Where Shopping Is Not a Taxing Experience

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bet you could use a tax break about now. After weeks of poring over tiny boxes and bureaucratic forms, you deserve a tax-free vacation. A number of states don't slap a sales tax on purchases, including New Hampshire, Delaware and Oregon. We highlight some of the top shopping areas in these states, as well as cities with tax-free holidays.

-- Andrea Sachs


· Rehoboth: Find racks of discounts at Tanger Outlet Centers (36470 Seaside Outlet Dr.) or the QVC Outlet (19324 Lighthouse Plaza), which sells products the TV shopping network says you can't live without. Find smaller, independent retailers on and off Rehoboth Avenue. Mostly Irish (245 Rehoboth Ave.), for one, sells items from the Emerald Isle, and Dolphin Dreaming (115 Rehoboth Ave.) specializes in Flipper sculptures, puzzles and other knickknacks.

· Lewes: Lewes has a number of antiques shops mixed in with its other wares (e.g, books, bait, seashell frames). Among the stores: Circa Home Antiques and Decorative Accessories (142 Second St.), Heritage Antique Market (16168 Coastal Hwy.) and Lewes Mercantile Antiques (109 Second St.). On Aug. 4, the Lewes Historical Society will hold its 44th annual antiques show, featuring dealers from the mid-Atlantic. Info: 302-645-7670, http://www.historiclewes.org/events/antiques.html.

· Dover: The Amish and Mennonites set up shop in and around Dover. Stores in Kent County include the Daniel Yoder Furniture Shop (462 Rose Valley School Rd.), Byler's Country Store (1368 Rose Valley School Rd.) and Shady Lane Selections (1121 Victory Chapel Rd.). Downtown, go to Spence's Bazaar (550 S. New St.) for its fresh produce and flea market.

Info: Delaware Tourism Office, 866-284-7483, http://www.visitdelaware.com/; Southern Delaware Tourism, 800-357-1818, http://www.visitsoutherndelaware.com/; Kent County and Greater Dover Convention and Visitors Bureau, 800-233-KENT, http://www.visitdover.com/.


· Portsmouth: Trade in those flannel shirts and Sorel boots for some glam. Head to the Market Square area for such boutiques as Delia's (206 Market St.), a jeans purveyor; Stiletto Shoes (28 Deer St.), for footwear with kick; Making Faces (65 Bow St.), which sells top-end makeup; and Anna Street (113 Market St.), for cute reversible handbags.

· North Conway: On Route 16, Settlers' Green Outlet Village houses more than 60 major names, and White Mountain Outlets offers such favorites as L.L. Bean. North Conway Village, in Mount Washington Valley, is lined with homespun stores filled with art, children's clothing, sporting goods and more. The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen's gallery (2526 White Mountain Hwy.) sells jewelry, photography and other crafts by local artisans.

· Keene: Colony Mill Marketplace, an open-air mall off Main Street, has loads of shopping under one sky, including European bath products, garden accessories, toys, etc. The nearby Center at Keene (149 Emerald St.) has more shops, but on a lower end. Go local at Hannah Grimes Marketplace (42 Main St.), a consortium of New Hampshire craftsmen, farmers and cooks who sell wooden dishes, smoked meats, paintings and more.

Info: New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development, 603-271-2665, http://www.visitnh.gov/; Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce, http://www.portsmouthchamber.org/; North Conway Chamber of Commerce, 800-367-3364, http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org/.


· Portland: The Pearl District is heavy on home decor. Hive (820 NW Glisan St.), for instance, stocks mod furniture, clocks, coat racks, etc. Lux Lighting (1333 NW Glisan) is good for lamps, and Hunt & Gather (1302 NW Hoyt St.) can fill an apartment with its couches, handcrafted tables and wrought-iron bed frames. Northwest/Nob Hill has national names (including Restoration Hardware, which was founded here) and indie shops, such as Wham! (617 NW 23rd Ave.), which carries lunch boxes and other retro gewgaws.

· Bend: The chichi town is rife with income-appropriate stores selling antiques, art and home furnishings. For brand names, visit the Shops at the Old Mill District on Powderhouse Drive. But for more unusual stores -- Paper Jazz, Diva Den, King of Sole Shoes -- head downtown.

· Cannon Beach: The beachy community has top-shelf shopping, including art galleries, designer clothing stores, candy shops. Brace your credit cards for Spruce and Hemlocks streets. Also check out EVOO, a cooking school with an attached kitchen store.

Info: Portland Oregon Visitors Association, 877-678-5263, http://www.travelportland.com/; Bend Visitor and Convention Bureau, 877-245-8484, http://www.visitbend.com/; Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce, 503-436-2623, http://www.cannonbeach.org/

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