Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hit the Road Jack

I do a bit of travel for my job…not too much but enough to normally keep my wanderlust in check.  For some reason though my trips tend to be scheduled in clumps, generally May and October end up being the busy months.  Well, this year one of my regular conferences moved from May to April and I shook things up a bit and decided to attend a new conference which has kept me on the road for all but two days out of the last 2+ weeks.  Last week I spent a few lovely days in Orlando and this week my conference just happens to be in Nashville.  Since my job does not require a ton of travel I do like to take advantage of scheduling a little extra personal time on some of these trips and doing some site seeing/shopping.
Last week in Orlando I had a couple of lovely days with my Aunts who spend their winters near Orlando.  I had done a bit of “Google-ing” prior to my trip hoping to scope some cool resale shops out but really did not have much success with my pre-trip research.  Odd since you would think Florida would be the perfect spot to find all kinds of vintage goodies.  Luckily the Aunts knew exactly where to go.  We saw some really lovely antique shops in Leesburg but let me tell you there were few bargains to be had…I found a couple but really had to work for it!  The places we went while were not great for finding bargains were great for seeing what similar items are really selling for in a retail establishment.  So all in all not entirely a loss, plus it really was fun to explore with my Aunts.
One of the highlights of my Orlando visit...sad but I really miss
The Waffle now that I'm in Boston

So here I am today, in Nashville.  I have been here several times and I’ve really enjoyed every visit.  It’s such a welcoming city and so much to see and do – I haven’t even scratched the surface.  I arrived on Sunday with a few antique shops on my list to see and really just open to find whatever else came.  My first stop however turned out to be The Hermitage, Andrew Jackson’s home.  This beautiful plantation has more of the original contents from Jackson’s residency than any other presidential museum in the country – pretty impressive considering we’re talking about over 175 years.  Even the wallpaper on many of the walls is original of that time!

Here is a link to their website The Hermitage I highly recommend spending a couple of hours on a lovely day touring the house and gardens!

One of the highest priority things on my list was to check out Mike Wolfe from American Pickers new Antique Archeology shop.  I did a bit of digging and found out that his shop is to be located in an old factory (Marathon Motor Works) that only produced cars from 1911-1914.  The building now houses artist studios, shops & even a brewery.  From what I could find online the Nashville Antiques Archeology is scheduled to open in April – couldn’t find a specific date, just April so I figured I’d take a chance and hope for the best. Today after my last meeting I plugged the address into my GPS and optimistically headed that way only to find…..I was out of luck.  They do not appear to be open as of yet.  As I’ve said before (and I’m sure I’ll say again) though sometimes it’s about the journey and this is how I have to look at this.  It was a beautiful building and really cool to see it and learn about the short life of Marathon Motors.  Next time I’m in Nashville though you better believe I will be planning a revisit and here’s hoping it will be well worth the wait!

Yet to be opened Antique Archeology Nashville-style

Tomorrow I head to Atlanta and I have so many fun things planned I can’t wait…several antique shop stops along the way (all mapped out of course), The Auction Kings - Gallery 63 Auction, Dogwood Festival, Steeplechase, dining at some of my old favorite haunts as well as visiting with some very special folks.

Some links for some of these awesome things:
The Dogwood Festival
The Auction Kings Galery 63
Top Chef's Richard Blaze's Burger Palace
South City Kitchen
Ballard Design's Backroom
Scarlett Scales Antiques
Serenite Maison

Friday, April 1, 2011

An Estate Sale by Any Other Name…

For as long as I can remember I have been going to all kinds of sales:  garage, yard, tag, rummage, estate, church, flea markets, moving, auctions, thrift shops, etc.  My grandmothers were avid treasure hunters (well before that term existed) and I loved tagging along.

Me with my Great Grandmother at a sale in NH when I was
about 12.  We were on our way to Santa's Village and as with so
many other times my Grandmother spotted the sale and pulled
the biggest U-turn you've ever seen to head it back to it.

