The D.C.Area
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Places within a two hour drive of D.C.





Places of Interest in the DC Area








Wanderings in Baltimore
By: Frank

The important part, of course is DANCING! Baltimore has lots of opportunities for Swing Dance. The Friday Night Swing Dance Club and Swing Baltimore have great websites to help you find your way around. Of course, we cover major events in Baltimore here at Lindy week in Review. One venue that we absolutely adore is the Thirteenth Floor at the Hotel Belvedere (Corner of Charles and Chase Streets, 410-347-0888). The room has a great view of the city and the hotel was featured in Tin Men.

We try to get to Baltimore every month for a day of vintage and antique hunting. We are rarely disappointed by the food or the treasure to be found

Our first stop is usually Lexington Market, a collection of individual stalls that sell fruits, vegetables and meats. There has been an inexorable trend toward prepared foods. We like to get a little paper basket of fresh deep-fried chicken livers smothered with black pepper and hot sauce. There is also an excellent raw bar and seafood takeout with very good crab cakes. It is always interesting to see the variety of meats offered for sale, including some parts of cows, pigs and sheep that you could probably do without. If you must have a whole sheep's head, this is the place... Just outside the main entrance is a stand that sells hot roasted peanuts in the winter and grates fresh horseradish in the summer. Always buy your horseradish fresh-grated.

The Mission Thrift Store (our favorite)also happens to be just across the street from Attman's Deli (1019 E. Lombard St, 410-563-2666, so it is possible to combine a great corned beef sandwich with treasure hunting. I found most of my art deco kitchen appliances there, and we got our chef suits there as well as the Catholic girls school uniforms that we gave out last November.

Just down the street is Little Italy where it is hard to get a bad meal. Our favorites are:

  • Germanos (corner of Fawn and High Street, 410-752- 4515) This place led the revival of authentic Tuscan cooking made with the freshest ingredients. They actually serve panzanella and straciatella made just the same way your grandmother made it. [See the recipes section for details]
  • Sabatinos (901 Fawn St, 410-727-9414) This is the classic "power Italian" restaurant in Little Italy. In years past, pols like Spiro Agnew (R) and Marvin Mandel (D) were found chowing down and making deals. Of course, they both went to jail, but it was not because of the Pasta Caruso or the famed Bookmakers Salad.
  • Amiccis (231 South High St, 410-528-1096) This small but friendly place has excellent lunches at very reasonable prices. The service and atmosphere are wonderful. They are slowly papering the walls with polaroid photos of their customers.
  • Vaccaros (150 South High Street) This is the place to go to pig out on incredible desserts. They have a $9 "all you can eat" special for those of you with an especially sweet tooth. They have remodeled and gotten just a bit yuppifed in recent years. The sweets are great, but you get the feeling that you have to have a cell phone in your ear to fit in.

Dreamland (1005 N. Charles St, 410-727-4575) is our favorite high end vintage store. They have a reasonable selection of men's clothes and a surprising number of items in large sizes. The most outrageous and most disorganized vintage store is Killer Trash on Eastern Avenue, near Fells Point. There is a vast array of disorganized clothing and paraphernalia that invites serious browsing. The place is heavy on 50s and later although there are some 30s and 40s pieces to be found.

If you walk around Fells Point, most of the small antique stores have a vintage garment or two. Plan to spend some time in fells Point and drop in on The Daily Grind on Thames Street. This is the platonic coffee house: big, unhurried, lots of overstuffed furniture and smoking. If a Naderite with bottle-bottom glasses complains, the generously-tattooed owner will apply his size fourteen combat boots to the appropriate portion of his anatomy. Books, newspapers and chess sets are provided for the intellectuals. (Come to think of it, all of Baltimore is a great way to escape DC yuppie cuteness.)

Proceeding east on Eastern Avenue, the next stop is Highlandtown and the Value Village, which is a very good place to find things like Hawaiian shirts, Bowling shirts and unusual tee shirts. They have a large selection, but the prices charged often approximate the vintage store values of these items. I got a very nice used accordion there for $25. We love to walk around Highlandtown because it has the real flavor of Baltimore as featured in Barry Levinson's classic films Diner, Tin Men, and Avalon.

The next stop on Eastern Avenue is Greektown, which has two marvelous Restaurants:

  • Ikaros (4803 Eastern Avenue, 410-633-3750) is the classic Greek restaurant. It is small and intimate. The portions are large and the prices are small. It is authentic; there is always a priest from the Greek Orthodox church next door having coffee at a table by the door. The calamari are just out of this world as is the Taramasalata. We can make a gargantuan meal out of a Greek country salad and a spinach pie.
  • Yiannis (4701 Eastern Avenue, 410-522-3076) is a relatively new place that features light meals and excellent desserts. They are open 24 hours a day and we are pleased to report that this is an excellent place to eat after dances in Baltimore. The desserts are widely varied and of very high quality. The place reminds me of Vaccaros before it got famous. The place is very big, has extra-friendly staff and has a very nice feel to it. The owners are present on site, cooking and baking pastry, so expect good service and quality food. A noteworthy decorating feature was the large aquarium on the first floor. They have an Amazon River Catfish with a tremendous personality; he sort of looks like an AMC Pacer with fins.

Baltimore is famous for its diners and here are three of them:

  • The Bel-Loc Diner,(corner of Loch Raven Rd and Joppa Rd 410-668-2525), very convenient for dances in Towson, the Bel- Loc provides a fairly accurate retro look at Diners of the 1950s. There is little pretension in the menu and there is no revolving pastry case. You may be certain that the brusque lady with the beehive who is serving you has a heart of gold.
  • The Double T Diner 6300 Baltimore National Pike 410- 744-4151, convenient to Catonsville and events at the Avalon Dance Studio. The waitstaff is competent and therefore caustic; know what you want and be ready to give your order promptly because the staff has better things to do (like keep other peoples' coffee cups filled) than engage in a detailed exegesis of the menu. The "day glow" desserts are amazing and you can order Peking Duck or Belgian waffles any time of day.
  • Paper Moon (227 W. 29th St 410-889-4444) An unusual place decorated with toys stuck to the walls. Service is entertainingly abysmal, but the food is good and the place is convenient to dances at Boumi Temple.

We also had a great time in Federal Hill which is nestled up near Fort McHenry on the South side of town. We like Rallo's Restaurant which specializes in huge club sandwiches and bread pudding made from day-old doughnuts. Federal Hill was once a depressed area and now has acquired a number of antique stores. There is also a smaller market which has some of the flair that used to be found at the Lexington.

We should also mention Blob's Park in Jessup, about midway between DC and Baltimore. This is a cavernous place that emulates a German beer garden. Although the food is far from noteworthy, the place has an enormous wood dance floor. We arrived at Blob's one Sunday at 4:00 pm to hear the Rheinlanders play a variety of polka and waltz music. We had a very good time -- the crowd and staff are extremely friendly and several people went far out of their way to help us with new polka steps. The band even took a request to play a swing tune for us; I have never really heard "In the Mood" played by a polka band before. In a strange way, their version really did swing although the oompah bass took a bit of getting used to. The band even managed to hit all the breaks. Fortunately, all of our aerials were working, so I think that we left a good impression.

We always enjoy a trip to Baltimore. Even though we have been there many times, we have only begun to scratch the surface of this marvelous city.

Addendum: November 8, 1997

After this, we headed for Baltimore. We had lunch at the Owl Bar at the Belvedere Hotel (1 E. Chase St, 410-347- 0888). This place is a very romantic setting and they have great food. Try the "twice-baked" potato skins with chicken and spinach as well as the mussels in butter and garlic. A fantastic lunch!

