November 2013

Spotlight on Berkeley Heights, NJ

I’m making my list and checking it twice – and just realized I have less than 30 days to shop!  I better get moving.  However, the thought of going to the mall and dealing with the crowds is dampening my holiday spirit.

Maybe I will do a lot of my shopping in town this year.  Berkeley Heights is filled with stores offering a wide variety of items, and I know I will get personal service and assistance if needed.  I’m sure I can get a lot of things on my list, including many original items that cannot be found at the mall.  I’ll also have access to plenty of free parking and see some friendly, familiar faces.  After all, Berkeley Heights was ranked number six by Money Magazine in 2013 on their list of the fifty top small towns in America.  With its strong sense of community, tree-lines streets, good schools, and relatively short commute into New York City, this is hardly surprising.  The residents here already know this is a great place to live and do business.

I gather my list and my purse, and head out the door.  Berkeley Heights looks festive with all of its decorations on display.  It’s almost time for Santa and his elves to visit the town, which all the families look forward to.  It’s such a fun day, with horse and wagon rides, carolers, the tree lighting, and hot chocolate all around. It feels just like an old-fashioned holiday celebration, and it’s nice to see friends and neighbors, as well as out-of-towners who come to join in the festivities.

My first stop is the wine store.  I find not only great wines, but delectable cheeses and chocolates as well.  I pick up some cigars from the humidor for my uncle and brother, and a single malt Scotch for my father. I decide to have baskets made up and include not only wine, but some fancy pasta, jarred sauce, and pretty napkins as well as other things I find throughout the store.  This way, I won’t even have to wrap!  They even have a nice selection of books.  As I place my orders, I am able to cross a lot of people off my list.  While I’m here, I also place an order for my own holiday entertaining needs and pick up a few extra bottles of wine as well.

After this, I browse through a hardware store for the do-it-yourselfers on my list, and then through a pet store for the pet lovers on my list.  I also can’t help but grab a couple of catnip filled mice at the pet store for my own two cats.  After all, they deserve presents as well. I then set off for my car, unload bags full of gifts, and go into a pizzeria for a delicious meal to sustain me through my next few stops.   As I relax and eat my salad and pizza, I notice a few snowflakes coming down.  How beautiful it looks, and it’s so light that it won’t affect my shopping expedition at all.  Instead, it will add a bit of holiday cheer to the day.

Once I’m done with lunch, I head to the florist in town.  The owner is very helpful, and after I place my order for a beautiful holiday centerpiece, I notice all the unique gifts and affordable jewelry spread throughout the store. I pick up a pretty scarf for my aunt, some bracelets for my nieces, candles and lotions for my mother and sister, and an ornament for my coworker. I love being able to get a variety of things all in one place.

Next, for friends and family who love going out to dinner, I stop in some of the many wonderful and diverse restaurants in town to buy gift certificates.  These I will pair with some of the bottles of wine I have bought.  Perfect, and easy!

Wow, I am almost done with my list already.  All I have left to do is stop in a few of the spas and salons for more gift certificates, and then I can head home.  I can’t believe I was able to get through almost my whole list without ever having to go near a shopping mall or large department store.  What a stress free season this is going to be.  Happy Holidays!

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