From the quaint vibe of trolley tracks still running down Main Street to harbor views from picturesque Northport Memorial Park, Northport has treats for shoppers, diners and casual strollers.
Storefronts reflect the old-school feel of the village and angled, on-street parking spots line Main Street (there's a small lot on Main and a lot on nearby Scudder Avenue, plus side-street parking). Homemade ice cream from the Northport Sweet Shop (55 Main St.), celebrating its 90th year, or Lics Ice Cream (74 Main St.) are among sweet treats close to the harbor. Main Street features a healthy dose of restaurants, four art galleries and small, eclectic stores offering gifts, clothing, home décor at Cow Harbor Fine Gifts (101 Main St.), cigars and toys, as well as the John W. Engeman Theater (250 Main St.), which offers live stage shows.
The upcoming Leg Lamp Lighting, a holiday fixture since 2005, always draws a crowd. Hosted for the fourth year at Carl's Candies (50 Main St.), actors perform a scene from the movie "A Christmas Story" at 6 p.m. Nov. 30. Carolers, cookies and a performance by members of local dance company Northport Tigerettes add to festivities.
There's a Shop-A-Thon noon to 3 p.m. Dec. 7, sponsored for the second year by Lucky to Live Here Realty, with sales, raffles and holiday treats at participating stores. The realty company will give shoppers maps noting participating stores and reusable totes at a pop-up inside Nest Market (135 Main St.), and some merchants will give shoppers a raffle ticket for every $25 spent. Shoppers can drop their raffle tickets at the pop-up in Nest by 3 p.m.
The Chamber of Commerce said a number of Main Street businesses will remain open until 8 p.m. on Thursday nights Dec. 5, 12 and 19 to encourage shopping locally.
What's holiday shopping without a toy store? The venerable Einstein's Attic (79 Main St., 631-261-7564, / facebook.com/einsteinsatticnorthport/), now in its 23rd year, offers a large selection of educational toys, from Color Cube Sudoku to the coding game Turing Tumble, with which kids learn about programming by building marble-powered computers to solve logic puzzles, to baby gifts, board games, basketballs and drones.
By arrangement, the store will stay open for private shopping from 6 to 8 p.m. When the store is open late on Thursdays in December, children can make a free ornament to take home. Owner Lori Badanes said the store also will gift a toy to those buying a toy to donate to a cause. Parents can purchase timed tickets through a link on the store's Facebook page for a story and photo session with Santa or for a visit with a live Elf on a Shelf.
For products with a New Age flair, go to Heartichoke (145 Main St., 631-754-8493, facebook.com/Heartichoke-of-Northport-345548862214242). Jewelry, bath bombs, buddhas and crystals mingle with bundles of sage for burning, colorful pottery bowls, knitted items and leather pocketbooks. Those fingerless (making it easy to scroll), colorfully embroidered mittens you didn't know you needed? Yup. Add dream catchers, incense and oils, and very nice leather handbags, and you're bound to go home with something.
At Nest Market (135 Main St., 631-651-9173, nestonmainmarket.com), about 30 vendors and commission-based artisans are gathered under one roof to offer home décor items ranging from custom furniture to pillows, flowers, dishes and food items.
The store offers locals who rent space or contribute original items a chance to showcase their wares, said Donna Moschella, principal. "We have a lot of mother-daughter partners, and our inventory is always changing," she said. A pop-up Thanksgiving eve market runs noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 27, with vendors offering cheeses and appetizers, desserts and floral centerpieces.
Three friends celebrating a birthday spent the day shopping in Northport. Brenda Distilli of Ridge and Arlene Garratt-Marman of Port Washington joined Deborah Carr-Baker of Princeton, New Jersey, to ring in her 60th year. They showed off jewelry and craft acquisitions from Heartichoke, including a hinged silver bracelet repurposed from a spoon that's inspiring Distilli to take some of her mother's and grandmother's silverware to the store to have presents made for her daughter and niece.
Northport's downtown attracts local shoppers, too. Tom Palumbo, 27, of Centerport stopped by PetPort (40 Main St.) to pick up food for his dogs, a goldendoodle and a bernedoodle. "It's right on the harbor, and it's beautiful any time of the year. And the staff in the stores are personable — it's the Northport charm," he said.
Some other stores worth checking out include:
Cow Harbor Fine Gifts, 101 Main St., Suite A, 631-261-6001. This high-end boutique sells fine gifts from around the world as well as such designer items as Vera Bradley bags and Alex and Ani jewelry. There's a large Christmas section with Department 56 holiday collectibles.
The Firefly Artists, 162 Main St., 631-651-5545, thefireflyartists.com. This cooperative gallery showcases local artists. Items range from jewelry and ceramics to sculpture, paintings, prints and photography, with many artists also offering card sets.
POP, by LaMantia, 90 Main St., 631-651-9571, popbylamantia.com. POP features art influenced by popular and modern culture, with bold colors, modern topics, mixed mediums and trendy styles. See if you recognize celebrities or pop culture images. For more traditional works, visit the fine arts gallery across the street at LaMantia Fine Art, 127 Main St., 631-754-8414, lamantiagallery.com.
Jones Drug Store, 100 Main St., 631-261-7070, jonesdrugstore.com. The friendly downtown drugstore has a selection of seasonal items, stationery and home décor along with regular pharmacy items. Get seasonal yard banners and holiday items when you pick up a prescription or sundries.
Artisan House, 80 Main St., 631-261-3800, facebook.com/artisanhousenorthport. This gift store has lots of beach- and nautical-themed and seasonal items as well as décor and baby clothes.
Copenhagen Bakery & Cafe, 75 Woodbine Ave., 631-754-3256, copenhagenbakery.net: A popular spot for a morning Danish or midday sandwich.
Harbor House, 78 Main St., 631-651-9093: Serves seafood staples and pasta, too.
Tim’s Shipwreck Diner, 46 Main St., 631-754-1797: Housed in a vintage railroad car, Tim's serves breakfast and lunch.