Think Mys­tic

Olde Mi­st­ick Vil­lage in­no­vates and in­spires

The Day - Sound & Country - - Olde mistick village - By Faye Par­enteau • Pho­tos by Peter M. We­ber

For 45 years, Olde Mi­st­ick Vil­lage has en­chanted vis­i­tors of all ages with its tree-lined paths, gar­dens, charm­ing shops and beloved sea­sonal events.

And like any vil­lage, OMV is al­ways evolv­ing, wel­com­ing new tal­ent, per­son­al­ity and fla­vor.

For din­ing out, it of­fers the best of all worlds, from the clas­sic Euro­pean beer hall and gar­den at the Jeal­ous Monk to au­then­tic Thai, Viet­namese, Ja­panese and Korean dishes at Pink Basil, to made-from scratch donuts and hand-pulled espresso at Vault Cof­fee/ De­viant Donuts.

“I knew seven years ago that we needed to get more res­tau­rants in here,” says Prop­erty Man­ager Chris Re­gan, point­ing out that the food and bev­er­age in­dus­try world­wide has been pulling in sales of up­wards of $15 tril­lion an­nu­ally, with the fore­cast call­ing for steady growth through 2022. Brick and mor­tar shop­ping too, con­tin­ues growth at 5% an­nu­ally, with Amer­i­cans spend­ing 64 per­cent of their shop­ping bud­get in stores.

Re­gan keeps a keen grasp on hos­pi­tal­ity and tourism data to keep the vil­lage evolv­ing as a pre­ferred des­ti­na­tion.

Plans call for the ren­o­va­tion of an out­door area with ex­panded room for con­certs and other com­mu­nity events. It will be big – but not too big – and vis­i­tors can look for­ward to more of the bor­der gar­dens and lovely land­scap­ing touches that make the vil­lage mag­i­cal.

Nearby, work­ers com­plete the fi­nal phases of con­struc­tion on the new Mer­rill Lynch of­fices, which will house 50 em­ploy­ees in the for­mer Go Fish build­ing. Go Fish is still there too, just steps away in a new space loaded with nat­u­ral light and a charm­ing out­door deck.

The ven­er­a­ble Steak Loft is also sched­uled for re­mod­el­ing, which will open the lay­out, add more win­dows, mod­ern­ize the bar and add a beau­ti­ful so­lar­ium.

“Ev­ery­thing we do here is with an em­pha­sis on year­round en­joy­ment,” Re­gan said.

With new shops and res­tau­rants, new gifts and prod­ucts, and new looks for old fa­vorites, there’s al­ways a rea­son to re­turn.

Let’s take a look at a few of the more re­cent ar­rivals:

Smith’s Bou­tique

Owner Diana Blanda per­son­ally se­lects ev­ery item in the store, which in­cludes cloth­ing, tea, soaps, aro­mat­ics, jewelry and more – an in­ter­est­ing mix­ture of qual­ity gifts and quirky items. Ki­mono Clips – re­mark­ably strong ac­ces­sories for thick hair – are a big seller, as are New York-made Em­bracel­ings, a one-piece wrap ac­ces­sory which looks like bands of col­or­ful bracelets.


It’s like step­ping into your dream kitchen, or at least ev­ery item you’d ever want in a dream kitchen. To your left, a bot­tle of wine sits smartly in a cut of pol­ished gran­ite. This con­ver­sa­tion piece also func­tions as a dis­penser, but the store does more than cel­e­brate top-notch gad­getry. There are walls of tra­di­tional im­ple­ments in not-so-stan­dard styles and col­ors, along with gifts, linens and beau­ti­ful ta­ble and cook­ware. Look for demon­stra­tions and classes to come in the on-site test kitchen.

Mara Luna’s

This store of chil­dren’s items for in­fants to year 5 is ded­i­cated to sweet­ness, soft­ness and the art of play. There are beau­ti­ful and func­tional lines of cloth­ing, en­dear­ing gifts like Sol­mates – which are de­light­fully wo­ven, de­lib­er­ately mis­matched socks – and prac­ti­cal prod­ucts like Chew­beads, fash­ion­able ac­ces­sories that can with­stand a teething at­tack. Par­ents will also find fun items for ev­ery day, like glit­ter tooth­paste to give a healthy rou­tine that ex­tra sparkle.

