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The Shopper, Week 3

Giving as good as it gets


Published December 5, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.

Twin Farms
  • Twin Farms

Welcome to the holiday season — and to the Seven Days guide to gifts. Every Wednesday for the next few weeks, we’re offering ideas for just about everyone on your list. For greater variety, a different writer weighs in each week: same set of recipients, unique presents of mind. (Note: Some of these giftees are figments of our imaginations.)

In this week’s segment, we’re going all out, imagining the fabulous gifts we would bestow if we were elite members of Vermont’s 1 percent. We can dream, can’t we?


Like many of us, my mom spends most days tethered to her computer and smartphone. This lady needs to unplug. She needs a bright, summer day out on Lake Champlain, with several bottles of bubbly, coolers full of snacks and seven of her besties along for the ride. To make this vision a reality, I’m dropping $970 to reserve her a full day’s sail aboard the sloop Friend Ship.

Whistling Man Schooner Company offers half- and full-day private charters from late May through early October.


Death by cheese: This is my dad’s destiny. When he spends a weekend home alone — with no one there to stop him — Dad will demolish every last shred of aged dairy deliciousness from the fridge. We have discussed installing a lock on the cheese drawer to protect him from himself. But, hey, it’s Christmas. So in the spirit of YOLO, I’m making Dad’s dreams come true with a 25-pound wheel of Consider Bardwell Farm’s Alpine-inspired Rupert. At $22 per pound, that’s $550 of pure Vermont cheese heaven.

Consider Bardwell Rupert, available at many Vermont food stores and online at


Alexander may look cool on the outside, but he’s a nerd at heart. All the way through high school, my Tolkien-loving brother played Middle Earth role-playing games, often in full costume. He also loves brain teasers; he introduced me to the addictive world of sudoku. So I’m getting my bro a Stave puzzle. Namely, the $7895 limited-edition Knight at Stavely Castle puzzle. With 750 pieces, five confounding layers of which are interchangeable, and a maddening translucent moat, this puzzle masterpiece promises hours of agony.

Puzzles are available at


You wouldn’t know it to look at her, but kitty has class. She’s missing part of her tail, and her meows sound broken. But the one eye she has is discerning. That’s why I’m buying her a Damien Hirst spot painting. The wealthiest living British artist, Hirst stirred up controversy with his “Mother and Child Divided,” a dissected cow and calf preserved in formaldehyde. The HAVOC Gallery in Burlington recently acquired two of his more minimalist works, including “Mepartricin,” a single red dot printed on a 12-inch square and selling for $6000. Kitty will love its seductive simplicity. She’ll marvel at its purity. And when she tires of contemplating it, she’ll happily scratch the hell out of it.

Damien Hirst’s work is available at the HAVOC Gallery in Burlington.


Nanny’s eyesight is going, and she can’t really walk on her own these days. Fortunately, she can still do the one thing she loves the most: eat. That’s why I’m buying her a huge hunk of mustard-yellow, hand-kneaded Animal Farm butter. The fatty gold comes from grass-fed Jersey cows in Orwell, and most of it is shipped straight to Thomas Keller’s legendary restaurants in New York and California. Nanny can smear the stuff — which goes for $20 a pound — on crackers at cocktail hour and imagine she’s dining at the French Laundry.

Animal Farm butter, available at Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op.


This guy needs to relax. A weekend at Twin Farms resort in Barnard should do the trick. We’ll stay — I’m coming, too! — in the eclectic Treehouse cottage. For $2100 a night, we’ll get our own private abode with Adirondack twig work along its vaulted ceiling, carved wooden parrots atop the four posters of our Italian bed and a hand-painted leather chair. We’ll lounge in our Jacuzzi and then gorge on complimentary housemade confections in front of our fireplace. When we get bored, we’ll make calls to everyone we know all over the world with our unlimited complimentary phone package.

Twin Farms is in Barnard.


My little sister is one of the beautiful people. I know she’ll drool over the luxury skin-care products of Tata Harper, whose search for perfect natural beauty aids has taken her “to ancient-walled laboratories in European castles, to English lavender fields that stretched out like a sea of purple and white and to the verdant green valleys of Vermont.” I’m getting my sis the Max Results beauty set for sensitive skin, a $540 package including a refreshing cleanser, hydrating floral essence and rejuvenating serum, among other mysterious potions. Sis and her radiant skin won’t know what hit them.

Tata Harper Skincare, available at Tootsies in Burlington.