Seasonal shopping opportunities abound in the region

WILLSBORO As the days tick down to Christmas, several local experts are offerings suggestions on what to get that hard-to-buy for person. Unconventional wines
If you have a wine lover on your list, Chef David Martin of Turtle Island Caf頩n Willsboro and operator of the The Essex Wine Shop, has several suggestions. It's always nice to give them something they may or may not familiar with, or have them try something new. Wines are a very broad subject, because there's so many different kinds from all over the world, said Martin. Wine prices can vary greatly, so Martin advised setting a price range before selecting one. Martin said Spanish wines might be something to offer for a taste of something different. If youre looking for something a bit closer to come, Norfolk of Long Island and the Finger Lakes region are both producing excellent vintages. White wines that goes well during the holidays are Pinot Grigio or a Reislings. Martin said a good red wines include Pinot Noir and French Beaujolais, while fans of blush wines might like White Zinfandels and White Marlots. Turtle Island Caf頨as one of the most extensive wine lists in the region, with a selection of over 175 wines. Martin serves up several wine dinners throughout the year, which feature gourmet food paired with different wines to tantalize the tastebuds. For information, log online to www.turtleislandcafe.com . Artistic tastes can be served by local artists
Arts Council for the Northern Adirondacks Executive Director Caroline Rubino said art can be an appropriate gift when looking for something unique. I think people tend to keep art or a painting or a photograph longer than they'd keep something from a box store, because it's made with care and spirit, and see something and think the recipient would like that, said Rubino. Rubino said that when giving art, consider the interests of gifts intended recipient. Do they like animals, scenery? Is it a picture of a place that means something to them? If it's a craft item, is it something they're going to use? Is it an object to put on the shelves? Sometimes we get wonderful pieces we can't use, but evoke some emotion, said Rubino. Those who are fans of performance might enjoy gift certificates or tickets to theatre or other shows. Many theatres offer gift packages during this time of year. Theres also the option of making a donation in the gift recipients name to a local organization. To start looking for local artists, visits ACNA online at www.artsnorth.org . It's the gift that keeps on giving, because you keep enjoying it. It's corny, but it's true, said Rubino. Shopping local
Chamber of Commerces are advising people to shop locally first, not only to support local businesses, but for unique items. Elizabethtown Chamber of Commerce member Kris Hardman, who operates Cornerstone Rustic Gallery in Willsboro, said shopping locally helps support the business. It's a way to break the cycle we're in. We're flush in the summer, hardly surviving in the winter. We complain there isn't much in our town, and small North Country towns, but do we patronize the shops that give it a try or do we get in the car and go to a box store for something made in China telling ourselves we're saving money, said Hardman. Many North Country communities offer niche shops, providing a venue to purchase locally made goods. These shops often have knowledgeable proprietors that can help with gift suggestions and offer a personal touch. Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sylvie Nelson said her communitys downtown offered a lot of diversity. There's quite a bit of diversity in our downtown, where most of the items are sold in our community are unique - it's not something you'd find elsewhere, said Nelson. Money spent within the community gets reinvested in the community, Nelson added. Local businesses are likely to support nonprofit organizations and schools with donations and services. The Saranac Lake Chamber of Commerce will be hosting the third Mens Night Out on Thursday, Dec. 20 for the last-minute shopper. Many local businesses will be staying open later and offering gift wrapping services. For those that enjoy shopping online, check out the local Chamber of Commerce web sites for information. The North Country Chamber web site is a good place to start at www.northcountrychamber.com .

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