Last weekend I was lucky enough to take a fantastic day trip upstate to Callicoon, NY. It’s a sleepy, picturesque town about two hours northwest of Bergen County, NJ. I spent a whole day there antiquing, eating, and taking in the scenery. Callicoon is hands-down my favorite small town, simply because of the amazing views of the Delaware River.
Callicoon is a great bustling weekend getaway for Manhattanites and NJ residents looking for some fresh air and a laid back, old-timey feel.
Callicoon is a walking town. You park, you walk, you eat (go to the Callicoon Brewing Company and get the wings), and you enjoy the sights of the river and the charming, quaint architecture of the buildings in town. Everyone is friendly, happy, and if they are local, thrilled to share the history of the town.
Here are two antiques shops that impressed me in Callicoon, and I recommend that you visit both of them… even if you just go window shopping! Later I will mention one antique shop we found on the drive up (perfect halfway point) that was SO worth the trip.
Lee Hartwell Antiques
Lee Hartwell Antiques is located at 33 Lower Main St and has an upscale, arts and crafts feel. There is a lovely mix of fine wood antiques and small decorative items full of character and interest… The kind of things any antique shop junky would love to bring home as mementos. The wooden pieces, many of them nicer wood varieties, are all clean, polished, and ready to be used. There is NO shabby in this shop.
Upon entry, Lee and his adorable “guard dog” were present, both busy making conversation with patrons of the store. We were happy to meet Lee, and enjoyed learning about his shop and his passion for the local community.
Lee has a beautiful, semi-secret technique of polishing steel. He removes plenty of layers of paint in the process to create interesting and lovely pieces. They’re industrial, but with a softness to them. He spoke passionately about his process, and was happy to offer tips and advice when I mentioned that I wanted to attempt the same look on a project piece back home. I very much enjoyed his work, and left his shop feeling inspired.
The Trash Queen Store
The Trash Queen Store, located at 21 Lower Main St, had a different vibe… more of the traditional, playful, somewhat scattered, but full-of-fun antiques shop. It’s the kind of place I would imagine being all sorts of terrible to walk into with my young children. I was unable to meet the “Trash Queen,” but can I say, she has a great eye for style. There was a fantastic mix of Pinterest-worthy upcycle project pieces and plenty of salvage pieces. I recall wishing that we’d brought the Suburban on the drive, because there were a few metal bed frames that REALLY should have come home with me!
Mixed with the eclectic pieces, including an upholstered vintage armchair featuring multi-fabric patchwork, the shop had an overall pretty, dainty feel. The floors are painted white, and somehow that gave a shabby-chic nod to just about everything in the store.
The highlight for me was the wacky collection of E.T. fan memorabilia.
Who knew that those cool 80’s kids were privy to novelties such as an E.T. themed multivitamin holder. Maybe I should have purchased this sweet collectible for MY kids… to remind them how it used to be!
Now, Callicoon, as I mentioned, is a dreamy, magical place… BUT on the drive up, in the less-than-noteworthy town of Mongaup Valley, NY, there is a wonderful gem of an antiques shop located at 1163 State Route 17B called In2Retro. We almost drove past what looked like another farmhouse on the main drag, but as we passed, we noticed a MASSIVE tent out back that seemed to be full of antique furniture and salvaged goodness. So, of course we had to stop and see what this was all about.
I was on the fence about going inside this antiques store. After all, I knew the furniture was outside, and in my head, I was expecting to walk through a sea of dusty, unwanted housewares. How wrong I was!
Upon meeting the owners, husband and wife duo, Jim and Amy, you could just tell (one junk-lover to another) that they LOVE what they do. When the lovely, warm Amy showed me the “couture” case full of high-end, one-of-a-kind noteworthy pieces (the kind you’d LOVE to get your hands on for a bargain), I realized this place was different. A few of the jewelry pieces could have been snatched off a runway!
Most of the vintage designer sunglasses came complete with the original cases. There was no shortage of Chanel, Gucci, and the like in this shop; not to mention the racks of gorgeous evening gowns and accessories.
It was truly the best of both worlds… primitives, novelty, and exciting high end pieces, all available at a song. I can’t wait to go back. Now that I know about this gem, that once-a-year fancy Christmas Party will never be the same. I can’t wait to pick out some special pieces! Think NYC antiques, but without the high price tags.
If you can swing a day this summer or fall (perfect pairing for an upstate vineyard trip) for adventure and spontaneous fun, either with the one you love, your mom, or your best girlfriends (I went with my ex-husband, and still managed to have a blast), then you will have a great time and make some memories. Isn’t that what it’s all about after all?
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