105 Amherst SE • 268-8813 Hours: Tuesday through Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The people that brought us Zap ... oh! children's boutique opened a sister shop, Besitos—which means "little kisses"—in October. Babies ages 2 and under will appreciate soft, plush blankets and clothes made from organic cotton. Practical pieces abound, with the occasional luxury item—rattles, books, toys and fancy little shoes—mixed in.
Simmons and Simmons Fine Books
4015 Central NE • 260-1620 simmonsbooks.com Hours: Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
That beautiful smell of well-preserved old books comes from a combination of acetic acid, furfural and lipid peroxidation products, according to the journal Analytical Chemistry. Though chemists have identified and dissected the scent, it’s made of different stuff to an avid reader: millions of voices wafting through eras to 2010. They greet you upon entering this nondescript shop a little further east on Central, past the urban chic outlets and boutique watering holes. Amid the shelves of rare finds is also used sheet music, collectable stamps and postcards. A small rack of adverts from an older Albuquerque offers a program from the Sunshine Theater when it still showed films. The prices make many tomes feel like a steal, and a $1 section should appease those with slimmer wallets.
Nob Hill Music
3419 Central NE • 266-4200 nobhillmusic.com Hours: Wednesday through Sunday noon to 6 p.m.
This skinny slip of a store is crammed to the brim with everything records. Bowls made from records, record coasters, framed records, record slip covers. With $1 to $3 specials, it'd be all too easy to dig through the boxes and select a thick stack that needs to go home with you. In that stack: something from the "Interesting" box, perhaps, or maybe U.S. Senator Robert Byrd's Mountain Fiddler. You'll also find a broad selection within traditional genres. And when you're done scouring vinyl, browse the cassette tapes, books and old T-shirts.
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The Yarn Store at Nob Hill
120 Amherst NE • 717-1535 theyarnstoreatnobhill.com Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The meticulous yet repetitive nature of knitting can draw forth either a Zen-like calm or extreme frustration, depending on your temperament. Regardless, a trip to the serene Yarn Store will make you want to take it up. Natural light spills onto inviting, textured skeins of alpaca, bamboo, wool and recycled silk. Master knitters can be found gathered around a table with projects hanging from their needle ends. For friends already immersed in the art, seek out lovely knitting storage bags and pattern books. Weekly classes cater to threaders of all levels.