Marjory Hamann

Marjory Hamann is the executive director of the Elkton Community Education Center.

Skip the mall and make Elkton your first stop for holiday shopping this year.

Local artists and wineries will be opening their studios and tasting rooms Thanksgiving weekend for a one-of-a-kind holiday experience. This free tour is an opportunity to visit with winemakers and artists while enjoying scenic drives in and around Elkton.

Visitors can shop for unique, handcrafted gifts at seven studios, including Hiroshi Ogawa, who fires his pottery in a traditional Japanese anagama earthen kiln and has been featured on Oregon Public Broadcasting’s “Oregon Art Beat.” Other studios include former Ogawa apprentice Jayme Allen of Firebug Pottery, printmaker Marsha Mello, painter Jane Wood, goldsmith and silversmith Cliff Scharf and weaver Trudy Wilkinson.

Elkton’s winemakers are artists in their own right. The area is so well suited for growing grapes that the region has been designated as a distinct American Viticultural Area. Think you know Oregon Pinot Noir? This is the perfect opportunity to experience a fresh interpretation of this popular wine. Or discover a new favorite from less common grapes like Baco Noir and Gewürztraminer that thrive in our area.

Our newest winery, Crew Works, will be pouring at the Farm Pickins Mercantile, which is celebrating its first year in business this month. Owner Julia Swearingen said she’s planning a festive weekend of pickin’ and sippin’ including live music from local musician Mark Malefyt Friday from 4-6 p.m.

Another fun addition this year is a holiday bazaar at the historic Lodge Hall on First Street. A talented crew of volunteers hosted a community sale in the building throughout the summer, and they’re planning a big Christmas makeover for the Art & Wine Tour. Featured artist Jennifer Dalen Wolf will have plenty of company, making it the perfect spot to complete your holiday decorations and find affordable gifts and stocking stuffers.

Not sure where to start? Begin your day at the Elkton Community Education Center to pick up a map and an espresso, while visiting with multiple artists and crafters in one location. The center’s gift shop features a wide range of books, toys and locally made items, and you can get a “Monarch Waystation Package” for the gardener in your life. The package includes information on how to add butterfly habitat to a home landscape, with a gift certificate so the recipient can choose their own plants from ECEC’s native plant nursery. The cafe will be serving homemade soups all three days, and a special musical guest will be announced soon.

If you have family visiting for the holidays, or are looking for a fun way to spend time with friends during the long weekend, Elkton is the place to be. Find a map and hours for each site at http://elktonbutterflies.com/event/elkton-art-wine-tour/. Maps are available during the weekend at all participating shops and local restaurants.

If you visit five or more sites you’ll be entered to win a raffle basket with gifts from each location.

See you in Elkton!

Marjory Hamann works for the Elkton Community Education Center.

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