Antiquing: Sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday. For someone else. But before you judge too harshly, think beyond a stereotyped collection of scuffed bread boxes and threadbare furniture best described as farmhouse chic. Several antique shops have adopted an organization plan where separate vendors set up their own booths within the store. These booths range in size and style from tables and shelves to small rooms. This offers a unique patchwork design of different treats and intriguing finds from one step to the next – think PVD Place Mall if it lived in a quaint historic house and exuded times of the past. Okay, so antique shops are nothing like your average department store or mall, but that’s the whole point! Whether you’re looking for Mom’s birthday present or even something you could actually use, these shops are dusting off some one-of-a-kind finds you just can’t miss.
A Bee’s Buzz
114 Danielson Pike, Foster
Elegant collections of blue willow china to corners filled with meat mincers and hay hooks. Apart from maybe the old photographs of townies past, nearly all items at the Buzz are patiently awaiting a whole new life of use. You’ll find fishing supplies, long forgotten literature, beer steins to make you feel like a knight on your nights in and so much more.
Don’t forget to check out the sweet treats at the register on your way out! Homemade fudge, honey sticks and other classics await you – including locally harvested maple syrup. Nothing beats supporting local businesses, especially when it’s this delicious!
Rocket to Mars
144 Broadway, PVD
You won’t find your practical use farm tools here. If Mars is filled with quirky gift ideas — desk lamps from the ’60s and milk crates of vinyl records — this Rocket will take you there. You could even pick up a sweet new ride the likes of a bright orange bicycle or even a fancy little carpet (if you believe in magic, that is). This is a great spot for collectors of novelty items or those of you looking for some truly unique furniture pieces for your living spaces. And I don’t toss “unique” around lightly here – I stumbled upon a photo frame made entirely of recycled Marlboro red boxes. The perfect spot to put your favorite pictures of you and Grandma!
Hall’s on Broadway
145 Broadway, PVD
Whether you’re feeling like Daisy Buchanan, Elizabeth Taylor or a Brown student from the ’70s, Hall’s has the threads your closet’s calling for. Where else can you find cowboy plaid, customized leather jackets, Boston Terrier tie clips, socks covered in cute little Corgis and Rosie The Riveter?? Or maybe you’re feeling particularly daring and want to be the only chick in town with a purse crafted out of ostrich. Either way, you won’t find these picks at your local Urban Outfitters.
What Cheer Records + Vintage
180 Angell St, PVD
This is more than just your typical record store. Sick of photoshop mania plastered across every glossy magazine cover? Slip into a different time by sneaking a peek at babes of the past in Playboy magazines that outdate even your dad. While some are in pristine collector’s condition, I could tell which copies lived a life of being stuffed under the bed every time the “reader” heard a footstep. A whole corner of the shop is overflowing with old electronics – vintage cameras, record players and gadgets forgotten with time. Looking for a new pair of specs? Check out their assortment of funky frames and rock the quirk of the cat eye!
The Town Trader
1177 Putnam Pike, Chepachet
Another spot to find useable household items — whether home is a patch of farmland or an apartment in the city. Stock your kitchen with dishes and silverware your great-grandmother would envy. Or even go the extra step and take home a hoosier cabinet that’s weathered the storms of holiday baking and lived to house sweet treats another day! Looking for man cave decor? The Town Trader’s got the beer signs and tap handles to spice up your hangout spot. Sift through old birthday cards and letters in a box and learn the stories of New Englanders whose names didn’t quite make it to the history books. Who knows what you might find!
Stillwater Antiques Center
711 Putnam Pike, Greenville
Home of the new PBS show, “East Coast Antiques,” Stillwater Antiques Center is all about the stories attached to the item. Tune in every Friday to hear quirky anecdotes and interesting tidbits from collectors and expert antique traders. Stock up on tricks of the trade, and then do a little shopping of your own. With new items arriving almost daily, Stillwater is a must on your antiques tour. Whether you’re in search of a well-seasoned iron skillet or some rare coins for your growing collection, they’ve got you covered.
Other spots to check out: Nostalgia, Old Post Office, The Rhode Island Antiques Mall, and Newport Armory