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Easter always seems to sneak up on us, but it really does come on the early side this year — on March 31, to be precise. If you’re stocking Easter baskets for the kids (or looking for a treat for yourself!) this year, check out some of the local candy shops here on the North Shore instead of heading to a big box store. And while many of these shops have become famous for their chocolate confections, most are whipping up some more traditional Easter treats, too, like chocolate covered Peeps, jelly beans, gummy candies, foil eggs, and, of course, chocolate bunnies.

Read on for some of our top picks this year for picking up homemade Easter candy north of Boston.

Tuck’s Candy Factory

Owned and operated by the Tuck family for almost a hundred years, Tuck’s Candy Factory in Rockport’s Dock Square churns out homemade confections daily using the same ingredients and techniques they’ve relied on for generations. They’re currently stocked up with Easter specials like chocolate bunnies, foil chocolate eggs, jelly beans, and even chocolate covered Peeps, and they’re offering $5 shipping on all orders of $40 or more.

7 Dock Sq., Rockport, 978-546-2840,

Winfrey’s Fudge and Chocolates

The North Shore’s homegrown Winfrey’s has an impressive four locations — Rowley, Stoneham, Wenham, and Middleton — and while they’re known for their fudge, they’re stocking plenty of traditional Easter specials this year. You’ll find foil eggs, chocolate bunnies, robins eggs, and all different types of jelly beans. And just because it’s Easter doesn’t mean you have to miss out on their famous fudge — they’re selling festive ¼ pound, ½ pound, and even one pound fudge eggs.

42 Newburyport Turnpike, Rowley, 978-948-7448; 143 Topsfield Rd., Wenham, 978-468-7448;189 S. Main St., Middleton, 978-429-8300; 41 Main St., Stoneham, 781-279-7448;

Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie

Boasting the title of “America’s oldest candy company,” Ye Olde Pepper Candy Companie has operated out of Salem since 1806. They have some adorable Easter offerings this year, like gummy carrots, cleverly shaped chocolate bunnies, and buttercream eggs. But you also won’t want to miss out on the two old fashioned candies the shop is famous for: Blackjacks, stick candies made of black-strap molasses, and Gibraltors, hard candy confections that come in lemon and peppermint flavors and were peddled on the steps of Salem’s Old First Church in the early 1800s.

122 Derby St. Salem, 978-745-2744; 59 Main Street, North Andover, 978-689-3636;

Stowaway Sweets

Since 1929, Marblehead’s Stowaway Sweets has handcrafted chocolate confections — and even sold them to such famous clientele as Winston Churchill, FDR, Katherine Hepburn, and Oprah Winfrey. This Easter, they’re doing plenty of traditional treats like foil-wrapped chocolates, malted Easter eggs, and chocolate crosses. But don’t miss out on their famous chocolate confections, too, like meltaways — smooth buttercream centers in flavors like lemon, peanut butter, or raspberry, covered in milk or dark chocolate.

154 Atlantic Ave., Marblehead, 781-631-0303,

Curly Girl Candy Shop

Calling anyone with a wicked sweet tooth! One of the newer additions to Salem’s candy scene, the Curly Girl Candy Shop specializes in classic sugary penny candies. They have over 80 bulk bins stocked with Jelly Bellies, gummy candies, licorice, Bulls-Eyes, Kisses, chocolate coins, Charleston Chews, and so much more. In fact, we challenge you to find a type of candy they don’t carry.

140 Washington St., Salem, 978-594-1553,

The Chocolate Pantry

Catering more to chocolate lovers than sugary candy aficionados? Check out the Chocolate Pantry on Salem’s Derby Street. The shop imports chocolate confections from around the world, so you’ll find selections you can’t get anywhere else — like Middle Eastern chocolate almonds, candied oranges dipped in Belgian chocolate, Arabian coffee beans, mango chocolate, and even imported marzipan.

140 Derby St., Salem, 978-744-7000,

Prides Crossing Confections

For over 40 years, this shop in Beverly’s Prides Crossing operated by chocolatier Chris Flynn has handcrafted high-quality chocolate confections. This Easter, you’ll find handmade chocolate buttercream Easter eggs, jelly beans, Peeps, and plenty of gorgeous chocolate treats. They’re even doing full Easter baskets filled with penny candy, Peeps, and chocolate eggs, all ready to go in a wicker basket. And while they’re usually closed Mondays, they’re open on March 25 for Easter week.

590 Hale St., Beverly, 978-927-2185,