I haven’t always been fond of antique stores. They were more exciting than the garage sales I visited with my mom and sisters when we were younger, but mostly I remember shopping in the antique stores of Fredericksburg, VA during college and finding every excursion to be exhausting. Something about them made me just plain tired. So I avoided antique stores for a while. Even now, I tend to be selective about which antique stores I’ll visit: too often they are overpriced and too organized and catering to the wealthy tourists.
Since living in Vermont, I have found a few that I like to frequent and I’ve browsed a few noteworthy shops on my travels. In June Vinny and I were traveling around southeastern Vermont and we stopped at Twitchell House Antiques in Townshend, VT. I had passed by this a few times while conducting the barn census in Townshend during grad school, and made a mental note to stop in someday. Mostly the large historic house and barn with antiques scattered across the front lawn always caught my eye.
The stop was worth it (though finding a parking spot wasn’t easy). From lawn furniture to a tourist home sign to a barn full of chairs, there was so much to look at — and that was only on the outside. Inside, the house itself impressed me more than the stuff in it, though I do enjoy looking at old furniture and kitchen goods. But, the house – oh, how beautiful. Everything was original. Many of the walls were covered with old wallpaper or painted plaster (I couldn’t decide).
The owners of the house are incredibly friendly. We talked for a while and they got into the business because they love to buy antiques and had too many – like so many antique dealers. A friend and colleague of mine (hi, Brennan!), who is very knowledgeable about antiques told me that antique dealers of this breed (those who own a large historic house and sell from it) are becoming more rare, as it is just too expensive. Most antique dealers have booths in larger stores. These owners are hoping to sell everything and move on, as the business is never ending. The owner told us that all prices were suggestions and to make an offer on anything we liked! If you are in the market for antiques, head down to Townshend. Or just stop in to check out the building.
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The painted plaster was discovered by my grandfather’s cousin, Jack Lyman. He and his wife Ruth lived there for many years. There was an article written about the discovery in the Brattleboro Reformer in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s.