WORTH THE TRIP
From one end of the state to the other, treasures abound
There’s always a treasure to be found when you’re antiquing.
From 150-year-old stoneware crocks made in Kentucky to rustic painted wood pie safes, antique tools, vintage toys, or metal advertising signs—the breathtaking array of antique goodies ready for the picking at Kentucky’s antique shops and flea markets is ever-changing and always fun.
Here are a few of Kentucky’s best-loved antique shops from among hundreds across the state. Strike out using these, and you’re sure to find more along the way.
As any seasoned antique hunter will tell you, sometimes you can snag your best deals—and most surprising finds—at flea markets. And while antiques are often mixed in with value-packs of socks, knock-off purses, or other thrift-store items at some local flea markets, when you make the trip to the Burlington Antique Show in northern Kentucky, you know you’ll see only antiques and vintage collectibles, all of the time.
One of the largest antiques-only outdoor markets in the region, the sale is held on the third Sunday of each month from April through October and typically draws more than 200 vendors. Last May, an episode of the PBS series Market Warriors was filmed at the Burlington show (view it online at www.pbs.org, search “Burlington Market Warriors”).
Show promoter Tony Pham says the monthly sale is a favorite of families, where kids can get involved by collecting entry-level Hot Wheels or other small toys, and grownups can stake claim to everything from 1920s-era Rookwood pottery or vintage suitcases to one-of-a-kind stained glass windows and folk art weather vanes. “Our show runs the gamut (of all types of antiques),” says Pham. “We have a reputation nationally of having such a fun and friendly atmosphere.” One memorable item up for sale at the Burlington show a few years back: a Chinese Han dynasty jade burial suit, circa 200 BC to 200 AD, listed at $185,000. “You never know what treasure you may stumble upon at the Burlington Antique Show,” Pham says.
Known as both an arts-and-crafts and antiquing hotbed, a significant portion of Berea’s antiques market has been forged by the Todd family. Patriarch Johnny Todd opened Todd’s Antique Mall with his wife, Mary Lee, more than 36 years ago; he now runs it with his daughter Cora Jane Wilson. Another daughter, Karen Todd, has owned and operated the nearby Something Olde Antique Mall for 20 years.
“It’s so fun to hear people’s stories. They’ll say, ‘Remember this? My grandmother had that,’” Wilson says. “It’s amazing what you can learn by looking at and collecting old items,” adds Todd. “Seeing the vintage utensils and the old kitchenware, you get a sense of how different things were when those items were being used.”
With 50 booths at Todd’s and 80 more at Something Olde Antique Mall, both shops carry a wide array of antiques, but their selection of primitive furnishings—1800s farmhouse tables, rustic painted pie safes—and primitive crockware, firkins, dough bowls, and churns are in especially high demand right now.
Earning top votes for antiquing in Kentucky Living’s 2012 “Best of Kentucky” reader survey, Glendale’s quaint charm and cluster of several distinctive, topnotch antique shops nestled along its downtown railroad tracks make it a must-see antique destination.
A former dairy barn turned three-story antique mall, Bennie’s Barn Antique Mall is one of Glendale’s largest antique venues. The owners, Bonnie and Gerald Lush, pride themselves on making sure they have a little bit of everything—from vintage jewelry to architectural salvage, from vintage toys to vintage medical equipment. “People keep coming back because they say we have things here that they just don’t see other places,” Bonnie says. “One of our repeat customers says every time he comes in, ‘You can always find what you’re looking for at Bennie’s Barn.’”
While you’re in Glendale, don’t forget to visit the Glendale Antique Mall, Green Top Antiques and Collectibles, and The Side Track Shops Antique Mall.
When in the Bowling Green area, make time to travel just minutes up I-65 to nearby Smith’s Grove, where at Boone’s Antiques you can browse where dealers themselves like to shop. Owners Larry and Melinda Boone have a steady clientele of dealers from Tennessee and Indiana who consider him one of their top pickers for rustic farm tables and cabinets. “They know I’m traveling all around Kentucky seeking out great finds in people’s homes and out in their barns,” Boone says. “Primitive antiques are our main drawing card, but of course we have a variety of other antiques and glassware as well.” Smith’s Grove boasts eight other nearby antique shops and a B&B all along two downtown blocks.
