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Surprises at Lyme Regis

KENT — Lyme Regis first opened at South Street Seaport in New York City in 1983 and then moved to Soho in 1987. Elaine Friedman’s shop stayed in Soho for years, attracting a following of decorators, collectors and fashion editors — until 11 years ago, when Friedman happily decamped and moved to a white-trimmed green cottage on Kent’s Main Street.Her early emphasis on small things nautical soon expanded to all things British. At the new location in Kent, she offers stacks of vintage tartan shawls from Scotland, rare Victorian shadowboxes, collectible Staffordshire nursery ware, handcolored English prints and whimsical American paper goods — including letter-press cards from Maine and a furnished pop-up dollhouse that springs into holiday life without the need for scissors or glue.It’s like visiting the home of a kindly aunt whose years of travel and collecting has resulted in a treasure-trove of delights. It is a place to find the unique, the unexpected and the quirky.“My shop has always been about surrounding myself with things that mean something to me, deep, deep down,” Friedman said. “I focus on things that, for me, have depth and a sense of history.”A holiday focal point in the store is the welcoming array of ornaments made by a West Coast artist using old-fashioned glass glitter, as well as a slew of unusual small gifts and stocking stuffers priced under $20 (pretty eyeglass holders made from vintage Japanese kimono fabrics are $12; endearingly miniature Victorian-era animals, $18.)For the naughty, there are handsome cufflinks ($45) with relevant themes that include the four vices; for the nice, vintage silver-plated school medals cover everything from “amiability” to “general excellence” ($42 to $95). There’s also a collection of simple but beautiful pendants with images of clouds, flowers, eggs and nests printed on silver disks ($38).What shoppers probably won’t find is anything that’s sold anywhere else. Friedman laughs as she recalls how, after a popular design magazine featured something dramatically one-of-a-kind from Lyme Regis, “People kept calling and wanting to know what other colors it came in.” Lyme Regis is located at 43 Main St. and is open weekends and by appointment. Call 860-927-3330 or go online to www.lymeregisltd.com.

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