So, we've given away our top shops, big and small, in North Carolina. This week, we whisper into your ear the ten best shops that we've encountered while traveling in other states. Again, in no particular order, we present the following delicacies for your enjoyment:
1. Greater Columbus Antique Mall, Columbus OH
One of our favorite shops that we've ever been to. The layout is confusing, but a fun sort of adventure if you don't mind stairs. They do have an intercom system, but if you need more than one type of help, be sure and speak fast. Otherwise, a speedy employee will appear silently at your elbow, but you'll have to send him to the front desk and back again if you want him to be able to help you with anything else. Example: we needed 3 cases opened in the same area of the shop, but before we could finish describing what we needed over the intercom, someone was there with just one of the needed keys. We had to wait for him to go back for the other two keys, and by the time he got back, we had spotted something in yet another showcase. We tried to catch him over the intercom, but he was just too fast. Those people get their exercise....
Check out their blog: http://greatercolumbusantiquemall.blogspot.com/
2. The Factory Antique Mall, Verona VA
Over 90,000 square feet of stuff. We tried, and failed, to do this mall at a quickstep in 90 minutes. One entire zone went unexplored, but alas, even antique mall employees should get to close up shop and go home every now and then.
Their website: http://www.factoryantiquemall.com/Browse-the-FAM.html
3. Ingrid's Antique Mall, Santee SC
Located at the Santee Outlets, a mostly-dead outlet mall with fewer than 10 shops still open. Ingrid's was hopping, though, and we had to closely monitor our competition so that we didn't miss out on some fine merchandise. Willing to negotiate, and very nice about it. I got 2 pieces of Rookwood for less than $100, and some giant nesting dolls, which bring me joy every time I look at them.
4.South Charleston Antique Mall, Charleston WV
The people here were very nice, and we found some fantastic deals. Best find: a vintage blue spun acrylic light fixture for...well, perhaps I'd better not say. I will say that we spent less on the light fixture than we did filling up the gas tank on our way out of town.
5. Medina Antique Mall, Medina OH
Huge. They regulate their merchandise--items on the main floor have to be at least 40 years old, and there is a separate wing for stuff in need of TLC. They do not take offers. Do not ask for a discount. It makes them unhappy. But, we found some great things, most notably, two framed pinups and some great vintage clothing.
6. 57th Street Antique Mall, Sacramento CA
Part of "Antique Row", where you can park once, eat at Evan's Kitchen (fabulous!), and shop all day. Pure California bliss....
7. Stuff SF, San Francisco CA
I still get palpitations when I remember strolling across San Francisco on a sunny day, not even looking for a junk shop, and then--there it was! I spent several serious moments mentally calculating shipping costs, extra baggage fees, and whether or not an ice bucket would fit into my carry-on, before settling on some unframed pinups. But oh, the memories!
Check out their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Stuff-SF/192817254063217
8. Pages Past, Kingston NY
My favorite used bookstore ever. The proprietor makes good conversation, but not too much--I love a guy who knows when to leave me alone with the books. Bonus--it is an easy walk to Stella's Italian Restaurant, quite possibly our favorite Italian restaurant (outside of Italy, of course). Books and carbs and cheese!!!!
9. Nostalgia, Knoxville TN
Already mentioned in our previous post about the Tennessee trip. Fabulous!
10. Old Raggedy Ann Antiques, Etlan VA
We found this shop while taking the scenic route on a snowy morning as we meandered toward Pennsylvania. It was the first shop we had seen (the first sign of people, actually), so we figured that it was a good place to stop, stretch our legs, and get a mini junk buzz. It turned out to be one of our top stops from that entire trip. Plus, the area is gorgeous.