From there, we headed for the Baltimore Museum of Art to view the Grand Design exhibit of artifacts from the Victoria and Albert Museum. This is truly an experience for the senses. There is so much to see from every period of history beginning with primitives through contemporary times. The collection of the V&A museum is just astounding. My favorites were a small collection of medieval ivory sculptures, while my partner favored a soup tureen in the shape of a chicken. We even got a kick out of the museum's early attempts to define "taste" by showing "Bad" examples of art (which have gone on to survive changes in fashion).

However, the best part of the day came during our inspection of the museum's collection of American Decorative Arts. What should be there, but a duplicate of that 1944 "Vacutex" coffee-maker that I had purchased on Sunday. Not only that, they were also exhibiting a "rocketship" vacuum cleaner and a cocktail shaker that are also in my collection. I really got a kick out of that.
---Frank

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Vintage DC- General Overview
By: Ellen Werther

Vintage refers pre-1920s through (arguably) post-1950s. Some 60s stuff, especially men's is extremely collectible. In New York City, 70s --even some 80s -- designers are hot. here are the major vintage stores in the DC area:

  • Mood Indigo on U Street across from the Lincoln Theatre.
  • Meeps and Aunt Neensy's, down from Mood Indigo.
  • Millenium, on 18th Street, near U St.

These places specialize in POST 50s clothes, although pre 50s are there for the hunting. In Virginia, try:

  • Odessa's Daughter located in Herndon VA has some vintage
  • New to You in Falls Church off of Washington and Broad Streets,
  • Where the Attic Bird Sings, Main Street in Purcelville, VA specializes in high-end vintage from the 1940s back to Victorian.
  • Echoes in Time can be found on Laskin Rd., Virginia Beach, two blocks from the beach (behind the Rite Aid).
---Ellen P>
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Caring for Vintage Clothing or.....
Joan Crawford was right: NO WIRE HANGERS

By: Ellen Werther

Vintage clothing certainly looks good--on and off the dance floor. And my fellow Lindyhoppers often ask me how to care for these vintage garments. I thought a few basic pointers might be helpful

When buying something vintage, check the condition of the fabric. It should withstand gentle tugging. No, don't yank...just lightly tug between your fingers. If the fabric looks weak or is beginning to disintegrate (especially if it is silk) you will notice. Hold the garment up to a light (outdoor light is best). The light will shine through weak spots and moth holes. If you like the garment, you can repair tiny moth holes. But stay away from weak fabric.

Don't worry about seams. They get stressed the most--and go the soonest. If a seam splits before the dance, just get out that needle and thread. Preferably, use silk or cotton thread, not polyester. During the dance.....see me. I usually carry an emergency kit with me.

Stay away also from brownish stains. They're oxidation stains and are not removable. Likewise, underarm stains are not removable. And mildew (whitish stains) eats into the fabric. So beware...if the fabric smells musty, it might be rotting.

After the dance....or whatever....get the garment dry cleaned. I can recommend one dry cleaner in the Washington DC area: Shirlington Cleaners in Arlington VA. That doesn't mean that other dry cleaners can't do a good job: your dry cleaner might be excellent. I just go by my own first-hand experience. Many dry cleaners do not treat the vintage clothing with the special care it deserves. I strongly advise against using a discount dry cleaner. You're just asking for trouble. Get that garment cleaned even if it doesn't look stained or dirty.

For long-term storage, loosely wrap the garment in acid-free tissue. For closet storage, keep the garments well spaced. And hang them on smooth plastic or padded hangers. At all costs, avoid those nasty wire hangers. They poke into the fabric and ruin its shape. And get rid of that horrible plastic wrapping! The plastic traps in moisture, which breeds microbes and bacteria, which creates yuck, which ruins the garment.

These are just the basics. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call me. (703/644-3004)

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The "Savior" of Vintage Clothes
By: Trish Mannetti

Ellen Patton is now able to schedule visits to her home in Rockville to sell off her personal vintage clothing collection, which includes clothing from the 1920's - 1950's . Those of you who know me, know that it's taken something BIG to get me to finally buy and wear vintage clothes. Elli's collection is what it was. The way Elli tells the story, the reason that she has been collecting vintage clothing for 30 years is that when these clothes were in thrift shops and Goodwill stores if they weren't purchased they would have been turned into rags. So she considered herself the "Savior" of vintage clothing.

Her collection has gone beyond great clothing finds in thrift stores and includes shoes, hats, gloves, scarves, jewelry, store display items, patterns, and a few books, which are all for sale.

Sizes for clothing are in the 4 - 8 range (contemporary), shoes are in the 6 - 7 /2 range and patterns are in all sizes. Of course the rest are not as size sensitive. Call her for an appointment at 301-279-0027.
---Trish

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Italian Groceries and the F.D.R. Memorial
By: Frank

Today, we went to A Litteri and Son, the city's only Italian grocery. They are located at 517-519 Morse Street NE in the City Market (behind Union Station). They have a wonderful array of first class cheeses, olives and other Italian specialties including fresh hearth-baked bread from Catania Bakers. The prices are tremendous - most high grade pasta is less than $0.80/ lb. Both Gorgonzola and Romano were $3.95 a pound, while aged provolone was $4.95/lb. I think that my partner likes this part because they give free samples... In addition, we got a gallon of first class extra-vergine olive oil for $21.95.

From there, we walked a block to the D.C. Farmer's market; in addition to viewing the curiosities such as whole goat heads, pig and cow feet, chicken feet and beaks, we took home 15 lovely double yolk brown eggs for $1.75.

After replenishing the pantry, we took in the new FDR memorial. To tell you the truth, we were somewhat disappointed. But, go and see for yourself. Actually, the best part of the trip was watching two Mallard hens with their ducklings swimming around in the Tidal Basin.

After this, we went to the Episcopal Thrift Shop in the basement of a church on Chevy Chase Circle. my partner got a 1950s blouse for dancing and I got a set of dishes for serving Escargot. When we were paying, one of the ladies asked us if we were interested in trophies. Apparently, she and her husband were not on the best of terms and she was going to throw his golf trophies in the dumpster. She did just that and invited us to fish out whatever we wanted. We got six nesting Revere bowls, the largest being a punch bowl. We spent the rest of the evening polishing silver. We do have a nice loving cup that we can convert to another dance trophy.

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The Newseum
By: Frank

We went to Rosslyn to hear Bill Kirchen play an outdoor concert; alas, it had been raining in the morning, so the concert was cancelled. Not wanting to waste the day, we visited the Newseum. This is a museum about the News industry. Mike Henry did a review of the place a few weeks ago and we agree that it is spectacular. Of interest to our readership, they have displayed the front page of the New York Times on the day that Lindberg made his transatlantic flight. (There is also a Gutenberg Bible)

The place is very heavy on the high-tech razzle-dazzle stuff. If you wait in line, you can play at being an anchor, reporter, or weather-person on-camera. At my urging, my partner did her version of Eleanor Schano, my very favorite home-town (Pittsburgh) weather lady. I should have bought the tape. Also, they have a little booth where you can take a polaroid photo and have it come out looking like it is the cover of a magazine. We tried to do a lock-up and make our own issue of Life magazine, but the booth was too small. Who says that only teenagers can have fun at museums?

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Frederick Keys Baseball
By: Frank

One Sunday, We couldn't find any Lindy Hop, so we decided to take a trip to Frederick (Md) to see the Keys play baseball. For those who don't know, the Frederick Keys are a Class A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles--currently, they have clinched first place in the Northern Division of the Carolina League. This is very high-class minor league baseball reminiscent of the film Bull Durham (in fact, the Durham Bulls will be playing in Frederick during the last week of June).

