Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Elaine's Antiques

Last weekend as with most Fourth of July weekends in recent memory I met Kate, one of my oldest friends, and her daughter for our annual strawberry picking expedition.  It’s a clear sign summer has arrived at my house when the fresh berries are in house.  The last couple of years after our hours slaving in the fields in the hot sun with dirt under our nails we have headed to Wells to enjoy a lovely brunch and hit the shops.
This year was no different except we did try a different brunch spot and let me highly recommend it – Bintliffs in Ogunquit.  I had crème brule French toast and ohhhh myyyy gosh I’m still salivating!  Kate had a pecan waffle with caramel sauce and she was in pure dining heaven too.  Years ago, I spent a couple of summers during college in this part of Maine and there used to be an ice cream shop (does anyone remember Viking’s?) in this building that had peanut butter ice cream I still dream about – it was the straight peanut butter (like vanilla) not the peanut butter cup type with chocolate and peanut butter swirls.  Clearly this building has positive flavor karma.
Next stop was Elaine’s Antiques on Route 1 in Wells.  Elaine’s sits back a bit from the road so it’s easy to drive right past it (as a matter of fact we had, literally hundreds of times over the years).  It has been in business for 30+ years as Elaine informed us and she has probably the most organized, focused collection of goodies I have ever seen! 

Elaine's Antiques
1318 Post Road (Rt 1), Wells Maine
Elaine herself was quite a character and shared some really funny stories with us.  Apparently she used to have a sleigh and wooden horses on her front lawn to attract traffic for her shop.  It sounded very eye catching and she clearly loved it.  The problem came with the summer folks that frequent this beach town.  “Kids” (young adults) would frequently get a little lit and try to ride the horses and hang out in the carriage whooping it up leaving all kinds of empty beer cans/bottles behind for her to clean up the following day.  The revelry would wake Elaine and her family up and she would routinely have to yell out the window at them to quiet down and move along.  While she appreciated the fact that the vacationers were enjoying themselves she had to get up in the morning to open her shop and needed her sleep.  So after conceding she was not going to win this battle with the tourists she removed the horse and carriage and now just has a lovely green front lawn like the rest of her neighbors.

As I mentioned earlier I have never quite seen a shop set up is such an organized fashion as Elaine’s – the shop is in a barn that is attached to her house with the framing of the walls exposed and extra 2 x 4’s added to create shelving.  This gives a shadow box illusion that displays her pieces really uniquely.  Her wares are really focused on American stoneware/pottery although she does have some lovely Fenton glass and other glassware - very little furniture here.

Front Room
The first room has the most variety with every kind of pottery vase you can imagine along with lots of depression and other colored glass as well as a fair amount of Roseville pottery.
Imagine the baking necessary to fill all of these...
As I entered the back room the first thing I noticed was the back wall – it was floor to ceiling shelves filled with every sort of cookie jar imaginable.  This was clearly a woman that loves collecting and uses her shop to share her collections (and even perhaps make a few dollars). There was another whole section filled with Mar-crest ovenware – more pieces than I even knew existed.
Just a sampling of the Mar-Crest
The side annex room was simply a home for several sleighs she has for sale.  I have to say I wouldn’t even know where to go about buying 1 sleigh let alone the probably 10 she had for sale.  Very interesting.
A sleigh for every season
A definite fun stop and I highly recommend engaging Elaine in conversation – she is a delight.

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