Beat the traffic and support the local economy: Shop Greene

By Susan Gibbs

The Greene House Shops Antique Mall has holiday decor galore

The Holiday Season is full upon us, and folks are fighting traffic on their way to parking lots filled to overflowing, and battling crowds in search of last-minute gifts.

Why, when so much can be found right here in Greene?

We’ve got Walmart and Lowes, but , what about all the other places to shop that abound in the county, like, for example, Greene House Shops Antique Mall at the northwest corner of the US Route 29-33 intersection in Ruckersville?

Don’t let the name deceive you. The Mall – which houses more than 50 shops with interconnecting walkways — isn’t just about antiques. It’s also about crafts and gifts, and, well, anything else you can imagine, and a lot that you can’t.

Thousands of antiques in the form of furniture, paintings, silver, china, quilts, ironworks, primitives, toys, crocks and much, much more are to be found at the Mall, along with new lace curtains and table dressings, birdhouses, art photographs and so much more.

And it’s not a place to buy just big ticket items. You can pick up a set of vintage napkins, and use them to wrap up fruitcake or cookies to deliver to neighbors; an antique vase or a vintage advertising tin to hold a bouquet of Holiday flowers; or a special tea cup for the special tea-drinker you know.

Or pick up something to add to your tree while you’re there: the Mall has antique and vintage ornaments galore.

While you’re out and about don’t forget to check out the Ruckersville Gallery on Route 29, just south of the Greene County Visitors Center.

New in town, in the building that used to house the Antiquer’s Mall, the Gallery has brought with it an extensive collection of University of Virginia and Charlottesville antiques, as well as a high-end furniture line by Maurice Bean that’s sold to interior designers all across America.

There's silver galore at the Ruckersville Gallery

But that’s hardly all.

Think furniture, formal or country, china and porcelain, sterling and silverplate, quilts, linens, oil paintings and folk art; lighting, rugs, trains, books, dolls, architectural salvage, antique clocks, bottles, auto memorabilia, Civil War relics, musical instruments, cast iron, and much, much more.

Visitors to the Gallery are greeted by gleaming displays of coins and fine jewelry when they walk through the doors of the 30,000-square foot space that is home to more than 125 shops. Many of those are run by dealers new to the Gallery who came with fresh inventories of a variety of antiques and collectibles – though there are some wonderful remains of older inventories.

Like wrought iron garden pieces.

More than a few in Greene County will start thumbing through plant and seed catalogues even before their Christmas trees come down. As soon as weather permits they’ll be tilling leftover leaves and compost into their garden beds, adding nutrients to the soil. They’ll be mending their stakes, inspecting their tools, and planning their gardens.

Wouldn’t they love a new structure or two, or some new old fencing to be planning around?

Need more ideas about shopping in Greene?

How about a gift certificate for a weekend escape, a thrilling afternoon for the kids, or  a breakfast, lunch or dinner out, to a specialty store or even for a home inspection – a gift that is sure to keep on giving all the year through?

Lydia Mountain Lodge & Log Cabins is right up the road off Route 33 West, just this side of Shenandoah National Park.

A weekend in one of the cabins would be great for couples, a few friends or families.

If you don't have a wood burning fireplace of your own, you can enjoy the warmth at Lydia Mountain

 

The cabins – each set on an entire private acre with a mountain view and rustic on the outside, save for the deck and the hot tub – boast stone fireplaces that burn real wood, and are equipped with everything you need for your stay – appliances, large and small, cookware, tableware, and linens – along with satellite TV, stereo, and DVD and CD players.

The 122-acre mountain is also home to Lydia Mountain Adventure, where youngsters only have to be six years old to enjoy the Mountain Tubing Trax that will send them spinning and sliding down the mountainside, or to take a guided ATV tour across rugged terrain. And if they are nine years or older they can soar across the mountain on the Star-Shot zip line.

If you’re not renting a cabin, you can still buy the kids a gift certificate for an afternoon of adventure to share with their families, or their friends.

