Off-The-Grid Holiday Shopping in COVA

In Coastal Virginia, the locals know all the best spots; however, we don’t like to keep those secrets to ourselves. December is prime shopping time for the year as everyone is trying to cross friends and family off their gift list. We have put together a list of our favorite off-the-grid holiday shopping gems to get unique and thoughtful gifts for anyone who was on Santa’s Nice List this year.

Our favorite off-the-grid holiday shopping spots in COVA:

Virginia, Newport News, Virginia Living Museum,
Newport News

This holiday season, there’s no need to fight for a parking spot at the mall, bulldoze your way through crowds, and wait in those painfully long check-out lines! Why put yourself through that stress when you can breeze easily from one museum gift shop to another to find that special, one-of-a-kind gift? Not only that, but you’ll be shopping local, benefiting the museum, and supporting local artisans. The network of museum gift shops available in Newport News ranges from the Wild Things Museum Store” at the Virginia Living Museum and “Artful Giving” at the Peninsula Fine Arts Center to The Duffle Bag” at the Virginia War Museum and Unclaimed Cargo” at The Mariners’ Museum. You can also practice a little retail therapy at Endview Plantation, Lee Hall Mansion, and the gift shop at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum. You’ll find maritime and nature-themed gifts, toy soldiers, Civil War books, custom designed jewelry, iconic posters, and much more. And don’t forget the gift shop at the Newport News Visitor Center, where you’ll find “Virginia Is For Lovers” merchandise! Click here for additional “off-the-grid” holiday shopping spots in Newport News. LEARN MORE


Why head out to yet another overcrowded big box store? You may not think of them right away, but museum gift shops are hidden gems offering unique gift ideas for that person on your list who has everything, or just for some exceptional stocking stuffers! The gift shop at Historic St. Luke’s is just a few miles outside of downtown Smithfield and offers everything from beautiful geodes and quirky mugs from the Unemployed Philosophers Guild, to more traditional gift items such as scarves, bags and books by local authors. Or stay in town and visit the quaint Isle of Wight County Museum’s shop for “all things ham and pigs!” Their hot seller is the recently published “The History of Isle of Wight County in 40 Years,” celebrating the museum’s 40th anniversary – a great idea for the history lover on your list. And while you’re in town, there are dozens of other small, independently-owned shops offering their own special gift ideas. So there’s no reason you can’t enjoy your holiday shopping by making a visit to downtown Smithfield part of your seasonal tradition. LEARN MORE


Skip the lines this holiday season and shop local in Hampton. This December 2-3, the 21st annual Holiday and Kwanzaa Marketplace returns to Hampton University Museum. The museum shop specializes in African, African-American, and other multicultural items and artwork. On December 10, the Hampton History Museum plays host to the Hampton Holiday Market. The market features a variety of vendors offering homemade, homegrown and locally sourced merchandise including heritage foods, arts and traditional crafts, and more. LEARN MORE


Recently named a top attraction in the region, the one-million square foot MacArthur Center located in the heart of downtown is one of the best places to shop in the area! Along with a wide selection of stores, MacArthur Center also offers a variety of entertainment and dining options for adults and kids alike. Don’t forget to stop by the Mermaid Market inside the VisitNorfolk administrative offices at 232 East Main Street in downtown Norfolk to purchase holiday gifts such as mermaid memorabilia, bath & body products, t-shirts and more. LEARN MORE


Whether you’re seeking brand names, homemade wares, or made in Chesapeake, VA presents, take to our streets to find the best gifts for all your favorite people (or yourself). At Experience Olives and Grapes Fusti Bar, they offer Ultra Premium Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegars. They are a tasting bar, where you taste all of the olive oil and vinegar they have to offer. Once you are satisfied, they will bottle it up so you can take it home and enjoy. They also offer pasta, spices, jellies, jams, olives, and many more items. If you need a gift for someone with a sweet tooth, check out H.E. Williams Candy Co. A staple of the South Norfolk area of Chesapeake, H.E. Williams Candy Company, Inc. Since 1919, this family-owned-and-operated candy company has been making seven kinds of sweets the old-fashioned way, with the same taffy pullers, rollers, presses and slicers used back in the 1900s. Or if you have a new addition to the family, be sure to check out newly opened Le Bebe Chic Boutique, also in South Norfolk. They specialize in organic baby clothes and toys, hand-picked boutique selections, amber teething necklaces, glass bottles, organic pacifiers, and diapers. LEARN MORE

Virginia Beach

For some one-of-a-kind local flair that you won’t find in your online shopping cart, there is no better option than buying handmade gifts. With artisans of all varieties specializing in everything from pin-striping to leatherworking, the ViBe Creative District has the goods for a truly unique and long-lasting memento that only Virginia Beach can provide. Hit up Igor’s Custom for custom, hand-painted signs and pin-striping done the old-school way, no computers necessary. Located next door, North End Bag Company is crafting handmade leather bags from scratch, using a variety of multi-era vintage sewing machines. From when the design is sketched to when the sewing machine whirs to a stop, no detail is overlooked in building these timeless and sturdy bags. LEARN MORE

Franklin Southampton

Are you looking for holiday gifts? From the sports fanatic to the hostess with the mostess – The Peanut Patch has a gift for everyone on your list. Be sure to sample some delicious FERIDIES peanuts while you shop ’til you drop at the Peanut Patch! LEARN MORE

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