Allegory Books & Gifts


The Oregon coast offers a plethora of activities and sites to see that will keep anyone busy. However, some of us go to the coast to find a calm, quiet time to read, watch the waves, play games with family with the picturesque setting in the background.

For those people, Allegory Books and Gifts is a great place to visit.

The store, located in the shops of the Salishan Spa and Golf Resort, has been open for 38 years – a remarkable feat in this environment of big box bookstores and online retailers.

“We have changed throughout the years to continue to offer things that people want,” said Helen Barrett, owner of the store. “This store used to be just books and music, but if we had stayed that way, we would be gone right now.”

What Allegory does offer is an amazing 1,400 square foot store that has the entertainment options that are, quite honestly, perfect for a quiet coast week with family and friends.

Yes, there is a good section of books, but Barrett has scaled down her selections, mostly offering best sellers and popular selections. However there is a good section on Northwest and Oregon-specific tour books, fiction and guide books. I found the few books on “Bigfoot” interesting and even though I walked in not looking for a book, I walked out with two.

But where Allegory really stands out, is the children’s and family section, tucked in the back. It’s very large for book store of its size, and carries a lot of items that kids just love. The book I purchased there for my 8-year-old was devoured in an afternoon, and she wanted the next book in the series (which we also got at the store the next day). Hey, if Allegory has books that kids want to read, I say they are doing something right in this age of Xboxes and iPods.

Books for new readers at their height, puzzles, stuffed animals and coloring and activity books will give you kids something to do during those rainy Oregon coast vacations that doesn’t include the television.

The range of puzzles goes from very hard thousand piece boxes, to more simple puzzles for younger customers.

“Believe it or not we also sell a lot of jewelry,” she said. “Basically we are a gift shop, book store and activity shop for people who are at the coast.”

While it isn’t the oldest shop in the small outdoor mall, it’s one of the anchors, with Barrett saying she has regular customers from locals and people who vacation at the beach.

“Some people come in once a month, some once a year, but most people come back,” she said. “I try to keep a good selection of new items so there is a reason to have folks come back.”

What I found to be the best part about Allegory, is that it’s a great place to find a gift while you are at the coast that you can use –whether that’s a book for yourself or a puzzle or art project.

“I have a lot less books than I used to, but I think we have things that people want,” Barrett said. “It’s hard to say, but I’m still not used to it, but we are still open.”

About Allegory Books and Gifts:  A 1,400-square-foot book and gift shop in the Shops at Salishan. It has been there for 39 years and the current owner has had it for 17 years. It features books, art supplies, puzzles, children’s books, local books, stuffed animals and activities and tour guide books.

What to bring: Make sure you have enough time to check out all the nooks and crannies of the store, as there are some treasures to be had.

Tip: Make sure to make it to the back of the store if you like puzzles or other activities to do at a rainy day on the Oregon Coast. There is a treasure trove of items for children too, so if you have little ones, make sure to take a look – also be prepared to temper what they want, because they will ask for something! 

Season:  The store is open year-round.

Getting there:  The store is located in the shops at Salishan along Highway 101 between Lincoln City and Newport. The address is 7755 Highway 101 N, Gleneden Beach, Oregon. They do not have a website.

By Patrick Johnson