Last-minute gifts and where to make merry on the Island

DONA BERGIN PHOTO Christmas Island
DONA BERGIN PHOTO Christmas Island

You won’t find many restaurants open for Christmas Eve or Day, although the pickings get a bit better for New Year’s Eve. But with only two days left before Christmas, you still have a lot of choices here for those last minute gifts.

Peggy and Walter Johnson are quick to tell you there’s nothing you need that you can’t find at Bliss’ Department Store — (631) 749 0041 — on Bridge Street in the Heights.

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While you’re in the neighborhood, Jack’s Marine — (631) 749 0114 — is right next door and true to its name, there are plenty of marine supplies and hardware available. Thanks to Camille Anglin, there’s a wide array of toys for infants through adults. If the toy lovers in your family haven’t already told you what they want, Ms. Anglin can recommend what they’ll enjoy. The store will be open all week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Up the hill is Marie Eiffel’s — (212) 945-8492 — at Grand and Chase avenues. Marie will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. right through Christmas and again next Monday if there’s someone you forgot for a special gift. All clothing merchandise is 50 percent off, while unique jewelry pieces with semi-precious stones and gold plating will run between $95 and $395. Cashmere scarfs can be had for $50 and there’s a line of children’s clothes and toys.

Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy — (631) 749-0445 — on Grand Street is so much more than just a place to get your prescriptions, candy and breakfast and lunch at the counter, according to operator Greg Ofrias. It’s the place for cards and gift wrappings, but the Pharmacy also carries everything from boxed candy to sweatshirts.

Shelter Island Hardware — (631) 749-0097 — on Grand Street is the place you’ll want to visit if last year’s Christmas tree stand has bitten the dust or your lights are a tangled mess, according to Meredith Page who runs the business with her brother, Dave Gurney. It’s a good place to pick up gifts for the handy person in your house who might like a new tool set or a bird feeder for those who want to attract more feathered friends to the yard. There are also copies of the “Farmers Almanac,” Ms. Page said. And if you just can’t decide, there are always gift cards, she said.

Head from the Heights to Mary Lou Eicchorn’s Cornucopia — (631) 749-0171 — just behind Eagle Deli on West Neck Road for a wide selection of Shelter Island-themed items, jewelry, beach glass, homemade chocolates, children’s clothing, candles and so much more. “We have something for everybody,” Ms. Eicchorn said. What’s special besides the many gifts and cards in the store is Ms. Eicchorn will wrap your selections without charge so they’re ready to be set under the tree. She’s open from about 10 to 5-ish, she said.

In the Center there’s Geo Jo’s — (631) 749-2324 — on North Ferry Road where owner Joanne Kresak will be open every night from about 4:30 to 9-ish, she said, including Christmas Eve and Christmas night.“If you want some hot cocoa, just ask, I’ll make it for you,” she promised. She has lots of interesting stocking stuffers — unique items you won’t find anywhere else

Practically across the street on North Ferry Road is Black Cat Books — (631) 725-8654 — where husband and wife Michael Kinsey and Dawn Hedberg are ready to connect you with books your recipients are sure to treasure. They have many first editions and signed books, a lot of art and photography books and books for children of all ages. Black Cat is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., including Christmas Eve.

A short distance away on North Ferry Road you’ll find Joan Markell’s Fallen Angel Antiques — (631) 748-0243 — where interesting items each carry their own histories. Ms. Markell, in her 41st year of selling antiques, is in the store at the Boltax Gallery building from noon to 5-ish this weekend ready to help shoppers find that special gift.

A little farther down North Ferry and you’ll come to Marika’s Eclectic Boutique — (401) 862-6607 — and she wants you to know she is always open. That means if you find the door locked, call the number or email her at [email protected] and she’ll meet you at the store. From pottery to jewelry and a host of other items, Marika is confident she has the gifts you seek.

Havens Store — (631) 749-0025 — in Havens Barn at the Shelter Island Historical Society will be open from 10 a.m. to noon on Christmas Eve for interesting Island-made unusual merchandise, according to Executive Director Nanette Breiner Lawrenson. Look for hand-painted plates of Island scenes, canvas tote bags with Island map images and even a Shelter Island map jigsaw puzzle.

Perhaps an unusual gift at the holiday season, but certainly what one writer called “startling photographs,” by artist Jackie Black have been published in “Last Meal,” a book of her still photos of prisoners’ last meals prior to their execution. For those with PayPal accounts, the book can be purchased for $12 online at Otherwise, call Studio Frameworks at (646) 621-5083.

