Where's "Main Street" in Oyster Bay?
There are two with the proper name -- East Main and West Main, which don't connect -- as well as South Street. But much of the shopping happens on Audrey Avenue.
Oyster Bay is a place of history. Our 26th president, Theodore Roosevelt, staked his claim there, and you see his influence all over town. Even the local post office is a lesson in the past.
But it's also a place staying very much in the present, with new businesses opening all the time and efforts by the community to attract shoppers with public events.
For one, the classic car shows are back. Free for visitors, the shows take place on Tuesdays in summer along Audrey Avenue, which the town closes to traffic. Attendees can gawk at the beautiful cars and motorcycles, while music plays and the shops and restaurants are open for business.
"This is a very walkable town," says Patricia Porco, owner of Funni Business, a toy store. "People come from all over."
Here are some things to do along Audrey Avenue.
1. Chrison and Bellina, 24 Audrey Ave., 516-802-3824
It's fun to look through the many varied items -- from tea to chocolate to jewelry -- some imported. Owner Catherine Drabin makes a point of buying fair trade items whenever she can, including vibrantly colored fabric from Kenya. Organic Eggbaby baby clothing sells for $25 to $45.
"Most are socially minded companies," says Drabin. Among items for sale are bracelets ($5-$6) made in Haiti by women who were affected by recent natural disasters, including the 2010 earthquake.
2. Buckingham, Variety Store, 36 Audrey Ave., 516-922-4822
Much like an old-fashioned five-and-dime store, the shop sells sewing notions and ladies' hosiery, boys' underwear and housewares, as well as lampshades.
The front of the store is used as a consignment shop for local craftspeople and artisans. Among the wares are handmade knitted items, such as hats for newborns ($6.75 and up) and hand-painted, one-of-a-kind greeting cards by Mizelle's Cards ($5-$15). Monarch Engraving Co., a family-run business, sells engraved items such as cuff links.
3. Funni Business, 27 Audrey Ave., 516-922-3900
It's the place your kids will drag you into, but with so many toys to remind you of your own childhood, they may have to drag you back out. Big erasers sell for 50 cents and old-time kaleidoscopes for $3.99. Then there's a lighted globe for $70. Plenty of Legos and puzzles and Matchbox cars, too.
4. Mill Pond Consignment, 9 Audrey Ave., 516-802-2345
Antiques hunters will get lost in this place. It's filled with all sorts of finds, many culled from the large estates of the North Shore and beyond.
Twenty-four place settings of china in Richard Ginori's Palermo design, with 22-karat gold trim, is priced at $2,200. A pretty pink needlepoint chair is priced at $225, and for $500, there's a pair of vintage wine decanters from the 1800s.
"Mirrors do well," says owner Tracy F. Matthews, "as well as our beautiful paintings and high-end prints."
5. The west -- and north -- end of the street
Where Audrey Avenue bends, there's a lot of history to see. Start at Bonanza's -- a century-old red shed that sells hot dogs and homemade Italian ices. From there, cross the street to the bandstand (it looks like a gazebo) where Theodore Roosevelt would often give rousing speeches. Nearby, a bust of Roosevelt (get the idea that the town is proud of its link with the president?) is in front of Town Hall.
Follow Audrey Avenue as it curves to the Oyster Bay Rail Road Museum ($5 admission). At 95 Audrey Ave. is Ben's Garden, a fun home and garden store. Next door is 20th Century Cycles, featuring Billy Joel's motorcycle collection (it's rarely open, but visitors can peek in the windows).
Cross the train tracks to Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park, where viewing Oyster Bay Harbor is a peaceful way to finish that Italian ice.