Harry Grove Stadium is a very nice small ball park which seats about 6,000 people. There really aren't any bad seats anywhere. If you want, you can bring a blanket and sit on a grassy area which runs near the outfield fence on both sides. General admission is $6.00 and the fanciest box seats cost $9 (credit cards accepted). Sunday day games start at 1:05 pm and weekday night games start at 7:05 pm. The stadium offers a wide variety of food. The hot dogs (all beef) were prepackaged and somewhat of a disappointment at $2.75. However, the fresh roasted peanuts at $2 for a large bag were a treat. The game was replete with all kinds of promotions -- lucky ads in the program, GEICO gave out folding sunscreens for cars, a fellow dressed as a mouse tossed out little bags of bagels, there was an event to see if someone could make an outrageously difficult golf putt, a contest to see who could scream the loudest, and numerous other stunts, too corny to describe.

The game began with the local Brownie scout troop presenting the colors. Most of the men rose and held their hats over their heart. A gospel-influenced soprano attacked the National Anthem with lots of melisma. Most of the notes were rendered faithfully and the crowd joined in with enthusiasm but far less musical aptitude. Baseball, like Lindy Hop is an American folk tradition in which the best practitioners come from some other country (e.g. Sweden or the Dominican Republic)

We were actually treated to some fairly good baseball, although in minor league ball, almost anything can happen. In the seventh inning, the pitcher for Wilmington Blue Rocks managed to load the bases with three unearned runs - a base on balls, a batter hit by a pitch and a balk. The Keys took advantage of this situation with a well hit double. We saw two very nice home runs--you are right on top of the action and can hear the crack of the bat as it meets the ball. We saw a fellow steal home. One of the Keys batters lost control of his bat and it went sailing into the crowd-- and automatic out and grist for the liability attorneys in the crowd. We saw Wilmington's catcher drop a third strike, catching the batter in a rundown between home and first. If you go, bring a glove, because there are plenty of foul balls to catch. my partner came close to catching one and I was amused to see her scrambling for the ball with a bunch of twelve year olds. The Keys eventually won the game 8-5.

On the way home, we stopped at Sugarloaf Mountain and enjoyed the remains of a beautiful day. We stopped for dinner at Staubs Country Inn (19800 Darnestown Rd, Beallsville Md 301-349-5303). The food is great, the atmosphere relaxing and the prices are low.

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Takoma Park
By: Frank

We went to Takoma Park for a nice late lunch at Mark's Kitchen (7006 Carroll Avenue, 301-270-1884); very nice atmosphere, mixing a Korean restaurant with a traditional deli. The store Now and Then is moving two doors up Laurel Avenue and they were having a half price sale; we netted a definitive history of the American Bandstand program, complete with a floor chart (with footprints) that sort of demonstrates most of the major dance steps of the early rock n' roll period. (1957-1962). Next, we visited Takoma Underground (corner of Carroll and Laurel, in the basement, a collection of individual dealers), an antique place that actually has some Art Deco. I had a nice chat with a lady who collects art deco coffee pots, just like me.

Sunday Decmber 14, 1997

We began the day with a visit to Takoma Park to catch up on some of the antique stores that are not open on Wednesdays. We finally got a chance to look around Tallulah's (6915 Laurel Avenue, 301-270-2333). They had a rather large selection of collectibles from the period 1930 - 1950. Although they advertise vintage clothing, their selection was somewhat small. We also peeped in on Takoma Underground and found a much better selection and lower prices. Of note, there were several vacuum coffee-makers on sale. There is also an Art Deco bar from England that was very reasonable.

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Vintage Culpeper and Remington
By: Frank

We began a rainy day at A. Litteri and Sons (517 Morse St in the City Market, 202-544-0183) to stock up on pasta and cheeses. As far as I know, this is the only Italian Market in DC. As we left with our giant box of goodies, we saw that the rain clouds were clearing to the West, so we set off for Culpeper Virginia on a lark.

If you go to Culpeper, be sure to stop off at Gayhearts Drug Store (corner of Davis and Main). This may be the last surviving drug store lunch counter in the world where you can actually get a pimento and olive sandwich ($1.25) and a quarter cup of coffee. Save some room for dessert at Knakal's Bakery (148 Davis), especially apple fritters at 35 cents.

We had a great time with shopping. We saw a $1,400 frying pan at Glen Arden Antiques (129 E. Davis), just the thing for that someone special who has everything (it is a very rare "#13" Griswold cast iron skillet in perfect shape). At the Antique Store at Yowells (195 E. Davis), we found a WWII navy uniform with embroidered "Liberty Cuffs", a very rare item that we stole for $20. Also nice was Yesterday's Treasures (162 E. Davis).

However, the find of the day was Ace Books and Antiques (120 W. Culpeper St, 540-825-8973) ---this is a gigantic, warehouse-sized bookstore with every imaginable title. I found an "American Beauty" iron with clear plastic handle and my partner found some silk stockings and lace.

On the way home, we stopped at Remington, a very small town that has a wonderful old Drug Store with a marble soda fountain. (207 E. Main St, 540-439-3247.)

>
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Laurel, Savage Mill, and Ellicott City
By: Frank

We spent the day hunting antiques in Laurel, Savage Mill, and Ellicott City. Debra is going to hate me, but I found two more vacuum coffee makers. We started the day in "Historic Old Town" Laurel as opposed to the suburban sprawl of the same name. We found a very interesting low-overhead store at 510 Main Street (no name, no sign...) that specializes in scientific instruments, radios and gramophones. Lots of very nice stuff here if that is your interest. Reasonable prices as well. We also visited the Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop (9th and Montgomery) and found it to be very nice as well, although we didn't find anything that met our particular needs. There was some vintage, but alas, not in my size. We also stopped at the Amvets Thrift Center (Whiskey Bottom Road and US 1), but found no vintage and few interesting items other than a few contemporary navy uniforms.

From then, we moved on to Savage Mill, just up Route 1 from Laurel. This used to be a cotton mill and has been transformed into a rather large antique mall. There are lots of things to see, but this is very high end stuff. There are two shops that specialize in vintage and one store that has an immense quantity of Life magazines, sorted by year. I checked and none of the "Lindy" issues was being offered. (I am looking for a copy of November 10, 1947 by the way --- does anyone have one?) Those of you who collect Jewel Tea memorabilia (particularly Hall China's "Autumn Leaf") should note that this stuff is disappearing from the stores. A year ago, you could buy (at a price...) complete place settings and serving pieces, but now the selection is becoming much smaller. This, I believe, portends a major price increase in these items. If you thought that $15 for a cup and saucer was high, brace yourself...

After this, we moved on to Ellicott City which is one big antique store. This is one of our favorite places, and the sheer volume of goods being sold always ensures that some bargains are to be had. Our first stop was Vintage Rose (8026 Main Street, 410-418-9444). They have both men's and women's clothing although the 70s dominate the 30s and the 40s. There were some nice tuxedos and band uniforms for sale, and we saw a matched set of Bluebird luggage (Debra take note...) in good condition. There was more selection for the ladies. The store covers three floors, is well lit and sizes and approximate vintage are marked.

Next, we visited Cottage Antiques (8181 Main St, 410-465-1412) and hit some real bargains. First I found a 1930s Cory vacuum coffee maker (see the Dance Forum..) that looks great, but lacks the "center dingus" for $3 and then a cup from the Order of the Eastern Star for $1. The owner showed us two scrapbooks prepared by Radio Station WRC in 1947 and 1947 for a competition held by Billboard Magazine. They are chock full of photographs, newspaper clippings and station memorabilia; we stole them for $10 each. I will ask Michael Henry to analyze them and report on their full significance, but they are a hoot!