Pop on the Block

Head­ing to a party? This is the place to book­mark. In ad­di­tion to ev­ery fla­vor of pop­corn imag­in­able (the dill pickle is strangely spot-on), Pop on the Block car­ries pop­corn piz­zas – fun and fla­vor­ful discs with a va­ri­ety of sweet and salty top­pings. The pop­corn pur­veyor also cre­ates cus­tom­ized prod­ucts for fa­vors, events and fundraising projects. It’s a per­fect ad­di­tion to gift bas­kets as well, and the sea­son­ings are or­ganic, so there’s lots to feel good about.

Skull & Moon

Adding to the col­or­ful of­fer­ings is Skull & Moon, a spir­i­tual ed­u­ca­tion cen­ter and art gallery founded by Sun­shine Es­tar. This in­trigu­ing space fea­tures mod­ern, mar­itime, and clas­sic paint­ing and sculp­ture and meta­phys­i­cally-in­spired jewelry. As part of its unique busi­ness model, art in the store can be or­dered on­line and shipped di­rectly to the cus­tomer – ideal for va­ca­tion­ing pa­trons, or just any­one who wants to shop with­out tot­ing a large oil paint­ing around.

Sun­shine makes it a point to fea­ture di­verse works by lo­cal and re­gional artists, from sculp­tures made from re­claimed in­dus­trial ma­te­rial, to scrimshaw, to tra­di­tional large-scale oil paint­ings. Skull & Moon also hosts a re­volv­ing lineup of com­mu­nity events for all ages, in­clud­ing dance nights, po­etry read­ings, fairy-tale theater and guided med­i­ta­tion work­shops.

The shop fea­tures two psy­chic read­ing rooms; ap­point­ments can be made but walk-ins also are wel­come. Ser­vices in­clude Tarot, Rune cast­ing, past life, past life re­gres­sion, whole life read­ings, dream in­ter­pre­ta­tion, medium work and en­ergy heal­ing.

Sun­shine says she be­came con­scious of her abil­i­ties as a very young child. “Since then, I’ve al­ways had to do this work,” she ex­plains. “When I go off my path, life gets … strange.”

She’s found a warm wel­come in the vil­lage and is ex­cited to be in a space of her own.

“This is a great lo­ca­tion in a great com­mu­nity. Also, I’m re­lieved to be out of my par­lor,” she smiles.

The Plant Bou­tique

The air in this bou­tique has the clean, sweet smell of so many plants breath­ing in close quar­ters. Bromeliad, bead plants, herbs, fruit­ing trees, aloes, air plants and orchids are tucked con­vivially into ev­ery cor­ner of the arched space with ex­posed beams grac­ing the air over­head. Yet the ef­fect is not crowded, but serene.

“Peo­ple come in here on their lunch break and just sit,” said Dawn Bas­sett, man­ager. “That makes us happy. Get­ting one of our plants is about the ex­pe­ri­ence – see­ing some­thing and mak­ing it yours.”

Owner An­nie Hettick, a long­time pro­fes­sional hor­ti­cul­tur­ist and land­scaper, makes sure each plant gets good green­house nur­tur­ing be­fore it is brought to mar­ket.

When Hettick opened the shop in May, she re­lied on Bas­sett’s years of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in Olde Mi­st­ick Vil­lage. She grew up here and re­mem­bers walk­ing the path­ways as a lit­tle girl.

“It’s spe­cial here,” she smiles. “The magic never wears off.”

From left, the team at Skull and Moon in­cludes Lau­ren Ger­rish, May Pisani, Kestrel, Justin Travers, Sun­shine Es­tar and Jae­son Davis.

Ash­ley Manor tucks a suc­cu­lent into a dec­o­ra­tive pot at The Plant Bou­tique.

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