When it comes to decorating for the holidays, if you haven’t yet chosen a tree, Gerry Siller and his staff at Grady Riley Gardens — (631) 749-5575 — on Menantic Road are ready, at least through Friday or whenever his stock runs out, to sell you a beauty. They have a selection of live spruce trees as well as poinsettias and gardening gifts. For nature lovers interested in establishing bee hives Grady Riley also has beginner’s start up kits

There’s no time to waste if you want to give flowers or plants as a gift or decorate your own home with them, according to Becky Smith at Shelter Island Florist — (800) 226-7392. She has the traditional poinsettias, but also amaryllis, paperwhites, cyclamen, rosemary and orchid plants. Becky will be working 9 to 5 Friday, and half a day on Saturday.

Now, about food and drink:

While you’re shopping, stop by for a hot drink to warm yourself. STARs Café — (631) 749 5345 — on Grand Street is typically open from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. But on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, look for STARs to close at 1 p.m. and Christmas Day is the only day of the year that Pepe and Lydia Martinez are not open.

Another place for a good cup of joe is Eagle Deli — (631) 749-5363 — on West Neck Road where Orlando Salizar can not only fulfill that order, but he’s also handling a few catering orders. But like STARs, Eagle won’t be open Christmas Day.

Bella Vita — (631) 749-5463 — on North Ferry Road won’t be serving Christmas or New Year’s Eve, but will generally be open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and probably close by 6 p.m. Christmas Eve.

Marie Eiffel Market — (631) 749-0003 — on Bridge Street offers breakfast and lunch. But Marie and her staff will be paying a lot of attention to catering for the holidays as well as preparing meals for customers to freeze to take them through those winter months when the market will be closed from January 2 through March 9. From whole meals to special desserts, Ms. Eiffel will make your holiday special, she said.

She’s not the only one catering. Amanda at Commander Cody’s — (631) 749-1851 — on Smith Street is preparing platters that will include bay scallops, shrimp and various pies and cakes she has made famous. Platters can be picked up Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. Commander Cody’s Facebook page has pictures to whet your appetite.

Maria’s Kitchen — (631) 749-5450 — on Jaspa Road will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Saturday and Maria will cater her Mexican specialties, but she won’t be open Christmas or New Year’s days.

Both Schmidt’s Market — (631) 749-0555 in the Center and the IGA will prepare platters.

The Island’s two liquor stores are prepared to augment your meals with Towny Montant at Shelter Island Wines & Spirits — (631) 749-0305 — on Bridge Street expecting calls for “a lot of bubbles and whatever keeps people warm.” The store will be open until 7 p.m. Christmas and New Year’s eves and between noon and 4 p.m. New Year’s Day.

At Dandy Liquors — (631) 749-3302 — on North Ferry Road in the Center, Spanish wines are featured, but there’s plenty of stock on hand for other drinks, according to Leesa. While Dandy’s is generally open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, it may close a little earlier Christmas Eve. But get your spirits ahead since Dandy’s will be closed on Christmas Day.

The popular Shelter Island Craft Brewery — (631) 749-5977 — at the corner of North Ferry and Jaspa roads is generally open Fridays to Sundays from noon to 6 p.m., but owner Jim Hull couldn’t be reached to see if he was extending hours on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.

When it comes to food, only Vine Street Café — (631) 749-3210 — on North Ferry Road and The Dory — 631 749 4300 — on Bridge Street will be open Christmas Eve.

18 Bay on North Ferry Road — (631) 749-0053 — will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but reopens on December 29. Owners Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels are still working out the menu for New Year’s Eve.

The Tavern at Shelter Island — (631) 749-5659 — on Stearns Point Road will have its bar open between 1 and 8 p.m. Christmas Eve. It’s closed Christmas Day, then reopens all week through January 2. Dinner starts at 5 p.m. and on New Year’s Day, the bar service starts at 1 p.m.

The Chequit — (631) 749-0183 — on Grand Avenue will be closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but will open for what is billed as a “Festive Feast” at Red Maple on New Year’s Eve and a “Pajama Brunch New Year’s Day Festivities.” New Year’s Eve service starts at 5.m. and the following morning’s Pajama Brunch is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and designed for those who want to just roll out of bed and into the restaurant to continue their celebration.

Finally, if you’re a pet owner planning a holiday vacation or a raucous party at home, your pet may prefer a quieter venue. Amber Anglin at All Dogged Up — (631) 749-0702 — is ready to provide that at her non-kennel facility. All Dogged Up also sells pet food, toys and other items at its store on West Neck Road.