Welcome to the Baltimore Fishbowl Local Gift Guide series. We’ll be featuring ten themed items each week through the holidays. Let us help you find that special something for everyone on your list, while supporting local businesses, and getting out to shop in different parts of this diverse and thriving city.
This Week’s theme is “The Outdoor Enthusiast.” Even in the middle of the city, there are plenty of gift finds for those among us who’d rather be out in the woods somewhere. From camping gadgets to warm weather must-haves, here is a list of perfect nods to the great outdoors.
1). Flask Disguised as Thermos
On a long hike, the smart thing to do is pack light. But if the hike should end with camping, and the campers should need a nip… look no further than Trohv home & gift on 36th Street in Hampden for these nifty plaid thermos-turned-flasks. They’re compact, thematically appropriate, and won’t leak the precious hard stuff all over your binoculars.
2). Wool Blanket
No picnic is complete without a quality blanket, and these beautiful Pendleton wool pieces come with their very own carrying straps. Perfect for indoor or outdoor, but I’d say these blankets do their best work warming the shoulders of singers around a campfire circle. Perhaps holding hot cocoa, or spiked apple cider. Pendleton has its own store in the Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, full of all-things-wool and well-designed. You’ll find yourself smitten with everything inside, so go prepared to stay a while.
3). Vintage sweater from Hunting Ground
This Hampden shop in a former church on Falls Rd. is the absolute best place to score warm vintage clothing, especially for men. They have an ever rotating selection of sweaters, old flannel shirts, and wool outerwear collected expertly by the shop’s owners. Things move quickly, and you’ll find new pieces on a weekly basis. The shop itself is a lovely collection of locally made items, new higher-fashion pieces, and the type of amazing clothing pieces you always hope you’ll find at thrift stores, but rarely ever do.
4). Moveable Fire Pit
When you’re wishing you were out camping, but have to be home for work in the morning, sometimes a small, contained fire (paired with a bag of marshmallows) is all you need to relax and re-set. Ace Hardware in both Canton & Charles Village stocks fire pits, along with all the accessories one might need to use them. Check with your local fire codes to make sure it’s legal to burn one in your own yard. Either way, toast those ‘mallows responsibly, and remember to keep emergency water supplies on hand, just in case.
5). Locally Made Hunter’s Hat
There’s nothing worse than going out on an adventure and realizing your body is the wrong temperature. Keep heads and ears sufficiently warm this winter with a locally sewn hat from Creative King. The Baltimore-based company produces seasonally designed hats and bags in very limited quantities and sells them on its website, and at shops in town. Check out the selection in the Made In Baltimore pop-up shop, open every weekend through the new year, on 36th St. in Hampden.
6) Throw-back Snowboard
While we don’t get much snow most years right in the city of Baltimore, Western Maryland is full of places to ski and snowboard in the winter. Know a snow bunny who already has all the gear they need? Surprise them with Burton’s annual “throwback” board, with a design based on the company’s first, original snowboard from decades ago. Not to be taken down the black diamonds, but a fun toy for joshing around on smaller hills. Available at Princeton Sports.
7). Warm rain boots
Do we really need to do any convincing here? Warm, all-weather boots like Bogs are a dream for people who end up outdoors in multiple seasons. They are lightweight but substantial, and nice looking too. Find a large selection at the Towson Bootery in the Kenilworth Mall. The company is family run, three generations strong, and also does shoe repair if you want to multitask while shopping.
8). Log Cufflinks
While I can’t come up with a specific scenario in which one would wear log shaped cufflinks, they might just be the perfect gift to give a woodsman who is otherwise resistant to dressing up. Block Party Press in Baltimore sells hand painted, stamped polymer jewelry and accessories online, and at craft fairs all over the area. She’ll be at Holiday Heap this weekend, in Charles Village.
9). Rearview Mirror for Bikers
Bicyclists of Baltimore are rejoicing this year, as the long-anticipated bike lane on Maryland Avenue has finally been put in place. Bikers now have a dedicated street on which to travel from the far north of the city right down to the Inner Harbor. Despite the visible painted lanes and markers, careful bike safety has never been more important in Baltimore. Drivers and cyclists alike should all be brushing up on the right-of-way laws and remembering to check for each other before turning. These nifty helmet/glasses attachment mirrors help bikers see behind them, like a small rearview mirror. Made from beer caps and used bike parts by local artist Patrick McMahon. Sold online and at craft fairs.
10) Beehive & Chicken Coop Prayer Flags
For those with larger yards, who have taken the leap into animal raising and homesteading, why not some festive welcome flags for the bees or chickens? Monkton-based print shop, Bowerbox Press, makes these stamped flags that would also make a great housewarming gift. “This hive shall thrive” for bees, “Protect this flock” for the chickens. We could all use the extra protection and the knowledge that someone we know is thinking of our safety.
Rachel Bone’s Gift Guide is proudly sponsored by The Village of Cross Keys, celebrating 50 years of featuring some of Baltimore’s best shopping, dining and lodging in a courtyard setting. Click to See What’s Happening at the Keys this Season.