I really want to renovate our bathrooms (my husband and I have separate ones; the key to a happy marriage, in my opinion). But finances won’t permit a major overhaul just now, so I’m opting instead for new towels, shower curtains and accessories, including good soaps. For several years, I used wonderful, all-natural soaps made by a young woman in Rosendale. They weren’t much to look at — just roughly cut squares whose only stab at glamour was the name of various goddesses printed on the band of brown paper they were wrapped in. Ah, but they were creamy and somehow moisturizing, and they smelled delicious — I was particularly fond of the Aphrodite. Alas, the young soap-maker stopped production and I went back to buying olive oil soaps that were commercially made, usually in France.
A few days ago, I was making a rare visit to Rhinebeck, and popped into Merriweather’s, which sells soaps, bath oils and salts, lotions, and skin-care products that they make in small batches in Poughkeepsie. (Motto: “Sensual, decadent, delicious health food for your skin.” How can you or your skin resist?) All the products are made from vegetable oils, essential oils and herbs, and they’re affordable, as well. I’ve used Merriweather’s Lavender hand and body lotion in the past and I remembered it had a silky, non-greasy texture and a pleasing, subtle scent. How about the soaps? Well, the jasmine makes the whole bathroom smell nice, and the neroli is lovely, too. And they have the same qualities as my favorite goddess soaps from years ago. The store is cute as can be, with all kinds of jewelry, fairy balls, blown glass and fun stuff.
When I wandered around the corner onto East Market Street, I discovered Periwinkles, which apparently opened about a year ago (did I mention I rarely visit Rhinebeck?) Periwinkles also sells a range of locally made soaps, body washes, and lotions as well as bath fizzies and soap balls.
When I got back home, a quick Internet search revealed another local soap maker I hadn’t heard about, as well as one I know of but had forgotten. (Find them all in Hudson Valley’s Shopping and Beauty resource guides, respectively.) Evidently, I don’t get out enough. Look out for the two places mentioned above and my discovery/rediscovery in the March issue of HV.