After that, we stopped at Taylor's Antique Mall (8197 Main St, 410-465-4444) an we struck platinum --- a 1920s hand-blown glass vacuum coffee maker that is complete, even with the little electric pot warmer and the asbestos-wrapped cord. This thing is so delicate that it is a total miracle that it survived! It is also a miracle that they only wanted $7 for it. I think that coffee paraphernalia are a good investment --- there are a zillion espresso boutiques and lots of them are decorating with old coffee makers. Of course, if you drink as much coffee as I do, you need fifty coffee pots...

Our favorite restaurant, Cacao Lane (best Caesar salad in the area) was closed for renovations, but we had a good meal at Side Streets (8069 Tiber Alley, 410-461-5577). Try the grilled tuna on focaccia. We had a dessert at Fisher's Bakery (8143 Main St, 410-461-9275.) I spent some time examining a new device that they have --- it consists of a flat bed scanner and the most unusual jet printer that I have ever seen -- it uses cake icing instead of ink. They can scan in an image and output it to a cake in full color. They charge $28 per "page" for those of you who are thinking of new ways to "sweeten" you presentations. What a great way to "recycle" your offprints --- goes well with coffee.

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The Pope-Leighey House
By: Frank

We visited the Pope-Leighey House (9400 Richmond Hwy, Mount Vernon, 703-780-4000) at Woodlawn Plantation. The attraction is "A World War II Christmas", in which the Frank Lloyd Wright house is decorated as if it were Chrismas in 1941. There was a Sonja Henie doll under the tree, Big Band music was playing and we were served cookies made without rationed butter or sugar. The tour is $6 per person, or you can get a combination tour of Woodlawn Plantation for an additional $4.

Loren Pope was a copy editor for the Washington Post in 1939 who made about $50 per week (not a bad salary then.) He actually wrote to Frank Lloyd Wright and asked him to design a house for him. Of all things, Wright agreed and produced this 1200 sq. ft. masterpiece which was built for $7,100. It turns out that Wright had been experimenting with small, moderately priced homes that refelected standardized construction while retaining architectural distinction. Wright called these "Usonian" homes, because he thought that almost anyone in the U.S. could "own" one.

I really like the house. my partner was lukewarm and thought that living there might be like living on a boat. The place is very simple and probably will appeal more to men than women, because it is very simple and easy to keep clean. The kitchen is tiny. Wright said, "A Pullman car kitchen serves more than 500 meals per day --- nobody needs more space in a kitchen than is occupied in a railroad diner." Thus, the kitchen is exactly that big. Wright didn't provide many closets because he thought that people should only own the essentials. Wright was consistent --- he applied the same principles to the houses that he designed for the super-rich.

Another Wrightian theme is "compression". The entrance foyer has a small door and a low ceiling which "compresses" you when you come in. As you take a few steps into a room with an 11 foot ceiling, you are "released". What happens is that you can use this trick to make a relatively small room feel gigantic. For the hallways, Wright used the same dimensions as the passageway in a Pullman car (i.e. they are narrow). This also tends to make the normal sized bedrooms seem to be very spacious. my partner remarked that if you entered through a pet door, a broom closet might feel like Carnegie Hall. Well, sometimes, Less is not More.

The "Usonian" house has a lot of good features, although it would not adapt well to the 1990s. Yes, it is only made of brick, concrete and wood. Unfortunately, the "wood" is specially milled and fitted 18 inch wide, 20 feet long knot-free cedar boards which today are just slightly less expensive than platinum, not counting the hand-joinery that went into fitting them together. To make the relatively small rooms look bigger, Wright stressed the Horizontal. The boards are held together with bronze screws (at about $1 each) and Mr. Wright explicitly specified that all the screw heads were to be horizontal. Tell that to today's work-crews. In order to preserve "horizontality", the brick was laid with white mortar in the horzontal joints, but red mortar in the vertical joints. There's a way to save labor costs... The concrete floor originally had cast-iron pipes embedded in it to provide radiant heat; these evntually corroded. There was no air conditioning, although an unusual combination of glass doors and clerestory windows provided ventilation. The flat membrane and gravel roof leaks. Wright did not give much thought to energy conservation. The walls have about an R-1 rating and the glass doors are single pane.

The house could not meet any building codes in any of the Metropolitan jurisdictions. Oh yes --- it cost $750,000 to move the house to its current location and rectify some of the mistakes. Worse yet, Wright specified an electric range; perhaps cooking was not his forte.

On balance, you really ought to see this house. The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright is in the details, and this house shows a lot of them. Yes, it is possible for "normal" people to live in dramatic spaces. A lot of the ideas for "Usonian" homes were later adapted in tract home construction, but the mark of Wright's own hand is the difference between the banal and the extraordinary.

We also toured the Woodlawn Plantation, the home of Nellie Custis, George Washington's neice. This is quite the opposite of the "Usonian" house, a study in contrasts.

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From: Jessica Rinne

December 20, 1999

I was reading your guide to places within a 2 hour drive of DC, and thought I'd comment on what I read about Fredrick. Although I now live in Towson, I just recently moved there from Frederick. Truthfully, most of the places listed on the guide are places I don't usually go. If your shopping in Frederick, the places I would recommend are Cannon Hill Place (as mentioned) on 111 S. Carroll St. They consist of dozens of booths of vintage furniture, cook wear, and most anything else you could think of. The vintage booth, The Hat Box, is the first booth as you come in the front door. Although it does carry a lot of later pieces, if you're willing to go through the racks, you can almost always find something, even in larger sizes occasionally (I wear a modern day 16 and have bought 2 or 3 40's and 50's dresses there). I've also heard that a new vintage booth has opened on the upper level of Cannon Hill, but I've never been there, and couldn't really comment on it. Venus On the Half Shell on N. Market St. is the place to vintage shop in Frederick. A lot of the selection here is also from later time periods, but one again, if you're willing to dig there are a lot of finds (I've been shopping there for years, and the selection isn't the greatest, but I always see smaller size dresses that I would pay double what they are charging for if they were bigger). The other big bonus, the prices are always reasonable. Some things are down right cheap, and others range from $15-$30, but that's usually as high as the prices go. Another nice thing about Venus is that you can find out about almost any dance going on around Frederick, and buy tickets for it while you're there. If you're shopping strictly for vintage, do stay clear of Fashion Exchange, but although her vintage collection is small, if you're looking for any kind of modern dressy outfit for a reasonable price, it's the place to go. Unfortunately, Baker's Row has been closed for several months, so anyone hoping to go to retro-rama won't find anything when they get there (if anyone knows that they have moved to a new location, please let me know). Also Vintage Chic, or Collage Antiques (I've seen it called both) has a nice selection of clothes from the teens to the fifties. Most of these dresses are very nice, but the prices tend to be very high (when vintage shopping, my friend and I always have to visit, but we do refer to it as the expensive shop). I also wanted to add that this is the shop I bought my very first 40's dress in, and I love it.

With all this said, I have to say that one of my favorite places to vintage shop is somewhere you don't have to leave home to visit. I love shopping for vintage on e-bay.com. Almost everyone I've talked to says they worry about buy from the Internet because you can't try the dress on before you've committed to buying it, but I got my absolute favorite dress (a formal 40's dress I wore to the Home for the Holidays dance last night) off of e-bay for 12.50 + shipping and handling. Plus, when you're buying vintage clothing (which has its own section in collectables) they usually list measurements not sizes, because of the size changes, list any damage, and have fairly decent pictures. You can also e-mail any questions you have to the seller, and everyone I've dealt with has been more than friendly, probably because you can read reviews of what other buyers think of them from past transactions. I know this sounds like an e-bay ad, but if you've never looked try it and see if you find anything.

