GingerBread House is a treat for the senses

New Upper Macungie Township antique and gift shop has something for the whole family.

First, I'd like to thank all the kind readers who welcomed me back to work and to Retail Watch after my extended medical leave. It really warms my heart to know how caring you all are.

Here at The Morning Call, we often find readers are more likely to send negative rather than positive emails. But that's not true with Retail Watch readers. You play a major role in Retail Watch, feeding me helpful tips through emails and phone calls. I love being in touch with all of you again through this column. And I encourage you to keep up the good work. I couldn't do this column as effectively without you.

This week I want to start by introducing you to a new business that also might warm your heart, as well as jog your memory, as you browse through its merchandise — GingerBread House Gifts & Antiques.

The new store that opened two weeks ago in Trexlertown in Upper Macungie Township is a treat for the senses.

As you walk through the door of shop at 1045 Trexlertown Road (that's Route 100, just north of Hamilton Boulevard), you'll get a warm, cozy feeling when you are greeted by a friendly hello and the aroma of gingerbread. Owner Karin McIntyre will invite you to help yourself to refreshments, which include gingerbread cookies, of course.

With your senses of smell and taste satisfied, it's time to treat your eyes as you browse through the store and zero in on the merchandise, which McIntyre calls her "treasures."

Five rooms on the first floor of the circa 1850 building are filled with treasures from the past, including vintage pottery, silver and glass, antique dolls and even "mantiques" — antiques or collectibles that appeal to men, such as swords, old lead soldiers and Coca-Cola coolers.

"This is not just a shop for the ladies," McIntyre said.

There's even something for kids and kids at heart. One room is filled with "Star Wars" and baseball memorabilia, as well as Matchbox and Hot Wheels cars that McIntyre's 13-year-old son, Brady, has been collecting for years.

And if the store's treasures don't catch your eye and make you feel at home, McIntyre's four-legged companion, Riley, who's half Yorkie and half Maltese, certainly will. Riley adds to the homey feel, she said.

McIntyre purchased the building two years ago and has been refurbishing the interior and exterior while collecting merchandise at estate sales, flea markets and even from Craigslist. She says she buys and sells, so if you have vintage items you'd like to unload, she'd love to see them.

"I just love antiques. And my house was filling up," said McIntyre, who was a stay-at-home mom for the last 16 years. Prior to having her two children, she had a franchise jewelry shop in King of Prussia Mall.

In addition to vintage merchandise, she also sells primitives, candles, jewelry, scarves and other women's accessories.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more Info: 610-351-1210.

Next, let's look at a relatively new business that we missed when it opened late in November, shortly after I left for my medical leave — The Spa at Westgate at 2293 Schoenersville Road, Bethlehem. It's inside Westgate Mall, between Weis and the state store at the site previously occupied by a Curves franchise.

The Spa at Westgate is not about hair, manicures and pedicures. Instead, it's about stress reduction, says owner Joe Venturini. It offers services such as massages, facials, waxings, foot detox and exfoliation with sugar scrubs. Among the massages offered is a shiatsu, a deep-tissue massage done with the feet. Yes, the therapist literally walks on your back.

You can go on your own or you can book a party — bridal, bachelor's or birthday. These are becoming very popular, Venturini said. "You can customize the event. We'll close the spa to the public and bring in food to round out the event," he added.

It's open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more info: 610-419-8330.

Since I continue to receive emails and phone calls from readers who have gift certificates to Paolo's Italian Restaurant in Northampton, which closed its doors unexpectedly on Jan. 29, I will share the good news I posted last weekend on The Morning Call's Lehigh Valley Restaurant blog (www.mcall.com/entertainment/restaurants/blog/).

You'll be able to use those gift certificates at two Lehigh Valley restaurants — Louie's Italian Restaurant at 2071 31st St. SW in Allentown and Riley's Pub at 4505 Main St. in Whitehall Township.

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