1) Buying local is a whole lot of fun at the annual Artisans Studio Tour in Charlottesville and surrounding counties on November 8 and 9. On exhibit (and for sale) are the works of 40 artisans in 22 studios, including this elegantly aubergine seven-and-a-half-inch stoneware teapot by potter Nancy Ross (who also teaches at City Clay Charlottesville).
$125 at Blaise Gaston’s studio (number 5 on the tour). artisanstudiotour.com.
(2) Back when Sprout Bottle creator Paige Mattson owned the Blue Ridge Eco Shop in Charlottesville, she started playing with ways to reuse beer bottles to divert them from the waste stream. Several years later, she’s come up with the perfect solution: this charming little kit that includes recycled beer bottle bottoms, seeds, soil, and instructions on how to grow your own little herb (or flower) windowsill garden.
$28.95 at Whole Foods and the Holiday City Market in Charlottesville, and at sproutbottle.com.
(3) Give someone a big, cheery red tin full of Route 11 potato chips and you’re bound to get a hug. Or at least a really good thank you note. Based in Mount Jackson, Route 11 fries ’em up fresh (you’re even invited to come watch Monday through Saturday), in flavors including tangy Dill Pickle, blazing-hot Mama Zuma’s Revenge, and classic Lightly Salted.
Tins range from $22 to $46 at Route 11 in Mount Jackson and at rt11.com.
(4) Out of all of the 50 states available, we’re of course partial to this Virginia dish towel— maybe because it mentions most of our favorite spots. With a silk-screened design and handembroidered border, it’s a particularly good gift when there are conflicting collegiate loyalties in the same household. After all, it gives a shout out to JMU, UVA, Virginia Tech, W&L, and more.
$18.50 at the Happy Cook in Charlottesville.