Celebrating the Holidays with Country Lane in Sag Harbor
By Dawn Watson
Holidays are a big deal for Vicky Nolan. Especially at this time of the year.
The owner of Country Lane in Sag Harbor really likes to do things up right. Which, for her, means a complete overhaul of the store every few months. Right now the shop is mostly all about Thanksgiving and Christmas, though there is also plenty of all-season merchandise there as well, such as nautical-themed housewares, décor accessories befitting the upscale country theme of the boutique, a multitude of gifts, and wooden hand-made signs proclaiming the names of our East End villages and hamlets.
Keeping the merchandise fresh and unique is an important part of the plan for Country Lane, according to Ms. Nolan. From the very beginning, when she opened up the Main Street business 17 years ago, her plan was to create a welcoming environment where there’s always something special to see. Nothing makes her prouder and happier, she says, than to watch people come in and take it all in anew every few months.
“I wanted to have a place that was a store for each season,” she said last Friday during a tour through her considerable wares. “My vision was that it would be an everyday, year-round shop with new and interesting things that changes from season to season.”
For the next month or so, the winter holidays will be celebrated in full fashion at Country Lane. Right now, the shop is chockablock with seasonal and festive items. And, on the weekends from Thanksgiving through Christmas, there’s always a holiday treat or two in store—typically cookies and hot apple cider—for those who stop by.
Even before one enters the retail space, it’s easy to see why Country Lane is so enticing. Currently, the display in the front window beckons customers with a generous assortment of Thanksgiving and fall décor and gift items. And once inside, the homey smell of pumpkin vanilla candles fills the air.
Just through the entrance, customers are treated to a plethora of Christmas-themed products, starting with the ever-popular Christmas Tree candles. The Frasier fir oil-infused soy candles with wood wicks are such big sellers that regulars frequently call and ask about their impending arrival every fall, reports Ms. Nolan. Other in-demand items at this time of year include LED lights on strings and garlands, which come in an assortment of styles; unique ornaments that range from classic to funky; and flameless battery-operated candles that are so realistic looking that shoppers have warned the owner about the danger of keeping them lit and too close to flammable items.
Regardless of the time of year, there are literally thousands of purchase choices within the cozy confines of the shop. The shelves are fully stocked and the displays (“little vignettes like you’d have things in your home,” says Ms. Nolan) are amply laden with merchandise. The owner says she likes to keep the design and taste levels high and the variety impressive.
“I’m always looking for things that are new and different,” explains Ms. Nolan. “After all, this store represents me.”
Another unique aspect of Country Lane, in addition to the ever-changing seasonal merchandise theme, according to the proprietress, is that the shop also boasts an in-house carpentry studio of its own. Her husband, Skip Nolan, is in charge of that side of the business, which is aptly named Country Lane Carpentry.
Mr. Nolan, who constructed all the displays and built-in cabinetry in the store, is also a big fan of the upcoming winter holidays, says his wife. He and his crew are always quick to volunteer to put up the village’s annual Christmas tree displays.
“He’s done it for years and years and just loves it,” she says.
It was Mr. Nolan, who visited Montauk with his family during the summers when he was a boy, who first brought his wife out to the East End when they were dating, she says. The area is now not only where they’ve lived and built their businesses for the better part of the past two decades, it’s a place they are fortunate and proud to call home.
“Who doesn’t love it here,” she says. “It’s one of the most special and magical places on Earth.”
Country Lane is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. To learn more, visit www.countrylanesagharbor.com.