When you walk into Acres Home & Garden store on 219 Main St. this holiday season, one of the things you’ll wonder is how they managed to get three large Christmas trees into such a small and intimate space. That is, until you realize that each beautifully decorated tree is hanging upside down from the rafters.

“The first thing our staff tells everyone,” said store owner Cort Schwanebeck, “is to look up and down everywhere.” That’s because, he said, there are so many beautiful things to tempt you, ingeniously placed in a tempting atmosphere of indoor and outdoor possibilities.

And that’s exactly what customers were doing last Saturday morning as they made their way through the wonders of this unique home and garden mini-emporium. Their eyes followed up the decorated inverted trees into the rafters and into every nook and cranny neatly arranged and designed with inspiring arrays of home and garden gift ideas.

But there was so much more than just gardening in this unusual shop. Each four-foot section within the store is designed as a treat for the eyes.

Take the garden tools area, for example. “Many times a husband will initially walk in following his wife and suddenly be captivated by what they find here,” said Schwanebeck. Here are Dewit imported hand-wrought tools from Holland made by five generations of craftsmen: Spades, shovels, pitch forks, soil aerators – each made with Swedish Boron Steel and European FSC-Certified Ash hardwood handles. All come, according to Schwanebeck, with a lifetime guarantee.

There’s iron hardware for doors and windows too, as well as cast iron signs that read “Dog” and “No Photo” and “Garden” – perfect decorative pieces to adorn a dog house or the garden walkway.

In the pantry section there are locally sourced items such as olive oil from Grove 45 and preserves from Cliff Family Kitchen, Vermont maple syrup, along with rustically crafted ceramic crocks, jars, and glistening glassware. There are books for gardening, beekeeping, and a vast array of other decorative items.

But that’s just the beginning of this cozy shop. There are locally stuffed pillows with bright “bee designs,” amaryllis and paperwhite bulbs and other seeds, (perfect for the Christmas stocking stuffing or ready to be dug into the soil), flasks, and amazing variety of gift cards. There is even a wide display of hand and body lotions to soothe the scrapes and bruises and sparkling bath tablets to help soak away the cares of the day.

And at the very back of the store, a large seasonal selection of faux flowers to add permanent color to any home display.

Meanwhile, the brilliance of the sparkling glass Christmas decorations on each upside-down Christmas tree offers that magical peek into the holiday season.

“It takes about a week to set up the tree displays,” Schwanebeck said. He said that the tradition of hanging the tree upside-down comes from Eastern Europe and is related to the stories crucifixion told there. “But here we mount them this way simply because our space is so limited,” he said.

Acres Home & Garden opened on Main Street in 2012, and Schwanebeck said that it’s a store designed both for tourists and local folks. “We try to have very affordable gift items for everyone,” he said.

For more information, visit Acres Home & Garden web page at acreshomeandgarden.com.



Tom Stockwell is currently a staff writer for the St. Helena Star. He is an author of fiction and non-fiction books and has been a working journalist for a variety of technical publications as well as a consultant for numerous wineries in the Napa Valley.