Monday, November 08, 2010

A Weekend of Antiques, 40 Closets, and Deer

Hello everybody! This will be a long blog post, but most of it is in pictures, so grab a cup/bowl/plate of your favorite beverage/snack/pie and settle in for a post about antique hunting, a 20,000 square foot home (with 40 closets), and a deer that licked my hand.

You ready?

Mmmm.  Pie.
Rick and I go away one weekend a year, usually to celebrate our anniversary.  This year, we went to the Mercersburg Inn, an amazing bed and breakfast in Mercersburg, PA.

The house is enormous -- you have NO idea how far I had to back up to get that photo.  There's a basement in this place, too.  And to give you an idea of how deep it is, here's the back of the house....

What's amazing to me is this house was a single family dwelling.  In 1909, it was built on a six-acre property, and ended up as a 20,000 square foot home with 40 closets.  The 40 closets is of note because back then, closets weren't really the norm, because they were taxed as ROOMS back then!  So only the very wealthy could afford them.  Jiminy Crickets.

I tried a little PhotoShop texturizing with this photo.
The house has three staircases (at least, three that I could find.  I actually got lost in the house once.)  Forgive the bad quality of the picture, but it was pretty dark when I took it and I didn't have a tripod.  Plus I got a little vertigo looking down, down, down the stairwell!

And this was our room, which used to be the wife's room.

So!  That's where we stayed.

Saturday dawned nice and crisp and Rick and I decided to go antique hunting.  There's a wonderfully huge antique mall in Fayetteville, PA that covers four huge buildings, and this was our ultimate destination, but first, the siren call of Starbucks must be dealt with.  I punched "Starbucks" into the GPS, and over the mountain we went.

However, Rick started doubting the GPS when it started looking like it ended in a state park.  And as much as Starbucks has taken over the world, we were pretty sure it wasn't in a state park in Pennsylvania.  So back over another mountain we went....

... and found the Turnpike and a Starbucks.  Crisis (and headache) averted. On to Fayetteville!

(And yes, I'm sure some of you are amazed that we did all that for an over-priced mocha, but that's my addiction, and it keeps my headaches somewhat dialed down, AND it has chocolate in it, AND I hate regular coffee -- I need lots of milk, lots of chocolate -- so I'm saying we just took a scenic detour.  Yeah.  That's it.)

What did we see but not buy?
An enormous bin FULL of WWII newspapers.

 And this -- one of the coolest things I've seen in ages.  I probably should have bought it, but it was SO expensive, and I'm not sure what I would have done with it.  I thought about framing but sunlight would eventually destroy it.

What is it?  An indenture, or deed to property.  It's from 1870.  Holy smokes, but I love that dipped-in-an-inkwell writing.  And check out the stamp!

Amazing, isn't it?  When I see things like this, I think they should really be in a museum.

Now, what did I buy?

My favorite thing, and what made the searching through tons of stuff worthwhile, is this old camera. 

I collect vintage cameras, and I snatched this one up so fast Rick actually thought something had bitten me or cut me and rushed over to see what had happened.  I have two accordion-style cameras, but this one is tiny -- not even four inches tall.  It came with its case, too.  I'm in serious love with this camera.

I found another camera for $5 to add to my boxy-but-good collection:

Hit the jackpot on an entire box of keys and a few small padlocks....some of the keys are new, but plenty aren't.

I'm not sure why, but these two photographs spoke to me.  Maybe it's their expressions?  Most of the time when I run across old photos, the expressions are so dour or grim.  But not these two.  The couple on the left have smiles in their eyes, and it's hard to tell with the woman on the right, but she has a faraway expression in her eyes, like she's thinking about something really important, almost rising above being photographed.  Plus, just look at the rucheing on her dress!

I have an ENORMOUS vintage button collection -- I mean, enormous.  Before making jewelry, I made greeting cards for a number of shops, and I sewed vintage buttons to vintage cloth or vintage wallpaper as the decoration.  I still have pounds upon pounds upon POUNDS of buttons I've been hoarding for years.  So it's safe to say -- I don't need anymore buttons.

But when they come in a two-quart vintage Ball jar with a zinc top, and there's vintage thread and pin cushions inside, AND the entire shebang is only $8, you say, ok, I need buttons.

