88 East Main Street, Clinton, CT 06413
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  The Holidays are Here!! (the Holidays Were Here??) It is a fast countdown to Christmas, the candle blaze of Channukkah already gone. The solstice is Thursday, and have we all completed our holiday lists? Pollsters say a majority have not. So enough of the antique philosophy, the shop etiquette, and blandished encouragement, let's shop.

If you are not aware of how excellent, plenteous and diverse the antique marketplace is from Branford to Old Saybrook, you are in for an agreeable surprise. Just a few years back, you had to leave the state to find an antique. No longer. Now the professionals dealers visit the Connecticut shoreline. So many dealers, so much choice of merchandise,  so much better the bargain.

Make a day of it (or half a day including lunch). Shops are open daily year-round but you may wish to check for hours and dark days, most shops are open between ten and five, with many staying later. Between exits 54 and 67 on Interstate 95 the shoreline towns are home to more than 500 antique dealers, either in 'group' shops, or individual locations. You can begin at either end, use Interstate 95 or drive Route One, Boston Post Road traveling from town green to town green, and within a twenty-five minute ride find anything you could possibly desire.

Planning your trip could not be easier with our 'virtual' virtuosity without leaving your computer. Individual towns have good Chamber of Commerce sites with memory friendly tags, i.e. ; ; ; . The Connecticut River Valley & Shoreline Visitors Council is the most encompassing of all at . For the eastern end visit and see what is available from Clinton to the Connecticut River in bright colors.

Branford has two upscale multi-dealer shops, neighbors on Route One: Antiques atWilderwood (764 E Main, 203-483-5406) and Clock Tower Antiques (824 E Main, 203-488-1919).

Madison has several 'consignment' antique shops: Madison Trust, (891 Boston Post Rd, 203-245-3976); On Consignment, (77 Wall St. 203-245-7012). Also Lawton Art & Antiques, 837 Boston Post Rd, 203-245-4949, a choice individual shop

Clinton begins the snowball effect with more than a dozen shops both individual and  multi-dealer within three miles. Traveling east from Madison along Route 1 you come first to the Loft (59 W Main, 860-669-4583); next on the same side a few blocks further, John Street Antiques (23A W Main, 860-669-2439), across the street, As Time Goes By (xx W Main, xxx xxx xxxx); a little further in the Historic District, The Clinton Antique  Center (78 E Main, 860-669-3839) with more than 85 dealers; MiRIAMGREEN's (88 E Main, 860-664-4200, this author's shop); Waterside Antiques (109 E Main, 860-669 0809); traveling east again on Rt. One, a more seasonal multi-dealer shop Clinton Village (327 E Main, 860-669-3533); across the street Square Rigger Antique Center, another group shop (860-664-9001).

Old Saybrook has the largest concentration of group shops along Rt. 154, exit 67 off 95 where you will find Antiques Depot, Essex-Saybrook Antique Center, Old Saybrook Antique Center, and Antiques and Acquisitions, all within three miles of downtown, and  offering the wares of more than 300 high end dealers. If you want to wander up the Connecticut River, continue up Rt. 154 to Essex, Deep River, and Chester. For information on these shops and others space does not allow me to list, again visit the Lower Connecticut River Valley @ . But these should give you a beginning.

Each shop has an eclectic personality, no shop has the same inventory, in fact no shop will have the same inventory it had the first time when you return, so if you see something you like-buy it. If you are looking for special items, furniture, glass, silver, paintings, rugs, china, try the group shops for the largest selection, than find the individual dealers who specialize in what you want. Happy Hunting. And remember--the chase is always at least half the gratification, possession the remainder, and telling the story immeasurable. Snow or no snow, think Christmas. We truly have so much forwhich to be thankful. Have a joyous, peaceful, and memorable holiday.
  Editor's note: Susan Alon, rare book specialist and former Yale curator, is proprietor of  MiRIAMGREEN Antiquarian Bookshop & Gallery located at 88 East Main in Clinton (860-664-4200). Comments and suggestions for future columns are welcomed.Wire . Next week, what makes a book rare, valuable, or just old.  


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