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Soothe Your Soul: 13 Destinations Offering Some Serious Retail Therapy

You go local for dining while traveling, so it makes sense to go local when shopping on the road.

The South offers many authentic retail experiences from locally owned and operated boutiques, shops, antique stores, and galleries.

So, the next time you need to soothe your soul with some serious retail therapy, check out these 13 destinations.

East Dallas' Deep Ellum’s eclectic vibe isn’t limited to its music and arts venues. The same spirit is found within the historic district’s shopping scene.

All in a day, you can discover new authors at Deep Vellum Books, create a terrarium (to keep or give) at Jade & Clover, and find cheeses to complement your charcuterie board at The Mozzarella Company. And if you got a four-legged best buddy, find the perfect gift for them at The Upper Paw.

Deep Ellum is also home to Warstic Flagship Store and Headquarters, offering handcrafted baseball bats and equipment for other stic-based sports (think tennis, pickleball, lacrosse, etc.) You’ll also find apparel, a coffee bar and more.

What began over 30 years ago in West Monroe, La., with around six antique stores, grew into Antique Alley with over 40 shops representing antique stores and boutique and specialty shops.

With most of the shops on Trenton Street in the Cotton Port Historic District, you can spend the day meandering in and out of various shops, sure to satisfy even the most astute shopper.

Find the perfect piece to either complete or start a collection at Cotton Port Antique Mall or Trenton Street Antiques. Need help on deciding on what to get or give? Find inspiration from the different vendors at the Shoppes on The Alley. For more gifty-type items, from specialty food products to candles and the like, perfect for any celebration, check out Walsworth and Co., The Trenton House or Max Porter Provisions.

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

Pop in Reed’s Department Store, the oldest family-owned store in the city, and get one of their popular t-shirts.

If you are looking for fun, funky items to give or keep for yourself, check out places like The MAIN ATTRACTION or Swirlz. On the other hand, you may want something distinctive and rare where you (or the gift recipient) will be among the few to have the piece or item, then head over to The Caron Gallery and discover a new artist or two.

Of course, no visit is complete to downtown Tupelo without stopping in Tupelo Hardware. The third-generation-owned store is etched in music history since it was here that Gladys Presley bought her son Elvis his first guitar.

Coastal Mississippi is a hidden gem for local shopping opportunities. From Ocean Springs to Pass Christian and all points in between, you can find many places to satisfy your retail therapy needs.

If you’re in the market for local art, visit Shearwater Pottery in Ocean Springs or Gulfport Galleria of Fine Art. Unsure what you want, but know you want something special? Swing by Shops of Century Hall in Bay St. Louis and see what interests you. Ready to indulge? Check out the candles and more at Waveland Candle, the bath and body items at Threaded Cork in Biloxi, or find the perfect book at Pass Christian Books.

Looking for a new outfit? Home goods? Specialty foods? You can find it and more in the many shops and boutiques in downtown Huntsville, Ala. And while you are here, you can’t overlook Harrison Brothers Hardware, the state’s oldest continuously operating hardware store filled with many gift-y items.

Found southwest of downtown is Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, a place you have to experience in person to appreciate.

The former textile mill is now home to 158 public studios and over 200 working artists, making it the country’s largest independent center for the arts.

Meet 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 a bourbon whiskey tasting at Irons ONE, selecting something yummy from Pizzelle’s Confections for later, and ordering a hot or an iced tea from Piper & Leaf.

The half-mile stretch along 12South (12th South Avenue) in Nashville, Tenn., offers everything from vintage threads at Savant Vintage to handmade jewelry at Judith Bright to Southern elegance at Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s clothing line.

Complete your outing with a stop in White’s Mercantile. Described as a modern-day general store, you can find tons of items you didn’t know you needed until you saw them.

Did you know Gatlinburg, Tenn., is home to the largest independent organization of artisans in the United States?

The Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community, a short drive from downtown, is an eight-mile loop filled with over 100 Tennessee artisans and craftspeople, with many demonstrating their trade on-site.

Spend the day meandering through the many shops and galleries, representing everything from soaps to pottery to glass and more. There are also local places to eat and stay.

