Shop off the beaten path in Chepachet

Shop off the beaten path in Chepachet

GLOCESTER – In historic Chepachet village, there’s a diverse range of artist studios and shops run by women, and Kim Belleavoine wants everyone to know that they’re here to explore.

Learn about creating tattoos, designing stained glass pieces, making maple syrup or stitching dog collars and more, all part of the 2nd annual Shop Chepachet: Off the Beaten Path, which takes place on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at nine locations around the village.

“It’s always my goal to get people to come to Chepachet,” Belleavoine, of Kim’s Painted Glass Designs & Workshops and the event’s organizer, told The Valley Breeze. “We want people to know that these places exist.”

The diverse list of participants are Kim’s Painted Glass Designs & Workshops and Mae Bell Sweets, both at 196 Spring Grove Road; PB&J Pup Bakery and It Takes 2 Designs, both at 192 Spring Grove Road; Holidaze Stained Glass/My Free Spirit, 712 Putnam Pike; Chepachet Farms, 226 Tourtellot Hill Road; Listen To Your Art, 27 Tourtellot Hill Road; Trish Hampton, 1182 Putnam Pike; Lovett’s Fine Cigars & Arts, 1184 Putnam Pike; Money Hill Tattoo, 15 Money Hill Road; and The Fearless Art Club at Glocester Manton Library, 1137 Putnam Pike.

Visitors can pick up a map of all the locations at any of the spots on event day or prior to it at the Glocester Manton Library or Lovett’s. Some of the stops are homes, while others are brick-and-mortar shops, Belleavoine said. They are all located within a few-miles radius around the village of Chepachet.

People can make a whole day of visiting the shops and studios and then go for dinner at Tavern on Main or go antique shopping in town, she said.

All of the participants are women and call themselves the Chepachet Chicks, Belleavoine said.

“Everybody really liked the fact that it was all women,” which wasn’t intentional at first, she said, adding that it’s important to highlight work by women.

Last year’s event included eight women at six different locations. This year there are more than 16 women at nine locations, Belleavoine said.

Everyone who participated last year except for R.I. Soap Works is back this year.

In addition to increasing the number of participants this year, also new is that Belleavoine has received grant funding from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts for marketing efforts, she said.

“It’s nice when local businesses can get together and support each other,” said Jody Esposito, owner of Chepachet Farms, which will celebrate its 30th anniversary next year. “There are a lot of local artisans off the beaten path who you don’t think to see or have a storefront.”

She said it’s incredible what Belleavoine has put into organizing the event.

There’s no cost to stop by the locations, and people can visit all of the stops without purchasing anything, Belleavoine said. Her goal, she said, is to just get people to walk in the door and maybe go back at a later time to buy a gift or take a class somewhere.

At each stop, visitors can fill out a free raffle ticket, and the winner will receive a basket with an item from each stop. Each location will have a little giveaway item as well.

About one mile off Route 44, through the woods and past Spring Grove Beach is Belleavoine’s home studio at 196 Spring Grove Road.

On event day, she’ll lead visitors to her working studio, located in the basement, where she creates colorful works of art using salvaged panels and bottles. There are different stations where she cuts glass, solders, and paints bottles and flat pieces of glass. She’ll also display samples of her work including shelves of glass bottles that she can further customize, she said.

Only at this event she will also be selling hand-painted glass earrings.

Her 16-year-old daughter Mae, who runs Mae Bell Sweets, will have cookie samples and sign-up sheets for holiday cookie orders on the main floor of their house as well.

Next door at 192 Spring Grove Road, another teen entrepreneur, 16-year-old Brooke Anderson, runs PB&J Pup Bakery, selling dog treats, paw balm, bandanas and more.

At Chepachet Farms, Esposito said, they’ll show visitors around the sugarhouse and will have maple products for sale, as well as a family-friendly petting zoo.

Trish Hampton’s boutique features handmade dog collars, harnesses, leashes, bow ties, bandanas, and more.

Holidaze is a stained glass studio and retail store that hosts classes, some of which will take place during the event. The Fearless Art Club at Glocester Manton Library, a group of women who meet twice a month to work on art projects, will have an exhibition and some work for sale at the library, said Belleavoine, who is one of the trustees for the library. She said she’s hoping to get more people to go to the library in general.

Five women exhibit their art regularly at Lovett’s, she added.

For families with children, Listen to Your Art offers a make-and-take craft and Chepachet Farms has a petting zoo, Belleavoine said.

Last year Belleavoine put together this event in two weeks. Despite it being last minute and low budget, she said, they had a good turnout and have amped it up this year.

Before this year’s event has even happened, Belleavoine is already thinking about next year. She said she really wants to get the village of Harmony involved.

“The more people on board the better,” she said.

Visit the event’s Facebook page or https://tinyurl.com/y3v7h6h4 .

Artist Kim Belleavoine, of Kim’s Painted Glass Designs & Workshops in Chepachet, paints a glass bottle in her working studio. Her studio will be open and her work available for purchase during the 2nd annual Shop Chepachet: Off the Beaten Path on Saturday, Nov. 23. (Breeze photo by Melanie Thibeault)
Jody Esposito, owner at Chepachet Farms, 226 Tourtellot Hill Road, is one of the participants in the Nov. 23 event.
These painted panels by Kim Belleavoine, of Kim’s Painted Glass Designs & Workshops in Chepachet, are available for viewing and purchase at the 2nd annual Shop Chepachet: Off the Beaten Path on Saturday, Nov. 23.