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Holiday Shopping Guide: Destination Babylon Village

Two Ma premiere Poupee, My First Doll, are

Two Ma premiere Poupee, My First Doll, are a popular holiday gift item at the Bubble Boutique and Learning Center, 15 E. Main St. in Babylon. Credit: Heather Walsh

It’s the new and creative that draws shoppers to Babylon Village.

Jeanine Schappert-Longo is sweet and friendly to everyone who walks into O'Beehave Naturals (32 Deer Park Ave., 631-422-0590, obeehavenaturals.com), but make no mistake: She’s on a mission. “We’re an eco-depot, a bulk beauty and bath apothecary — the cleanest beauty company on the planet,” she said recently.

Schappert-Longo prides herself on selling products that are petroleum-free and synthetic fragrance-and color-free — and when you walk in her nook of a shop, the senses are met with lovely aromas.

Oils and lotions for the skin abound, as do soaps, hair-cleaning concoctions and laundry detergents. A 3.5-ounce bar of Tangie brand laundry paste, for example, claims to be able to clean 256 loads of wash. And should you run out of some items, there’s a refill bar station.

Village resident Mike Mazz came in for a refill, explaining, “This keeps things out of landfills. It’s saving the environment while supporting a local business.”

Said Schappert-Longo, who opened her doors on Earth Day 2017, “people from the area really do support small businesses in the village, and the village is supportive as well.”

“The community is very supportive. That’s why I’ve been able to be here for 14 years,” agreed Jacqueline DiDonato, owner of Pandemonium Boutique (220 Deer Park Ave., 631-376-0009, pandemoniumboutique.com). A former president of the Babylon Village Chamber of Commerce, she said stores work hand-in-hand so as not to step on each other’s feet.

Selling women’s clothing with a growing space for décor, DiDonato describes her shop as focused on “modern fashion yet timeless classic style — we dress women ages 18 to 80 … we pride ourselves on personal styling, one-on-one treatment.”

One brand that’s big in her store now is Island Girl from Island Rose Designs — the logo includes an image of Long Island under its logo. “This is a strong piece right now,” DiDonato said, “especially the upcycled flannel shirt, but all their pieces — this is getting a lot of attention.” She then turns to a table of jewelry from Long Islander Brenda Perruzza. “We always support local artists and designers, since the day we opened,” she said. The jewelry, which combines vintage hardware with crystals and Venetian glass, sparkles in the store’s lighting. “These are always big, strong pieces with our customers,” DiDonato said.

The store recently added décor. DiDonato said customers are interested in the small artificial spruce trees “planted” in burlap and dotted with faux snow: “Customers are putting them on mantles, on their desks, and they’re good as seasonal pieces until the spring comes.”

A bonus for families shopping together: Pandemonium has a soft couch set aside for children and others who aren’t shopping. And said DiDonato, “There’s a drawer full of coloring books and toys, so if you’re coming here and worried the kids won’t be occupied, don’t be — all the neighborhood kids come in and go straight for the drawer.”

When it comes to kids’ entertainment, Bubble Boutique and Learning Center (15 E. Main St., 631-587-0050, bubblebabylon.com) has a craft bar that is top of the line: Space in the rear of the toy and kids clothing store serves as a multipurpose room for painting or coloring (there’s a $5 sitting fee). “We advise people to call in advance, as sometimes the room for birthday parties or field trips, or other events,” said Bubble party coordinator Jen Keneally, “but otherwise, anytime we’re open the room is available — if parents are shopping, kids can sit back here and do their thing.” Included is a selection of ceramic and wooden items for young customers to paint for varying prices.

Creativity is a theme at Bubble. “You’ll notice many of the toys for sale have a creative element to them,” said store manager Gabe Gaglio, “but that is, in part due to the owner’s background.” (Jennifer Dellafranca, Gaglio explained, who opened the store in 2008, is an educator who also owns a preschool and full-time care center in West Babylon.) “We’re best-suited for children between infant and around age 12 or so, and there are items here to inspire — look for learn-through-play toys and other things that online shopping really can’t do justice.”

Among those options: Jellycat plush toys, which are chinchilla-soft and come in varying sizes and animal representations; Xylo Roller wooden toys; Crazy Aaron putties; and “squishy balls.”

“I’d say we carry the kinds of toys parents enjoyed as kids,” continued Gaglio. When kids get bigger, she said, there's Bubble East (25 E. Main St., 631-983-8858, bubblebabylon.com), a creative studio next door for tweens, teens and adults.

“We do our best to be interesting — some of our best customers were people who just happened to get off a train on their way to the Hamptons or New York, and then walked by and looked in the window.”

While in town, also check out:

Plessers, 6 E. Main St., 877-957-5377, plessers.com. Founded in 1919, this store has been selling appliances and electronics for generations.

Babylon Cheese Cellar, 51 Deer Park Ave., 631-983-8804, babyloncheesecellar.com. Aside from selling artisanal cheeses and specialty foods, this boutique serves a menu including melty sandwiches and other bites.

Thistle and That, 35 E. Main St., 631-539-4406, facebook.com/pages/category/Gift-Shop/Thistle-and-That-132084223527665. Specializes in homemade home décor and accessories; many items offer positive affirmations and a beachy style.

Bunger Surf & Sports Shop, 50 E. Main St., 800-698-7873, bungersurf.com. An institution when it comes to anything surfing, hanging ten in the same location since the early 1960s.

Ooh La La, 13 Deer Park Ave., 631-482-8625, oohlalaboutiques.com. Boutique selling funky women’s clothing and accessories as well as purses and backpacks.

quick bites

Glen’s Dinette, 23 E. Main St., 631-669-4700, glensdinette.com: Power up with a hearty breakfast — griddled sausage, eggs, pancakes and beyond. Swell Taco, 135 Deer Park Ave., 631-482-1299, swelltacoli.com: You may have a wait for its pulled pork, steak and mahi-mahi tacos. Kotobuki, 86 Deer Park Ave., 631-321-8387, kotobukirestaurants.com. Serves imaginative sushi rolls.

For more on dining in Babylon, visit newsday.com/feedme.

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