Best Toy Stores, June 2007

When it comes to kids’ toys, we’re suckers for wooden blocks and stacking rings, for dollhouses and minuscule villages, for fairy wings and refined tea sets that kick-start creativity without the help of AA batteries. Parents who are going cuckoo from beeping and blinking playthings will love Acorn, a jam-packed shop that sells nothing requiring batteries or plugging in. Owner Ellen West stocks a comprehensive assortment of colorful wood Haba and Selecta toys for tots, miniature gardening tools for wee green thumbs, train sets, and an orchestra’s worth of musical instruments from around the world—all displayed amid fantasy murals and mobiles that encourage storytelling. Sporty types will love the Radio Flyer wagons, scooters, and tricycles. An added back space (with a castle-themed dressing room, no less) is devoted to make-believe and stocks princess gowns, pirate outfits, crowns, and magic wands for would-be wizards.