The Fat Finch calls itself a “Boutique for Birders,” but it’s so much more. Sure, the two-year-old shop owned by lifetime bird enthusiast Roberta Beyer is stocked with seed, feeders, baths, houses and an impressive array of bird-watching books. But you could find something for most anyone on your holiday list here. Its three rooms are dotted with games, puzzles, jewelry, T-shirts, locally hand-painted silk scarves, bath and body products, finger puppets, baby clothes, and some of the best cards we’ve seen in the city. Almost all of the inventory is bird-themed, in styles that range from the more mature to the decidedly hip.
There’s a lot to love about Pennysmiths, from its crisp and colorful paper-stocked walls to its Francophile-themed children’s books and toys. So much so that it’s hard to define this shop, which has been open since 1979. As soon as you think you know what to expect, you turn a corner and find something delightfully different. Of course, Pennysmiths functions as a stationary store: There are pens and pencils (some are graphite sculpted into the shapes of owls and hands); seemingly endless shelves of cards; leather- and canvas-bound photo albums; scrapbooking equipment; and lots of stationary. But then there are those unexpected things: Lego’s “Architecture” building sets for Falling Water, the Empire State Building and the Space Needle; remote-control rattlesnakes; dream journals; and milagros (“miracles”), little hand-cast, sterling charms that represent prayers. It’s impossible to list all the tidbits in this shop, so you’ll just have to uncover some of them yourself.
Lilly Barrack has stores all over the country, but Barrack designs her jewelry out of a small studio right here in New Mexico. That means when you go to her Rio Grande location you can buy her jewelry at wholesale prices (50 percent off retail). Her work is Southwestern, made with sterling silver and gems that run up and down the mineral and gemstone kingdom. But Barrack’s wares aren’t all you’ll find at the Rio Grande shop. The store hosts other local jewelry makers as well, along with artists from around the world. The prices are reasonable—plenty of jewelry is $20 and under. Housewares (including an adorable silver sugar bowl shaped like an apple), candles, bookmarks and locally made recycled metal sculptures are other pieces lining the shelves of this cute Los Ranchos shop.
Make your way down a cottonwood-lined lane and you’ll find yourself at one of the most spectacular little shops in the area. It’s on the Los Poblanos property in a white, pitched-roof building (the original dairy room back when Creamland owned the place) perched between the goats and the old feed silos. The interior is cozily rustic and popping with treasures and sensory delights. There are, of course, Los Poblanos’ body products, infused with organic lavender grown on the premises. Then there are the caramels, spiced pecans and chocolates prepared twice a week by the inn’s Chef Jonathan Perno. Hanging from the ceiling are silver ornaments shaped like birds and clear glass bulbs filled with feathers. And then there are the tools. One of the Farm Shop’s missions is to make Los Poblanos’ favorite tools available to the public. Take, for instance, the Masahiro knives, which Chef Jonathan has used ever since he worked under Wolfgang Puck. Glaser hoes are built for life by a Swiss engineering company, and you can’t buy them anywhere else in the U.S. The Farm Shop sells only the best it can find.