One of the many reasons I love working for Yankee Magazine is the ever-present excuse I have to browse antique shops throughout the region – all in the name of knowledge and research.
I browse with equal enthusiasm for art, books, jewelry, knick-knacks…but I confess the first objects my eyes dart around the room for are the kitchen objects. Ovenex muffin tins made in the USA, flatware with smooth Bakelite handles, pastry blenders with worn red paint, cheery blue enameled roasting pans, granny square oven mitts, and mismatched flowered china. They call to me like sirens.
On a recent excursion up into the Lake Winnipesaukee region, I stopped in Laconia to check out the downtown Laconia Antique Center, housed in a former department store, with 22,000 square feet of merchandise from over 150 dealers.
Outside it appeared unassuming enough.
Inside was a different story. In addition to the Lionel trains whizzing around a large track and the allure of Connie’s Ice Cream Counter in place of lunch, there were aisles spread out and stuffed with treasures.
The first thing that caught my eye were these clustered and carefully labeled glass bottles – once just a humble 25 cent beverage transporter, now a $12 bud vase.
Someday I will be able to fill an entire wall of bookshelves with community cookbooks like this one from New Hampshire. I love the character in these spiral-bound classics. You never know if recipes like Aunt Millie’s Coconut Supreme will live up to the hype, but it’s fun finding out.
And when it doesn’t, you can take notes. These notations are the hidden gems of secondhand cookbooks.
Sorry, Grandma. Looks like your Brown Sugar Apple Crumble is nothing special to the point where someone made sure to write it down…permanently…in INK.
I often see things I covet, but cannot afford, like this collection of Fire King Jadite.
I also see things I love, but ultimately decide I would have no use for (unless it was free), like this lobster dish. Of course, now that I am thinking about it, this would make a great coffee table catch-all for the jewelry I am always misplacing…
Then there are the things that I would never, ever, ever want. This terrifying clown cookie jar came from another antique store in Meredith, but best illustrates how sometimes one man’s junk really is just junk…albeit mesmerizing junk.
And then there are the Yankee books that turn up everywhere — not surprising considering Yankee has been the expert on all things New England for 76 years. Look at these fine gentlemen!
Yes, I love my job, and I love exploring the nooks and crannies of New England.
In case you’re wondering I did buy a few books, but then it was back on the winding, wintry road towards Wolfeboro.
Are you like me? Do you love antique stores?
Are you still traumatized by that cookie jar? I’m sorry. I couldn’t help it.