MASON CITY | North Iowans don't have to travel far to find unique shopping treasures such as handcrafted afghans, pottery, photography, jewelry and paintings.
Several area museums and art centers include shops where someone can purchase the perfect gift and likely support a local artist at the same time.
"It’s kind of an undiscovered treasure," said Nicole Phend, about the Galleria in the Charles City Arts Center.
Like the Clear Lake Arts Center and Charles H. MacNider Art Museum, Mason City, the Charles City Arts Center features locally or regionally produced artwork for sale.
Items at the three art centers include paintings, cards, jewelry, pottery, photography, silk painting, woodwork and more.
If the arts aren't of interest, maybe 1950s memorabilia from the Surf Ballroom & Museum, Clear Lake, or items pertaining to Meredith Willson from The Music Man Square, Mason City, might be of interest.
The Top of Iowa Welcome Center & Rest Area, Northwood, also offers a variety of gifts in its Barn Boutique. It features local artists and other Iowa-made items such as Amish baskets, soaps, wine, candles and crocheted and embroidered items.
See below for more about these interesting shopping experiences.