Where to eat and shop on Shelter Island during the holidays

Bounty of the season. A holiday cheese basket on display at Table of Content General Store in the Center. (Credit: Jo Ann Kirkland)

Bounty of the season. A holiday cheese basket on display at Table of Content General Store in the Center. (Credit: Jo Ann Kirkland)

There’s plenty of holiday bustle around the Island leading up to Christmas.

Retailers have stocked shelves with gifts to satisfy a wide variety of tastes. But if you’re planning Christmas dinner here, it better be at home or with friends or relatives, because no Island restaurants will be serving on the 25th.

There are, however, places that will cater to your needs and provide hors d’oeuvres, main and side dishes and desserts, so you don’t have to do all your own cooking.

O Tannenbaum
On the decorating side, Grady Riley Gardens has 6- to 8-foot trees available as well as some table top trees. There are also a few 10- to 12-foot trees for those who want a tree-dominating room along with some 2- to 5-foot trees, pointsettias and, of course, wreaths.

Owner Gerry Siller said Grady Riley Gardens will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. December 23 and then from 9 a.m. to noon on December 24, “if we have anything left.” Phone: 749-5575

Becky Smith at Shelter Island Florist is ready to help you give your home a festive look and feel. She’ll provide flowers and plants in her pots or yours. If you have pots that you want to make the center of your decorating, bring them in and talk with Becky about what flowers will look the best.

Sending flowers out of town? Better order as soon as possible or you might not get what you want, Becky advises. You can reach her at (800) 226-7392.

There are seasonal lights and decorations that both Shelter Island Ace Hardware (749-0097) andJack’s True Value Hardware & Toy Store (749-0114) have in stock to dress your tree. Whether it’s strings of lights to replace those that burned out last year or just seem to only flicker this year, extension cords or colorful bulbs and ornaments — the hardware store and Jack’s have you covered.

Cornucopia is another place to pick out some special ornaments. But that’s not all owner Mary Lou Eichhorn is featuring. She has Nativity scenes, a new line of lifetime oil lamps, a lot of musical candles and, of course, her famous homemade chocolates.

Noting that Islanders have welcomed a host of beautiful new babies this year, Ms. Eichhorn has “a lot of baby things” for that special first Christmas. Give her a call at 749-0171.

“We have something for everybody,” Ms. Eichhorn says. She’s open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. leading up to Christmas.

Gifts for all
Back at the hardware store, there are plenty of stocking stuffers and, of course, gift cards, Meredith Page said. Shop early since she’s not sure how late the store will stay open Christmas Eve.

And anyone who knows Camille Anglin at Jack’s Marine knows that those hard-to-get toys the box stores ran out of early, are still apt to found on Shelter Island. So if you have a child in your household or a childlike adult who prefers fun to the practical, Jack’s Marine is a good bet.

What’s hot this year in the way of toys?

Sky Runner’s remote controlled quadcopter is “absolutely awesome,” Ms. Anglin says. For your toddlers, the Plasma Car line will have kids scurrying about the house with joy, she promises.

Crayola Virtual is offering a line of designs from pro-fashion to the pro-car sets.

And if your recipient is an adult with a practical bent, but wants to be so with style, there’s the Wallet Ninja — 18 different tools contained in one flat credit card-sized form.

Jack’s Marine is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Sunday when the store closes at 1 p.m.

Islanders know Bliss’ Department Store as the place where they can find everything from clothing and shoes to jewelry, blankets and a wide assortment of Shelter Island items to show hometown pride. Bliss’ will be open everyday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and until 5 p.m. on Saturday. Phone: 749-0041.

The out-of-the-ordinary
The Island has more than its share of unique gifts.

At Black Cat Books, Michael Kinsey can sell you a collectible leather-bound book of classics. They’re not first editions, but for $20 to $30 can make a special gift for the reader on your list. And he has first editions for those who are looking for something they’re willing to dig deeper into the wallet.

Mr. Kinsey also has vintage children’s books that go for $10 and up. So whether it’s a child in your life with whom you want to share your memory of a wonderful tome you read as a child, or an adult you want to surprise with a book you know he or she loved as a child, Black Cat Books is the place to look. Black Cat Books is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. right up to the holiday and can be reached at 725-8654.

While you’re in the Center, a trip across the street to Table of Content General Store can net you a gift basket filled with items of your choice. This year, that basket might feature special holiday cheeses.

There are also plenty of stocking stuffers, says owner Kimberly Auth. “It’s gift basket galore in my world,” she says. She’s open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Thursday and until 6 p.m. Friday, then 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both weekend days, and 9 to 6 on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, she’ll start at 7 a.m., but plans to close by 1 p.m. Phone: 749-5862.

Marika’s Eclectic Boutique (749-1168) is offering collectibles, jewelry and home furnishings, and while she operates Friday through Monday, she will open by appointment if you’re unable to get to the store on those days.

Fallen Angel Antiques (749-0243) will be open on Saturday and Sunday from “11-ish to 5-ish,” according to owner Joan Markell. It’s another place to find antiques, collectibles and one-of-a-kind items.

