The Best Host & Hostess Gift Ideas From Duty Stations

During my time as a Navy spouse so far I’ve had the opportunity to meet new friends in each duty station we’ve been in. These friends quickly became like family as important milestones in life presented themselves. Whether it be a baby shower, new dolphins, an FRG holiday party or a hail and farewell, there was always someone who volunteered their home and took the time to make the event special.  There’s no better way to thank someone for taking their time to host than presenting them with a thoughtful gift. 

When exploring your duty station, be sure to visit some of these local shops for some great gift ideas. Not only will you be shopping small in most cases, but they’re also gifts unique to the area you are living in!

Revival (Bangor)

Revival is chock full of home decor, gifts and local goods including fresh floral arrangements, decorative pillows, coasters and more!  You are sure to find something to please here. They are located at 702 Bay Street in Port Orchard, WA.

Charleston Candle Co. (Charleston)

Created and operated by a husband and wife team, Charleston Candle Co. candles are made with all natural soy wax sourced in the US and have scents designed to represent a “historical or significant part of Lowcountry culture’.” Their flagship store is located on 218 St. Philip Street in Downtown Charleston.

Roadside Blooms (Charleston)

Roadside Blooms creates beautiful floral arrangements, made with 100% American and locally grown blooms and greens.  They are located at 4610 Spruill Ave. #102 in North Charleston.

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill (Groton)

B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill is open seasonally from September 1st until usually the first week of December. You can purchase a jug of their fresh cider as a gift or any number of the other handmade local goods they offer. They are located at 129 North Stonington Rd. in Mystic.

Munson’s Chocolate (Groton)

Who doesn’t love chocolate?! Munson’s Chocolates, which was founded in 1946, is still owned and operated by the Munson family three generations later.  They are located in Olde Mistick Village.

Stonington Vineyards (Groton)

Don’t just gift any bottle of wine, gift a bottle of local Connecticut wine. Stonington Vineyards, a founding member of the Connecticut Wine Trail, is best known for its barrel fermented Chardonnay and its proprietory blends Seaport White and Triad Rose. They are located at 523 Taugwonk Rd. in Stonington.

Smithsonian (D.C.)

Given that there are 17 Smithsonian museums and galleries in the D.C. area, there’s a variety of different gifts to choose from.  Consider purchasing a gift card or products from their gift shops. Their website also mentions that “100% of the proceeds from your purchase go back to the Institution, to support the Institutions programs and exhibits.”

UnderWater World (Guam)

Another great experience gift – consider a gift card to UnderWater World! So many spouses have raved about this place, one of the longest tunnel-aquariums in the world and the only oceanarium in the United States territory of Guam. The aquarium opened in 1999 and has more than 2,000 animals representing more than 80 different species.

Market on The Square (Kings Bay)

Self described as “an old fashioned general store,” Market on the Square offers a wide variety of gifts and have the best fudge around! They are located on the waterfront in downtown St. Mary’s.

Pelindaba Lavender (Kings Bay)

Pelindaba Lavender is a premier grower of lavender plants, distiller of lavender essential oils and handcrafter of lavender-based products.’ They have lavender products for personal care, therapy, the kitchen, the home and more!  They have a storefront located in downtown Fernandina Beach, as well as their home base farm on San Juan Island in Washington state.

Buff City Soap (Millington)

Buff City Soap prides themselves in hand making their soaps in store daily using plant based ingredients. They are located at the Millington Farms Shopping Center.

Big Sur Salt (Monterey)

Big Sur Salt sources their salt straight from the California Coast and can be found at Elroy’s Fine Foods or The Monterey Bay Aquarium Cafe.

Revival Ice Cream (Monterey)

Revival Ice Cream is made in small batches using locally sourced ingredients. Their most popular flavor is the award winning Bee’s Knees. It is made with locally-sourced Monterey honey and beeswax and is absolutely divine. You can even order a pint ahead of time to pick up in store if you are in a rush.  They are located at 463 Alvarado Street in Downtown Monterey.

Mermaid Winery (Norfolk)

With a number of varieties to choose from, you can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine from Mermaid Winery. There are two locations in the Hampton Roads; one in Ghent and another in the Chix’s Beach area on Shore Drive in Virginia Beach.

TASTE (Norfolk)

Not only is TASTE an amazing place to get lunch, it’s always an equally as amazing place to shop. They have a wide selection including wine, craft beers, small batch, from scratch housemade prepared and packaged foods, and specialty food and gift items. There are several locations throughout the Hampton Roads area.

Dolphin Store (Pearl Harbor)

The Dolphin Store is a 100% volunteer run store whose funds are primarily donated to the Dolphin Scholarship Foundation. They have a variety of submarine, Navy, nautical, and Hawaiian inspired merchandise that can be ordered online and shipped or picked up locally. They are located at Bldg 661 Morton St on the Pearl Harbor Submarine Base.

Manoa Chocolate (Pearl Harbor)

Manoa Chocolate is made from “bean-to-bar” and ethically sourced from both Hawaii and all around the world. Grabbing a host gift from here is also the perfect excuse to book a tour or have a walk-in tasting. Their chocolate factory and tasting room is located on 333 Uluniu Street in Kailua.

FOLK (Portsmouth)

When shopping for gifts near Portsmouth, you can’t go wrong at FOLK. The boutique offers a wide selection of gifts, women’s contemporary clothing, modern ceramics, stationery, design books, socks and more. The store is located at  7 Wallingford Square #103 in Kittery, ME.

Better Buzz Coffee (San Diego)

If you’re anything like me, I can always use a pick me up, and what better gift for a busy host than some coffee?  And in San Diego, we’re all about Better Buzz Coffee. You can pick up some coffee to be brewed at home, drinkware, or a gift card! There are 15 locations in San Diego.

Pigment (San Diego)

Pigment is a family0owned business that offers design savvy gifts, flora and furniture. he majority of their products are created by local artists and vendors. They have three locations in San Diego: North Park, Point Loma and Del Mar.

Saratoga Tea & Honey Co. (Saratoga Springs)

Saratoga Tea & Honey Co. boasts a wide variety of teas, honeys, and teaware. The perfect gift for a tea loving host! They are located at 348 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

This list is by no means exhaustive, so if you have any local business to add please comment your favorite spots to shop for gifts below!

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