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For last-minute gifts, take a stroll downtown

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WATERTOWN — As she went about her Christmas shopping, Mary Ellen Carroll had something on her to-do list, which was realized Monday at Paddock Art & Antiques.

“Because of all the improvements that they made here with Jake Johnson, it catches my eye every time I drive by, so I thought I’d stop in,” Mrs. Carroll said of the 180-year-old Paddock Arcade, which developer Mr. Johnson purchased this past spring along with three other downtown buildings. The “Grand Reopening of the Paddock Arcade” was hosted Nov. 26 with notable renovations highlighted.

“I haven’t really been in here in quite a while,” Mrs. Carroll, of Brett Street, Watertown, said. “I thought, ‘I’ve got to go down and support some of the downtown people.’”

For last-minute Christmas gift shoppers, downtown Watertown offers a wide selection of shops, from shoes to jewelry, and many refreshing things in between. So, park the car, toss on a toque, lace up the boots and take a sidewalk stroll.

At Paddock Art & Antiques, Mrs. Carroll purchased three things. One, an old copy of the book “Heidi” by Johanna Spyri was for herself.

For gifts, she purchased a bud vase made out of Vaseline glass, also known as uranium glass, and a decorative tea cup.

After checking out, Mrs. Carroll said she has been impressed with recent improvements downtown.

“There really is a lot to do down here,” she said. “But the Arcade is, to me, the place to go. The Arcade is just beautiful.”

Paddock Art & Antiques is co-owned by Lee and Cathie Ellsworth and Lynn Chavoustie. Mr. Ellsworth said that antiques make great gifts.

“It’s the small things you don’t normally buy for somebody,” he said. “A person doesn’t put it on their list, but a person like that customer (Mrs. Carroll) looks at it and says, ‘Oh — I know who I can give that to.’ And the other side of it is if you’re a collector of anything, and they know you as a collector.”

At the base of the stairs to the second floor of the Paddock Arcade, a sign invites visitors to check out Kaleighdoscope. There, store partner David M. Ackley explained the shop opened three weeks ago when the Paddock Arcade hosted its grand reopening.

Kaleighdoscope is a store featuring many items that are holistic in nature, from gems, minerals, crystals, jewelry, oracle cards and hand-poured soaps.

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