Friday, November 15, 2013

Shopping in Style... at Strathmore

Holidays and stress... They often go hand-in-hand, no? Shopping can be particularly stressful; so when I read about the 24th Museum Shop Around in the historic mansion at Strathmore, I paid attention. The four-day "sell-a-thon," featuring 20 of the area's best museum gift shops began yesterday and runs through Sunday at 5:00 PM. I stopped by this morning, and came away with favorable impressions (and five gifts to prove it.)

For starters, almost everything on sale is unique and affordable; which makes navigating tight quarters (there were a lot of people here today) worth the effort. There's also an "air of elegance" attached to shopping here... a feeling you won't likely find at neighboring Montgomery and White Flint malls. Yes, you must pay to get in ($9) but imagine spending the time (and money) to visit each museum shop on its home court. As a bonus, your name will be added to a list, to ensure free admission for the remainder of the weekend.

Most importantly, revel in the fact that most of your purchases will be one-of-a-kind items, that are sure to spark oohs and aahs from your friends, family and co-workers. Say farewell to shoelaces with Hickies, which turn your sneakers into slip-ons ($20.) The Audubon Naturalist Society features a wonderful selection of bird clocks; and the Kennedy Center chimes in with a clock of their own... a wicked cool 45 LP "Rock Around the Clock" for $45, that I'm probably going to go back for tomorrow. All this, on top of a massive selection of clothing, holiday ornaments and jewelry.

You'll find a wide array of items from the Kennedy Center, National Archives, National Geographic Store, the Phillips Collection and others. I nabbed a pack of aforementioned Hickies, a Cool Tunes ice cube tray, turntable kitchen timer, electronic classic violin and even an inflatable turkey for $14 (gag gifts are making a comeback, trust me.) The mansion is open until 8:00 PM tonight, 10-6 tomorrow (Saturday) and 10-5 on Sunday.

The Shops of Strathmore

Birthstone Bottle Necklaces ($14)

Stereoscope/Book set ($29.95) at the National Archives Shop

Turntable Kitchen Timer ($18)

Cool Tunes Ice Tray ($8)

U.S. Capitol Historical Society

Inflatable Turkeys and Fruit Cakes!

National Building Museum

Kennedy Center Gift Shop