THE VIEW FROM THE STUDIO
An Exploration of the Flowers, Art + Business Local to Essex, New York
Have you heard the news? Lakeshore Road, our “Main street” in Essex, NY is experiencing quite the renaissance this season. The town’s entrepreneurial spirit shone throughout the pandemic, with new businesses and seasoned business owners adapting as needed in order to serve the community. Old favorites have expanded their inventories and services, and a few new shops have popped up, so this is a great time for a visit.
More businesses opening up on Main street is exciting for visitors and locals alike. I want to take this opportunity to highlight where to shop, eat, and stay in Essex, NY. Please use the following itinerary as a loose outline, and revise based on your personal needs and interests.
Time Well Spent in Essex, NY
Saturday- Where to stay
Begin your visit by getting into town around late afternoon. This will give you time to check into your room before dinner, and enjoy the late afternoon light over the lake. We have several special accommodations for lodging in Essex. The Essex Inn, the Cupola House, and various artfully designed Airbnbs. All locations are either lakefront or lake adjacent.
For dinner this evening make a reservation at Chez Lin and Rays. This popular, family-owned restaurant offers inhouse service as well as front porch dining, and seating on their back porch overlooking the Marina. Their menu is always thoughtfully curated, and each dish is as beautifully presented as it is delicious. I love to see the chefs make great use of the wealth of fresh farm food that we have in the area. Make sure you save room for dessert, it is not to be missed!
After dinner enjoy a stroll through town. We may not get the sunset over the lake, but there are always dreamy hues of dusty rose and periwinkle as the sky changes for the evening.
Sunday- What to do
In the morning, treat yourself to a yoga class with Lake Champlain Yoga and Wellness. This studio is owned by husband and wife team, Chris DePinto and Lexi Noble. Chris is a member of our town council, and Lexi’s family has lived in the area for generations. You may see the Noble name in prominent locations around town as Lexi’s family’s history is intertwined with the history of Essex.
Chris and Lexi are both certified yoga teachers. They have done this community a great service by offering virtual yoga classes throughout the pandemic. Once the weather warmed they began to offer outdoor classes on The Old Dock. This location is usually home to one of our popular summer restaurants, but the business decided not to open this season. Instead, they have generously provided a breathtaking stage for a yoga class overlooking the Green Mountains of Vermont. The virtual Zoom classes that Chris and Lexi began offering in the spring were so well received that they decided to continue the service. If you aren’t from the area, but you love the class, you can continue practicing with Lake Champlain Yoga and Wellness via Zoom even after you head back home.
After yoga you are going to be hungry. Treat yourself to a relaxing breakfast at the Pink Pig. Owner, Debb Schrodt, offers savory breakfast and lunch sandwiches served on NY style bagels, croissants, or locally made bread. Her daily menu always includes fresh ingredients from local farms and caters to both meat-eaters and vegetarians. Pair your sandwich with a yogurt parfait or a fresh pastry often baked by Debb’s husband Freddy.
If you’re a coffee aficionado you are in for a treat. Debb’s coffee offerings are strong and robust with flavor (decaf options are available as well). In addition to the great taste, your drink will always come out the perfect temperature. I order the cappuccino, it’s one of the best I’ve ever had.
Plan to stay and eat your meal on the furnished outdoor patio. While waiting for your order do some shopping in the Pink Pig Boutique, attached to the cafe. Not only is Debb a great cook, but she also has exceptional taste. Her boutique is filled with goods sourced from small businesses and artisans local to Essex, and from around the world. Debb handpicks each item and is known for supporting women-owned businesses.
If you are in town this Saturday (today, 8/8), stop by the Pink Pig for a special pop up shop! Debb is hosting local food company Red Oak Food Co. from 10 AM-12:30 PM. Co-owner and chef Jordan Sauter will be on site selling his fresh bread, foraged mushrooms, and artisanal food products. Before beginning Red Oak with wife Sarah Sauter, Jordan was the head chef at the Essex Inn. Now Jordan and Sarah continue to keep the community fed by offering their own line of creative culinary delights and private chef services.
A recent addition to the Pink Pig is a line of CBD infused products. Visitors can always count on something new and/or delicious in house, which makes this a great spot to frequent.
After satiating your appetite at the Pink Pig come next-door to my new storefront, Kit+Syl Studio. This is the place to go for all of your floral needs. I pick up flowers from local farms every Thursday morning, so that the shop is stocked Thursday-Sunday. Flowers are sold in pre-made bouquets and by the stem. You can also pre-order a custom bouquet or vase arrangement. I always recommend that customers save money on the vase by bringing in their own vessel for me to design in. I offer a 6-week floral subscription, perfect for anyone who buys or gives flowers on a regular basis. All purchases are available for pick up or local delivery.
Please keep my floral work in mind for your next event, or if you would like weekly flowers for your business or home. I am available for consultations and to create custom proposals for events and regular accounts.
Kit+Syl Studio is far more than a flower shop. It is also a place dedicated to sharing the work and process of local artisans. We have a lot of talent in this area, and it has been extremely fulfilling to connect with other artists since opening the shop.
I work on-site Wednesday-Sunday making jewelry and designing florals so that my customers can learn a bit about what goes into making the pieces I sell. The goods I carry in addition to flowers and jewelry are ceramics, apparel, furniture and custom woodwork, natural body products and fiber arts. The inventory is constantly changing and expanding as I meet with new artists. Check out my post “A New Storefront in Essex, NY” for more details on the work and mission behind Kit+Syl studio.
