'Who Needs a Mall?' Holiday Shopping, Indie Style

"Holiday shopping, ugh. I want it to be strolling around downtown amid twinkling lights and spontaneous caroling, but the reality is usually way more depressing," Jon Corey wrote in a Boston Globe feature showcasing the many shopping alternatives in Manchester, Vt., beginning with a stop at the Spiral Press Café and Northshire Bookstore.

"The cafe is attached to the rambling Northshire Bookstore. housed in a former inn. I love a bookstore I can get lost in, and Northshire's nooks and crannies didn't disappoint. As I indulged my literary wanderings, I picked up a Jane Austen coffee mug for my wife--the first gift of the day. Upstairs, their enormous kids' floor was perhaps the best I've ever seen in terms of layout, play areas, and overall selection, including toys from Playmobil, Lego, Calico Critters, and more. A giant wall of paperback picture books helped me bulk up my daughter's holiday haul."

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