It’s time to celebrate our fathers, grandfathers and other special dads in our lives. Looking for a unique gift? Our local businesses have come through with many interesting and fun options. Take a virtual walk down Main Street with me, and then head out and see for yourself!

 First up is Grace which we all know as a terrific spot for women’s apparel and accessories as well as lovely gifts for the home. Did you know they also offer a unique selection of books? Walk will invite dad to explore the benefits of the simple act of walking and spending time outdoors. Tuck a trail map in this book and spend some time with him in the fresh air this Father’s Day. You may want to include with your gift one of their stylish plaid face masks, produced and offered with dad in mind.

Continuing with the book theme, our next stop is Bayberries Fine Gifts, where you can pick up a great beach read for dad. They offer some interesting choices for history buffs. Add an insulated mug by Swig and send dad to the beach for some quiet time.

Cross the street to visit Coastal Gifts on Main to find the popular Coastal Crab apparel including hats, hoodies, t-shirts and shorts. You’ll also find other fun items like pint glasses and coffee mugs that bear the logo. Is your dad the grill master in your family? He might like a Coastal Crab apron along with spices and rubs. Is he a baseball fan? Consider purchasing a wood sign depicting the coordinates of either Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park depending where his loyalties lie.

If your dad appreciates antiques, check out Past to Present Antiques before heading back across the street to Olde Red Saltbox. (For larger antiques such as furniture, visit Past to Present On the Corner.) They are always getting in new items, so it’s fun to stop in often. Olde Red Saltbox has a great selection of old tools and tons of other fabulous items. You can even find homemade goat milk soaps here, a popular store item.

If you haven’t stopped into Azalea yet, please do! They offer a lovely selection of unique items for your home. They will work with you to put together a customized gift box for dad, filled with surprises like goat milk bar soap, an essential oil spray, felted wool coasters or a soy wax candle with delightful fragrances. Additional items include salt and peppercorn grinders, organic Chai tea, sweet maple mustard and so much more.

At Tumbleweeds Music Shop and Boutique, take the time to browse as you reminisce of past decades. Here, you’ll find fun music-themed and tie dye apparel along with vinyl. Records, CDs and cassettes are stocked continually, and they offer a little bit of everything. You can also order online and pick up or have delivered.

If your dad has a sweet tooth, you can treat him to homemade fudge and chocolates from Gumdrops & Lollipops. Just visit at their back window to pick up your order. They also have a great selection of old-time favorite candies for all the nostalgic dads out there.

When you step into Smoochie Bird, you’ll find some special items that you won’t find anywhere else in town. Consider beautifully framed nautical prints. Or how about torched candles that are hand poured into a bourbon bottle with a 120-hour burn time? You’ll also find beer bottle/growler carriers and wine caddies that hold two bottles of wine. If dad is proud to hail from Connecticut, he might like the state wine cork or bottle cap displays. Many of the products sold here are eco-friendly and American-made.

As we get to the end of the business district of Main Street, you won’t want to miss Smith’s Acres. It’s always fun to walk through and around this long-time family-owned and operated garden center and farm stand. If your dad is into gardening or cooking, you’ll be sure to find something for him here. Their fresh produce may inspire you to make a healthy meal together. Travel a little further to visit The Book Barn for some vintage book finds.

At this point, it’s time to head over to Niantic Public House Brewery for one of their special brews. In fact, consider spending a laid-back day here with dad on Father’s Day. They recently reopened with outdoor seating on their patio from 2 to 7 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They are open at noon for take-out orders. They plan to expand their hours as we move into summer months.

Whenever the patio is open, a food truck will be onsite. Food trucks will vary on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, including Father’s Day, 7 Napkins will be the featured food truck offering burgers, wings, nachos and a variety of weekly specials.

Under Covid-19 guidelines, they are using all recyclable corn plastic cups. Seating is outside only. You are welcome to use the inside bathrooms. Just remember that masks are required inside the building and upon entering the patio prior to being seated. They are filling growlers but are restricted to filling newly purchased growlers only.

When you enter the taproom again for the first time, you will be greeted by all new art created by Jacob Cullers. He is a local New London artist and has done all the artwork on the walls at the brewery, as well as their beer can art. He’ll be holding monthly paint nights at the brewery, when allowed, so stay tuned!

Still looking for more brews? Then try Noble Jay Brewing Company to give dad a bevy of beers.

In light of the craziness of our world right now, many dads might just want to spend time with the family. If your dad enjoys fishing, plan a special outing on the water with Black Hawk Sport Fishing. They offer fishing trips every day of the week. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing requirements, they are limited to 23 passengers. So, be sure to reserve a spot. Currently, they are fishing for porgies. Later in June they will also be fishing for seabass. Book a trip through their website and make special memories that will last a lifetime.

Those with little children may want to tune into the Niantic Children’s Museum blog for its upcoming Dad Week. The Museum will be posting a DIY gift idea or recipe everyday from June 14 until Father’s Day.

Here’s another idea – you can support your favorite local businesses and restaurants by purchasing a gift card for your dad to enjoy when he’s ready.

To get up-to-the-minute information and hours for these businesses, check their websites, as well as Facebook and Instagram. And be sure to follow the Niantic Main Street Facebook page!

All businesses are following Covid-19 guidelines. You’ll need to wear a mask inside the store and follow rules (and arrows) to stay socially distanced. Most of these businesses offer online ordering and curbside pick-up.

About Our Main Street Blogger:
Joanne lives in, and loves, our community. She was looking for an opportunity to help share all that our local businesses do to make East Lyme such a special place to call home, and she is excited to contribute to our blog. Joanne brings to the role her experience from New London Main Street where she contributed content to their website, newsletters and email communications for many years.

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