Let’s go antiquing! Beauty and antiquing are in the eye of the beholder. Come along and join us for an antiquing tour and see what piques your interest.

Antiquing to me is like visiting museums, except folks can buy the exhibits. You can go on a nostalgic hunt for items that tweak your memories and heartstrings. In this search, people are interested in different time periods, places of origin and kinds of items.

Whether you have a small budget to accessorize your home or you plan a larger-scale investment, enjoy the fun of the search for just the right addition to your life. The finding is fun.

For me, even seeing the treasures that spark childhood memories is fun. For instance, a recent visit to Orphan Annie’s warehouse in Auburn gave me a chance to show one of my girls a living-room set similar to her great-grandmother’s: an overstuffed large couch and chairs covered in coarse plush. I can still picture Oma’s pieces, long gone now, delicate doilies covering the backs and the armrests. The pieces dwarfed the room.

I have dabbled in visiting shops with my daughters, with Aunt Martha and with my sister. My family has popped into shops during day trips to Boothbay Harbor and Hallowell, and even on rainy camping days. There is a sense of adventure when you discover new shops, so if you drive by one do stop in!

Appreciate the atmosphere and the architecture. Some wonderful examples in our area include these: In Hallowell, check out the gold-colored tin ceilings and the brick walls at the Brass and Friends shop; in Gardiner, a Federalist home houses Gardiner Antiques; in Oxford, a former church is now Shades of the Past; and in Brunswick, an old mill has new life as Cabot Mills.

Antiquing has something for everyone. I have heard about antiquing while working on other articles, such as one about the 3rd Maine Regiment Volunteer Infantry. Folks like to share common interests of history, museums, art, textiles, interior design, memorabilia, collecting and books. I frequently heard mention of gifts, sometimes that was even the reason for an antique hunting trip. I also know several of my daughter’s friends had fun antiquing for their prom-gown accessories among the dazzling jewelry displays.

My treasures of the tour were a stack of Thornton Burgess books of Mother West Wind stories; the books are not even old, but bring back many memories. A small wooden box; I am not yet sure what it will hold, I just liked it. A birthday gift, and a Christmas gift…small items that reminded me of these loved ones.

Unique treasures abound from a knight in shining armor to a teddy bear so well-loved that his ear is coming off. Old steamer trunks, glass baskets, cameras, clocks, a tatted embroidered dresser scarf. Seek and you will find.

If you haven’t gone antiquing, it’s good to know that there are two basic types of shops. Many shops have a mini-mall setup, where different vendors rent space within a larger store. The displays are set up in room-like settings, often with a small rug and chair, to add a cozy feeling. Shelves showcase items and also separate one vendor’s area from the next booth. The other type is a dealer-owned shop, which may look more like a museum.

We also checked out going to an auction for antiques.

Here are a few hints:

• Definitely get there early, both to take a look at the items that will be for sale and to grab a seat.

• You will pick up a lengthy list of items up for auction. These appear to be in a random order, but the more coveted items do run earlier. I had expected similar items to be grouped close together, such as art paintings, but they are not.

• Dress warmly since the doors open frequently and often stay open as buyers load purchases into their vehicles. Bring large canvas bags to help carry home your loot; these are the accessories of choice. We stayed as late as we could and were glad to see the prices getting more affordable. The buy of the evening was a beautiful dining set that sold for $500.

For years, New England has been famous as a good place for antiquing. I believe a resurgence has occurred, since 9/11, along with nesting or staying home for more family times of movie and pizza nights, and the increased interest in interior design and home improvement.

Happy antiquing!

Edith Churchill is a freelance writer living in Auburn who frequently takes day trips with her family.

Antiquers have lots of choices

On a recent antiquing tour, I started out of Lewiston heading east on Sabattus Street, stopped for breakfast at Uncle Moe’s Diner. Then on to the shops.

I made a loop, north through Gardiner, across the bridge to Randolph, back to Hallowell and Augusta, south through Greene, across Veterans Memorial Bridge to Auburn and then to Lewiston again. There are too many wonderful places to list them all. For more ideas, check www.metiques.com, The Maine Antique Dealer Directory.

Sabattus Antique Mall is at 519 Sabattus Road, Route 126, Sabattus, across from Sabattus Pond. I loved the open, spacious feeling there and the good lighting. Hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and closed Tuesday. Handicapped accessible. For more information, go to www.sabattusantiquemall.com, or contact proprietor Mona Maillet by e-mailing [email protected] or calling (207) 375-8500.

Gardiner Antiques is at 17 Brunswick Ave., Routes 201/ 9 in Gardiner. When you can see the A-1 Diner on the left, turn right at the traffic light. This Italianate Federal-style house is up the hill on the right. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and by chance or appointment. For more information, call (207) 582-1459.

Philene’s Antiques & Collectables is at 320 Water St., Randolph; this is just across the Augusta bridge, turn right and watch on the left. Driveway goes uphill. Includes dolls and a nice selection of graniteware, which is brightly painted red or blue on white cookware. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily and Sunday by appointment. For more information, call (207) 582-1498.

Back across the bridge, turn right onto Route 126, heading north to Hallowell. Find a spot to park along Water Street, and walk from shop to shop.

Lovejoy’s Antiques, 122 Water St., Hallowell, is a two-story shop. For more information, contact D. Lovejoy and J. Newton, (207) 622-5527.

Water Street Mercantile, 136 Water St., Hallowell. Notice the lovely brick backdrop for the antiques. For information, contact Anne and Cliff Vining, (207) 621-0625 or [email protected]

Brass and Friends Antiques, 154 Water St., Hallowell, is easily spotted. Just look for the gargoyle building. The gold-colored tin ceiling is a must-see. Lovely brick backdrop. Beautiful lighting fixtures and artwork. Open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Robert Dale, (207) 626-3287.

Johnson-Marsano Antiques, 172 Water St., Hallowell. Open most days May to December, and in the winter months by chance or appointment. For buying information, call Richard Marsano and Judith M. Johnson, (207) 623-6263.

The Crooked Nook is at 184 Water St., Hallowell. Open Wednesday through Sunday, (207) 623-3113.

Acme Antiques is at 165 Water Street, Hallowell, next to Slates Restaurant. Includes an interesting selection of books. Open seven days, May through December; winter hours are Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. For more information, contact Kathy Waller (207) 622-2322.

Lakeside Antiques Mall is on Route 202 in East Winthrop. Enjoy the two floors of exhibit space. Open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For more information, call (207) 377-2616.

Wilbur’s Antiques is on 11 Key Hill Road, off Route 202 in Greene. For more information, contact Rena Wilbur (207) 946-5711.

Orphan Annie’s antique shop is at 96 Court St. in downtown Auburn. Spectacular displays of jewelry and beautiful glassware, china, vintage clothing, more. Open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m. For more information, contact Dan Poulin by e-mailing [email protected] or calling (207) 782-0638.

Note: Orphan Annie’s has a three-floor warehouse that is open every Monday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Auburn Novelty building on the corner of Turner and Pleasant streets. The warehouse offers the display of larger pieces of furniture and much more.

Special antiquing event

On Saturday, Nov. 20, the 60th Maine Antiques Show and Sale will be held at the Augusta Armory on Western Avenue in Augusta, Route 202. It will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $3. For more information, call (207) 582-2849.

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