Hidden treasures in the mountains

Posted 6/8/18

Say the words “The Poconos” or “The Catskills” and your listeners will probably conjure up wonderful images of lush forests, sparkling lakes, exhilarating speedboat rides, fly …

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Hidden treasures in the mountains


Say the words “The Poconos” or “The Catskills” and your listeners will probably conjure up wonderful images of lush forests, sparkling lakes, exhilarating speedboat rides, fly fishing in mountain streams, challenging golf games or tubing and kayaking on the Delaware. Shopping would probably not be top on the list—but really, there is a certain kind of shopping, a treasure hunt of sorts, that can be one of the top things to do here. Hidden on the main streets in our towns are wonderful antique shops that will challenge anyone’s desire to find a special unique piece to bring home from their vacation.

With that in mind, I set out to explore the art of antiquing in the Upper Delaware area, selecting one town in Pennsylvania (Hawley), and one in New York (Liberty). I had a wonderful time indulging every woman’s dream— shopping to my heart’s content.

Hawley was my first stop, and it had an almost endless supply of antique shops to visit, each with its own special flavor. Most are lined up on Route 6, Main Avenue, as it wanders through town, or are a short, easy ride from there.

My first stop was the Hawley Antique Exchange, on the right on Route 6 as you drive into Hawley from the south. A plain cement façade hides an unimaginable mix of items from the past. A cooperative of over 30 dealers, it has everything you can imagine. This includes vintage crystal; a large collection of unusual “Vaseline Glassware” and pressed glassware; primitive furniture; old tools; early phonograph records marked T. Edison Co.; “costume” clothing from the past, such as vintage World War II woolen U.S. Army uniforms; delicate batiste baby dresses from the early 20th century; and school books from “the olden days” with even an antique school desk and chair to go with them. I loved seeing a mannequin decked out in a splendid satin wedding gown from the 1940s. It brought back tales that my aunts and uncles told of their joyful weddings after the vets returned from World War II. Among the most amazing items were a “really” old, c. 2100 BC, piece of jade crockery from the Qijia culture period in China; and the ship’s wheel from the Battleship USS Massachusetts, which saw service in the Spanish American War. Do not miss this spot. It is worth a special visit.

Next, I drove “around the corner” to Miss Elly’s Antiques and Such shop on Church Street in Hawley. The shop itself is an antique, i.e., a charming historic building. Owner Elaine Herzog told me that it was built around 1869 by George Schlager for his bakery and grocery store. Blue clapboards, gabled roof, full front porch, eyebrow windows, sidelights and transoms adorning the front door all make this cottage a special spot for those who love architectural history. Herzog, who is also president of the Wayne County Historical Society, showed me old photos of the house and street as it was in the 19th century, pointing out the other historic buildings on Church Street that still stand.

Inside, the delights for treasure hunters include china, pottery, beautiful full sets of silverware, furniture, primitives, old toys, vintage clothing and linens. One of my favorites was a primitive wooden baby cradle. Any little girl would love to tuck her doll to bed in that lovely little piece.

Nearby, back on Route 6, was Timely Treasures, run by Pat and Bob Ohlson. They are also in a historic building—the original, early 20th century hydroelectric power plant building on the Paupack River. They have six rooms filled with antique furniture and furnishings: dining room tables and chairs, cabinets, bookcases, “secretary” desks and hutches, bureaus, china and an inlaid mahogany desk. They also carry a variety of statues and small decorative pieces, as well as some decorative reproductions. My favorite piece was an oval carved wooden wall decoration with the early American pineapple motif. It was both simple and elegant. I loved it. Another great item was a matching blue china pitcher and bowl that would fit in any country room. Have fun here, and use your imagination to think about how these beautiful vintage pieces would fit in your home.

Further down Route 6 heading west, just outside of the village, is Barbara’s Books and Antiques, a place to shop for a different genre—“paper” antiques, such as old books, postcards, prints and magazines. You might find favorites like “The Bobsey Twins” or the great Nancy Drew series. The old postcards tell the stories of how places looked long ago. My favorite—a print made from a late 18th century Pennsylvania folk art piece—was a WPA (Works Projects Administration) project. Its vibrant red and blue colors and simple design are fantastic.

