Antiquing & Autumn: A Perfect Pairing
The rolling hills of southwest New Hampshire are rich with history, and autumn is an especially fine time for exploration. Dreamy foliage, wisps of chimney smoke, and bursting pots of mums on each doorstep—life is electric with that earthy energy.
If you find yourself prone to a restless feeling that seems to arrive with the crisp fall wind, the Monadnock Region has the perfect pastime—antiquing.
From stone walls and cellar holes to grand estates and gardens, this charming part of New England has seen centuries of families and communities build intricate lives in the countryside. All the while, they’ve left behind hints of their stories. That’s why stepping over the threshold of any local antique shop is an almost magical way to transport yourself back in time.
An Autumn Escape
As these warm summer days turn to chilled, cozy nights, antiquing offers an intriguing getaway. Traverse the region’s picturesque towns, wander through quaint boutiques, and grab a bite to eat at one of the area’s delicious restaurants or breweries. But be sure to clean out the trunk of your car first; there’s a good chance you won’t leave empty-handed!
There are so many spots to choose from, it’s wise to make a list of the top shops you want to explore. Before venturing out, visit each destination’s website/social media or give them a call to check their current hours and availability. As a result of COVID-19, some small businesses have limited their hours, switched to appointment-only, and/or created important policies for shoppers (see our COVID-19 message).
An upside—you may find exceptional deals as a result of 2020’s funky circumstances. Shop owners and antiques vendors have used this time to assess and refresh inventory, leading to a run of stellar sales. Be sure to keep an eye out for that, as well.
While you truly can’t go wrong at any of the area’s vintage wonderlands, here are a few popular places to get you started.
Located in downtown Greenville’s historic Prescott Grain Mill building, The Antiques and Collectibles Mall of New England, is one of the largest in Southern New Hampshire. Step inside to find print blocks, dinnerware, instruments, fountain pens, pottery, artwork, rugs, and more.
With new merchandise arriving daily, you never know what exciting discovery you’ll make. This shop’s website also offers up a plethora of nearby eateries and antiques to check out during your drive. (Love it when small, local businesses support each other!)
Next stop—Jaffrey, the home of Mt. Monadnock. Nestled in town, you’ll find The Melamine Cup a must-see, particularly if you adore mid-century modern style. This store specializes in furniture and home decor from the late 1940’s through the early 1970’s. Take a step back in time with vintage furniture, barware, linens, and clothing; add a bit of nostalgic flair to your house with the trends of yesteryear! (See below for a sampling of The Melamine Cup’s inventory.)
Another not-to-miss experience is the town of Peterborough, filled with farm-to-table restaurants and breweries, locally-made art, and LOTS of antiques. Twin Elm Farm is a definite favorite, conveniently located just off Rt. 101 with a large parking lot.
Its home is an idyllic farmhouse that dates back to the early nineteenth century. Walking around is as enjoyable as the shopping itself. Make sure you set aside time to uncover every detail of this carefully curated shop. Larger furniture finds are thoughtfully mixed among jewelry, glassware, candles, books, lighting and artwork.
A quick trip down the road to the heart of Peterborough leads to Bowerbird & Friends. This boutique-inspired antique shop is filled with farmhouse decor, glassware, linens, and unique accessories. While some date back to the 18th century, newer trinkets sprinkled in speak to today’s trends. A lovely touch is a small sun room with plants and terrarium trappings.
Don’t leave town without strolling over to Grove & Main Antiques, which has an elegant French vibe. Browse gorgeous linens, sumptuous body care products, stone statutes, eclectic silver, antique advertising pots, seashells and soft toys. Each piece feels filled with story.
Down the street, ReMarkable makes old stories new with a mix of upcycled, vintage, and handcrafted pieces all woven together for a fresh farmhouse feel. The shop’s talented owners started out spinning old pieces into sharp-looking new ones and have created quite a following. A vintage coffee pot? Classy clothing? A mantle you simply must have? Who knows what’s waiting?
Don’t Stop Yet
Whether your trip spans one day, two (or maybe more!), Keene is another corner of the region definitely worth visiting. Its thriving downtown is packed with Granite State charm, featuring locally-roasted coffee beans, craft beer, foods in every flavor, and a diverse range of shops.
Right on Main, pop into The Simple Nest, a lovely shop with thoughtfully selected pieces specially arranged for the season. Room-defining furniture, vintage mirrors, and distinctive home touches make the space relaxing and engaging. Everywhere you turn, there are creative items to bring home to your nest!
Nearby Colony Antiques, known for its range of collectibles and big selection of music albums, is also great stop. It has seen recent renovations as part of the new Nova Arts Block, a collaborative space incorporating a café, stage, and artist space. Highly worth a peek! Note that Colony Antiques is scheduled to reopen in late September.
Just across the town line, Swanzey is like a little slice of heaven for antique lovers. The Cheshire Curio Shop, Old Glory Antiques, and Fairgrounds Antiques at the Cheshire Fairgrounds in Swanzey boast an impressive collection of striking furniture pieces, from farm tables to living room seating. Also stocked with an ever-changing array of smaller items, this trio of shops is a great place to lose track of time.
Old Glory Antiques, originally based in Fitzwilliam, has grown quite a reputation as a picker’s paradise. Primitives, toys, signage, and all sorts of interesting items make for a fun outing.
Though the summer sun is still shining, the sweet days of apple cider and pumpkin picking are on their way. Book a stay now, or if you’re local, start planning your route because antiquing season is upon us, and it’s going to be a good one!