There is no question that regional road trips have become extremely popular this year - with many folks focusing on what is right in their own backyard for ‘staycations.’ For plenty of regional travel ideas, check-in every Wednesday for a Downstate Illinois Road Trip Roundup on themed topics showcasing several destinations across the southern portion of the state. It’s currently early December, so many of us likely haven’t finished our Holiday shopping yet - which is why this week’s blog highlights SO MANY local shops and boutiques to purchase unique gifts for your family and friends!
Unique shops, boutiques and specialty shops abound in Mt. Vernon, making it a great shopping day trip! Everyone knows small shops have struggled this year, so now is the time to help them out with holiday shopping. A perk is getting one-of-a-kind treasures for your loved ones that you probably won’t find at big box stores and top notch personal service you can’t get online! In Mt. Vernon’s downtown area alone you can visit Savvy, Daydream, Bling Bling, Laced ‘N Grace, Parkway Shoes, and the brand-new Sissy’s General Store. If you have smaller children at home, you will definitely want to make a stop uptown at Little Britches Boutique. If you like specialty gifts, electronics and upscale clothing, a stop at The Gallery for Mt. Vernon TV & Appliance, Carl’s, and M.E. Jackson Jewelers is a must! More home décor, novelty and picking stores can be found on the outskirts of town including Finders Pickers Treasure Island, Roval’s Vintage Gypsy, and The Painted Cowgirl Market. If resale and consignment shops are your jam, our list is long with Angels on Assignment, Treasure Trove Resale, Lori’s What Not Shop, Designer Kids Consignment, Mt. Vernon Christian Outreach & Resale, A Walk in Faith Resale Shop and more! We invite you to make a day of it, or even a weekend, as you come and enjoy Mt. Vernon!
There is no shortage of shopping opportunities in ILLINOISouth, as our territory covers 22 counties. Some of the fan-favorite places to shop are communities with adorable downtown areas to spend a day hopping from store to store. That type of shopping atmosphere can be found in towns like Waterloo, Belleville, O’Fallon, Lebanon, Centralia, PInckneyville, Vandalia, Casey, Olney and Mt. Carmel just to name a few. Of course, one of the best parts of shopping is the experience - and there are a few places in ILLINOISouth that provide an experience you don’t find often. One said unique experience can be found at the POP-UP Shop in Columbia! The POP-UP Shop is located inside a historic one-room schoolhouse (built in 1867), and provides local makers and artisans a place to sell their goods if they do not have a brick and mortar location. Vendors change out frequently, so there is always something new to shop for. Another community with some great finds is Pocahontas – an antiquer’s dream. There are half a dozen antique shops within a few blocks of each other, including one the basement of an old church! Pocahontas Mercantile and Sweet Shoppe is a must visit while you’re in town as well. We’ll wrap up with a complete hidden gem when it comes to shopping - tucked away in Crawford County is the small town of Oblong. There are a handful of shops just within steps of one another including Henpeck Mercantile, The Village Stitchery Quilt Shop and Retreat Center, and Vault Antiques - which is located inside the former Oil Belt National Bank building. We hope you find what you’re shopping for - and maybe a few other unexpected gifts too!
Holiday shopping is a wonderful tradition for many, and gifts can be even more meaningful with a unique story behind them, and sourced right here in Southernmost Illinois. Consider matching each of these shopping options with the right person on your list.
For the lover or art and all things creative:
276 Art Exchange, Equality, sells fine arts and heritage crafts made by local artisans. High-quality works of art, hand-made heritage crafts, local literature, and other items unique to Southern Illinois. You can even book a private shopping experience here.
For the foodie:
Send an apple gift box from the Rendleman Orchards, of Alto Pass:
Apple gift boxes and specialty food gift boxes are quite popular during the Holidays. Shop online here.
Learn the ins and outs of BBQ from world championship BBQers 17th Stret BBQ. in Murphysboro:
Praise the Lard: Recipes and Revelations from the Legendary Life in Barbecue. With this new book, the dynamic father-daughter duo behind Southern Illinois's 17th Street Barbecue invite readers to join them around the fire as they share all the master techniques, signature recipes, and no-nonsense tips of a family with more than 100 years in the barbecue business. Shop products here
For the baseball player:
Create a unique bat for the unique player in your life with Dinger Bats in Ridgeway:
The very essence of Dinger bats is that no matter what league you play in, or the level you play at, everyone could experience the same quality craftsmanship of maple wood that professional baseball players merit. Build a bat here.
For the vino connoisseur:
Share the perfect fireside wine with Alto Vineyards in Alto Pass:
Alto Vineyards has won over 500 National and International awards in wine competitions across the nation, never forgetting the family philosophy to produce the highest quality wines possible. Shop all wines here.
For fans of all things cozy:
Stay warm with a hand-crocheted alpaca yarn accessory from Rolling Oak Alpaca Ranch in Makanda:
Specializes in crocheted goods made with all-natural handspun yarn sheared from the herd of alpacas that call the farm home. The online store offers beanies, socks, gloves and more that are perfect for keeping cozy during the colder months. Shop all products here.
For the beer connoisseurs:
Unique foraged, farm-crafted beer await you at Scratch Brewing Company in Ava:
Every ingredient is farm-gathered—the walnuts and black trumpet mushrooms, sassafras and vanilla leaves, even the natural spring waters used for brewing, everything indigenous to the region. online here.
Each of these unique gift options are crafted locally by makers and artisans right here in Shawnee Forest Country. Discover hidden gems off-the-beaten path.
Tis the season to shop small! Williamson County is full of so many wonderful locally owned shops and boutiques! With a wide variety of stores, Williamson County is the perfect Christmas shopping destination! We are the proud home of over a dozen antique shops! You’ll find one of a kind gifts and goodies at these eclectic outlets. For a little bit of everything all in one stop, check out Warehouse Antique Mall in Marion. We also have several craft and DIY shops that have everything you need to make something special and unique! For all the supplies to make the most beautiful jewelry, check out CottingTree Beads in Herrin! No need to fight the department store lines for the latest trends this year, our local boutiques have got that taken care of! For fashion forward clothing, accessories, and shoes, check out Eccentrics Boutique in Carterville! But that’s not all! You’ll find more clothing boutiques, antique shops, and speciality shops, as well as floral and gift shops, outdoor toys, hobby and toy shops, and more on our website! You can also shop many of our stores online! Whether you’re shopping for yourself or gifts for the loved ones on your list, shop small in Williamson County!