Looking for the perfect present this holiday season? Stay local with our picks of #MadeOnTheBay products. Whether you’re shopping for a birder, a cook, an oyster-lover, a Bluegrass fan, a rummy, or someone who enjoys finer things, these should put you on the nice list. Best of all? From fishing lures to farm-to-body beauty treats, the best things are made right here on the Bay.
North End makes bags and other leather and canvass goods in their 19th St. shop. The 76th St. Tote is an elegant but rugged bag, made of waxed canvass and vegetable-tanned leather on the outside, denim on the inside, with copper-riveted stress points and solid brass hardware. A great carry-everything-every-day tote with exterior and interior pockets to help organize it all.
What do you get for a drunken sailor? Blackwater’s Picaroon rum is aged in charred oak barrels that impart rich vanilla and caramel flavors to this sailorly drink. Mix with ginger beer for a traditional dark and stormy or enjoy straight from the bottle. Perfect for a little warmth on a cold night.
Birds of Maryland, Delaware
and the District of Columbia, $49.95
Johns Hopkins University Press
Ornithologist Bruce M. Beehler and photographer Middleton Evans have put together a stunning reference for any upper-Bay birder. With maps of birding sites and tips for bird watching in each; detailed chapters on bird groupings, regional geography, and conservation; and lists of common and rare birds in the area, this book does everything except focus your binoculars for you.
Dreamer Forge’s Vince Molina is a mechanical engineer with a state-of-the-art blacksmith shop and a passion for working metal. Molina’s stainless steel, medium-flex, fillet knife features a scalloped composite handle. The result is a durable, rust-resistant, and razor-sharp tool with a grip to handle the slippery business of breaking down snakeheads, stripers, and what have you.
Butter Pat pans have been praised before in these pages, but these things keep getting better with age. If there’s a cook in your life, they’ll be torn between cooking with these and displaying them on the wall. Luckily, you can do both.
Artist Kara Brook Brown started beekeeping to support her work in wax painting and moved into “farm-to-body” beauty products inspired by her bees. Waxing Kara’s spa bag comes with 2 oz. samples of their small-batch hand-crafted beauty products made with Eastern Shore honey—body butter, mineral salt, body scrub, lip balm, and a spa candle, all in a canvas gift bag.
Serious oyster connoisseurs and oyster newbies alike will appreciate this one—25 oysters and all the tools you’ll need to enjoy them (shucking gloves, a knife, and hot sauce from The Shack, in Staunton, Virginia). Choose from (in increasing order of saltiness) Rappahannocks, Rochambeaus, or Olde Salts, sustainably farmed on the lower Bay and Chincoteague.
How about a hand-turned, sanded, air-bushed, and sealed striper plug, signed and dated by the maker, Neal Cohen of Annapolis? Each plug is fitted with VMC stainless-steel hooks. They are beautiful, collectable, and they catch fish. The artist also makes classic poppers and special-order Baltimore Ravens-colored lures.
So you’ve given up your straws and started your backyard composting, how about getting rid of those one-time use plastic bags and Saran wrap? Half Moon’s wax-saturated organic cotton wraps are reusable and washable, and come in unique patterns made in small batches. If you bring your lunch to work, this is a great way to do it and cut down on the single-use plastic.
Chesapeake area pickers are some of the best in the world, and the proof is evident in the Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen band. Singer, songwriter, mandolin player Solivan formed the band with Baltimore’s own banjo wizard Mike Munford (2013 banjo-player of the year) and is tearing up the road with flat-pickin’ freak John Luquette and singing bassman Jeremy Middleton. Newgrass, jamgrass, bluegrass—call it what you will, it’s hot.