New England Kitchen Antique Shopping

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.

10 thoughts on “New England Kitchen Antique Shopping

  1. Jen @ says:

    That clown cookie jar is just scary… I always gravitate towards the kitchen stuff too. There was a great antique store in Exeter, NH that was filled to the ceiling of stuff. None of it was marked, you just asked the woman how much things were. It was quite the sight!

  2. Madeline Lund says:

    Want to thank you for a wonderful vicarious trip before I start work today. The cookie jar speaks volumes for itself–do you suppose someone made it in a craft workshop? Regardless, the color choices probably seemed a lot better in someone’s head than they turned out on the clown’s face.

    The rest is pure fun. I especially love the organization cookbook with notes. I do that too. I love those cookbooks that hold many family favorites. Sometimes we have to remember that part of the reason why they are favorite is not the results, but the beloved cook that made them.

    Thanks again!

    • Aimee says:

      You are so welcome, Madeline! I had a lot of fun browsing – as you can probably tell. I completely agree with you about those clown colors – and the special place we all hold for those family recipes. Thanks for commenting and have a great week!

  3. erin says:

    I would love this place!! There are so many amazing antique/junk shops in New England. There’s one in Lunenburg/Leominster (right on the border, I have no idea which town it belongs to!) in Mass. called Jefferey’s that looks a lot like this one. I’m always finding great things, most of which I never buy of course!

  4. mgw says:

    I just love poking around antique stores too…you never know what you might find. I laughed out loud after reading the note about Grandmas’s Brown Sugar Apple Crumble. “Nothing special”, haha! Priceless!
    Sounds like you’re really enjoying your new job. 🙂

  5. Ranjani says:

    Well, I guess that’s one way to keep kids from eating too many cookies…
    I’ve bought a few interesting cocktail glasses at stores like that – it’s fun to have a quirky mix of them at home!

  6. Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe says:

    I grew up going to summer camp on Lake W, and my college roommate was from NH, so we used to go to Laconia fairly often. I wonder if this is the mall I used to go to with her. Hmmmm?

    Yup, we LOVE poking in antique stores, getting the giggles trying to figure out some of the old kitchen gadgets (or Medieval torture devices), finding great deals on 11″ glass pie plates (I don’t understand why recipes are always for 9″ pies), having flashbacks to our grandmother’s kitchen when we see stuff she used to have, etc.

    I’m right there with ya on the jadite (want but won’t spend the $ since I don’t need) and the creepy clown! Glad you’re having fun with your new gig!

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