And honestly, that's the "unpretty" button side -- I took a picture of that side to show you the pin cushions and thread!  The other side has the prettiest buttons showing through!  I think I may just save this jar for a rainy day, and sort them then.  For now, I'll use it as a pretty book stop in the bookshelf.  Stay tuned for that rainy day -- I'll be sure to take pictures!

The second day, as we headed out of town, we passed a bead store.  I didn't say a word, but my husband, dear that he is, pulled over and insisted I had to at least give it a look.  I normally don't buy retail beads, but occasionally I'll find pairs of things that are affordable for earrings, so in I went.

inside The Potomac Bead Company
Ah, Czech glass.  And the price was right for what I wanted to do with them (they are PERFECT for Bead Soup!).  Belly up to the bar, and hand me a bead tray.

The weekend over, we headed to Rick's family's farm, where Zack had been staying.

a view from the house
The farm land houses several tenants, one of whom has a license to raise deer.  He has gigantic pens -- they go up the mountain so far I didn't see the back of the fence.  The babies are bottle fed and Rick's parents go up to make sure they're fed and watered.  It's like a small deer preserve.

While there, I got a few photos, and lo and behold, one of the deer looked like he might be coaxed to us.

He's a small buck, and he broke off an antler, so it had to be sawed off to keep it from getting infected.  See the does in the background, watching?  They stayed there the entire time, but they were having none of it.

The photo below is right before he licked Rick's hand.  I put down the camera at that point so I could hopefully have a turn.  The deer was very, very slow, sidling up to the fence in a circuitous route, sniffing the air very hard, and then, he came to me.  First, he sniffed my fist -- such a soft nose!  And then, he licked me.  Someone told me they do that to learn a scent.  I didn't dare extend my fingers to stroke his head, but was content to just stand there, staring the deer in the eyes.  

And then, just as quietly as he walked towards us, he turned and walked away.


The weekend done, we drove the long drive home.  You guys weren't far from me, though!  I had my BlackBerry with me, and I caught up on blog reading.  Unfortunately, for some reason the phone wouldn't let me make comments on blogs, but rest assured, I did read them all!

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too!

Lori Anderson creates jewelry for her web site, Lori Anderson Designs, and writes the blog An Artist's Year Off.  She's also a contributor to Art Bead Scene.


  1. Hey, what are those beads doing there? LOL. We beaders are such addicts.

    Great photos, thanks for sharing!

    Love the keys!

  2. It looks like a beautiful, beautiful weekend! Happy Anniversary.

  3. Great fun! Thanks for taking us along for the ride. It has been eons since hubby and I went on an outing like that and I can say that he never would have gone antinquing with me although he may have obliged to letting me go bead shopping... while he sat at the local bar!
    Enjoy the day!

  4. I enjoyed the entire trip you had. Wow what a gift a deer licked you. Amazing!

  5. the pie looks awesome, I love an old zinc lid AND buttons, so I wouold have had to buy them as weel (& yeah, I have scads of buttons as well!) & now I'm hungry for bead soup!!:P

  6. Anonymous1:48 PM

    Oh I want to go antique shopping with you!! Every photo was gorgeous and I could smell the fall air mingled with Starbucks :)

    Thanks for taking us on a weekend trip of beauty and fun!!

  7. I loved your weekend and feel like I was along for the ride! This was a great graphic and verbal account. Love the buttons and beads especially. Thanks for the tour! --SallyA

  8. I simply *cannot* believe you didn't snatch up those Carter/Mondale campaign buttons! ;-)

  9. Hey - you had my blog highlighted when you took the picture. That made me smile today. Thanks for coming by and reading.
    That bed and breakfast really makes me want to take atrip to the US again (for vacation though).

  10. What a lovely trip. Thanks for taking us along!

  11. Nice photos! I love taking pictures of wildlife...if I can get close enough!

  12. Ohh, that sounds like a lot of fun. The B & B and your room look amazing. So does the bead shop...;-)

  13. wow- looks like a wonderful time- that house you stayed it! I'm drueling, so gorgeous. Congrats on your annniversary and fun antiquing...