Vintage Frederick
By: Frank

This was supposed to be a "Clean Up-Paint Up-Fix-Up" day, but we got an e-mail in the morning to the effect that our picture was on the front page of the Frederick paper. Well, who wants to fix a roof when you can drive to Frederick to buy back issues of the newspaper to send to the folks? We visited the Frederick News-Post, a real old-fashioned country newspaper. The actual City Editor helped us find the Saturday edition and sure enough, there we were dancing away with a huge American flag in the background, dead center on the front page. There is also a very nice (and BIG) picture of Ellen and Marc in the issue.

While we were there, we checked out some of the local thrift and vintage stores.

  • At the Refuge Mission Store (South & Market), I got a 1930s waffle iron for $1 and my partner got a glass tea service for six for $2. All clothes were $1 per garment and my partner got several dance skirts.
  • At Off the Deep End (712 East Street) we found band uniforms -- a whole uniform with pleated panel skirt was $12.50 and the big fuzzy hats were $3.50. They have about six of them left (women's uniforms only). They are from the Washington High School (blue and white) and have an indian embroidered on the front. There is also a white cotton naval officers uniform, size 38 at $10--no insignia, however.
  • At Select Seconds (6 East Patrick Street), my partner found some vintage earrings and I found a set of 1937 World Book Encyclopedias.
  • At The Way Station Thrift Store (217 West Patrick Street) they are selling all the clothes you can stuff in a bag for $3.00.
  • Collage Antiques on North Court Street is owned by Carol Canty Moise and carries very high quality women' s vintage, mostly earlier stuff.
  • Retrorama is in the Baker's Row mall and also carries vintage

We had a nice lunch at Donnelly's on Market Street.

Vintage in Frederick
By: Tricia Reneau

Despite bulging closets and vintage clothing purchases I still haven't managed to wear, I nevertheless have not tired of seeking more treasures to pack into my wardrobe. In that light, Dr. Dan and I set out on Saturday for historic Frederick, Maryland. Sunday night at Steve and Sue's wild holiday party, I was able to wear one of my new finds. Given all the questions I received, it may be worthwhile telling about the Frederick scene. (This makes me want to emulate those San Franciscans and start a column on vintage clothing venues on the East Coast. Between Carolyn and me, we've dug through the best!)

First, let me suggest that anyone wishing to go vintage clothes shopping should enlist the company of Dr. Dan. The most nattily dressed man I know, Dr. Dan arrived at my house dressed to the nines (has anyone ever seen him in jeans?). Of course, such attire catches the attention of all the antique dealers who eagerly approach Daniel and are then more amenable to making deals. Moreover, as one would suspect, Dr. Dan is an expert on men's vintage clothing, which is a real bonus when you have a boyfriend like I do who also appreciates period garb. That elusive Christmas gift I have been seeking for Thomas fell right into my hands when deftly pointed out by Dr. Dan.

Frederick is an antique shopper's paradise. We first went to Antique Imports which carries mostly furniture. As I am soon to be the owner of my mother's china, I am in the market for a buffet. We found an unusual piece at this shop that requires a bit of restoration. A woman named Sandy assisted us, who also tipped us off to the ins and outs of getting tickets to the Frederick Ball. Next year, she said as she slipped us her card, give me a call and I'll see how I might help you get tickets.

My primary mission for traveling to Frederick, however, was clothes. I had met one dealer at the Art Deco Society's annual show earlier this year and was eager to inspect her entire collection. Her shop, called Retro-Rama, is in the Baker's Row antique mall on S. Church Street. Retro-Rama has clothes from the 1930s to the 1960s and are organized by size. Most have tags that tell you the size and era of the piece. I tried on at least 10 items, but none fit me well. Still, most of the pieces were in good to excellent shape and were reasonably priced. Retro-Rama has a small cache of men's clothing, ties and other accessories, which yielded treasures for both Daniel and I. He took away a nice sweater from the 1950s, and I found a perfect condition 1940s gift (can't say what it is lest he reads this) for my dear, English-bound sweetheart, Thomas. Retro-Rama also has a few shoes, purses, hats and other accessories. Dresses average $40 - 75. There are some nice, full-length gowns worth considering if you are a size 6 or 8. (By the way, Baker's Row has a large, comfortable women's room complete with full-length mirror in which to try on clothes.)

On the second floor of Baker's Row, I hit the jackpot at a booth called Victoria's Millinery. This shop doesn't have the volume of Retro-Rama, but I found a near-perfect 1940s woman's suit that will knock your socks off. It has all the wonderful 1940's styling---big, padded shoulders, tailored jacket, pencil skirt, and plenty of nifty details. I also found my 1950s party dress that I wore to Steve and Sue's party on Sunday. Flash alert to Debra: This shop has a pair of cornflower blue, 1940's wide-leg woman's pants with matching purse---a real find! Also, if you have a size 6 and 1/2 shoe, there is a PERFECT pair of black, mesh Mary Jane's in excellent condition--ideal for dancing. Items are not consistently marked for size and era, and one piece was incorrectly identified as linen (it was silk boucle). For men, this shop had little, if anything to offer.

After dropping a few hundred dollars, we moved on to Emporium Antiques at Creekside. Several booths in the back of this antique mall have vintage clothing, although none had as much inventory as Baker's Row. One shop close to the women's room (cold, no mirror but has a clothes rack on which to hang try-outs) features mostly 1950s-60s clothing and has a few men's items. In a locked case, I found a beaded drawstring purse to match another recent vintage acquisition (I'm just over the moon when I find accessories to complement my dresses!). Near the front of the store, several dealers have significant inventories in vintage costume jewelry.

At about 15 minutes past the closing time of 6:00 p.m., we were ejected from the mall and then had no place else to go. Still, our journey had yielded plenty of fruit. Thus, we drove away satisfied, albeit somewhat financially pinched.
---Tricia

Vintage in Frederick Revisited
By: Deborah Brooks

Frank,
I just wanted to let you know that I think your new feature, The Travel Guide, is a great idea. Anne Bailey and I had planned a road trip to the Frederick area to look for vintage clothes to augment my collection and to begin hers. I knew several places from previous trips (reviewed below) but it was a big time saver to get the skinny on several others that I hadn't been to before. And thanks to Tricia Reneau for pointing out the black mesh Mary Janes at Baker's Row; they now have a new home and will soon be making the scene at America, Glen Echo etc.

Anne, her friend Molly (visiting from Missouri) and I started our quest in Emmitsburg, which is about 15-20 miles north of Frederick up Route 15. I had discovered the Emmitsburg Antique Mall (1 Chesapeake Avenue, 301 447-6471) several years ago and found their prices to be more reasonable than downtown Frederick. This past spring, I stopped in on my way back from Gettysburg and discovered a vintage stall on the new second floor with two closely packed racks of clothes. I only had a few minutes to browse but managed to snag a fuchsia chiffon cocktail dress from the 50s that was in pristine condition. On the whole, however, the quality of the clothes is not as high as in downtown Frederick but the prices are right (which was one of our major criteria). I got two dresses from the 40s for around $20 each (which is about what I want to spend for something I'm going to wear to be thrown around and sweat profusely in). There was a cute pair of 40s black mesh shoes (I think they were Mary Janes) in a size 7. There were also several 40s dresses in larger sizes. Anne grabbed a flirty grey dress for $5 which had some spots on the skirt but was otherwise in great shape. Downstairs at another stall, there was a rack of clothes where everything was around $10. Anne picked up an adorable green and yellow dress and I got a 50s sundress. There was also a very cute 40s velvet dress (size 6/8, velvet on skirt a little worn) with hot pink sequins in a bow pattern on the shoulder and at the wrists which we left behind. Sorry guys, very little men's vintage. Some stalls had ties but that was about it.

