Throngs of chattering tourists, families with children grasping outstretched fingers, a smattering of local school groups on field trip; all an exemplification of The Old Town State Historic Park. Yet, step through the heavy wooden doors of Captain Fitch's Mercantile and all distinguishing factors fade. The air is thick with an intoxicating aroma of sassafras teas, the softly lit room casting delicate shadows across a substantial collection of books as contemplative patrons peruse the glass encased showcases of historical replicas. A quiet respite from the clamor of the parks everyday activities. Visiting Captain Fitch's Mercantile is a welcome rest from the outside world, yet it inexplicably feels as if you have stepped away from all your present concerns towards the embrace of a romanticized past. Employees in long flowing dresses and vintage prints guide patrons to their item of choice, attire looking as if they were shop-keepers in some dusty historical volume. An extensive collection of period tea service sets line the walls throughout the store along with a variety of teas from around the globe. There seems to be no end to the collection of items from the past, authentic replicas, vintage sheriff's badges, and rows upon rows of paper dolls. Yet, what will most certainly wet your bibliophilic palate is a vast collection of historical and educational books for children and adults, and the largest collection of ghost stories in San Diego. Pam Catania, one of the the owners of this family business, seems to personify a historical volume herself. She will enjoy describing to you how she named the store after a popular San Diego merchant, Captain Fitch, who owned several mercantile stores in Old Town for many years during the mid to late 1800's. Pam says that she has access to copies of Captain Fitches manifests and actually carries many of the same items that his mercantile stocked back in the 1800's. She explains that Captain Fitch's stores carried a wide variety of titles and he was in fact the first merchant to bring non-secular books to San Diego. Pam is a self proclaimed "bookaholic" and she regularly holds book signings at her store with a focus on children's authors. She takes great care to stock an assortment of books for the young reader as well as the old, and she literally carries ghost stories set in every single state in the United States. Her attentiveness to detail, love of local history, and passion about books is certainly represented in the products that Pam carries in her store. So in the end, whatever your need, whether it be a book on ghosts or a good sassafras tea, Captain Fitch's Mercantile is a store that will certainly satisfy your every historical desire.
AMAZING! In a brief review I cannot describe how truly wonderful Seaport Oil and Vinegars is. The store is simple yet elegant and immediately “wows” you upon walking in. The staff members are incredibly kind, knowledgeable and helpful with any questions, especially concerning gift pack options and shipping! The oils and vinegars…. Delicious! Aromatic, diverse, tantalizing flavors and colors inspired from around the world, all in one modestly sized store. It’s an unbelievable variety yet in no way is it overwhelming. They encourage you to try samples of whatever you might be interested in, and suggest which oils/vinegars mix well together. I tried at least 15 different oils/vinegars on my visit- my only negative/sad emotion concerning this place is that I wanted them all so badly! I left without buying anything (as I was biking and couldn’t transport them home), but called the next morning to have 9 different oils/vinegars shipped to my home back in Texas. I LOVE this place and will be calling on them for unique gifts (and to spoil myself on occasion)! *I have now tried/used all of the oils I bought. The white truffle oil is amazing, the best truffle oil I’ve found to date. The blackberry is delicious on grilled veggies and the citrus oils are amazing on fish. Enjoy!!! If they have gift certificates (I think they do) this is a great idea for "foodies" on your christmas list
This amazing shop has been voted one of San Diego's hidden treasures the last 5 years! The Tinsmith is a time period shop inside Old Town San Diego State Historic Park; there you can find the most beautiful hand made tin pieces. Every piece is unique and carefully made by fifth-generation tinsmiths with over 20 years of experience. The ambience and decor are surely an unforgettable experience. You must see this Shop at least once in your lifetime. The Tinsmith is definitely my favorite shop in Old town San Diego.