Call it Maine mystique. Pine Tree State popular. Vacationland vogue.

With its irresistible symbols (the humble moose, the cheery lobster, the healthy blueberry, the towering pine), its mountain-to-sea beauty, and its Down East common sense — let’s face it — the state of Maine is a desirable brand. During this holiday season, anyone getting Maine-made gifts can be excused for being overly appreciative.

With that in mind, and with only 24 days left, we offer readers 10 finds from around the state that allow them to buy local, buy unique, buy hot and trendy Maine, and buy by Christmas. Delectable jams, beautiful sea glass creations, delightful garden implements and more.

So shop Maine, and hoe, hoe, hoe!

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A Maine beach memories pendant comes filled with sand, tiny shells and sea glass. Photo courtesy Tigerlily Glassworks

Tygerlily Glassworks, South Thomaston

Maine beach memories pendants, $68-78

Heidi Small crafts each one from hand, forming the hollow glass bead along with the sterling silver or copper end caps, and fills them with sand, tiny shells and sea glass that she collects at beaches like Birch Point State Park.

“I’ve had a few people send their own sand from vacations or just shells and sea glass from a beach that means something to them,” said Small.

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Permethrin-infused gaiters from Dog Not Gone are an easy way to keep bugs at bay. Courtesy Dog Not Gone

Dog Not Gone, Skowhegan

No Fly Zone stretch gaiters, $28

These footless socks snug up the calf and keep bugs at bay.

“The gaiters are our number one seller just because that’s how ticks get on you, from the ground up,” said co-owner Julie Swain. “We can’t keep them in stock, we’re constantly making them.”

(Permethrin, according to the National Pesticide Information Center, is an insecticide approved for use in powders, sprays and treated clothing.)

The company came out with men’s gaiters four years ago — they’re olive green and slouched around the leg — and added a stretch style in four colors last year after hearing from women customers seeking a chic alternative.

“It’s better than spraying (bug spray) on you — you just throw it on when you go out,” Swain said. “They would wear them during yard work, out hiking, going to their kid’s soccer games, baseball games. I am now a soccer mom (and) we go to these different fields, we sit there and who knows if they’ve been treated or not?”

They’re made in Skowhegan where * bonus * there’s also a factory outlet on Dane Avenue that’s always “buy one, get one half off.”

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The intricate spiral bowl that gave Wooden Alchemy its start, each one laser cut in Thomaston. Photo courtesy Wooden Alchemy

Wooden Alchemy, Thomaston

Votives, trivets and coasters, starting at $20

Rob Jones’ whimsical wooden creations have been a high-end gift shop staple for eight years — he’s in everything from the Owls Head Museum to the Smithsonian, according to his wife, Barbie.

Last year the couple opened retail stores in Damariscotta and Rockland.

His designs are heavy on repeating patterns, spinning layer after layer of delicate wood slices into any number of different geometric creations.

The family business includes four of their children plus a cousin.

“Everything that is laser cut is made right here in Thomaston,” said Barbie.

“He uses geometry and math, all types of math, in what he does when he’s designing,” she said. “He says the stores feed his soul. He can continue to create and design, and he can make one of something, (or) he can make five of something and never make it again.”

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Wild Woman Jam, handmade in Greenville, includes blackberries, sour cherries and raspberries. Photo courtesy Northwoods Gourmet Girl

Northwoods Gourmet Girl, Greenville

Ooo La La Sweet & Spicy Mustard, Wild Woman Jam and more, starting at $7

“Country Ketchup is the catalyst for the whole company,” said chef and founder Abby Freethy. “I was pregnant and I wasn’t a very good pregnant person in the beginning” — think lots of fries and ketchup — “and here I was newly in Greenville, Maine, with a skill set that didn’t exactly match a well-paying job. I decided to strike out on my own and become an accidental entrepreneur.”

In the 15 years since, she’s offered a number of different flavor-filled pantry staples and winnowed the list down to the most popular 15, all made right in Greenville.

Find them online or in her Pritham Avenue shop in town, where she also sells farm tables, blown-glass glasses and “anything that relates to food.”

“We have a giant customer return base,” said Freethy. “We’ll see an influx of orders coming in soon. We really don’t see an enormous lull anymore.”

(Dreaming of summer? Freethy also started Wicked Maine Pops in 2019, all-natural and organic frozen treats. Catch her at festivals and events around the state in warmer months.)

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The state of Maine recreated in sea glass found on Maine beaches, on a reclaimed wood frame. Photo courtesy Kreations Maine

Kreations Maine, Old Orchard Beach

Maine-shaped Maine sea glass art with a reclaimed wood frame, $30

Six years ago, Kris Fish was a firefighter in Old Orchard Beach when an autoimmune disease suddenly upended his life.

He got very sick, and “I was in a wheelchair for a number of years,” Fish said. “We got a dog for my company. Raina (his wife) walked the beach every day for her sanity — she would take the dog and they would walk for miles and miles. She’d find treasures and just pick them up. Once I was better, she had a whole bunch of sand dollars and just wanted me to make something for her, for the mantle.”

She loved the piece. Friends asked if he could make something like it for them. Their side business launched earlier this year.

They make sea glass and seashell art in the shapes of flowers, trees and states mounted on reclaimed pallet wood. The designs retail at Whimsical ME in Saco and online.

Fish said they scour beaches from York to Boothbay for material.

“We follow the storms, we follow the coastline,” he said. “You don’t want a smooth sandy beach if you’re looking for sea glass, but if you’re looking for sand dollars and driftwood, that’s the right place to go. There’s lots of rocky, coastal shoreline in Maine that sea glass is just abundant.”