Just outside Frederick, we explored the Antique Station (194 Thomas Johnson Drive off Motter Avenue, 301 695-0888). In the back row, we found another vintage stall with two racks of clothes. Anne found a black velvet and white chiffon baby doll style dress from the 60s and I got a divine 40s pewter satin and black chiffon gown (Belmont Ball, here I come). There was also a pair of black mesh shoes (size 7 ) here for $20 but I think they were pumps. If you crave 50s mules with very high spike heels in a size 5 1/2 or 6, they had at least 5 pair. Some of the other stalls had an occasional dress or rack of ties. Anne lucked out and found a 40s black dress with a pattern of turquoise and white sequins around the neck.

We also had some success at Baker's Row (125 S. Carroll Street in downtown Frederick) which we checked out on the strength of Tricia's recommendation. In addition to the previously mentioned shoes, I found a 40s bolero jacket with passementerie trim.

We were less successful at Cannon Hill Place (111 S. Carroll Street). Most of the clothes were from the 60s and 70s although they did had a binful of clip-on bow ties and a large rack of ties. Our last stop was the Fashion Exchange on East Street which had been recommended by the desk staff at Baker's Row. Give it a miss; there's precious little vintage here.

One shop we heard good things about is Venus on the Half Shell which I think is on N. Market Street. But by this time, we were starting to drag and Molly had to get back to town to catch a ride to her next destination so we hit the road, tired but pleased with our purchases.
---Deb Brooks

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Vintage Along the MARC Line
Charles Town, Harper's Ferry and Brunswick
By: Frank

We spent a day exploring the small cities on the MARC railroad line. We began our journey beyond the end of the line and worked our way back home.

Charles Town, West Virginia is rich in history seemed to be an ideal source of vintage clothes and antiques. The town was founded by George Washington's brother Charles and was the site of John Brown's trial for treason after his ill-fated abolitionist uprising. The historicity of the town is marred somewhat by the presence of the Charles Town Race Track which seems to have spawned a wide variety of fast food places and cheap motels. The Wal Mart Super Center on the outskirts has devastated the downtown area, leaving the usual wake of quaint and "historic" buildings. However, the collapse has made room for some antique stores:

  • Needful Things (218 W. Washington St, 304-725-6351) occupies the space once held by the Woolworth's Five and Ten. A unique feature is the lunch counter---the proprietors have continued to operate it as a cafe, offering the usual variety of $3 coffee specialties. Yes, you can get a skinny latte in West Virginia. The store offers a variety of upscale antiques and castoffs. They had recently acquired a collection of autographed photos from an estate. If you want presidential or celebrity autographed photos, you should get in touch with these folks. A Reagan Christmas card and photo was selling for about $300; the same from the Clintons was $175. There was a Gordon Liddy autographed photo posed with his Jaguar showing the "H2OGATE" license plate for $50. Marion Barry was a hot item as well.
  • Our Dream Flea Market (322 W. Washington Street, 304-725-1572) was just the opposite. This was a very large space filled to the brim with an odd mixture of 95% garbage and some interesting materials. Go there and be prepared to root out treasure.
  • The Antique Center of Charles Town (200 W. Washington St., 304-725-1009) was largely upscale material at sky-high prices just in case someone might hit the Trifecta at the races and want to invest his/her winnings in Sevres. They had a good selection of mechanical toys.
  • The Opera House Thrift Shop (200 N. George Street, 304-725-4420) sells things to benefit the Old Opera House Theater Company. They have a small vintage rack for women's clothes.

Our next stop was Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, the actual terminus of the MARC line. This city is rich in Civil War history and in fact, most of the town is a national park. Because it is located on the steep cliff sides of the Shenandoah River, plan on doing a lot of hill climbing to see things. Most of the shops in Harper's Ferry sell "crafts", the catchall term for "cutesy stuff that turns up at yard sales."

Stone House Antiques (181-A Potomac St, 304-535-2534) is the exception and has a fairly nice selection of high end stuff. We found some sheet music from Louis Jordan and Alone from the Marx brothers film A Night at the Opera. We had a nice lunch of Jerk Chicken at the Garden of Food (184 High St, 304-535-2202)

We followed the sunflower signs of the Maryland scenic route which follows the Potomac, the C and O Canal, and the MARC line into Brunswickk, Maryland. This town was built by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad as a company town. I like Brunswick, because it has the flavor of a lot of the small towns outside Pittsburgh. Never wanting to waste space, most company towns were built on hills near the tracks with fairly dense spacing of houses. Here, we made a great discovery---Jimmy Jake's Antique Center, 24 W. Potomac Street 1-800-263-3133.

This shop is operated by Jim Castle who is only 20 years old. He grew up in a railroad family and has been helping his uncle, an auctioneer, since he was six. Jim is very knowledgeable beyond his years and has an enormous, well-stocked and well-organized facility that has recently expanded from an old grocery store to the Five and Ten next door. The place has so much stuff in all periods that we spent two hours exploring and digging.

Jim specializes in railroadiana and does not have much vintage clothing. After pressing him on the subject, he did allow that he had just purchased a lot of clothing from an estate. We eagerly offered to help him look through the box. Inside were the uniforms owned by a conductor on the Baltimore and Ohio railroad, apparently covering his service from the 1940s through the Amtrak era. We found a complete uniform from the 1940s that fit me like a custom-made suit. It was not cheap because it had all the buttons and badges, but it was something that was apparently meant for me. So, I hope that the folks in Baltimore have their "Train Dance" again, real soon. Jim eased the pain of my purchase by giving me a copy of the official B and O "Written Examination for Conductors." I have a year to learn my stuff just in case some stickler for detail shows up at the roundhouse next year. My favorite question is "How do you handle Banana Messenger Tickets?"

Our time spent in Brunswick ran past the time that most antique stores close, so we did not get to do Point of Rocks. We stopped for dinner at Staubs Country Inn (19800 Darnestown Rd, Beallsville Md 301-349-5303). The food is great, the atmosphere relaxing and the prices are low. Be sure to try their sticky buns. The next stations on the line are Rockville and Kensington, so we still have some reporting to do.

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Vintage, Antiques and Thrifts in South Central Pennsylvania
Emmitsburg, Gettysburg, New Oxford and York
By: Frank

We started out bright and early to explore South Central Pennsylvania in another of our day trips in search of Vintage. Our route took us into Civil War country as we went through Emmitsburg, Gettysburg, New Oxford and York. We started at 10:00 am and were home by 6:30pm, so this is definitely a very practical day trip.

We headed north on 270 to Frederick (Md) and then on 15 to our first stop, Emmitsburg. Take the exit for "Emmitsburg/Taneytown", turn left and head into the small village. Make a left at the first light and go about a mile to the Thrift Store run by the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. They have a broad variety of clothes, shoes and household appliances. We have found numerous vintage items there in the past. Today, the store was relatively devoid of inventory, so we moved on.

We entered Gettysburg by the Taneytown Road which takes you past Little Round Top and Cemetery Ridge. The beauty of the countryside masks the fact that over 75,000 Americans were killed or wounded here during four dark days in July of 1863. It is not likely that the Battle of Gettysburg will be forgotten very soon.

One of the sidebars to history is that many of the veterans of Gettysburg grew up to be very rich and powerful. Almost every event of the battle is carefully marked with elaborate granite memorials, and the various states and army units seem to have engaged in a fierce competition to outdo each other with the splendor of their memorials. I think that the battlefield is quite moving, but I do not care for the ticky-tacky souvenir business that fills most of the city.

