Friday, June 3, 2016

Three States, Seven Antique Malls

This spring, we made our annual road trip to Florida to visit our son and his girlfriend.  They're in southwest Florida and it seems like it takes forever to get there, so we take breaks out of the driving time to stop at antique malls along the way...what could be better?

I took lots of pictures of the malls, the booths and their items, but most of my pictures have disappeared into cyberspace (perhaps they've been hijacked by antiquing aliens...I have no idea where they went)!  I've borrowed a few of the following from the internet to make up for it.

The first stop, on the first day, was in Kentucky.  We visited with my 93 year old aunt in Cincinnati (my hometown), had lunch at Skyline Chili and then headed across the Ohio River to Florence Antique Mall.  We'd been there before and I always look forward to it, but I'd never seen it so junk-y!  This time, it seemed like there were lots more of the newer flea market items -- newer Hot Wheels, newer Beanie Babies and lots of stuff from the 2000s, clearly made in China.  I bought a couple of items for my Etsy shop, but really wasn't impressed, and I don't think we'll bother to arrange a day around that mall again.

Next stop, on the second day, was Big Peach in Byron Georgia.  There again, it was much more junk and many more 'craft' booths than I remembered from past years.  I don't know if I'm becoming more of a discriminating shopper or the sellers have changed....maybe a bit of both.  There are also several dealers at Big Peach who sell reproductions and don't identify them.  I don't have a problem with repros at all, as long as they're clearly marked and priced accordingly.   One of the booths had shelves full of new jadite, priced as vintage.  Big Peach was really disappointing and we felt like it was another day's stop wasted.

I liked this clothespin bag, but couldn't be sure it was vintage and it was priced pretty high, too.  I think I'll copy it, though, using vintage just so cute!
A fun way to use old pillowcases
On the third day, we stopped at a new mall, Ocala Antiques and Estates.  It was not only 'new to us', but seemed like a newly opened mall, as well.  The staff were really friendly and nice and there was a good variety of items, plus LOTS more 'man-tiques' than we usually see at a mall.  It's not huge (about 15,000 sq feet), but worth a short stop if you have time.  I don't know if we'll go there again, just because it's fairly small and there were more primitives and true 100-year-old antiques than we're interested in.

lots of man-tiques and stuffed animals in this big booth
I found some really nice kitschy, made-in-Japan figurines at Ocala -- we were glad we'd stopped.

As we went farther south in Florida, we saw a couple of billboards for Traditions Antiques in Wildwood.  Apparently there's a second, really big mall there -- Wildwood Antiques -- but we ran out of time and didn't drive the additional mile to get there.

Traditions was a very pleasant surprise, after the disappointments of Florence & Big Peach!  It's advertised as about 30,000 square feet and it's really big -- several rooms (the main room has a balcony full of booths) and aisle ways that go on and on.  There was an interesting variety of items and booths, from fine china and furniture to mid-century kitsch.  The owner was really friendly (and funny, too) and the staff nice, as well.  We added it to the 'go back again' list and thanked them for having TWO billboards -- one to get our attention and the second one to get the details of where to exit.

We stopped at Webb's Antiques in Lake City, Florida on our way back home.  It's really big, but it seems an inconsistent mix of some nice booths and a lot of the downright junk-y.  One thing I noticed this time is that Webb's is the place to buy in bulk, if you're looking for a lot of one type of item, as so many of the booths looked almost like wholesalers.  Check some of them out:
Need a bottle (or two or three hundred)?
I only found two things that I couldn't leave behind -- both tiered tidbit trays (and both really dirty and needing a good scrubbing!)  Of course, they were in a booth that had at least 20 other tidbit trays, too...Webb's dealers must buy in bulk!

Our last stop was Gateway Antiques in Ringgold, Georgia and I felt like we saved one of the best for last.  We'll definitely always try to stop there in the future!  It was clean and bright with lots of variety in the booths, which were also really well 'staged' (no junk just piled on the floor).

My photos from Gateway are among the missing, so these pics are from their website.  There's an interesting booth there that's not on their's actually a large room and doubles as a military museum.  There are military artifacts from the Civil War through World War II (or maybe Vietnam, though I didn't see any) and some of them are really rare (with prices to match).  It was fascinating just to walk around and look at them.
I liked this mobile hanging over the center staging of gardening stuff, right inside the door
A cool way to use vintage yardsticks
Right by Gateway Antiques is Antiques by the Fountain (named that because there's a fountain inside).  It was much smaller than Gateway and almost all newer homegoods, displayed really well.  It would be a great place to shop to decorate your home if you didn't want vintage, but not as much for the collector.
Don't be fooled by the door with the OPEN sign...follow the arrow around to the side door

So we've crossed two or three malls off of our list, added a couple of new ones and got some great stuff along the way...all part of a fun road trip!

1 comment:


FUN! I think taking notes on the malls is a good idea!

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