By Judy A. Totts
The Coffee Colony
The place to be: When you step into The Coffee Colony, youâ€™ll inhale the heady aroma of coffee, but thatâ€™s not the only thing brewing. In addition to more than 80 gourmet coffees and specialty teas, which are available in $1 pot-sized sample packets, youâ€™ll find everything from soup, dip and cheeseball mixes to teapots, mugs and chocolate-dipped spoons.
Kim Hansen sells personalized snowmen signs at the Coffee Colony in Medina. (Shirley Ware | Photo Editor)
Where to find it: Visit The Coffee Colony at 113 N. Huntington St., Medina, just two blocks west of the square north of state Route 18. The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and until Christmas, noon to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Spotlight: Still looking for an unusual gift for that hard-to-buy-for person on your list? Try a hand-painted, personalized snowman sign by Kim Hansen, shown above. Each cheery snowman bears the name of a family member, and the piece is sure to become part of a holiday tradition. Signs start at $15.
More info: 330-722-6797 or www.coffeecolony.com
FUNdamentals Creative Toys
The place to be: If youâ€™re shopping for the kids on your list â€” or if youâ€™re a kid at heart â€” treat yourself to a trip to FUNdamentals Creative Toys. Owner Ken Young stocks the shelves with toys that never go out of style, like puppets, dolls, science kits, Fiddlestix and Lincoln Logs, plus deluxe play sets by Playmobil â€” its circus series offers a dazzling array of performers under a colorful Big Top ($120, pictured above).
Where to find it: You donâ€™t have to travel to the North Pole to find this wonderland of toys. Drop in at 140 W. Washington St., Medina.
Spotlight: Among the many quality items by German-made Holgate Toys, the hardwood hammer-and-pegs â€œBingo Bedâ€ (see photo above) takes a pounding from young would-be carpenters. Holgate toys come in a wide price range; the Bingo Bed retails at $27.99.
More info: 330-722-8697
The place to be: Natureâ€™s Lavender gift shop offers items on consignment, from jewelry designed and handcrafted by June Galyen, paintings by local artists and a line of lavender-and-flaxseed-stuffed sleep sheep ($10), neck wraps ($10) and hand and wrist comforters ($22). The store also features a corner for the critter in your life, with proceeds benefiting Kitten Krazy, a local rescue agency.
Where to find it: Natureâ€™s Lavender is a cozy little shop, easy to find at 6699 Center Road in the heart of Valley City in Liverpool Township.
Spotlight: For a unique twist on gift-giving, check out the wooden peppermills hand-turned by Ray Terhart of Brunswick. The one pictured (right) sells for $60. Terhart had several styles to choose from on display.
More info: 330-421-2473
All Fired Up
The place to be: All Fired Up gives shoppers the opportunity to be creative at the same time theyâ€™re looking for functional gifts. Whether youâ€™re organizing a painting party for friends or your childâ€™s class, itâ€™s not difficult to find something perfect for giving as a gift â€” or keeping for yourself. Owner-manager Amanda Cook Hudak pointed out several pieces favored by painters, including holiday handprint pieces tailor-made for memories. We found Sharon Killinger of Doylestown, passing a pleasant afternoon with her granddaughter, Ashleigh Jones, 3, of Wadsworth, crafting a surprise for Ashleighâ€™s mom.
Where to find it: Stroll down Medinaâ€™s main drag to 233 S. Court St. All Fired Up, housed just off the square in one of Medinaâ€™s historic district storefronts, is a paradise of handpainted art waiting to happen.
Spotlight: Cook Hudak said serving pieces remain popular, like a stunning blue plate trimmed with a ring of silver snowflakes (about $30 with the studio fee). Choose your own color scheme to customize any piece of pottery in the store. Prices (before studio fee) range from $4 to $40. The studio fee, which includes paint, glazing and firing, is calculated at 50 percent of the itemâ€™s price. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are suggested for large groups, particularly during the holiday season.
More info: 330-723-1112
Miss Mollyâ€™s Tea Room
The place to be: When youâ€™ve finished your chicken salad puff and scone with Devonshire cream at Miss Mollyâ€™s Tea Room, a visit to the gift shop completes the afternoon. Itâ€™s a world of lace tablecloths and china teacups, unique greeting cards and tea-themed Christmas ornaments, with a large doll dressed in finery fit for a queen ($64.95) surveying the scene.
Where to find it: The tea room, which shares the building with FUNdamentals Creative Toys at 140 W. Washington St., Medina, opens into the gift shop.
Spotlight: We discovered a row of charming little girlsâ€™ tea sets packed in baskets, including one for perfect for an elegant peanut-butter sandwich picnic, complete with red-checked cloths ($24.50). Save it for a shady summer spot, or get ready for an indoor winter tea party with the teddy bears.
More info: 330-725-6830 or www.missmollys.net
The Coffee Colony also offers Medina-themed giftware, hand-crafted jewelry and small canvas gift bags ($3.99) perfect for cramming full of packets of hot cocoa mix ($1.25).
While youâ€™re chatting with owner Melinda Greenland at Natureâ€™s Lavender, donâ€™t forget to check out the line of gift items priced at $10 or under, like pine or lavender soaps, lavender-scented eye packs, dream pillows and sachets.
Donâ€™t forget favorites like card games, Breyer horses and dollhouse dreams you can find at FUNdamentals.
On a budget? All Fired Up has pottery tiles and Christmas ornaments ready for painting.
Tuck a few bars of scented soap ($4.95) into a Christmas Eve stocking, or select a teacup and saucer for the special collector on your gift list from Miss Mollyâ€™s.
Totts may be reached at 330-721-4063 or email@example.com.