Of all of these varieties I have come to realize I really prefer the good old traditional estate sale.  Now, there are a lot of folks who don’t necessarily understand the distinction between a garage sale and an estate sale.  Well, I am here to tell you they are two entirely different animals.  You will generally not find toys or baby items at an estate sale (unless they are vintage collectibles, of course).  Estate sales are truly that – when someone moves to a retirement community or passes on any items their family members don’t want are put up for sale.  While this might seem a bit sad I prefer to think of it as an opportunity for these items to pass into the hands of a new owner who will love them as much or more.
I love that the treasures found at an estate sale are well loved items that someone took their lifetime collecting.  So many unique treasures that you never will see anywhere else.  I also love that most estate sales are held in the homes where these goodies were so appreciated and used.  I can tell you over the years I have seen some unbelievably spectacular homes that I never would have had the chance to had there not been an estate sale held at the home.
Now to say I have an “appreciation” for vintage may be somewhat of an understatement.  There is such an art to items that were made when true craftsmanship was a way of life and Wal-Mart was not even in the American vernacular.  I especially have an affinity for vintage bling…I’ll save that for a separate post as it’s a favorite topic all on its own. 
When I lived in Atlanta I had a system down for my Saturday morning excursions.  The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has a very organized thorough listing of estate sales in their online classified ads.  Each Friday I would peruse these online ads searching out the sales I felt had the most intriguing items or those in parts of the city I was dying to explore.  I would print each ad (you could tag and print a summary including them all) and then go to MapQuest to map out my route.  Saturday morning would come and I would head out with a nice hot steaming cup of coffee in hand and generally would hit 3 or 4 per Saturday and be home by early afternoon.  I loved seeing the city through these outings – most of the time it was not just about “the find” but about the journey as well.
Unfortunately I have not yet found a similar system yet for Boston, but am actively in pursuit of one and I’m confident I’ll find it and I will certainly share it as soon as I have!  This weekend I’m going to take a stab at Craig’s List ad’s again. My experience so far has been hit and miss with Craig’s list but again sometimes it’s about the journey…
Here are some of my very favorite estate sale finds.  Not all are hidden treasure but they are fun finds nonetheless:

I bought this bed at a sale in Richmond VA for $75. 
I love it's carved detail!

I have a few vintage decorator books (collection would
be way to generous a word but I'm getting there) that I
 have purchased at different sales.  Usually I find
them for a dollar or two, never more than five.

This chair was scary when I bought it at and estate sale in Dunwoody GA!  It was $25 and filthy (stained) and had a worn sagey green fabric on it.  I had to prop it into the trunk of my Jetta and bungi cord the trunk closed to drive it home.  I loved the "bones" of it and am so glad I spent the additional money to have it upholstered.  It looks so fabulous in my bedroom now.

I purchased this blanket chest at a "after the season" sale in October at a seaside
cottage in Bayside Maine.  I think I paid about $25 or $30 for it but it had a sprained leg...a
little wood glue and a screw later and it's a beautiful addition to my guest room.

Several years ago my Grandmother gave me a pin tray that was my
great, great, great Aunt's a hundred or so years ago.  Since then I
have bought several types/sizes at different sales over the the years. 
Here are a few of the many that I have.  Most of my collection are more
colorful than these 3 but this is what happens to be on my wall currently
so I'm sure you have the idea.
I bought the Boston Ild Church picture at a sale in Fairfield Maine a few years ago. 
Love it but haven't found a permanent home for it yet.  The lamp I bought probably 10 years
ago at a sale in Northport Maine.  This was one of a pair that I bought for $20 and have
enjoyed ever since.  The bases are a bit rough but I like the patina that shows their age.

I bought this stunning green cake plate at a Church Sale at the
Catholic Church in Swampscott MA last fall.  I am clearly not a
photographer so this photo doesn't even come close to showing
it's beauty but it is a truly beautiful piece.

Ok, I have a thing for vintage purses matter your size they always look good.  The multicolor purse came from a sale in Camden Maine several years ago and as you can see by the wear I've very much enjoyed this purse.  The pink patent leather purse is a vintage Saks Fifth Avenue purse I bought at an estate sale in Roswell GA for $1 - probably the best bargain I had seen in a while! The gold chain link purse was a find from Decatur GA - I so love the utterly retro feel of this purse
I'm expecting a fun filled treasure finding weekend so will be sure to share what I find next week.