Granite State of Mind, #96: Whirlygigs, Exeter
Who doesn't love a good local toy store? Sure, they're priced a little higher than the megachains, but they also tend to pack some fun surprises into their modest footprints. G. Willikiers! in Portsmouth is a good one, but my favorite is Whirlygigs on Water Street in Exeter. When I'm in town I love to stop by there along with the pilgrimages to the Szechuan Taste and the Water Street Bookstore. Supporting local business owners is important, and besides, along with the Playmobil and Lego, there are usually unique, handcrafted, or novel toys or games you wouldn't see at the giraffe's place. I have very fond memories of taking the boys in there when they were little, and seeking out just the right little toy. Having tiny stuff at the counter for a quarter helps with that, too.
My most vivid recollection comes from before Bobby was born. Sarah and I bought his first stuffed animal in there, an impossibly soft plush blue and white elephant. The boys are actually starting to get a little too old for these kinds of places, sadly. But there will always be young children to buy gifts for, and I hope there will always be a Whirlygigs where we can become kids ourselves under the pretense of shopping for them.