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The Long and Winding Road: Shopping for Antiques

Giant Bell at SAV Antiques

While you may not visit the same antique stores we have, my intention in presenting antique locations we have found along the highways we travel is to stimulate your own hunting experience. We hope you will then share your own treasure troves in a reply to my article.

We have vacationed on Florida’s west coast for many years and traveled from the Panhandle to near Naples over the last thirty-some years. My last article on our recent vacation concentrated on Arcadia, a town with a great array of antique shops. With so many in one area, we were not able to see all of them in one day. Partly our fault for being so thorough in searching for the perfect bargain and partly the vast number of shops all in one area with shorter hours than we typically find.

My experience when hunting for antiques is to plan ahead and find locations before hitting the road, while keeping my eyes open for other stores along the way. Most shop owners are also helpful in directing you to other stores in the area, plus flyers and directories are often found at the front desk. We compiled our list and found some great places I want to share with you. This vacation trip we flew to Florida. That resulted in buying only smaller items, but at the end of the trip it was FedEx that was needed to take all of our prizes back home.

SAV Antiques Front

On one particular day our main attraction was the SAVantiques at 113 N. Tamiami Trail in Osprey FL, just south of Sarasota on Highway 41. This was our second or third visit to this shop.

It’s the type of store that’s deceivingly small looking from the outside and huge once you’re in the door. It’s filled with great antiques. And we took our good-natured time exploring every nook and cranny of the shop. We kept Bob and owner Nick busy opening cases and taking treasures to the checkout counter. Because we flew to Florida our purchases were supposed  to be small, and I kicked myself  for what we could not fit into our luggage or ship back. Nick was kind enough to share the story of how he and his wife got into the business. As always, when two or more antiquers gather, the stories seem to flow easily and the camaraderie is instant.

One important point to make is that many stores in the Sunshine State have contemporary and retro pieces and a good measure of jewelry. One store that wifie found interesting for their wide array of jewelry was “This Magic Moment” in Sarasota. We also found the ShadowBox Redux on Fruitville Rd, in Sarasota. Are these the only shops in that area? No! So our next trip we will spend more time up this way.

Punta Gorda Train Depot Museum & Antique Mall
Photo courtesy of Starr Zachritz

One of the busiest days of hunting happened when we headed to Punta Gorda. This town had several places we intended to visit and the first stop was the Punta Gorda Train Depot Museum and Antique Mall. Check this site for the station’s history which the staff shared with us. As an antique dealer, preservation is always on our minds and here was a prime example of a place with local history serving a useful purpose.

Close by to the depot was Valentina’s and Trish’s Whimsy at Valentina’s. Receiving help from Colleen and Trish (on the right) we managed to spot treasures needing a ride in a suitcase to our home. Recycling, reusing and repurposing is their goal and they had some super ideas for our own collections. One was to adorn a small mirror with vintage earrings that were “singles.” They are two very creative young ladies and willing to share!

Just one more additional treasure trove on this day of hunting that I’ll mention: a stop at Galleria Mall on Hy 17. Here we found another mix of old and newer treasures, offering a lot of ideas for the decorator. That wraps up our great trip for sun and fun. If you know of a place we all might like, give us a response and we”ll add it to our list for our next trip.


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