>> Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Hello to all my vintage and retro lovin' friends visiting from Vintage Thingies Thursday over at Coloradolady! I've missed VTT these past few weeks and am happy to be participating again today!
I'm stretching the meme a little this week, because I want to share with you all a very special place... this is a photo heavy post, apologies to those with slow page loads!
Welcome to the Nutcracker Suite!
The Nutcracker Suite Christmas Shop is located on historic Mill Street in downtown Newport, RI. Since it's inception in 1981, it has been housed in the Thomas Brown House, built in 1860, a home on the National Register of Historic Places AND the Newport Restoration Foundation, founded by Doris Duke.
Today, the Nutcracker is run by shop owners, newlyweds and cherished family friends Cheryl and Kevin Whittaker, who purchased it from the original owners in 2009.
Cheryl and Kevin are a fun loving couple who clearly have a passion for what they do- in the short time since they have taken over the store, they have started a website, brought in tons of new stock and carried on the time-honored tradition of literally decking the halls (and the walls and the ceilings and the mantels) with the most beautiful displays of Christmas cheer you could imagine.
To me, it doesn't matter if it's the hottest day in the middle of July- I step over the threshold of the air conditioned store and am immediately drawn in by the spirit of Christmas.
They have decorations for every taste. From vintage and traditional to modern and flashy. Small and delicate to large and ornate!
They have sports themes, music themes, snowmen themes, angels, Santa Claus, Carolers, Smokers, Nativity sets, Ornaments for bird lovers, wine enthusiasts, Newport/nautical themes
and of course- they have Nutcrackers. Oh yes, they have Nutcrackers!
One of the things that I love is that they are working hard to bring in beautiful ornaments made by local artists (of which I am but one). They have many talented RI and New England artists featured in the shop- they have hand blown eggs featuring paintings of famous Newport sites, striking ornaments made by RI company Chemart and a gorgeous sampling of other items hand painted, etched and engraved locally.
Shameless self horn tooting for a second here...
And while I definitely want to encourage everyone who is local to Newport to go visit this amazing store, I really and truly most wanted to share with you the joy I feel every time I step through their door. It is impossible not to catch the infectious spirit in this place! I have YET to walk out without a newly purchase ornament in my bag.
My favorites in the store have got to be the glass ornaments made by Merck Family's Old World Christmas. I think these have all the charm of the true vintage glass ornaments I collect.
A personal favorite is the glass pickle. Though no one seems to quite know the true origins of the pickle, they have been being manufactured and imported from Germany since the 1880's and it is thought to be a German (or at least German-American) tradition. The pickle ornament gets hidden deep in the tree and whoever finds it on Christmas morning is blessed with a year of good fortune. In my house, we have altered the tradition that the child who finds the pickle gets to open the first gift!
Old World Christmas has literally hundreds of glass ornaments each equally as beautiful as the next. I am collecting the nautical, sea life and bird pieces for our family Christmas tree.
I can't wait to get them onto my tree this year and now -thanks to the Whittaker's generosity- one of my awesome readers gets to enjoy one of these beautiful ornaments as well!
I am giving away this stunning Great Blue Heron ornament. He is approximately 5 1/2 inches tall and 1 1/2 inches wide with soft, shimmery blue wings and he stands in vibrant green marsh grass. Oh, I wish I had brought one home to put on my tree... hmmm... maybe next visit over to Newport?...
Anyway, to be entered in the giveaway, simply leave me a comment! Maybe about a tradition your family has or a favorite ornament on your tree? A special holiday collection you have? Whatever, just share with me and you're entered!
Now, because I'd like to give you all a few more shots at winning, I'll do the "extra chances" entries:
1. Become a public follower of my blog
2. Tweet or post to Facebook about this giveaway
3. Visit The Nutcracker Suite's website and tell me what your favorite item is.
This contest will remain open until Thursday, October 21st (Aidan's 7th birthday) at midnight. Winner will be chosen using Random.org.