Again … On Asbury
Ocean City | 921 Asbury Avenue
Even with its splashy mosaic exterior, this remains one of Asbury Avenue’s best-kept secrets. The high-end consignment shop gets near-daily drop-offs from downsizing shoobies-turned-residents, which means at any moment you might come across a vintage Lucite vanity table, a rattan patio set, or a pair of 1920s dome chairs. Worth scouring for smalls, too—think 1950s iced tea glasses and antique nautical souvenirs and curiosities.
Go here for: A gift-able selection of vintage beach tags that date back to 1976, the year they were first required in Ocean City.
Small Crafts Advisory
Stone Harbor | 9506 3rd Avenue
Though a cursory glance might suggest a kitschy art store, look deeper. Beyond the inevitable artsy gift-shop fare (hand-painted wineglasses, odd twisted-metal sculptures) are worthy finds, all handmade by U.S. artisans. Look for Hilborn Pottery’s sculptural, wave-like ceramics; Vegetabowls, a line of adorable ceramic cups and bowls that resemble halved fruits and vegetables; and beautifully simple jewelry by Elizabeth Garvin.
Go here for: Handmade goods more posh than crafty.
West End Garage
Cape May | 484 West Perry Street
The best reason to venture to the Shore’s southernmost tip: this jam-packed indoor market, which houses the booths of some 50 separate vendors. This means you get a little bit of everything. Best bets: Circa Dee and Sweet Magnolia for vintage (the former’s mason-jar soap dispensers will rekindle your love for the now-ubiquitous vessels); Waterbrandt for brightly patterned pillows, area rugs and plates; and the Baileywicke for luxe leather wallets, Dopp kits and bags. Also look out for impressive shells and driftwood garlands perfect for swagging above a bed, and authentic World War II Navy signal flags.
Go here for: New, old, crafty, kitschy, cool—everything.
Paper Chase Gifts
Margate | 8000 Ventnor Avenue
In a place where stores are Shore-centric to a fault, Paper Chase stands apart for its distinctly non-beachy wares. Sleek glassware from Nambé and Mariposa, Michael Aram frames, an impressively stocked baby-gift selection and any card you’d ever want to give are here, along with a surprisingly vast e-store. Proof that you can, in fact, find wineglasses at the Shore without paintings of flip-flops on them.
Go here for: A last-minute hostess gift, and free wrapping. (More beach time for you!)
Stone Harbor | 215 96th Street
Forgive them the eye-roll-y ‘Z’ tacked to the end of the name. This shop is unabashedly high-end, from the shelves of Matouk linens to the collection of Frédéric Fekkai hair products. (You’ll want to stock up on the Beach Wave spray.) Naturally, there are tables of candles, soaps and home fragrance sprays—the mainstays of any gift shop worth its wrapping—but the best summer hostess gifts you’ll find here are the towels by Turkish T, hand-loomed of lightweight cotton and worth trading in your terry for.
Go here for: Linens that will make your rental feel like the Ritz.