On the Road-Newburyport, Massachusetts

Back home at my local yarn shop: Loom With a View.
Don't let the name fool you; Betsy may like to weave, but there's plenty--classes, tools, patterns, and kits--for knitters and crocheters. The samples change often and are extraordinary. Sign up for the newsletter for secret sales and previews of the next season's yarns.

Cozy, isn't it? You'll find it on Green Street, right across from City Hall and the police station. 

And if you're in the neighborhood and looking for a nice place to sit and crochet with your new yarns, walk down toward the waterfront, to a hidden away gem: Plum Island Coffee Roasters (note: it's not actually on Plum Island, but the views of the river are outstanding). If you are looking for an interesting lunch, try another one of my favorites: Middle Street Foods--the specials change daily, and the baked goods are exceptional.

On the Road--Montpelier, Vermont

Montpelier is a friendly place, but to make it even better, you'll find "Vermont's friendliest yarn shop" there: The Knitting Studio.

Enter, and you might think it's a tiny shop, but keep going to find an Alice-in-Wonderland-like hallway to the rest of the shop.

All the way in the back is a wonderful workroom, and an incredible variety of yarns:
And in another area is a selection of lovely local yarns:
In the front of the shop I discovered something I've never seen before--mink yarn! Seriously!

You can have your "mink stole" without having to slay any little mink animals. We can all feel better about that. The yarn is as soft as you can imagine, and not very expensive.

And to make my visit even more special, I discovered I got a discount on my entire purchase because it was my birthday!

Right next door is one of my favorite places to visit--the New England Culinary Institute's restaurants. Fancy dinners upstairs, casual pub meals downstairs, and everything in between on street level. There's always something fabulous on the menu. I highly recommend the superb Sunday brunch. But plan ahead if you want to do both--The Knitting Studio is closed on Sundays.

Montpelier might be the capital city, but it feels like being in a small town--a really cool small town.

On the road--Japantown, San Francisco

One of the places I just had to visit is the Kinokuniya bookstore in Japantown in San Francisco. Two floors of inspiring books! My favorite area, of course, is the aisle of craft books, especially the Japanese crochet books: amigurumi, lace, motifs, edgings, accessories, etc.

Kinokuniya Bookstore

You don't have to know how to read Japanese; the patterns use the international crochet symbols:

There are also a lot of amazing magazines and art books, and of course: manga. The store is in a small mall, with gift shops (origami papers! hello kitty!) and restaurants (sushi! noodles!) on the ground floor.

Japantown isn't as well known as Chinatown, but it's definitely worth a visit. Click on the link for special events and festivals throughout the year.