While in Warren County, don’t miss Rock Garden Farm antique shop in tiny Woodburn. Darlene Sawyers’ red-sided shop has the feel of a quaint country store and is packed to the gills with primitive pieces, from treenware and yellowware dishes to old baskets and churns. Mixed with the wide array of antiques is a nice selection of new, painted reproduction furniture, as well.
Once you travel south to Woodburn, continue on down Hwy. 31W to Simpson County, where the county seat, Franklin, is home to not one, but three antique malls: Strictly Country, Bright’s Antique World, and Heritage Antique Mall, as well as several smaller antique shops downtown.
At Strictly Country, mother-daughter team Sherry Ford and Cindy Burk and their 12 additional dealers carry a wide variety of antiques and collectibles, though their strongest sellers right now are their country and primitive furniture and décor. “With so many people subscribing to magazines like Country Living and Country Sampler, we see people of every age coming in and looking for that country look, so we specialize ourselves in that market,” Burk says.
In far-western Kentucky, the tiny town of Hazel, six miles south of Murray on U.S. 641, is a must-see antiques destination, featuring 11 distinctive antique stores concentrated on two downtown blocks. In fact, the small community, established as a railroad town in the late 1890s, was shuttered and practically abandoned until finding new life as an antique shopping mecca roughly 35 years ago. Now, nearly every downtown storefront is home to either an antique shop or an inviting, locally owned restaurant ready to feed you once you’re too tired to shop any more.
Be sure to stop in at Angelique’s Antiques and Interior Design, where mother-daughter team Glenda Rowlett and Angela Rowlett Lampe strive to offer a little bit of everything, dating from the 1800s to mid-century modern. “We strive to have something for everyone, so that any customer, no matter what they like or collect, can walk in and find something that they want to have,” Glenda says.
Next door, at Blue Moon Antiques, owners Angie and Nicky Lovett specialize in primitive, early painted furniture as well as old general store pieces, industrial items, galvanized work benches, and vintage advertising—from painted porcelain signs to old, wooden hand-painted signs. “Antiquing is a lot of work,” Angie Lovett says. “But it’s a lot of fun. My husband and I make a trip to Ohio, Indiana, or Michigan almost monthly to load up on new pieces for the shop.”
For information about “antique trails” along Kentucky corridors near Highways 31E and 31W as well as Highways 60 and 68, go online to www.trailsrus.com/antiques.
Be sure to mark your calendars for these annual highway yard sales:
• June 6-9: 400 Mile Sale along Kentucky’s U.S. 68 Scenic Byway, Highway 641, and into Tennessee, www.400mile.com
• August 1-4: U.S. Highway 127 Corridor Yard Sale, www.127sale.com
• October 4-6: U.S. Highway 60 Yard Sale, www.highway60yardsale.com
Cadiz Antique District
Voted 2013 Best in Kentucky
U.S. Highway 68/Main Street
Burlington Antique Show
Open third Sunday, April-October
Boone County Fairgrounds
5819 Idlewild Road, Burlington
Bennie’s Barn Antique Mall
434 East Main Street, Glendale
Glendale Antique Mall
104 East Railroad Avenue, Glendale
Green Top Antiques & Collectibles
433 East Main Street, Glendale
Todd’s Antique Mall
1305 Paint Lick Road
Paint Lick, KY 40461 (physically in Berea)
Something Olde Antique Mall
437 Chestnut Street, Berea
322 South Main Street, Smith’s Grove
Rock Garden Farms
12785 Nashville Road, Woodburn
Strictly Country Antique Mall
5945 Bowling Green Road, Franklin
Bright’s Antique World
281 Steele Road, Franklin
Heritage Antique Mall
111 W. Washington Street, Franklin
Angelique’s Antiques and Interior Design
310 Main Street, Hazel
Blue Moon Antiques
312 Main Street, Hazel