant necklaces above are from a New Hampshire craftsman who recycled broken china plates. However, my absolute favorite animal is the elephant. Sitting right by the cash register was a beautifully carved wooden elephant on a chain from Kenya, and I knew right then that that had to be my purchase.