A Quick Trip Up North

December 14, 2015 § 2 Comments

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The Christmas season is a gift and a curse when you work in retail. There’s hustle and bustle and lots of trying to keep up. By my unofficial count, we had the busiest day ever in the history of Pioneer Goods yesterday. Not in total sales, but by sheer amount of paying customers. It was an onslaught. 

Which is great!

It also means we run through inventory at a torrid pace and after a busy weekend the shop can look rather bare. (Also great, and a good problem to have.)

Last week on one of my off-days, I got in the truck and hauled up to one of our northern New England neighboring states (I’ve gotta keep some of these places to myself) to do some proper antiquing. It’s my favorite part of doing what I do for a living. You never know what you will find and that in itself can be a real thrill.

There’s a spot my mom showed me back when she and my step-dad owned a lake house. Once you’re off the highway, it’s a scenic drive with lots of farms.


This one was always near collapse when we used to visit the lake house. It finally gave in a year or two ago.




The collapsed farm borders a very old cemetery which appeared particularly ominous on this Tuesday morning.


There’s a pair of sister shops I really like and often have good luck finding lots of treasures. I only had about two hours, as I had to meet a client back at my shop around 4pm. Normally, I really like to take my time and spend a couple of hours in each shop, carefully looking everything over once, and making a second loop through to ensure I didn’t miss anything. Working quickly was probably for the best though, as I didn’t have a huge budget to work with.

Another fun thing that happens when I’m shopping in the boonies is seeing the reaction from the shop keepers as my pile of antiques grows. I don’t fit the demographic of their usual customer and even with my smaller budget this day, I was still buying 10 or 20 times more than the average shopper. Needless to say, they get a bit giddy. They’ll sometimes ask me my story, but more often, they just try and play it cool. A lot of times they think I’m decorating a restaurant for some reason. What can get annoying, however, is once in awhile one of the shop’s dealers might be lingering about and will start trying to give me the hard sell on their crap. Nothing turns me off quicker than a pushy sales pitch. Thankfully it doesn’t happen too often.



Lots of stuff that’s right in my wheelhouse.


And lots of stuff that isn’t, like these Hot Wheels above.


I love the creaky floors, the musty smells, and the quirky older country folks who populate these shops. It’s all part of the charm. Almost every shop you visit has locked glass cabinets as well. I must be lazy, because I’ve never purchased something out of one. It always feels like a hassle to go up front and bother them to come back and unlock the cabinet. They’re also usually filled with smaller, more particular collectible items which I don’t much care for anyway.


I grabbed the bookends you see on the right. They already sold! Sometimes stuff doesn’t even get to set its roots in my store.


They don’t even keep the heat on in this basement area. It didn’t deter me much, but the other few people I saw were in and out.


This needlepoint sampler from Chelsea was amazing. The ’61 is for 1861 so it was fetching big bucks at $175. I found a much better deal on a different one from 1981 that says something about God and friends and is somewhat adorable. You’ll have to come to the shop to see it, because I don’t have any pictures of it.



I picked up a bunch of old books, and while I love the old leather bound covers, I can’t get enough of how beautiful the inscriptions on the inside are. That handwriting in the top photo is especially lovely.


Before I knew it, two hours had come and gone and I had to hit the road to make it back for my meeting at 4. This pheasant and chippy high chair were just a couple of things I found. For now, they’ll have a makeshift home at Pioneer Goods until somebody else decides to give them new life and a place to stay.

I was so pressed for time/distracted with antiques that I nearly forgot to eat. I had a cup of coffee on the way up, but figured I needed something for the ride home. I had a premade gas station Italian sandwich wrap and it stunk! This is not how I normally eat, but the pickings were slim considering where I was and how much time I had. Lesson learned.


Back in Boston before I knew it, but I’m still not used it being this dark at 4pm.

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