Just about seven miles east of town, on Route 590 East, you will find The Loft, a rural, barn-like shop filled with quality, authentic antique furniture and decorative items. There was plenty of crockery, old prints, dolls, tools and kitchenware. I loved a large cherry corner cupboard (c.1820s), its shelves loaded with blue pottery mugs and beige earthenware bowls. Its top was loaded with country baskets. If you are shopping for beautiful, quality, country furniture or decorative pieces, stop here. Owners Don and Maralyn Nalesnik will help you make the right selection.

Another shop that is loaded with beautiful furniture is Sandspring Antiques and Art on Route 6, Main Avenue near the Lackawaxen River Bridge in town. Owner Marilyn Shatt has a wonderful collection of fine quality furniture, original artwork and prints, china and crockery. A collection of early 19th century clocks, including one by Chauncey Jerome (c.1840), caught my eye.

Across the street, owner Jackie Queipo’s Doodles and Such features china, pottery, glassware, baskets, tin ware, lanterns and reproduction decorative items and linens. A wood carved commode chair, on display outside, made me think that it must have been a welcome addition to the home in long-ago winters, before indoor plumbing, when a night trip to the outhouse wasn’t too comfortable.

Almost next door is the most unusual antique shop in town, John T. Johnston’s Jukebox Classics & Vintage Slot Machines. It is filled with restored and working entertainment classics from the early and mid-20th century. Who doesn’t remember the local soda shop with its colorful jukebox?

Nostalgia may carry you away to your youth if you visit here. One of the jukeboxes ($2,500 to $8,500) might fit in your playroom, or you might want a working slot machine for $2,200 and up. You could top that with a working “Bally Reliance” dice machine (c.1937) for about $13,000. Guys probably would love this place.

After visiting Hawley, I decided to sample treasure hunting on the New York side of the Delaware River. Here I found two wonderful shops in the old town of Liberty: The Antique Palace Emporium and Town and Country Antiques.

The Antique Palace Emporium (300 Chestnut St.) is just west of the village of Liberty on Chestnut Street, or Route 52 West. This treasure trove of beautiful and elegant, completely restored furniture spanning the years 1875 to the 1930s is run by Denise Reeves. Any piece of furniture here would bring classic elegance to your home. There were dining room sets, with chairs and breakfronts to match; and many handsome bureaus and matching mirrors. Mahogany, cherry and walnut pieces were all there. Matching boudoir lamps sat on the bureaus to finish out a bedroom’s look. There were occasional tables, bed headboards—almost anything you might need to furnish an entire house elegantly. My favorite, on the first floor by the entrance, was a 1920s-era French dining room set with a beautiful, banded satin wood finish. It included six chairs, with newly upholstered cushions and seat backs; three leaves; two servers, one large and one small; and a full china cupboard to match the table. This was a lovely collection of sophisticated furniture and furnishings.

Further east, where Route 52 intersects with Main Street, is Town and Country Antiques (1 North Main St.). This store is bursting with treasures: furniture, glassware, china, bronze statues, period milk glass lamps, vintage clothing, jewelry and even a gorgeous harp. You could have your choice of Victorian loveseats, early 19th century sideboards, Sheraton desks or some apothecary jars and vintage original design soda bottles. They had what seemed like an endless collection of early 20th century jewelry and clothing. You could dress the entire cast of a Great Gatsby production right there. Fun indeed! However, my favorite was tucked in the rear of the store on the first floor—I was charmed. A child-sized, gorgeous collector’s Blackwood Doll sat on an old chair and stole my heart. She had long brown ringlets; gorgeous eyes; a crisp, sunny, yellow dress with white eyelet trim; yellow hair ribbons; and yellow “Mary Jane” shoes to match. What a charmer. Stop here and let your imagination go wild.


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