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Mother’s Day: The Rural Intelligence Gift Guide

Mother’s come in all sizes, shapes, and persuasions.  Whether yours is an earth mother, a soccer mom, the Queen Mum, as modern as MOMA or as comfortable as an old slipper, the perfect gift for her lies close at hand; no shipping required.  Some thoughts…

Early-blooming, bird-pleasing Shad is native to our region.  It also has fabulous fall foliage, making it a gift that delivers three seasons a year; year after year; $75-$575
Windy Hill Farm Nursery,787 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington; 413.298.3217
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
Lynne Bragonier is one of those brilliant retailers who believe that style and value are synonymous—so most things in her housewares-and-clothing shop look more expensive than they are. This environmentally-friendly, hypoallergenic bamboo T-shirt ($50) feels like silk and goes in the washer and dryer.
Agapanthus, 329 Main Street, Lakeville, CT; 860.435.8900
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
Swedish country is the bent of this shop, but these garden accessories are made in this country from recycled materials. Large (31” x 27”)  Parthenon bird feeder $600, small Parthenon $450, church birdhouse $325
Hedstrom & Judd, 401 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.671.6131
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
You may want to take mom with you to Red Hook to pick out her flowers at Battenfeld’s Farm—one of the leading wholesale growers of anemones in the world—because it’s like stepping back in time. The “shop” is run on the honor system so you leave your money in a box and you can snoop around the old greenhouses where acres of anemones are always in bloom.
Battenfeld’s, Route 199, Red Hook, NY; 845.758.8018
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
If you don’t tell Mom this wire cupola garden ornament is a reproduction; she’ll never guess, $218
Pine Cone Hill, 55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox; 413.637.1996

Aline Sosne knows how to make high fashion work for the Berkshires.  If your mother does too, she’ll love this all-weather jacket by Issey Miyake, $1535
Tanglewool, 28 Walker Street, Lenox; 413.637.0900

The perfect bag for the outfit above; so striking, yet so spare, the MaxxNY patent bowler, $168
de Marchin, 620 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.828.3918

Shana Lee hand-forges all of the sterling silver jewelry in her Hudson jewelry store herself; necklaces (top) $264, (middle) $210, (bottom, with turquoise and ruby), $170
Shana Lee, 521 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.828.8789
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
Is there anything more difficult to find then a good-looking featherlight raincoat that you can wear on a hot muggy day?  The stylish minds behind Paper Trail in Rhinebeck carry a selection of toppers ($245 - $310) made of Tyvek— yes, that same water-and-wind resistant material that builders use to protect wood against moisture.
Paper Trail, Montgomery Row, Rhinebeck, NY; 845.876.8060

When they were little, sisters Nina and Sophia played store.  Now they’re at it again, and the fun they’re having shows.  Throw cushion printed with a detail of Ingres’s Odalisque, $135
MIX, 438 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.828,1707
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
My blogging buddy Gina Hyams tipped me off to Hammertown Barn’s astonishing line of lightweight, indestructible Melamine dishes and serving platters (size shown, $25) that look like Italian hand-painted pottery.
Hammertown Barn, 3201 Route 199, Pine Plains; 518.398.7075; Hammertown Store, Montgomery Row, Rhinebeck NY; 845.876.1450; Hammertown Store, 325 Stockbridge Road, Great Barrington, 413.528.7766      
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
This six-year-old shop specializes in important, contemporary jewelry from top designers around the world.  The 18 karat gold hanger earrings, $425
Ornamentum, 306.5 Warren Street, Hudson 518.671.6770

She’ll never misplace them again; this checkbook cover, $24, and passport cover, $22, are so bright, they’ll find her.
Pine Cone Hill, 55 Pittsfield Road, Lenox; 413.637.1996

Joan Cornell designs her own jewelry and also carries reproductions of some of the best stuff in the highest-end Fifth Avenue stores. Aficionadas like your mother will recognize the source for this Italian-made cuff of 18 karat gold with 18 karat white gold appliques set with fine white diamonds, $15,500.  They’ll also recognize that its price is a trifle in comparison to the original.
Jewelz, 22 Walker Street , Lenox; 413.637.5022

Sheila Chefetz, an internationally recognized authority on the history of table settings, has a world-class collection right in her shop.  For asparagus loving mothers, antique French Limoges asparagus plates, $175 - $325 each; individual sterling silver asparagus holders, $65 - $95; asparagus servers, $345 - $495; and an autographed and gift-wrapped copy of Chefetz’s Antiques for the Table, $37.95.
Country Dining Room, 178 Main Street, Great Barrington; 413.528.5050
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
If you’re a Francophile, you probably know about Basic French in Red Hook,  a small storefront which carries an idiosyncratic assortment of imported linens, lotions, children’s clothes, and tableware. The store is so tiny that, if you want to see what their wonderful all-weather deck chairs ($135) look like open, you have to take them out to the sidewalk.
Basic French, 5 East Market Street, Red Hook, NY; 845.758.0399

Karen Allen has moved across Railroad Street into a larger space. Now, in addition to her signature patterned cashmere handknits, you’ll find such delights as this beaded evening bag, $95
Karen Allen Fiber Arts, 8 Railroad Street, Great Barrington; 513.528.8555

These unpolished glass eggs have the subtle coloring and light-capturing properties of beach glass.  At $4, $5, $6 each, you can afford to buy enough to fill a bowl.
Kosa, 502 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.828.6620
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
To prove her claim that this apron is sexy, we asked owner Dena Moran to slip it on.  Yup; gives a whole new dimension to the concept of being tied to Mother’s apron strings. $60
Olde Hudson, 434 Warren Street, Hudson; 518.828.6923
Rural Intelligence Home and Garden
The first artisanal maple syrup of the season from Mead’s Farm in Canaan, CT (which taps trees in Norfolk, CT, and Southfield, MA, as well) is available at Millerton Market ($14.95). In addition to using the syrup on pancakes and oatmeal, Robin Helfand, Millerton Market’s owner, likes to pair it with Peter Stephanopolis’s hand-made goat’s milk yogurt.
Millerton Market, 21 Main St, Millerton, NY; 518.789.6677

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