Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Antiques Shopping in Mid-Coast Maine

Mid-coast Maine is one the best areas in New England to shop for antiques. You can easily spend a full week of daily antiques hunting, and only cover a small portion of the shops in this area.

One of the most well-known antiques towns is the historic village of Wiscasset. Located on Route One, Wiscasset is bordered by the picturesque Sheepscot River. It’s a fabulous place to spend a few days poking through the antiques shops and eating fresh seafood in locally-owned restaurants. No big chain restaurants in this pretty town - all the eating places are individually owned and operated, making for some really good eating.

You can start with Avalon Antiques Market, the largest group shop in Wiscasset. Found just three miles south of town on Route One, Avalon offers about 100 dealers spread through three floors. Dealer quality ranges from flea market level to fine early antiques, and the variety of is astounding. Avalon dealers each have separate booths or showcases, and offer period furniture, books, jewelry, folk art, silver and silver plate, glass and china, American Art pottery, stoneware, art, fishing and hunting collectibles, garden decoratives, kitchenwares. paper items, quilts, painted furniture, and this is just a few categories! You won’t be bored shopping at Avalon, so plan for a few hours poking through their large shop.

Three miles north is the downtown section of Wiscasset, with it’s classic 18th and 19th century buildings. Throughout the entire village are dozens of small antiques shops well worth visiting, so stop in one in the central business district on Route 1 and pick up the current antiques shop map. It’s a great town for strolling and viewing the private homes, antiques shops and gardens that make this fine town a wonderful adventure.

Many of the antiques shops are actually in the homes of dealers, but don’t let that put you off. These dealers usually have a separate section of their homes dedicated to their antiques shop, and they will welcome you with big smiles and open arms.

Shops in this part of Maine are very strong on 18th and 19th century Americana, with a sprinkling of decorator European antiques, Victorian and mid-20th century collectibles mixed in. One of the charming attractions of shopping in Wiscasset is that most of the time you are in a shop where you can discuss your finds with the owner/dealer, making negotiations for best price so much easier.

Be sure to stop in Blythe House Antiques, at the corner of Route One and Pleasant Street. This lovely shop, in an historic 1799 red clapboard two story ship captain’s home, is easy to find since it’s across from the Post Office. Sixteen fine quality dealers fill two floors with room settings of both country and formal furniture, antique decorative accessories, hooked rugs, architectural elements, baskets, and other home furnishings primarily from the late 1700s through 1900. There are also several showcases of good small antiques, including sewing tools, folk art, jewelry, china, glass, Shaker items, silhouettes, and treen, just to name a few categories. This is a shop that has many uncommon antiques, and is definitely a must-visit on your shopping list.

There are so many shops in Wiscasset to see, but here’s a few other good ones - Dennis Raleigh Antiques, Robert Snyder and Judy Wilson Antiques, Marston House Antiques, Lilac Cottage Antiques, Patricia Stauble Antiques, and Priscilla Hutchinson Antiques. All are open daily, and carry excellent quality - you won’t be disappointed.

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