Shopping in "micropolitan" Lebanon and West Lebanon

The Lebanon area offers stores in the "New York State of Mind"



Joules dress from Phoenix Rising, $98.

USA Today refers to Lebanon as a "micropolitan" area, a term that bridges the gap between rural and metropolitan areas. The same term could be used for retail; some stores are nostalgic and others have that "New York State of Mind."

Dutille's Jewelry Design Studio, in business for more than 59 years, is today run by thirdgeneration gemologist Jude Dutille. Newly remodeled, this mainstay prides itself on custommade jewelry that exudes sophistication. Here is the perfect place to bring estate jewelry for "re-purposing."

One of the oldest stores in Lebanon, Hirsch's clothing, footwear and uniforms is a step back in time and simplicity. This welcoming landmark features rugged outdoor work clothing, steeltoed boots and wool felted hats ($27.99) and caters mostly to those who work in the EMS, police

and fire field. What's not for sale is genuine friendship. Third-generation owner Ed Hirsch freely takes the time for people in town who just want to drop by and chat.

Omer and Bob's Sportshop (On the Mall) prides itself on "gear for the self-propelled," so be ready to start moving this spring. Look for running (K-Swiss, Asics and Brooks), tennis (Babolat and Head) and biking (Trek and Specialized) accessories and equipment and other cool stuff. Foodies in the Upper Valley rely on the Asian Super Store (On the Mall) for all their Indian, Chinese, Japanese and Thai cooking supplies. The store is stocked full of spices, chutneys, teas and pre-made frozen food. You can also pick up supplies (rolling mats and seaweed skin) to make your own sushi.

The Birth of the Blues is where you can re-live your youth again. This store rocks with jeans, shirts, concert tees and all you might need before heading to a Grateful Dead concert. Check out the boxer shorts by Rasta-man for the "high" fashion hippie. Great selection of tie-dye clothing.

Two words: Powerhouse Mall. To be fair, every single store deserves a mention as do the owners, who are mostly all local. Make this a shopping destination. On Stage features dancewear and footwear, Artifactory Gifts (free wrapping) carries lol naughty greeting cards, Bonkers and Nature Calls is one humongous toy and nature store, Beatniks carries Pecorinos shoes and Tango handbags and Phoenix Rising now features Joules, a sporty European line that's guaranteed to get you a nice table at any yacht club. Clay's carries Not Your Daughters Jeans (my favorite brand) and a lot of flax and natural fiber clothing all arranged by color.

For a leisurely paced afternoon don't miss the AVA Gallery and Art Center. Spring exhibits include work by Torin Porter, "Out of This World," Lou Hicks, "Contemporary Landscapes" and Karolina Kawiaka, "2-D and 3-D Drawings." Can't get in to see the center? No problem, there's an app for that! Go to Apple iTunes and search "AVA LEED."

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