What about a dinner out?

Fabio of Fabio’s N.Y. Pizza & Cucina Italiana in Ruckersville isn’t kidding when he says he uses old family recipes to make pizza, Stromboli, pastas, calzone, and everything else on his menu – including his

Eggplant parmigiana, his  ravioli stuffed with spinach and artichoke hearts covered in Alfredo sauce, his signature lasagna, made with beef, ricotta, Romano and mozzarella, his Gnocchi Napoletani, and much, much, much more.

 

Fabio's tiramisu servings are double the usual size

A native of Naples – Italy, not Florida – Fabio has been in the restaurant business since he came to this country when he was about 14 years old. The restaurant in Ruckersville, in the little shopping center fronting the Terrace Greene apartment community, is the fourth he has opened in the area, and his success is undoubtedly due to his family recipes, his use of fresh dough, made daily on site, and fresh herbs, along with generous servings and reasonable prices.

It’s been said that Fabio’s tiramisu is to die for.

Or how about a meal at Olive’s Grill on Route 29 North in the shopping center just south of the intersection with Route 33, where owner George Kasidiaris’ Reuben sandwich is said to be the best around?

The Grill is open for breakfast so you can wrap up an invitation for that most important meal of the day before a golf game, a shopping spree, or on your way to one of Greene’s many community events.

After all, there’s nothing like a hearty meal of eggs, pancakes, French toast or potatoes, bacon, sausage or ham to get your get-up-and-go up and going!

Or take a friend to the Grill for lunch: while Kasidiaris serves a variety of meat, poultry, fish, cheese and vegetarian sandwiches, including his famous Reuben, along with hamburgers and fries, his Greek heritage comes through in his gyro, and chicken souvlaki.

Do you have a friend who loves authentic Mexican and Latin American food, or who would like to be introduced to it?

Mexi-Mart on Route 29 North in Ruckersville might have a small lunch counter, but all of its tacos, tortas, enchiladas, and pupusas are cooked fresh, and to order. Owner Gerardo Arizmendi says the little store also makes its own guacamole and hot sauce.

Or, grab one of those empty baskets you’ve got sitting around your house and head for the store’s shelves, where you can find the food-stuffs Arizmendi orders directly from Mexico and South America:  avocado leaves; banana leaves; chilies; Mexican chocolate;

Fill a basket for a Mexican-food lover with authentic goodies from Mexi-Mart

hoja santa, an anise-flavored leaf that can be used either as a tamale-style wrap or as an herb; and more.

Arizmendi also stocks cheeses used in traditional Mexican dishes along with other hard-to-find ingredients, such as annatto seed, azafran and epazote. Even the drinks he sells are the real thing: some that he imports are pineapple, banana and other fruit drinks, as well as a non-alcoholic Sangria.

If you work in Stanardsville – as so many county and school district employees do — take a co-worker or friend to lunch or dinner at Sal’s Pizzeria & Family Restaurant in the Stanardsville Shopping Center.

Owner Jimmy Arias’ salads – Italian, shrimp or tuna, Caesar, with or without grilled or crispy chicken, Greek, Chef’s – or even an antipasto platter – are great for those trying to make up for a bit of overindulgence over the Christmas holiday.

If you prefer not to stop with the salad, dig into one of Sal’s favorite subs, his traditional or baked pastas or, of course, one of his pizzas.

The bottom line is this: Statistics indicate that sales increase dramatically as people purchase gifts, decorations and supplies to celebrate. In the United States, it has been calculated that a quarter of all personal spending takes place during the Christmas holiday shopping season.

If your money is spent in Greene, it says in Greene, and in this case, as in so many others, what goes around comes around.

Greene County businesses pay taxes on furniture, fixtures, and equipment, machinery and tools, meals and the county also receives the benefit of a 2 percent tax on lodging, and as we all know, in this day and age, every little bit helps.

For more information, visit Eye on Greene’s “Shop” page.

Posted in: Editorials

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