  14. What a beautiful area of the country! I can not imagine a 20,000 SF home. But you'd have staff. I want staff.

  15. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful day with us. What a lovely set or photoraphs and adventures. I feel like I was right there with you.
    I used to collect old buttons too, the antique ones are absolutely works of art!

  16. What beautiful scenery, thanks for sharing. Happy Anniversary!

  17. Happy Anniversary - that looks like a wonderful place to stay. I'm glad you had a great time.

  18. what a magical wonderful weekend! happy aniversary looks like you had a wonderful time! I am jealous of your button jur.......I love buttons too, and antique threds I have an antique sewing chest with a drawer full of old wooden thread spools and thread

  19. OK, all I can say is WOW!!!! I want to stay there, {hear the whine in my voice} I want to go there, I want to see that, I want that cool old document, I want some pie!!! ;)
    Thank goodness you shared all this yummy stuff with me or I would just be toooo jealous for words.
    Looks like an amazing trip & I'm sooooo happy for you & hubby!!!
    Big Smiles & a Hug...

  20. What a great weekend! Good thing those deer are in a preserve ... shotgun season starts in a couple of weeks! You'll have to take another picture of your camera collection for a blog post after you add these.

  21. What a great trip! And a husband who stops at bead stores? Now THAT is a treasure!

  22. Cool...I saw my blog name on your blackberry! Love the photos...looks like you had a fabulous time!

  23. Thank you for sharing your beautiful weekend, of rest and relaxation and a bead store!

  24. What a wonderful weekend you had! I love your new buttons!!!!

  25. What a great weekend...So many things to enjoy. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Wow, that place looks full of awesome! I'd love to stay in a place like that. Your photos are gorgeous!

  27. wow - that B&B looks amazing!

    Love the keys! My sister makes jewelry and collect old watch and clock gears. Fun!

  28. Wonderful pictures! I love to dig thorugh antiques.

  29. Lori, this has to be one of my favorite of your blog posts ever (second to your wedding one, I think it was last year). Just so amazing. I felt like I was right there with you in the world doing my favorite thing, this time vicariously. The Inn is so incredible, you know I really want to go there some time very soon! I bet it would be doable! I love your new teeny tiny camera, that amazing jar of buttons (yes, I see that velvet strawberry), and oh those cabinet cards speak to me too...gosh that man is so dashing! :-) And your deer story is just precious. Your weekend was one dreams are made of. Isn't it great to get away??

  30. Seems like your husband got also infected by that bead bug, going into the bead shop without you saying something. ;-)
    Beautiful pics! Love the B&B and the deer.

  31. The jar looks really intriguing and it seems that there might be a few little vintage treasures in it, great buy!!

  32. Anonymous5:54 AM

    Wow. Looks amazing! If I lived the right side of the Atlantic I'd so go there!

    Hope you had (it looks like it though!) a happy anniversary.

  33. Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Just the two of you. I love those times when DH and I just take time to live in the moment and enjoy being together!

  34. What a wonderful weekend you had - and thank you for sharing it with us. Happy anniversary!

  35. Oh what a beautiful weekend adventure! Your pictures are amazing! Hey I saw my blog there on your made my day!

  36. What a fabulous post! Such gorgeous photography, and you have such a good eye for things I would drool over myself. Thank you for that lovely little side trip in my day.

  37. Loved this post! I also like antiques and old photos but don`t collect either. I can`t blame those folks for not smiling because it must be hard to keep still for so long. Pearl

  38. What a great post, thanks for taking us with you. I felt like I was in the car with you desperate for coffee, lol.

  39. Thanks for taking us along! Looks like it was a wonderful trip. That buck was certainly magical.

  40. The pictures of that country road with autumn foliage that doesn't lead to Starbucks almost makes me cry. Reminds me of the road that went around the lake we lived on in Ste. Agathe. Someday I hope to not just see nature like that again, but perhaps live in it.

    The deer are soooooooo beautiful. And a whole mall of antiques, yikes!! What a dream weekend.

  41. Wow what a wonderful weekend! Thanks for the explanation about the closets being taxed, explains why all these old houses never had any. I especially love the 2 quart blue canning jar, what a find, you don't see the 2 quart very often! Lucky you!


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