‘And there you are, happy landing on a chocolate bar’

Shirley Temple might have been referring to an airplane when she sang about the Good Ship Lollipop, but to me the local (and locally renowned!) sweet shop in all its holiday glory is the real mothership of all that is good and chocolate.

 

In the holiday spirit

In the holiday spirit

 

 

It’s called Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe, and they really get into the holiday spirit that I’ve waxed poetic about.

 

 

 

 

Which way to the North Pole?

Which way to the North Pole?

 

 

 

I’ve been known to have some candy cane ice cream in December just because, well…who could resist? (I’m also one of those crazies who drinks iced coffee when it’s below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and considers it a bonus that the ice doesn’t melt!)

 

 

 

 

 

Chocolate is a great gift for ANY occasion

Chocolate is a great gift for ANY occasion

 

 

No matter the recipient’s mood or lifestyle, you’ll find something here that suits.

 

 

 

 

 

So now you know where to go to satisfy any craving for candy or chocolate! The best part – almost all the chocolates made on premises are gluten-free, as is the vast majority of the penny candy, and the owners and employees are super helpful about letting you know which treats are best if you have other allergies.

Sage parting words of wisdom

Sage parting words of wisdom

 

 

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Christmas in Connecticut

Most of the time, I write about life in Manhattan, the busiest borough in one of the liveliest cities in the world. But the idea of “home” for me has a split personality…or, as I prefer to think of it, a multifaceted meaning appropriate to a renaissance runner girl! I am a native of both New York and Connecticut, and in truth consider myself both a city mouse and a country mouse. I love the lights and bustle of the city, the unparalleled arts scene and the holiday season merrymaking. But I am equally enthralled by this time of year in ‘the country’ at my home in Connecticut.

 

Ridgefield, Conn. is probably not ‘the country’ to anyone who hails from a rural area. But it’s far enough from the main line of Metro North, away from Long Island Sound and into the hills, to feel like a peaceful place even while resting at the outer fringe of the city’s orbit. It’s closer to Litchfield (and Stars Hollow, if my dreams came true and it really existed) than to the metropolis. And while it’s a town with a substantial population and its fair share of commerce, our Main Street is the very picture of an ideal place for a holiday stroll in Americana.

 

 

Town Hall with Nutcrackers standing sentry

Town Hall with Nutcrackers standing sentry

 

My favorite bookstore in the area

My favorite bookstore in the area

 

 

The streetlamps are wrapped in holly and tied up with red bows. Trees are strung with white lights, and Christmas ornaments and Hanukah dreidels sparkle in shop windows.

 

 

 

 

 

Santa's sleigh

Santa’s sleigh

 

 

 

Santa’s sleigh is filled with gifts, and nearby are shops where you can both buy presents for loved ones and donate to philanthropic causes in the holiday spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is simply no more magical place to take a holiday stroll. At the end, a steaming mug of cocoa with a candy cane to swirl in awaits!

 

The best sweetshop in Connecticut...cocoa, and candy cane ice cream for the brave!

The best sweetshop in Connecticut…cocoa, and candy cane ice cream for the brave!

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.

Happy Hanukah!

When I was little, Hanukah was great, but like every Jewish kid I dreamed of having a Christmas tree to decorate. Lighting the candles for eight nights was a lovely ceremonial way to celebrate, and my brother and I always had plenty of gifts to open on the first night (as my parents quite reasonably decided that eight was a bit excessive). I loved spinning the dreidel and winning the gelt – gold, shiny, and never actually unwrapped and eaten, what with all the other delicacies to savor (and the fact that typical mass-produced gelt is about as much like chocolate as roasted pumpkin is to canned pie filling). But none of that could replace having a tree.

 

Christmas tree and menorah side by side for Chrismukkah

Christmas tree and menorah side by side for Chrismukkah

 

Once I began dancing in the Nutcracker, my pleas intensified. The magical tree that grew to enormous heights on stage made the prospect of having one in my own house all the more enticing. My parents responded by giving me the same book as a gift that I imagine many others in my situation were reading at the same moment. There’s No Such Thing As A Chanukah Bush, Sandy Goldstein! It felt the same as it did when my bat mitzvah was on the same day as my spring ballet recital, and I got Pink Slippers, Bat Mitzvah Blues. Theoretically I should have been more understanding, but I really, really wanted a tree.

 

Finally, they caved. When I was a high school senior, about to head off to college, nostalgia kicked in. I was about to move three thousand miles away across the Atlantic. I needed something about the holidays to miss! So we got a little tree in an even smaller planter, and a few ornaments specially made for our family. A ceramic menorah, a cheery snowman, and a Star of David for the top. Every year, returning to my parents’ house for the holidays, I dig out the tree and set it up in the foyer, so the white lights twinkle through the front window.

 

All lit up for Hanukah

All lit up for Hanukah

 

And to me, those twinkling lights signal that I am home, just as much as the candles of the menorah.

 

Noah's Ark menorah waiting to be lit

Noah’s Ark menorah waiting to be lit

 

Happy Hanukah and Holidays to one and all!

 

 

© 2014 Renaissance Runner Girl. All rights reserved.