It’s not only the scenery that’ll enchant you in Blue Ridge, Ga., it’s also the shopping opportunities. And it all begins at Mercier Orchards. Best known for its fruits and vegetables, the market also features jams, jellies, apple butter and other gift items. In addition, there are also wines, hard ciders and treats available from the bakery, too.

With so many shops in the downtown area, it may seem overwhelming initially, but with some pre-planning, you’ll be able to find the ones you want to browse.

If you want to spruce up your apartment or home, visit Turning Leaf Fine Art Gallery for a piece of artwork created by an American artist that’ll have guests asking, “where did you get this?”

Something special for the gourmand in your life, or do you want to try something new? Then, the Pasta Market has you covered. Find everything from kinds of pasta to oils to sauces to recipe books and more.

For a gift (even for yourself), head to Canoe and select from their handmade jewelry or canvas bags. There’s also Oyster Fine Bamboo Fly Rods, home to handcrafted bamboo fly rods, which can be a perfect gift for the fly-fishing enthusiast in your life.

The retail experience in Thomasville, Ga.’s historic downtown is just as varied as the roses growing in the town’s five-acre Rose Garden.

Even if you consider yourself more of a browser than a shopper, you’ll enjoy checking out the boutiques and specialty shops.

For serious shoppers, some places should be on top of your itinerary. Relish Thomasville, because you didn’t know your kitchen needed it until you spotted it; Blake Candle, since no one can ever have enough candles; and The Wiregrass Gallery or Firefly for a truly original piece.

Be sure to visit The Bookshelf for a good book to relax with after a day of shopping and Sweet Grass Dairy for something to snack on as you read.

With the 16 distinctive beach communities that make up South Walton, Fla., come plenty of exclusive shopping experiences.

Take a break from the beach to get your shop on with the various merchants around Rosemary Beach or Seaside, the colorful Shops at Grayton and the Artists at Gulf Place.

And that’s just a start.

You can find everything from home decor to clothing to art, jewelry, and much more throughout the communities and signature shops like The Alys Shoppe, 30a Gear and Sandestin Clothing Company.

“Charming” is the first term to come into mind when exploring downtown Apalachicola, Fla.’s retail offerings.

Pick up some treats or a toy for your pet at Oysterbones, and then pick up a treat for yourself in the form of chocolate at Apalachicola Chocolate and Coffee Company, or honey or mead (after tastings) from Apalachicola Bee Company. Find a treasure at The Tin Shed or a gift at The Riverside Mercantile.

Whether it’s clothing, artwork or a souvenir, the small coastal town has everything one could need or want.

Four quaint mountain towns in Jackson County, N.C. ~ Cherokee, Dillsboro, Sylva and Cashiers are a shopping mecca for those who make it a point to shop locally.

In Cherokee, peruse (and purchase) pieces from Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, the oldest Native American cooperative in the country, highlighting works from over 350 Cherokee artisan members in Cherokee, N.C.

All within short distances of one another in Dillsboro are places like Dogwood Crafters, Toad in the Hole and Tunnel Mountain Crafts, filled with unique pieces crafted by local and regional makers. After checking out the shops, pop into the Dillsboro Chocolate Factory for some homemade chocolates.

With places like The Farmhouse (gifts), End of Main (antiques), and Black Balsam Outdoors (outdoor gear), it’s easy to lose track of time shopping along Sylva’s Main Street.

And when you’re done on Main, head to Mill Street, aka “Back Street,” for more places like Treasures Unknown (antiques) and NOON (gifts.)

Cashiers is home to many upscale boutiques and shops for all, including children and pets. There are also art galleries, antique and furniture stores.

As the Folk Arts and Crafts Capital of Kentucky, Berea is rich in shopping opportunities. Begin at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, where you can discover the works of over 800 Kentucky artisans.

In addition, the city has three areas filled with galleries and shops: Artisan Village, College Square and Chestnut Street. Plan your time wisely so that you can explore each area. Each storefront is as individual as the artist or artists.

Also, driving out to Tater Knob Pottery for their spoon bread bakers and other items is worth your time.

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