Willow & Birch, Madison
While the internet continues to decimate the clothing shops around here, gift shops are proliferating. I stopped by a new one in Madison the other day and was pleased to see it wasn’t just another copy cat. Owner Nancy Karas ( a nurse!) has a sophisticated eye and a knack for merchandising. Here are just a few of her uncommon picks: these glass boxes with crystals for a reasonable $55 and $60, and I could easily cover a wall with the stunning photos on handmade paper ($58 to $90). You’ll find plenty of fun and well-priced on-trend jewelry, beachy bags, and sweet succulents in tin pots (an excellent dinner party offering instead of that last minute supermarket bouquet). There’s an adorable baby department, too. If you’re feeling peckish, head to the back of the shop for a cute cafe, serving up baked treats, soups, and salads from the kitchen of local chef Paul Barron. The Cilantro Lime Quinoa Salad with Organic Chicken had my name on it (and so did the cinnamon rolls!). I found a lot to love, and I think you will, too.
36 Wall Street