Get your country store fix along Route 4 and in Rutland Center, where a number of stores peddling handmade crafts, toys, and memorabilia are clustered. Start at Rocking Horse Country Store (Rte. 4 E., 802/773-7882), which is chock-full of the state’s requisite cheese and maple products, plus T-shirts, postcards, and Vermont cookbooks and other books on Vermont culture.
Speaking of rocking horses, Santa’s workshop has nothing on Michael’s Toy Company (64 Merchants Row, 802/773-3765, www.michaelstoys.com ), a trip back to the Norman Rockwell era with wooden rocking horses (and rocking cows) and other decidedly non-plastic toys. The proprietor also makes custom-carved signs, and even serves ice cream for the kids.
Stock up for all seasons at Mr. Twitters Garden and Gift Emporium (24 McKinley Ave., 800/924-8948, www.mrtwitters.com , 9:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. Mon.–Fri.; 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Sat., 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sun.), a hodgepodge of hand-painted birdhouses, wind chimes, garden statues, homemade potpourri, seeds, bulbs, and garden implements to tend your own plot.