There’s a beautiful little artists’ community here in upstate New York called Sugar Loaf. For over fifty years, artisans and artists have colonized this tiny speck of a hamlet under Sugar Loaf Mountain in Orange County.
Two of my favorite stores are the Candle Shop and Rosner Soaps. The Candle Shop has been in business since the 1960s and makes absolutely beautiful candles. It’s like my old gold standard, Wonder Wicks in Madison, Conn., but is more “authentic,” if you take my meaning.
The delightful proprietor makes a few things very well: small tapers in single colors, large tapers in single colors or ombrée (shaded), and scented pillars. The prices are great: as of this writing, $4 for small tapers, $5 for large (single-color or ombrée), $10 for scented pillars.
There is only one scent, the Sugar Loaf scent. It is warm, embracing, somewhat floral, somewhat perfumey, delicious and inviting. Once smelled, it puts “bayberry candles” from the local drugstore in permanent disrepute. This is the real thing. There is no choice of scents, but the scent offered is perfect.
As for Rosner Soaps, there is a far wider selection for shape, scent, and materials. My personal favorite is the small clear glycerine soap in “Lemon Eucalyptus” flavor. This scents half the house when used in the shower. There are many other delicious combinations, in many sizes, some set inside a loofah and some cut from a large block. There are clever bath accessories too. I love the place.
Right now, I have a light-green scented pillar burning; it’s haunting the living room! Lemon-eucalyptus soap awaits my shower. There is a short taper, in ivory, in the brass chamber stick I bought at Wonder Wicks in 1973 or 4. (I remember paying two dollars.)
Meanwhile, my wonderful older organ student has my gift of yellow ombrée candles on her dinner table; her husband bought yellow roses to go with them. They are delighted with these candles; they account them a treasure.
It’s nice to mix and blend the “harplike morning-glory strings” of one’s life (as Frost said) into a continuous thread. I loved Madison, but I also love Sugar Loaf, and I feel a river running through them both.