Kris is originally from New York, Raina from New Jersey. They settled in the state 20 years ago.

“Once we moved to Maine, this was home,” he said.

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Peanut butter chocolate chip cookies that can be offered gluten-free, sugar-free, keto or vegan, depending upon how the recipe is changed up. Photo courtesy Heartfelt Cookies

Heartfelt Cookies, Farmington

Traditional, vegan, keto, sugar-free or gluten-free cookies starting at $18/dozen

AnnMarie Comeau started Heartfelt in 1999 as a way to fill up her time when her husband was away long-haul truck driving.

“Gluten-free was for me because I’m gluten sensitive,” she said. “Other people said, ‘I’m diabetic, you should make sugar-free.’ I like to experiment, because baking is a science. It’s basically just substituting different ingredients, seeing what works and what doesn’t work, and if it works, let’s see what else I can do.”

Her cookie varieties include chocolate chip, pumpkin, snickerdoodle, peanut butter, orange and chocolate, lemon, molasses, ginger, blueberry and apple, with most able to be customized.

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The Francine hip bag — go hands-free on your Harley or on the sidelines watching your next football game. Photo courtesy Maven Leather and Morgan Look

Maven Leather, Cherryfield

Francine hip bag, $125

Emma Thieme wanted a bag she could wear while riding her motorcycle, so she could easily access her wallet without getting off her bike, but busy moms and anyone else who’s ever wished they had more hands will also appreciate Thieme’s hip bag, a sweet triangle-flap leather purse that clips to the wearer’s belt loops.

“It’s great for concerts, too,” said Thieme. “I feel like I go to a lot of places where I don’t really want to put my bag down somewhere or hide it.”

Her mom taught her how to sew when Thieme was young, and in college she started experimenting with leather after someone gifted her a bag of scraps.

“I treat leather like it’s fabric because I don’t know any other way,” she said. “It’s just really become my medium.”

She makes every bag, backpack and even motorcycle seat herself, in her downtown Cherryfield studio. In the summer, people pop in to shop while she works.

“The leather is all tanned in Maine,” said Thieme. “I also have a collection called The Barrens Collection, which I naturally dye myself using a totally natural leather and putting sustainable plant and insect dyes on top of that.”

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The Vineyard Collection of made-in-Maine salt and pepper mills. Photo courtesy Fletchers’ Mill

Fletchers’ Mill, New Vineyard

USA-made salt and pepper mills, starting at $17.48 

Go classic (Federal-style), go bold (Marsala), go cute (3-inch) or go big (17-inch!), but whatever the choice, “everything except two screws is American-made,” according to Michael Conway, director of sales and marketing.

“All of the wood is cut from within 250 miles of our mill,” said Conway. “Once it comes into campus — we have a 22-acre campus here — it is cut to size, kiln dried, turned, painted and finished and assembled all on campus.”

Each salt and pepper mill has a locking nut with 33 different positions for 33 different flake sizes.

Decisions, decisions.

“If you’re doing salad and you want a nice big flake, you back that off and you grate it to a nice big flake,” said Conway. “If you want to season meat, close it down nice and tight and you’ll get a very small flake of pepper that comes out.”

The mills that are made by the family-owned company frequently appear on TV cooking shows and have a rare, lifetime warranty: If the inside mechanism stops working, easily pop it out and they’ll send you a new one.

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The heavy duty canvas folder bag in a twig pattern. Photo courtesy Erin Flett

Erin Flett, Gorham

Canvas folder bag, $95

Erin Flett, the designer and the shop, is on a roll.

Her creations have appeared in more than 50 magazines, and earlier this year she opened a retail showroom and manufacturing space on Main Street in Gorham.

“I have been obsessing over a lot of new ideas and product lines as well as how to connect with more hotels, hospitality and interior designers,” Flett wrote in a shop journal started in October. “My real love is pillows and home, and I want to nurture this a bit more even though BAGS have literally exploded in the shop.”

Her bags come in eight-plus sizes and styles, but the heavy duty canvas folder bag with leather handles is perfectly sized for laptops and work. It comes in 10 colors, all made to order, including the whimsical coral twig pattern.

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The Miracle Garden Hoe for weeding, perforating packed soil, reaching through thick rose bushes and more. Photo courtesy Susan Rowland

Miracle Garden Hoe, Lisbon

Single tine garden hoe, $45

When Susan Rowland’s father, Robert Perdrizet, turned 89, he was done with gardening on his hands and knees.

The family designed a single-tine hoe, light, with a long handle, so he could thwart weeds and attack dandelions standing up. Perdrizet gave some away to friends and still others asked, could they get one, too? The Miracle Garden Hoe business was slowly born.

And at 99, he’s still out there using it.

“Because it’s so skinny, you can make a row with it, you can do what my dad calls ‘precision gardening,’ you can go around flowers and delicate seedlings without disturbing the roots,” said Rowland. “You can also go nice and deep and go down and get a dandelion. You can turn it sideways and use it like a regular hoe and just scrape the weeds off the top.”

The sum of its uses? Oh, no. She’s just getting started.

“If you’re landscaping, you can go around pavers and bricks and rocks up close, because it’s so fine,” Rowland said. “Also, if it’s hard-packed soil in August and you just want to seed and water things, you can just take that and go right around the plant, and then the water and food go right to the plant, they don’t pour off. You can go into fencing. You can go into rose bushes and not get caught inside of them . . .”

Hoe handles are made by Peavy Manufacturing in Eddington and the heads are made by blacksmith Jeff Jelenfy in Union.

In her basement, Rowland assembles them with a drill press, sands each one, peens it together, paints it and voila — garden like you’re 9 or 99.


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