One day, my brother was in the women’s shoe aisle of a department store. He sees this guy walking up and down the aisle picking up one pair of shoes after another, looking at them, then putting them down.  After a few minutes of watching this, my brother says to the guy, “Hey buddy…just pick any pair.  It doesn’t matter.  You know they’re coming back anyway.”

The guy looks at my brother, gives him a huge grin, grabs a pair he was eyeing and heads toward the cashier, waving, “thanks pal,” as he turns the corner.

True story.

Life's So Sweet Designer Shoe filled with chocolate

Anyway, with this tale of gift giving frustration in mind, here’s a list of unique items from which I’m sure you’ll find a gift your special lady will love!

  1. For the woman who loves flowers – Instead of roses, how about a beautiful and long-lasting bouquet of Hawaiian flowers from Kainui Tropicals ($55-$99; order by Feb. 7 for Valentine’s Day!), a visit to the George Eastman House Dutch Connections Spring Flowers Show 2/11-2/26 ($10 for adults; $8 for seniors (60+); $6 for students; $4 for children 5-12; and free for museum members and children 4 and under), a gift certificate from a Michaleen’s Garden Center in Ithaca, Bristol’s Garden Center in Victor, or tickets to Michael Warren Thomas’ two-day trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show, 3/9-3/10 or 3/12-3/13 themed “Paris in Springtime.” (Contact for pricing)
  2. For the Chocoholic – Who wouldn’t love a box of  decadent and delicious  handcrafted Truffles from Sweet Expressions in Canandaigua (call to customize your order), a chocolate-filled designer shoe by Life’s So Sweet ($12.99)  in Trumansburg (see also other locations) or a heart-shaped chocolate pizza (who knew!) from the Chocolate Pizza Company in Marcellus and Manlius.
  3. For the Wine Lover – Consider tickets to attend Wine and Spirit: Rituals, Remedies and Revelry at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester (General admission, $10; senior citizens, $6; college students with ID and children 6–18, $5; Members and children 5 and free), A Polar Passport ($12 – valid through March 2011) for the Seneca Lake Wine Trail, or perhaps a Winter Wine Weekend Getaway for the two of you! (Prices vary – See the Travel Maven’s post)
  4. If she loves chocolate and wine, how about taking her to Chocolate & Wine Weekend (Feb. 11-13) on the Seneca Lake Wine Trail (tickets $30 and $20 for designated drive). Purchase immediately as they sell out quickly! Another option is a visit to Chocolate and Vines in Rochester to sample artisanal chocolates, a create-your-own cheese platter and a sumptuous assortment of wines, beers, fair trade teas and French pressed coffees.
  5. For the woman who enjoys pampering –  She’d be delighted with the Wick-ed Romance Gift Basket filled with all-natural and delightfully scented “Wick-ed Romance” products ($50), or a Spa Experience at August Moon Spa at LaTourelle in Ithaca, The Springs Spa in Clifton Springs,  Spa Elan at Woodcliff Hotel and Spa in Fairport, or Spa Mirbeau at the Mirbeau Inn and Spa in Skaneateles. (Prices vary by service and location)
  6. Blue Bus Studio Earrings

  7. For the Jewelry Lover – How about a Christopher & Jacquelyn Key to My Heart Necklace from Corning Museum of Glass ($45),  a Heart of the Finger Lakes Charm from the Jewelbox in Ithaca ($45-$425, depending on your choice) or a pair of Blue Bus Studio heart-shaped earrings from Craft Company #6 in Rochester ($29).
  8. For the artistic spirit  in her – How about an art class from Pat Rini Rohrer Gallery ($65-$150) in Canandaigua, a quilting or fiber arts class at the Schweinfurth Gallery in Auburn ($215 for 2 days – $520 for 5 days), an Asian Brush class at the Memorial Art Gallery or a Ukranian Easter Egg Class at the Arts Council of the Southern Finger Lakes in Corning.
  9. If she enjoys reading – Perhaps she’d enjoy a subscription to Life in the Finger Lakes magazine ($13.95/year) or Edible Finger Lakes ($19.95/year).
  10. For the bird lover – A bird feeder from the Bird House in Pittsford is always appreciated, or how about a bird watchers getaway package to Cornell Ornithology Lab, Sapsucker Woods and The Courtyard by Marriott in Ithaca (starting at $109/night).
  11. For the outdoors woman – What about a trekking pole ($29.99 & $49.99), an Ascend Voyager Vest ($54) great for photogs) from Bass Pro shop in Auburn ($39.95 – $199), or a selection of  Field Guides  on Eastern Trees , Edible Wild Plants, Animal Tracks or Wildflowers ($12-$25) available through Ganondagan State Historic Site.
  12. Consider a visit to MacKenzie-Childs and an opportunity to select a ceramic keepsake

    For the Collector of Ceramics and Table Decor – How about a visit to the MacKenzie-Childs Store and a free tour of the farmhouse in Aurora NY to select a keepsake?  (Prices vary. For more on the MacKenzie-Childs Farmhouse Tour and Store, see Mrs. Biz Whiz’s Visit, Part I and Part II by friend Kathy Porter).   If you can’t visit in person, the Parkleigh Pharmacy in Rochester also carries this designer’s table decor.  Mostly Clay located at Schoen Place in Pittsford also carries a vast assortment of beautiful hand-crafted ceramics and pottery (as well a vast assortment of other types of gifts!), many by local artisans.

  13. For the Quilter or Hand Crafter – Consider a gift certificate for a class, a retreat or supplies at these great shops: O’Susannah’s Quilts & Gifts & the Upstairs Inn in Watkins Glen,  Liberty Cottage in Canandaigua (See my Travel Maven Post on Liberty Cottage) , Corning Stitchworks in Corning, Lake Country Patchwork in Hammondsport or Quilters Corner in Ithaca.
  14. For the runner or triathlete – Perhaps some running or triathletic gear from Finger Lakes Running Company in Ithaca (e-store) or Tri-Running and Walking in Rochester.
  15. If she enjoys theater – How about tickets to upcoming performances at Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, Auburn Public Theater in Auburn, or even season tickets to summer theater such as The Merry-go-round Playhouse in Auburn, Bristol Valley Theater in Naples, the Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, or the Cortland Reportory Theatre in Preble (prices vary).
  16. How about a family portrait? Every woman loves a nice portrait of her child or her whole family- an especially great gift for Mother’s Day! Here are a few resources: Chesler Photography of Canandaigua, Jon Reis Photography of Ithaca, Tammy Swales Photography of Rochester, Laura Brophy Photography of Canandaigua, Andrew Welsh Photography of Rochester, KeukaView Photography of Dundee, Emily Angell Photojournalist of Rochester, Ellen Zaslaw Photography of Ithaca, John Carnessali Syracuse Portrait Studio Photographer of Syracuse.

Still looking for ideas?  You might be interested in checking out the post on Finger Lakes Museum and Attraction Gift Shops where you can also find unique and creative gifts or even some of the more general gifting ideas on “From the Finger Lakes with Love, 15+ Gifts for the Man in Your Life.”

P.S. If you have other suggestions, we’d love for you to share them in the comments section!

Photos courtesy of Life’s So Sweet, Craft Company #6 and Andy Porter.