Saturday, September 6, 2014

Everything Old is New Again

After living in an area for close to two decades, you would think that all of the new and exciting things to do in the area have long been exhausted. Such is not the case in Red Bank, New Jersey. Living within a short drive, under 25 minutes through lovely, farm-lined back roads, I often frequented Red Bank with the kids or with couples for all of the usual reasons: the great restaurants, the two screen movie theater, the lovely marina area, the pottery painting store, and the trendy little shops. Such a great town to have nearby for a quick jaunt, if traveling into the big city was not an option for the day.
Downtown Red Bank
     So after living nearby for so many years, you would think that visiting this artsy town would start to feel like old hat.  Old is just the thing that made my recent daytrip to Red Bank feel new again when I spent an afternoon antiquing with a close friend.  Not that it was a surprise that there are many antique shops in Red Bank, because all along I have always known that there were antique shops in the town. Since the shops are a few streets off of Broad Street, the main drag, I never accidentally wandered into them during my other visits with the family or friends. So I made the deliberate decision to visit Red Bank with my friend, whom I know would love roaming the antique shops just as much as I would. The plan was then set into motion.
Some of the Antique Stores in Red Bank, NJ
My friend and I started our day at the Red Bank Antique Center Building III at 226 West Front Street.  The building was chock full of new and exciting old things: lots of jewelry, furniture, coats, hats, glassware, signs, holiday decorations, kitchenware, and too many other amazing things to name. Some things brought back memories of our childhood with toys we used to have or glasses that used to be in our grandmother’s cupboards. 

We realized if we wanted to soak in this nostalgic experience to the fullest that we would make a plan of how to properly see everything in the building. We roamed the perimeter first, and then systematically walked the aisles. We didn’t want to miss a thing!  So slowly along this mapped out route we wandered, talked, and visually soaked in the history. We were just about to exit the building, and the man working behind the counter said, “Did you go upstairs?”  My friend and I looked at each other in surprise and said, “No we did not, thank you!!”  Much to our delight, the upstairs of the Red Bank Antique Center Building III had more things to discover. It was not as full as he downstairs, but equally as intriguing. 

Although we did not buy anything at this establishment, my friend and I narrowed down our purchasing goals for the day.  We were interested in jewelry and glassware for the dinner parties we were planning to have! I was looking for a set of colored glasses for the dinner table, and my friend was looking for a flat, round, orange glass dish for her tropically appointed “Mandarin” entertaining room. 

     With our new purchasing goals in mind, we walked one block and found ourselves at The Red Bank Antique Center Building II at 195 West Front Street. This building had more high-end furniture, estate jewelry, and glassware, along with the usual antique store finds. We used our perimeter followed by aisle route, and halfway through our discovery tour, I asked my girlfriend to guess what time it was? It was now 1:15 in the afternoon, just over two hours from when we began. We were so surprised that time had flown by so quickly and we were only in our second antique store!  It goes without saying that we were having so much fun. 
The European ladies in the shop were so helpful and sweet, but they were never pushy, which was great. It made the visit warm and pressure-free, and they were willing to do just a little bit better on the marked prices. We both secured some glassware and jewelry and we were so thrilled to discuss how we were going to use the glasses at our future dinner parties. My glasses were a set of 11 red iridescent wine glasses (It’s an antique store, so although most sets are complete, I was happy to have 11 out of the 12 from the original set), and my friend bought a clear crystal decanter and set of 6 aperitif glasses. Such fun pieces, and they will definitely become part of the conversation with our guests when we use them!

After three and half hours, and two antique shops, we decided to have lunch. We ate lovely salads at Front Street Trattoria, and our table was a window seat in this lovely establishment overlooking Front and Broad Streets, a main artery in Red Bank. I had eaten there many, many times before, but it was the first time for my friend who was also a frequent visitor of Red Bank, so this was also and old and new experience for her, which seemed to be the theme of the day.

Our new experience of rummaging through the old antiques in Red Bank, after all of the good old times we had already experienced in this town, was refreshing.  Since we only hit two shops and had lunch during this five-plus hour adventure, we parted already knowing that we would be planning an Antiquing Day Part II in the coming weeks.  After all, we still never found that flat orange dish!