Holiday Shopping at its Best


No crowds, unique shops and small town cheer in Calaveras County

Skip the mall and head to the foothills for your holiday shopping this year.  Not only is it a great way to support the little guys, but the unique gifts you’ll find when you’re shopping in Calaveras will truly be one-of-a-kind.  Here is a great way to spend your day when you get here:

Make your way to Copperopolis to start your day at Copperopolis Town Square along Hwy. 4.  Here you’ll find Once Upon a Time on the Square, an eclectic general mercantile located in a lovely airy space that’s filled with everything from books and unique gifts to kids games and jewelry. And if you’ve got a chef or baker on your holiday shopping list, head next store to Fancy Pans, a fully stocked kitchen store where you’re sure to find the perfect tool or accessory for their kitchen.  Feel free to poke your head into a few of the other shops around Copperopolis Town Square, but be sure to save plenty of time for a whole day of shopping from here to Arnold.

From Copperopolis, head to Historic Angels Camp.  Don’t wear yourself out too early and make time for a coffee break at the Angels Camp World Mercantile, where you’ll also find one-of-a-kind wordly gifts. Next up, time to tempt your sweet tooth and pick up some handmade candies for the chocolate lover on your list at the Chocolate Lady Shop, just a few doors down from the Mercantile along Main Street.

Afterward, in the other direction, you’ll find Stories in Stones, which truly is the most unique place you’ll visit along the way.  Not only is this shop fun to peruse for all of its geologic wonders (that are also for sale), but you can find some great jewelry too.

Leaving Angels Camp, our shopping day takes us to Historic Murphys.  Be warned, you could make an entire weekend out of shopping, wine tasting and dining in Murphys, but for an ultimate shop til’ you drop day, we’ve picked three shops with very specific niches to check out.  Both a local and visitor favorite alike is The Spice Tin, which has walls lined with every kind of spice you can imagine, as well as interesting kitchen pieces like giant Himalayan salt slabs for the savviest of chefs among your family or circle of friends.  Then, keeping in the spirit of cooking, don’t miss Marisolio Tasting Bar, where over 30 kinds of traditional and flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars await.  And finally, Tea n’ Tiques is a great stop for budget-friendly gift items, including 150+ varieties of teas and a huge variety of tea accessories.  Getting hungry?  Satisfy those hunger pains with a treat (made from scratch daily) or panini from Aria Bakery.

If you’re not shopped out yet (and we hope that you’re not), hop in the car for the final leg of your holiday shopping extravaganza in Arnold.  If you’ve got an adventure lover on your shopping list, you’re going to want to hit Sierra Nevada Adventure Company (SNAC), which has everything from backpacking gear and trail books to wool socks and snowshoes.

Then, round out your day by stopping in to one of the area’s hidden gems that has been open for 33 years–The Outhouse Collection.  There is something for everyone here, including kids books and games, cabin decor, kitchen wares and even furniture.

Too exhausted to drive home?  Stay the night at one of these cozy hotels in the woods:

Arnold Timberline Lodge

Arnold Meadowmont Lodge

Arnold Black Bear Inn

And tomorrow, stop at some of the other great shops in Calaveras that you missed.


Photos by Jason Benjamin Smith Photography.


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  1. There are so many stores with unique items… You’ll find something for everyone, including your pets!! I love Feed stores, hardware stores and nursery a also to find great gifts that you certainly won’t find in any “cookie cutter” mall!!

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