One of the nice things about living in northeastern Pennsylvania is how close it is to New Jersey, New York (state and city), Philly, Delaware, and Maryland. So, every once in a while I venture a little further out in my treasure hunting—this weekend it was NJ.
Saturday morning found us in Somerville, home of Somerville Center Antiques, which bills itself as NJ’s largest antique center with 220 dealers, 5 buildings, and 30,000 square feet of fun. Now, this is my kind of place!
We park on Division Street just off Main and start at a shop called Antiques Emporium (29 Division Street). This turns out to be a separate business from the others and the only place where I find real “deals”. Not to say that the other shops didn’t have prices that were fair and I bought a few things just for me. But, when you’re reselling or buying materials to use in your creations, you have to find the deals or you’ll never make a profit.
So, I picked up an original framed pencil drawing of a cat, several rolls of vintage grosgrain ribbon, some cool fabric with carrots, and this floral on black tin biscuit box with handles that I’ll use for storage:
Next stop is Downtown (17 Division Street) and I find a depression glass devilled egg plate. I love devilled eggs and I’ve been looking for one of these for a while to prevent the inevitable eggs sliding around (or off) the plate problem. I also pick up some aprons and a 1946 McCall’s Needlework magazine with great cover graphics (and some good stuff inside, too):
I also discover my "best find of the day" here—a completely charming child’s nursery lamp with carved and painted giraffes. Look at that little umbrella! The shade is obviously not original but I'll replace it anyway. It’s just crying out for one that's painted to match with green and orange stripes or dots. I may touch up the paint on the base where it’s worn away but the giraffes are perfect and just need a good cleaning.
Vanities and The Linen Boutique share space at 9-13 Division Street and this shop is over-the-top girly. They specialize in vintage textiles and fashions and you’ll find things like rhinestone jewelry, DuBarry beaded dresses, fur coats from the 40s, purses, stacks of barkcloth curtains, and feathered hats. I find another beaded purse for my collection, some cute 1960s wedding shower invitations (2 complete sealed packages!), a sweet little girl's dress with red gingham flowers, and an amazing 1930s handmade garment bag with appliquéd and embroidered flapper girl flower faces. There’s a tear at the top of the front that will need to be fixed but I love the colors and workmanship.
The Kitchen Stop and Deco to Pop share space at 25 W. Main Street. As I walked around I felt like I was transported back to childhood. The same Easy-Bake oven I played with when I was eight, those juice glasses with oranges painted on the sides, the Danish modern furniture, and funky vintage cocktail stirrers and barware. A definite 50-60’s retro/cool feel. I spot a mint condition feedsack apron but its too expensive at $29. So I settle on a small vintage cookbook. I love looking at things from this era but I'm happy to have it as a memory rather than decorating my house. Aren’t you supposed to like the opposite of your parent’s style anyway?
Last stop is Uptown (34 W. Main St) and this store is huge and also the most expensive of the five. It has an elegant 1940’s vibe with furniture, crystal chandeliers, china, jewelry, and high-end antiques. I did a lot of looking but most of this isn’t my style. I find some pretty vintage buttons, though.
Overall, this was a worthwhile excursion. There’s plenty to see and, with six shops to visit, it will fill most of a day. While you won’t find many bargains, the prices seem fair for most things. It's a good place for shopping to add to your collections—those things you fall in love with and price be damned.
We were so intrigued by a restaurant called Origins (25 Division Street) near where we parked that we decided to get reservations and return that evening for dinner. We had a wonderful Thai meal—chicken sate, Gra Praw (stir-fried beef with mushrooms, Thai basil, peppers, and string beans), and poached pear with pear ice cream for dessert We don't have a lot of ethnic restaurants near where we live, so any Thai food is a special treat. Great Thai food is even better!