Tricia McGrath at Coastal Cottage says while her Island store is closed, if someone looks in the window and sees something that interests them, call her at 516-480-5792 and she’ll have someone open up for you.

As for the not-so-one-of-a-kind, but still significant gifts to spread holiday cheer, Townsend Montant atShelter Island Wines & Spirits reminds you that he has what’s always an appropriate gift.

“When can’t you use a glass of wine?” Towny says.

The store won’t be open on Christmas, but leading up to it, he’s a good bet for the bottles you need to grace your own table or to give to a friend. Give them a call at 749-0305.

Don’t overlook Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy where you can find cards, gift wrap paper, a wide assortment of candy and even clothing like Shelter Island sweatshirts, jackets and sweatpants.

Perhaps the most unusual gift you can consider giving your pet is a day away from the hoopla that might be taking place with friends and relatives cramming your house. Amber Anglin is ready to give your pet the “home experience” in a quiet atmosphere at her house. The All Dogged Up owner does dog boarding or day care to suit your needs.

But if your pet is staying with you for the holidays, he or she might need some sprucing up for company and Ms. Anglin will be open until 5 or 6 p.m. Christmas Eve to give your pet a bath and brushing to be presentable to the most distinguished members of your party.

All Dogged Up is also selling Christmas stockings with animal treats. They’ll be open over the weekend from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and can be reached about boarding from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Call 749-0702.

Who’s hungry?
Entertaining at home, but don’t want to do the cooking? Turn to the usual suspects to help you out — but be advised to get those orders in early.

Redding’s, Kyle’s, Schmidt’s and Commander Cody’s can provide a host of alternatives for your holiday table.
Whether it’s lobster you want to put on your holiday table, or a platter of shrimp, Amanda Hayward will be at Commander Cody’s ready to prepare for your needs. She’ll also be baking, so get your orders in early (749-1851) and she says she’ll do her best to accommodate your needs.

Kyle will cook your special orders “as always,” but call her as soon as possible at 749-0579. She, too, is known for her baked goods.

Redding’s has been silent about its offerings, but is open prior to the holiday and a call to 749-0003 can likely get you what you need for your holiday fare.

On New Year’s Eve, on the other hand, there are a few choices if you want a night on the town.

Schmidt’s can offer special orders for the holidays if you get your needs known now.

Sweet Tomato’s, the Ram’s Head Inn, 18 Bay and Vine Street Café all invite you to ring in 2015 with them. Vine Street will, by the way, be open Christmas Eve as well.

Jimi Rando was still finalizing his Sweet Tomato’s menu, but besides his full meal service, he’ll be keeping the bar open late and for those around at midnight, there will be a complimentary champagne toast. He’ll also open from 5 to 10 p.m. on New Year’s Day. Give Jimi a call at 749-4114.

Ram’s Head is offering several choices for dinner, including crab, tuna, lamb, chicken and lobster dishes.

“We’re just trying to have a place where people can go without having to spend a huge amount of money” for an enjoyable dinner, said co-owner Linda Eklund, who can be reached at 749-0811.

Vine Street will be offering both its regular menu and “extra special specials” on New Year’s Eve, according to Lisa Murphy. She promises “some really fun things” and says no one has to spend a fortune just because it’s the holiday season. Phone: 749-3210.

At 18 Bay (749-0053), it will be the restaurant’s usual four-course holiday meal.

Leading up to Christmas and New Year’s, Island restaurants will generally be keeping their regular hours.

“We’ve got to go home and see if Santa Claus has come,” says Pepe Martinez about why he and wife Lydia close Stars Café on Christmas. They’ll be open Christmas Eve day until 1 p.m. and until 2 p.m. New Year’s Eve. The rest of the time, they’ll be on their usual 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. schedule. They can be reached at 749-5345.

While that new hot spot, Shelter Island Tavern (749-5659), is closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve, it will be open for its usual weekend schedule and that includes New Year’s Day.

So, too, will the Islander, where Ashley Knight and her staff will take the holidays off, but be open on New Year’s Day when you might be tired of leftovers. You can reach the Islander at 749-1998.

Need breakfast or lunch while you’re prepping for the holidays? Eagle Deli (749-5363 ) will be open, but don’t look for them to open on Christmas. Owner Orlando Salizar promises he’ll be unveiling a new menu after the first of the year.

The seemingly always open Maria’s Kitchen will actually close Christmas Day so owner Maria Schultheis can spend time with her children. But for takeout or eat-in for the holiday season, give her a call at 749-5450.

And, yes, Schmidt’s (749-0555) will be there to feed you or if you order ahead, to provide you with fixings for New Year’s Eve when the market will be open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Jack Kiffer will be open at the Dory until about 6 p.m. Christmas Eve, closed on Christmas Day and open New Year’s Eve from 1 p.m. to “whenever,” depending on the flow of customers. It’s strictly drinks and bar food, Jack said. Reach the Dory at 749-4300.