If you’ve never visited Hamilton you should! Tucked away in Madison County NY it’s the home of Colgate University – and our 5th New York Skin and Vein Center office as well as many quaint shops, artisan galleries, restaurants and a fabulous farmer’s market on the village green every saturday during the summer months. Hamilton is beautifully laid out for pedestrians but although parking is plentiful (there’s free 2 hour parking right near the town green) navigating the streets in your vehicle can be a bit tricky in places if you don’t know the traffic flow patterns. So if you visit, be sure to “park and walk”
I got a late start on my 4 hours in Hamilton (and was starving by the time I got there) so my first stop was La Iguana Mexican Restaurant and Tapas Bar. Located at 10 Broad Street this restaurant is a “don’t miss” Though the salsa was so-so (I like my salsa made with fresh tomato) the Sangria more than made up for that minor disappointment. For my entree I ordered the enchiladas and WOW! I can see why locals and college students alike love this place. Prices are good and the food is excellent.
With a happy belly I began my exploration starting with a visit to Broad Street Gallery just a few doors down from La Iguana. There were a number of very talented local artists displaying their work. The featured artist this month is John Jacopelle “When A Tube Of Paint Is Squeezed” Which I found interesting (but ultimately I decided on a butterfly painting by another artist).
After the gallery (and a quick stop at the car to leave my new painting) I headed to Swank at 2 Broad Street which is a designers mecca. Here you will find everything from a bar of hand batched soap to unique home decor items. Swank is not a huge store but trust me, you can spend an hour here easily! Wandering around I came across a bunch of stuff I absolutely needed to own – some I left with, some I wish now that I had. I’m definitely going back!
After Swank I turned left onto Lebanon Street where I found a delightfully old movie theatre (showing movies my kids would love) and next to that Steph a women’s clothing store. Though I obviously wasn’t there to shop for myself I do have five daughters who always seem to be having birthdays or graduations…) I did take a quick look inside and the proprietor, Stephanie Crawford, explained that she had opened the store in order to fill the void of boutiques in the col-lege town (Steph has four daughters) She told me that she wanted “to create as a place where both college and local girls could shop alongside their moms” Judging by the traffic hat afternoon I’d say she has succeeded.
Next to Steph is Evergreen Gallery and Gifts. Owned and operated by Lauri Shoemaker for more than 20 years, Evergreen is a wonderland of unusual home decor items, jewelry, photographs and paintings. Shoemaker told me that she personally sources all the items she sells and seeks out fairtrade and locally made products.
After leaving Evergreen Gallery I wandered across the street to Retrospect a surprisingly inexpensive vintage store selling a little bit of everything. It’s one of those stores where you don’t know you need an item until you see it. I left with several vintage cameras (one of which reminded me of the camera my father owned) which now grace my bookshelves. In among the various treasures I discovered old books, games and artwork; there were some interesting pieces of furniture too but alas all too large to find into my car. If I lived in Hamilton this is certainly the kind of place I would frequent on a weekly basis, just to be sure I wasn’t missing out on something unique.
Having filled my soul with nostalgia I headed into the Colgate Bookstore (because I always seem to be spending money on college textbooks these day) Much to my surprise, the bookstore didn’t just offer up textbooks and Colgate hoodies! I discovered cookery books, novels, volumes of poetry and (non-Colgate related) gift items. Prices were a bit steep (as one might expect) but I found a couple of books by local radio personality and foodie Big Chuck d’ Imperio so I left happy.
After all this shopping I felt that I deserved an ice-cream and where better to obtain one but Maxwell’s Chocolates and Ice-creams at 14 Utica Street (the front of which I had spied through the window of the bookstore). It was hard to choose which flavor I liked best but I decided on a teeny tiny scoop of vanilla and made my way back towards my car.
A quick look at the time and I realized that I still had 30 minutes left out of my allotted 4 hours, so I did what any right-minded individual would do – I headed back to La Iguana for another glass of their excellent sangria…