Shopping off the beaten path

Black Friday is over and Cyber Monday is gone but for many, there is still a lot of holiday shopping to be done. Those looking for Wilton-centric items, unusual or vintage pieces, or gifts with a certain “heart” to them need look no further than Wilton’s nonprofits who offer everything from hostess gifts to the gift of senior citizens being able to remain in their home.

A visit to the Turnover Shop, down by Village Market in Wilton Center, will find the place a beehive of activity during its hours of 10 to 4 on weekdays and 10 to 1 on Saturday. The volunteers who run the shop were busy putting out holiday items last Friday to supplement an already impressive inventory of ornaments, pillows, toys, wreaths, and china.

As always, the store is chock full of non-holiday items as well that could be given as gifts including clothing for men, women and children; home decor; kitchenware; lamps; furniture; personal accessories — even a gleaming silver tea service. Items that have been in the store more than a month are marked down to half price.

The shop will have a special jewelry sale on Friday, Dec. 7, from 10 to 4. Information: 203-762-3160.

Historical society

A museum isn’t always the first place that comes to mind when planning a shopping trip, but the Wilton Historical Society’s Betts Store is a treasure trove of items for all ages, especially those with a distinctive Wilton flavor.

Although the shop at 224 Danbury Road has had such items in the past, it has developed new Wilton-themed pieces such as a glass cutting board with the image of Old Town Hall and stemless wine glasses custom-made for the historical society by

There is also a set of children’s building blocks featuring images of Wilton landmarks: the Ambler Farm barn, antique railroad station, Lambert House, Town Hall, and the Hurlbutt Street Schoolhouse.

There are tea towels featuring Wilton with an oak tree and Christmas in Connecticut, and Wilton artist Robin Sansone has handpainted a Wilton tote bag for the shop.

Artisans who participated in the society’s recent American Artisan show are also represented in the shop. There are ceramics by Kiara Matos of New Haven and vases and pitchers by Mills & Zoldak Potters.

There are folk art birdhouses, heirloom-quality ornaments by Vaillancourt, many books on many subjects for all ages, toys, crafts, and for the sustainably inclined, firestarters made from recyclable and renewable materials.

Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 4. Information: or 203-762-7257.

Books and art

From your ABCs to religion and philosophy, Wilton Library’s Holiday Book Sale offers a variety of reads for the small to the tall. The sale takes up the library’s main gallery, with the stock replenished regularly as items are sold. The sale takes place every day the library is open through Jan. 2.

Along the gallery walls and throughout the library are more than 80 works of art as part of the exhibition, Artists of Firing Circuits Studios. They are the work of 18 artists who work at the Firing Circuits studios in Norwalk. A majority of the works are for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the library.

On a recent visit there were classics from children’s literature, like PB Bear and The Polar Express, to The Complete Cartoons of The New Yorker and The Far Side Gallery to books about John Adams and Queen Elizabeth. There are also CDs, DVDs, puzzles, and gift items.

Theresa Lacalamito of Norwalk, who works as a nanny for a Wilton family, said she shops the library book sales “all the time.”

“They are good-quality books for a cheaper price, sometimes they are brand new,” she said. Lacalamito particularly likes perusing the cookbooks and children’s titles. She will buy a bunch and split them between her grandchildren and the children she looks after.

Dina Olmstead, who recently moved to Wilton, is also a fan of the book sale.

“They are great, great prices,” she said, looking at the children’s books. “I’m getting ideas for Christmas presents.”

Browsers who find something they like should not wait to buy it. Things move fast, and are replaced just as quickly.

Enriching ideas

Giving the gift of entertainment is possible with tickets to a show presented by the Wilton Playshop. The Playshop has been presenting live plays and musicals since 1937 in its converted barn on Lovers Lane. Run by a group of volunteers, several productions are presented each year as well as special events such as staged readings, concerts and youth productions.

The next show is the musical Guys and Dolls, April 26-May 11. The Playshop also has a Musical Chairs capital campaign. Individual audience seats may be purchased for a $250 donation, which will be marked with an optional plaque honoring the donor.

For gift certificate, ticket and subscription information, visit

Those looking to give a gift of personal enrichment may want to consider a Wilton Continuing Education gift certificate.

Valid for any class offered in the Wilton Continuing Education catalog, the gift certificates never expire, and a simple gift card code allows the cardholder to use any or all of the amount given at any time.

To purchase a gift certificate, visit

To learn more about Wilton Continuing Education and its programs, call 203-834-7694 or visit

Animals as teachers

Click the barred owl, Walter the cane toad, and Elma the box turtle are VIPs at the Woodcock Nature Center. These and all the other animals at the nature center on Deer Run Road work for their living, helping to teach children about native and exotic species. Hundreds of children visit the nature center for educational programs throughout the year and summer camp.

The nature center has about 30 animals and four birds — the exotics are mostly pets their owners no longer wanted and the native animals have been injured and cannot be released into the wild. It costs $15,000 a year to pay for their food, bedding and lighting,  which is a big part of the center’s budget.

Adopting one of these animals helps pay for their upkeep. There are several adoption levels, but a one-year sponsorship costs $75 and the donor receives a 5-x-7-inch photo, a letter from the animal, a certificate of adoption, and a natural and personal fact sheet. The animal stays at Woodcock.

Photos of the animals are online at For information on adopting, email the animal care coordinator at or call 203-762-7280.

Help at home

Looking for a gift for an older person who doesn’t need another sweater or coffee mug? A Stay at Home in Wilton gift certificate offers value every day. When a member finds himself or herself needing a ride or help with a small household task like changing hard-to-reach light bulbs or sagging curtain rods, Stay at Home volunteers are there to help.

The group also offers numerous social events, such as holiday parties and day trips.

An annual membership is $360 for a single person and $480 for a couple. For gift certificates or to donate a scholarship, call Janet Johnson, executive coordinator, at 203-762-2600.