Published: December 2015
Five Southern Spots for Some Serious Retail Therapy  

Gatewood Hall Gracious Home Blue Ridge, Ga.

You go local when it comes to dining out while traveling, so it makes sense to go local when it comes to shopping. From locally owned and operated boutique shops, antique stores and galleries, the SRialtoAntiqueMarketWestMonroeLaouth offers many authentic retail experiences. So, the next time you want to "get your shop on," check out these five spots for some serious retail therapy.

Located in West Monroe, La., Antique Alley is a unique area home to the most concentrated antique stores in Louisiana. What began nearly 30 years ago with around six antique stores, has grown into 40 shops representing not only antique store but also boutique and specialty shops.

With most of the shops located on Trenton Street in the Cotton Port Historic District, you can spend the day meandering in and out of a variety of shops sure to satisfy even the most astute shopper. Find the perfect piece to either complete or start a collection at Rialto Antique Market or select a one-a-kind gift made by a local artist at Ouachita River Art Gallery. Be sure to stop in The Spice & Tea Exchange to check out the different teas, rubs and more.

 

Tupelo, Miss.'s personality shines through its downtown shopping district. There are plenty of stores to discover situated along Main and Spring Streets.

gumtreePop in Reed's Department Store, the oldest family-owned store in the city and get one of their popular T-shirts. Be sure to check out Reed's GumTree Bookstore on Spring Street and pick up a book or two penned by a Southern writer. If you are looking for a gift-type or fun item, either give or keep for yourself, check out About the South or Farmhouse on Main. For something distinctive and rare (you are sure to be among the few to have the piece or item), head to The Caron Gallery. Featuring works by Mississippi artists and their different mediums, you are sure to find something. Of course, no visit is complete to downtown Tupelo without stopping in Tupelo Hardware. The third-generation owned store is forever etched in music history since it was here that Gladys Presley bought her son Elvis his first guitar.

lowemill2There are no words to describe what awaits you, the shopper, at Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment in Huntsville, Ala. It's a place you have to experience to appreciate.

The former textile mill is now home to over 120 working artists, small businesses, eateries and more, making it the country's largest independent center for the arts. Meet some of the artisans and watch them create as you explore the three levels of Lowe Mill. From ceramics to jewelry to photography and much more, including cigar box guitars, you won't have a problem finding something special. Finish up with an edible treat from Suzy's Pops or Pizzelle's Confections (perfect to take home for later), followed by tea from Piper & Leaf.

It's not only the scenery that'll enchant you in Blue Ridge, Ga., but also the shopping opportunities. With so many shops to visit within the downtown area, you may want to plan ahead to make the most of your time and not miss anything.

canoeIf you are looking to spruce up your apartment or home, check out the offerings available at Gatewood Hall Gracious Home. Visit Turning Leaf Fine Art Gallery for a piece of local/regional art or artwork that'll have guests asking "where did you get this?" For those who have to visit antique stores or thrift shops when traveling, download and print out the self-guided tour featuring over 30 places. For a gift (even if it is for yourself), head to Canoe and select from their handmade jewelry or canvas bags. There's also Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods, home to hand-crafted bamboo fly rods, which can be a perfect gift for the fly fishing aficionado in your life.

ArtistsAtGulfPlaceSouthWaltonFla.

With the 16 distinctive beach communities that make up South Walton, Fla., come plenty of distinctive shopping experiences. For a unique twist, check out places like Per-spi-cas-ity, an open-air market in Seaside, Shops of Ruskin also located in Seaside, the colorful Shops at Grayton and the Artists at Gulf Place.

Not only can you find everything from home decor to clothing to art to jewelry and much more throughout the communities, but also signature shops like Rosemary Beach Trading Company, Seaside Style, and Sandestin Clothing Company. There is one dedicated to 30A items as well called 30a Gear. If you leave the area empty-handed, you didn't need anything anyway.

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