One respite is the Gettysburg Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Store, 19 W. York Street, just off the circle in the center of town. This store does not pre-select goods and often has good things. I got a pair of real tortoise-shell sunglasses from the 30s for a quarter. They had a wonderful wedding gown from the 1940s with very fine lace for $100. They usually have dinner jackets and tail coats in stock as well as both men's and women's fashion. One has to get there early in the month because the students from Gettysburg College are developing a taste for vintage.

Diagonally across the street is a large antique center in what used to be a white limestone Bank. It has no name on the outside. The cavernous interior is devoted to a number of small antique stalls. There is a vintage clothes rack and a selection of art deco kitchen implements.

Leaving Gettysburg by way of York Road, we traveled about five miles to the Adams Rescue Mission, another thrift store that exercises no pre-selection whatsoever. my partner found two pairs of dance shoes and a clerk GAVE me a "Rocket" vacuum cleaner to add to my collection. (This is a "Super Chief", appropriately streamlined in honor of the luxury train for which it is named) We left a donation in lieu of payment. I am fascinated with the design trends of the 1930s in which inanimate objects were streamlined in honor of aircraft, the "Gee Whiz" technology of the time. I have no idea of what will be collectible from the "information age" some seventy years from now. Perhaps antique web pages will be displayed on huge monitors...

Following the York Road east, we arrived in New Oxford, the "Antique Capital of Central Pennsylvania". This is no idle boast. The town has 36 individual shops and four large group shops. In total there are 350 antique dealers in town. Our favorites are:

  • Center Square Antiques 16 Center Square (717)-624-3444, specializing in antique lighting fixtures including some very high quality art deco ceiling fixtures and floor lamps
  • New Oxford Antique Mall 214 W. Golden lane, (717)-624-3703 with over 60 dealers including some very high quality things. We saw an ash tray from the Stork Club at $110.
  • Idle Bird Antiques, rt 30 2 mi west of New Oxford (717)-896-3357. They have a nice rack of vintage clothes and estate jewelry
  • Harts Country Antiques, 2 Carlisle Street (717)-624-7842. They have a nice selection of toys. We saw a complete "Lil' Abner Band" in working order. This is possibly the most complex mass-marketed pressed metal toy ever sold. It has five action figures that "Play" musical instruments to the accompaniment of a music box movement. I have only seen these in museums. This was offered at $525.

We had a good lunch at the Hotel Oxford (10 Carlisle St.) They make their own liverwurst and (although I don't eat much meat) the liverwurst sandwich on rye with thinly sliced onion is strongly suggested as is their home-made coconut custard pie.

We drove east on US 30 through Farmersville and Thomasville to the outskirts of York. This is a very pleasant city that seems to have been hit fairly hard by the export of jobs outside the US. The Olde Factory Antiques Market (204 S. Sumner Street, 717-843-2467 is testament to the plight of industry in America--the places where people once earned a living have been recycled to recycle [in turn] the glory days when this country made something besides hamburgers and lawsuits.

We continued into the city past empty store fronts and the mish-mosh of pedestrian malls and one-way streets that are the failed hallmarks of "urban planning." The low rents have made it possible for a number of entrepreneurs to experiment with marginal businesses. York has nine quality used book stores and not a one of them served coffee.

We stopped at Stone House Books (306-310 W. Market St, 717-845-2364) and had a nice chat with the owner, Jane Martin. Another good book store is RAC Books with three locations in the York area.

We also stopped at Almost Anything (324 W. Market St, 717-846-7926) which carries a fine line of antiques, collectibles and furniture. my partner found a very nice 1940s strapless party dress with sequins for $22 (she wore it to the Belmont Ball). I looked long and hard at a ceramic toaster for $40, but decide to pass since my collection of kitchen appliances is crowding out my kitchen.

Time was running out, so we could only do one of the 18 antique malls listed in the directory. We chose the Antique Center of York (190 Arsenal Rd, 717-846-1994), since it has 75 dealers and is right near the on-ramp to I-83 and home. We were quite fortunate. my partner ran across a big stack of movie stills and we bought a photo of Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire from Holiday Inn to add to our "Wall of Fame".

It took about 90 minutes to drive home through rush-hour traffic from York.

Addendum, Sunday January 11, 1998

We spent the day travelling in southern Pennsylvania, stopping in Shrewsbury, York and Lancaster. It turns out that Sunday isn't the greatest day to do this. Lancaster apparently buttons itself up at 1:00 pm on Saturday. We are going to go back on another day and provide you with a more definitive review --- as soon as Carla sends us some inside information on the area. On this trip, we found three places of note:

  • The Shrewsbury Antique Center, (61 N. Highland Dr, Shrewsbury, Pa 17361, 717-235-6637). This was a fairly nice antique mall which had a good selection of magazines from the 1930s and 1940s. We did not see any of the important 12 issues of Life, but there were others, including one with a very young Gregory Peck on the cover (that is directed at Elizabeth Magin). A fair selection of appliances, no vintage clothes. This place is worth a look if you are in the area.
  • Another Time (36 E. Forrest Ave., Shrewsbury, Pa 17361, 717-235-0664) This is a very high end women's vintage store with a whole lot to offer. my partner found a wedding dress from 1913 that had a very special provenance: the veil, shoes, stockings and purse were part of the deal, also including a photograph of the happy couple and an original wedding inviatation. This would fit in very nicely with this Titanic craze. At $200 it was a bargain, especially since a new, blah gown at a "bride store" might start at $1000.
  • The Lancaster Dispensing Corporation (33-35 N. Market Street, Lancaster, Pa 717-299-4602) has a very nice ambience and good food. It is directly opposite the city market.

The bad news is that there is comparatively little (or no) swing dancing in York/Lancaster area. Sorry. If you have to be there, you might want to check out the website of a vulgar little throwaway called Barfly. Antiques, pretzels, pork products - Yes. Swing dancing - no.

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Vintage and Thrift in Cumberland, Maryland
By: Frank

There was a nip in the air but since the weather lady on CNN had promised clear skies to the West, we took a chance and headed toward the outer limit of our two-hour radius for day trips outside D.C. Today, our destination was Cumberland in the far reaches of the "Other Maryland", across the Allegheny mountains.

This is a nice and uneventful drive. Simply take I270 to Frederick, Change to I70 West, continue to just outside Hancock and switch to I68. The trip takes a bit over two hours, but is largely open road.

Our first suggestion is to stock up on new clothes at bargain prices. Specifically, we suggest that you go slightly west of Cumberland to Exit 40 (Vocke Road). Turn left at the light at the end of the exit ramp and proceed down Vocke Road until it makes a tee with US40 ("National Pike"); proceed about three miles down this road until you reach a railroad trestle that sits above the road. Make a very hard left at this light (about 120 degrees) and proceed about a mile to Gabriels, on the right (1085 Mount Savage Road). This low-overhead place is a shopping free-for-all.

Basically, they sell factory irregulars at dirt cheap prices ($2 for Dickies khaki work shirts that look like WWII dress shirts, epaulets and all) The only problem is that you have to go over each and every stitch of the garment to find out what is irregular. This could be a small spot or a gaping hole. You buy it, you keep it---no refunds at Gabe's. But, if you are willing to dig for your treasure, you can find some spectacular things. I found two NHL hockey jerseys that were in perfect shape for $5 each--the only problem is that they are from "loser" teams. Conversely, I like the graphics on the Boston Bruins shirt while the St. Louis Blues shirt has a big flying musical note on the front that will be perfect for Glen Echo.

