Last Minute Shopping? Think LOCAL

NEWPORT, VT - If you still haven't finished your shopping, and most of us haven't, this is a great time to take advantage of the wonderful shops in and around Orleans County. Think "inside" the box.Got a snowmobile lover on your hands? There's always Al's Snowmobile with all kinds of machines, accessories and clothing. Or check out Walt's in Derby for warm family values on cold winter days. (I hate cold.) For the hunter and fisherman on your list, try Mr. O's and Wright's. Speaking of clothing (and everything else under the sun), Pick & Shovel has it all, from gold fish to long johns to Carhartt clothing and lighting fixtures and even a full set of small appliances and kitchen cookware. And don't forget Poulin Lumber and the Farmyard Store for the putterer, potterer and planter in the group.Cookware reminds me of Alexandra's Kitchenware on Main Street. In addition to all the accessories for the aspiring chef, she has a selection of dishware and decor items that will make you drool. Drooling, cookware, dishes - reminds me of food. We have a fabulous selection of restaurants in this area to meet every (well, almost every) taste, from Thai to Chinese to Italian to - well, you name it. A gift certificate to any one of them would be a wonderful present. Personally, I'm a huge fan of Hoagie's vegetarian lasagna, Little G's reuben sandwiches, Vermont Pie & Pasta Company's burgers, Roaster's muffins, and Newport Natural Cafe's turkey meatloaf. My parents swear by the China Moon Buffet. I'm not done but I'm getting hungry so I'll move on. Fine Italian dining at Lago's, cocktails "by the sea" at the Eastside, sushi at Le Belvedere (I've yet to try that one.), roast beef at Junction 101 in Troy, culinary specialties at Tastings, jazz at Jaspers, and so on. And don't forget family fare at The Village Pizza and Substation, Brenda's, and Wayne's, or fast food at McDonald's and Wendy's. I apologize if I missed anyone. Finally, top it off with baked goods by Jocelyn and Cinta and ice cream (in the warmer months) by Tim & Doug.Ok, leaving food behind, there is always the gift of a pedicure, manicure, massage, hairdo and other "essential" personal care items from our local stylists and salons. And for the more daring of you, how about a membership to IROC or Northeast Kingdom Physical Therapy? (You might want to make that a gift for BOTH of you, just to be on the nice side.) You can never go wrong with flowers, plants and jewelry, and we have fine establishments selling both, from Farrant's, Spates, and Plant 'N' Prune, to Newport Jewelers and Meyer's Jewelry, both on Main Street in Newport. Want something a little more exotic? Try MAC - The Memphremagog Arts Collaborative Gallery on Main Street, with a large selection of scarves, jewelry, painting, pottery and other unique pieces. Wider Than the Sky has an assortment of toys for children of varying ages, from educational to just plain fun. The Woodknot Bookshop, always a favorite, has reopened with many of your favorite reading materials.Got more ideas? Let us know so we can include them throughout the week.Shop local. Support your community. And just think of the money you'll save in gas!