You may need a shopping break at this point. I recommend you use this time to work an appetite back up by swimming in the pristine lake or exploring our local CATS trails—you have a lot more eating to do!
For lunch visit Essex NY Eats. Essex Eats is one of the newest businesses on Main Street. To say that owner, Rose Kaszuba, is a culinary artist would be an understatement. Rose offers fresh baked goods made on the premises each day. Whatever you order, you cannot go wrong. The lunch portions are generous, and always include a heaping serving of farm-fresh vegetables in one form or another. Essex Eats is only open for window service, but boy do Rose’s windows look beautiful. She has managed to set up a small grocery of local, artisanal delicacies from fresh cheeses and charcuterie to CBD chocolates. I have been inspired by Rose’s visual merchandising, and I am completely addicted to her savory scones and decadent brownies. There is something to satisfy every palette here, even gorgeous treats for your canine companions!
Believe it or not, you still have dinner to look forward to. Since it’s Sunday plan on heading to The Essex Inn to enjoy their Sunday Summer Series. This weekly event offers a delicious menu, drinks, live music (weather dependent), and I host a pop-up gift shop. The trio who run the Essex Inn, Rachelle Leggett, Tommy Lambert, and Gavin Johnston are hospitality rockstars. They will make you feel right at home, and very well taken care of in this beautiful setting.
You still have some time before dinner, so go say “hello” to the ladies at the Neighborhood Nest. This adorable shop is owned by mother and daughter, Barbara Page and Jill Piper. These two women offer topnotch customer service in a welcoming environment. The shop is a gathering of art, antiques, and fashion, or as Jill likes to say, “Garden Wearables.” The collection is hand-selected by Jill and Barbara, so it is rare to see more than one of the same piece. Most of the apparel is new, but they do offer select pieces of vintage denim.
Jill and Barbara source their wares from Key West, Maine, Nantucket, Quebec, and from local vendors. The shop is open annually from Columbus Day through Memorial Day. This year the ladies are celebrating the Nest’s 25th anniversary on Main Street!
Preview what’s new at the Neighborhood Nest by checking out Jill’s Instagram. She is a talent with a camera, and I’ve been enjoying her charming posts about additions to the shop and daily purchases. Maybe you’ll even find something new to wear to the Essex Inn this evening? 😉
There is an endless amount to do in the Champlain Valley during every season. This post serves as a snapshot of the exciting business district growing in Essex. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like additional recommendations!
I am grateful for each one of these entrepreneurs that I now call my neighbors, co-workers, and friends. I could not do what I do without the draw of each of their businesses. Essex may not have a sprawling downtown, but what it has is quality, and definitely worth a visit.
WHAT’S BLOOMING IN THE KIT+SYL FLORAL STUDIO?
This week’s flower selection will feature the following stems. As always, these focal flowers will be complemented by seasonal foliage and unique accents foraged dry or dried in the studio. Order your flowers today!
Fresh, local flowers are available at the Kit+Syl Studio shop, located at 2748 Lakeshore Rd in Essex, NY, every Thursday afternoon-Sunday. I pick up the flowers from the farm every Thursday morning and then process them in the studio so that my customers can expect long-lasting, beautiful blooms. Flowers can be available Monday-Wednesday if ordered with at least 48 hours notice.
GROWN BY LITTLE FARMHOUSE FLOWERS:
GROWN BY KIRSTEN LIEBL AT ECHO FARM:
Shop Hours: August 1- October 31
Monday: By appointment only (Fresh flowers available with 48 hours notice)
Tuesday: By appointment only (Fresh flowers available with 48 hours notice)
Wednesday: 11 AM-7 PM (Fresh flowers available with 48 hours notice)
Thursday: 12:30 PM-8:30 PM (Fresh flowers in the shop)
Friday: 11 AM-7 PM (Fresh flowers in the shop)
Saturday: 11 AM-7 PM (Fresh flowers in the shop)
Sunday: 10 AM-2 PM at 2748 Lakeshore Rd 5-7 PM at (Fresh flowers in the shop) (The Essex Inn)
Did you know that Kit+Syl Studio hosts a weekly pop-up shop every Sunday at The Essex Inn?
This pop-up is part of The Essex Inn Sunday Summer Series. Come on over to the beautiful back patio area of the Inn, and enjoy great food, refreshing drinks, live music, and the Kit+Syl Pop-Up Gift Shop. The shop is stocked each week with fresh, locally grown flowers, Kit+Syl handmade jewelry, and a curated assortment of goods made by local artisans! The patio offers ample room for socially distanced, picnic-style dining. Masks are required when entering the shop and walking around the lawn area. The food service starts at 3 PM, and the music starts at 5 PM (weather dependent.). The shop opens at 5 PM as well. See my post Locally Made Gifts in Essex for more information. I hope you can make it!
STAY IN TOUCH
Thank you for reading! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any jewelry, floral, Essex-related, or personal questions, or just to introduce yourself! I love to meet members of my community, and I welcome feedback about how I can reciprocate value to this place that has made my own life so rich.
Also, each week I publish a new blog post where I share my writings about building the next evolution of Kit+Syl Studio. These posts center on interesting information about the floral, jewelry, and small business world. Additionally, I will conduct regular interviews featuring the talented local makers that I am stocking in my shop. You can check out my complete posts here.
Jill piper says
Perfectly said. Essex 2020 every day s new!