Time to go ‘Up the Crick’
Businesses in the Pine Creek Valley are plentiful and are a source of recreation, entertainment and a gathering place for friendship and comfort, especially during what many agree is a stressful time dealing with a pandemic.
One stop in the valley is Up the Crick Wine and Antiques along Route 44, just a few miles north of Jersey Shore.
This business features local handcrafted goods, bottled wine, wine tasting, antiques jams and jellies, homemade healthy dog biscuits, lotion, soap, honey, syrups, jewelry and produce … just to name a few items.
Owner Erika Morgan is weathering the storm after having opened her business in April 2019.
She said she is poised to serve … and to grow.
“I wanted to open a store that featured cutesy, artsy items and that offered fresh produce,” said Morgan. “I am a crafter myself so it was only natural to progress to a business such as this. My store originally featured 32 artists, but now it has 88 so we have grown considerably!”
Of course, the “new normal” has impacted her business.
“Well when the governor mandated we close, we had curbside service where we delivered eggs, bacon and crackers. People still supported us. I suspect they had cabin fever and I am so pleased they chose to see us when they wanted to get out,” she said.
Morgan, a Michigan transplant who has been living in the Pine Creek Valley for about nine years, said neither her staff nor her customers are overly hesitant of the pandemic, but they are being extra cautious.
Wine tasting is a huge part of the store and Erika said she takes special precautions to protect customers.
Plus, her staff wear masks.
Customers come to Up the Crick for wine slushies, to socialize with friends and especially to support local artists in their community, she said,.
During the two-month shutdown, she said, “it was our local customers purchasing essentials that helped to keep our lights on through this crisis and with all my heart I cannot thank them enough!”
“This is a community place. There is something to offer to all members of the family here. We have a large selection of toys for kids, scarfs, purses, beaded jewelry for women and a large assortment of jerky and grilling sauces that the men seem to like. We have several meats for the whole family to grill as well.”
In addition, Erika conducts a Makers Market on the second Sunday of each month at Up The Crick, where vendors come and sell their wares.
“Vendors can showcase their handcrafted goods and people can see a sample of what also is inside the store,” she said.
When the customers see the selection of foods, crafts, dog biscuits, lotions and other items available they then tend to want to explore more, she said.
The next Makers Market is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9.
Up The Crick features wine from Freas Farm.
The winemakers at Freas Farm near Berwick come to the Makers Market.
Freas Farm features Starry Night (sweet), Over the Fence (raspberry), 1752 (pinot grigio), and Blood, Sweat and Cheers (noir).
Something new to the Makers Market is what Erika called a “Kids Korner.”
“There will be a different children’s activity each month depending on the nearest holiday or season. Our staff will facilitate these activities for the children. The bottom line is you can feel free to shop and look around and your children will be entertained,” she said.
“There is lots of loyalty from our customers,” Erika said. “I am thankful. People don’t just shop here, they hang out here and meet their friends here. People feel they are getting quality products and getting quality treatment from our staff,” she said. “We know our local customers on a first-name basis and that’s always a welcoming feeling.”
With Pine Creek being a draw from all over the region, state and nation due to the Pine Creek Rail Trail and camps, people come from “all over the state, as well as from New York and Maryland,” she said, explaining that “visitors follow a map and find us. The word is definitely out about our existence and people include our store in their journeys.”
“Pine Creek really needed a place like this. People can treat themselves to some fancy snacks, a drink of wine, a compliment to their wardrobe. People feel good because they are supporting local businesses and keeping the money in our community,” she added.
Moreover, Erika expects to offer crafting classes in the winter because “we want to be a place people can come together all year round. We certainly hope the virus does not keep us distanced,” she said.
Up The Crick is open from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m Sundays.