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Greetings to Avid Shoppers from the Oregon Coast   by Andre' Hagestedt

All along the coastal region of Oregon, there are tons of unique shopping opportunities that spring up in varying degrees of classiness and culture. Some of it's kitschy and kooky, some is definitely touristy, while many other shops are wondrous and eye-widening in their sense of style, innovation or distinctiveness. Yet much of it is one-of-a-kind.

On Oregon's Central Coast, the delightful, atmospheric section of Newport called Nye Beach provides something unusual and welcoming for the avid shopper. Sitting snugly between two lighthouses and up against the beach, Nye Beach has a vibe that's a combination of Old World Europe and Turn-of-the-Century Americana. Tiny bricked streets, striking stone arches, old-style streetlamps and that ever-present lullaby of the waves creates a laid-back, unhurried and outdoorsy ambiance that can't be beat.

The end result is a shopping experience that is relaxed, quiet and loads of fun - miles away in feel from the crunch and crush of the metropolitan shopping centers, especially during the holidays. As one local woman put recently: "I haven't had so much fun Christmas shopping in years."

The shops themselves provide something special, inventive and unlike anywhere else in the state, with many having a vibe and interior that would be completely at home in Portland's Pearl District.

At Bambini at Nye Beach, find colorful and dazzling clothing for young children - newborn to size 6/7. There are accessories, shoes, furniture, toys and all manner of kids' coverings for babies, toddlers as well as maternity stuff. 316 NW Coast Street. (541) 574-8687. www.bambininewport.com.

Cottage Door at Nye Beach brings what they call "casual living with style" to the area, with apparel, table top decor, unusual books, lamps, distinctive art and wreaths, among other things. 732 NW Beach Dr. (541) 574-7706. www.newportcottagedoor.com.

Illingworth's Gifts offers up gifts, cards, candy, Oregon products, antiques and home decor during the majority of the year. At this moment, find the place stuffed to the ceiling with beautiful and charming holiday items, such as large, ethereal and magical figures of Santas or angels. 735 NW Beach Drive. (541) 265-5094.

Jovi is like a trip around the world with a major shot of charm and whimsy. It's a shop full of rare and unusual objects, with global art, local art, decorative items of distinction and antiques to inspire the imagination. 232 NW Coast Street - Suite B. (541) 265-8220.

Newport Tile Works is an artisan tile studio with handcrafted images inspired from the shore and the garden. These individualistic tiles are perfect as accent pieces or for full bathroom, kitchen, or home installations. Find 30 glaze colors and hundreds of designs. 232 NW Coast Street (541) 265-7989.

In a nearly ancient, somewhat stately home near the top of a hill, Nye Beach Book House is a book browsers delight. The mainstay here is collectible books, primarily used - including rare and first editions of major authors. Books are often the perfect gift for someone for whom you don't know what to get, and children's books are frequently an excellent choice. 727 NW Third Street. (541) 265-6840.

Wine, gourmet foods and sculptures are on tap at Nye Beach Gallery. Here, you'll find regional and international wine and specialty cheeses and other taste treats, as well as the bronze, copper and concrete sculpture of Lon Brusselback. 715 NW Third Street. (541) 265-3292.

Nye Cottage offers up beads, beading supplies, cards, books, and gifts. Beading classes are offered. Don't miss the Original Bard vintage bead museum. 208 NW Coast Street. 1-866-592-5556. www.nyecottage.com.

Imaginative gifts abound at Peerless Puffin by the Sea Gifts, which is just a few steps away from the seashore. Inside, you'll discover nautical items, bath products, whimsical figures with a time-travel, historical sort of theme and numerous other very unique surprises. 742 NW Beach Drive. (541) 265-3153.

For a little holiday spice, Queen of Hearts provides an elegant collection of lingerie, loungewear, bath and home fragrance. 708 NW Beach Drive. (541) 265-2118. www.queenofheartslingerie.com.

Life is a tea party at The Tea Party - Tea Room and Gift Shop. They'll fire up afternoon tea and conversation for you, and even have dress-up hats and attire to get you in the mood. Browse the gift shop of tea accoutrements. 716 NW Beach Drive. (541) 574-0545. www.theteapartycompany.com.

The Twining Thread is a unique shop that keeps the needle arts alive by offering classes and the finest supplies for a variety of needlework projects. 255 NW Coast Street. (541) 265-2166. www.twiningthread.com.

Toujours Boutique is a hub of exotic, eclectic, energizing, exciting natural fiber clothing and accessories for women, often with a global flair and always unique. 704 NW Beach Dr. (541) 574-6404. www.newportnet.com/toujours.

Village Market & Deli has brought in a host of exclusive gourmet food items, perfect for a gift basket for the gourmand who has everything. Imported mustards, special foods and jams from Oregon, chocolate sauces, vinegars from Oregon winery Sokol Blosser and Stonewall kitchen offerings, among other stunners, are found in great abundance. They also specialize in fine wines. 741 NW Third. (541) 574-9393.

For more information on Nye Beach, see www.nyebeach.org. For more information on the Oregon Coast, including extensive virtual tours of this area and others, see www.beachconnection.net.

About the Author

Andre' Hagestedt is editor of Beach Connection, a tourism publication that covers the upper half of Oregon's coast - some 180 miles.

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