This is real NHL approved "Starter" merchandise, not cheap imitations. A "winner" team like the Pittsburgh Penguins can go for $75 in sports stores. I blew another dollar on a St. Louis Blues corduroy ball cap--again real NHL merchandise. You can also find football and baseball material as well, but be prepared to wear the emblems of second division teams. They have pants from all the big outdoors stores - Eddie Bauer, L. L. Bean, Abercrombie and Fitch--but you have to root to find sizes. Lots of stock in 26 inch and 54 inch waists, precious little in between. They also have high quality cotton tee shirts and shorts at about $1, so this is a good place to stock up on basics--if you are willing to examine everything with a microscope. I left behind eighteen dollars at Gabe's and came out with a great big bag of stuff. my partner did the same. Oh yes, they have big bins filled with top name sneakers, but you have to dig for mates--they sell them by the shoe! Great if you have one foot bigger than the other. I found a pair of Stacy Adams dress patent leather shoes, but they were size 14. If you know any gorillas, send them to Gabriels -- lots of top name dress shirts in sizes like 18/36.

Take Mount Savage Road back to the railroad trestle and get back on US40 going east (Left turn). This will take you into downtown Cumberland where the thrift stores DON'T pre-select vintage! Actually, a good idea is to take US40 to S. Queen St, make a left and park in the Value Village parking lot. Some bright city planner killed the downtown by putting in a pedestrian mall. Once you get to the "mall" which used to be Baltimore Street, you are within walking distance of everything. Here is what we found:

  • Goodwill (9 Center St, 301-772-4991) I found a man's summer weight 1930s double breasted suit at $5.25---fits like a glove. my partner found some hats and a pair of souvenir saltshakers from Florida (shaped like oranges) that are marked "Occupied Japan" at fifty-nine cents.
  • The Trunk in the Attic (11 N. Liberty Street, 301-722-2049) We found a lot of interesting little stuff, including a small plastic spectator shoe. You got one of these for Christmas, and you could exchange it at the shoe store for a pair of real shoes in your size. We also got a silverplate ash tray with a bas-relief of Radio City and the Empire State Building and a little silverplate jewel box with scenes from Atlantic City. The lot came to $7.
  • Yesteryear Antiques and Collectibles (60-62 Baltimore St, 301-722-7531) This is a combination antique and vintage clothing store. They have a great big box of patterns from the 1940s at $2 each. I found a black enamel art deco cigarette case at $15 that I am going to use to hold website cards.
  • L&M's Timeless Treasures (203 Baltimore Street, 301-724-0880)has some nice high end pieces and railroad items.
  • Historic Cumberland Antique Mall (55 Baltimore St, 301-777-2979) has three whole floors of the old Lazarus Department Store. There were a large number of booths with all sorts of trinkets. I found the neck medal to go with my Knights Templars sash ($3), so we are sort of looking forward to next year's Belmont Ball.
The food was great also:
  • The M and M Bake Shop (80 Baltimore St, 301-772-2660) sells a kind of raisin pie pastry at 30 cents that was fantastic--we brought home a dozen
  • Coney Island Wieners (15 Liberty Street, 301-777-0380) has great hot dogs and wonderful atmosphere since it has been there since 1918. We do not, however, recommend their "Special Sauce"
  • and, of course, always stop at the Park and Dine Restaurant in Hancock on the way home.
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Vienna, Delaplane, Paris, Winchester and Front Royal
By: Frank

We continued our series of day trips searching for vintage, antique and thrift stores within a two-hour drive of DC. Today, we headed west on I66 in Virginia to Vienna, Delaplane, Paris, Winchester and Front Royal. We have some good results to report.

Our trip started in Vienna because we had to pick up the $50 savings bond that we won in the Dance Contest at the Sock Hop. We would like to thank Loree Exley, Branch Manager of the F&M Bank for their sponsorship of the Sock Hop. We plan to do our patriotic duty and let the bond mature in a picture frame. See us in 2017 and we'll use the proceeds to buy you a cup of coffee at the Starbucks in your living room. Inflation is your friend! Think of how much you will impress your pals in your $10,000 suit and your $200,000 car!

While we were in Vienna, we stopped at the Episcopal Thrift Shop (on Church street, right behind Vienna Grille). We found a wool and leather cheerleader pullover at $5. We nosed around two other junk stores very close to the Vienna Grille, but thought they were overpriced. We also stopped at the Coffee Caboodle (corner of Maple and Nutley) and enjoyed the wide variety of vintage coffee-related appliances that were for sale. They also brew a nice cup of coffee (water at 203 degrees in contact with the grounds for four minutes).

From there, we headed west on I 66 and exited at Rt 17 North to Delaplane, Virginia. This small hamlet is famous because Stonewall jackson loaded 10,000 men on railroad cars here to rush to the first battle of Manassas, the first time when railroads (the "gee whiz" technology of 1860) were used for military purposes. We have it on good authority that hackers were used to confuse and cripple air defense computer systems in Baghdad during the Gulf War. At any rate, Delaplane is now the preserve of the "Horsy Set" in Middleburg. The Delaplane Antique Center (540-459-4833) located in the old train station has a lot of high end antiques just in case you need a Louis XVI settee in the middle of a fox hunt or you can't quite think of what to give your drug-dealing Bolivian girlfriend...

Next on Rt. 17 is Paris (Va.) We had hoped to have lunch here just to say we had been to Paris. Unfortunately, the Ashby Inn is only open for supper. One wink and we had done Paris.

We had much better luck in Winchester, the home of Patsy Cline and the apple capital of the world. This is a very nice city which, like most of the other cities we have been visiting is a vast amount of suburban sprawl surrounding a core "historic district" of failed shops and a pedestrian mall. It is axiomatic that the signs pointing to the "historic district" means that there is a giant Wal Mart outside of town.

We hit the jackpot at the Mission Warehouse Thrift Store (Corner of Fairfax and Cameron Streets). We found two very nice vintage suitcases that the fashionable hoppers have been using to carry their dance stuff and a 50s tuxedo in good condition size 42 long. These are for sale, see us. We had a nice lunch at Coalie Harry's (28 E. Piccadilly St, 703-665-0616) This is the local R&B bar in town and they have a dance floor. Lindy has not yet reached Winchester. The restaurant has an English theme and we enjoyed a Welsh Rarebit. They supplement the customary toast points with breaded, deep fried pickles. They were interesting.

We took Route 522 south to Front Royal. Again, we hit paydirt at the Royal Opportunity Shop (29 S. Royal St, opposite from the Warrenton County Courthouse) I found a set of six cups, saucers and dessert plates in the Diner pattern "Caribbean". The pedestrian mall in the "historic district" has a number of good stores, but most were closed. We prowled around Family Bargains (112 E. Main St) and found a number of contemporary military uniforms. The place has lots of stuff in big bins, so plan to spend some time digging.

The real treat of the day was the Royal Dairy (241 Chester St). This is a cavernous ice cream store built in 1947 and unchanged. The ice cream is great and the atmosphere is terrific. The place exudes the 1940s, a must see.

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Our Trip to Lancaster, Harrisburg and Carlisle
By: Frank
February 9-10, 1998

Thanks to the El Nino weather anomaly, we began our trip in very bright, sunny spring-like weather that continued unabated for our whole trip. Normally, the Susquehanna river valley is a mass of unpredictable storms that are often violent. This winter, the valley seems to be as calm as can be. Our destination was the triangle of central Pennsylvania cities marked by Lancaster, Harrisburg, and York. Thanks to US Interstate 83, this is a very pleasant 90 minute trip (Take 83 to Exit 9-E and get on Route 30 to Lancaster). We spent Monday prowling through the Thrift and Vintage stores of Lancaster and we had very good luck. We were able to accomplish so much because Carla Heiney was kind enough to prepare a list of stores. We can enthusiastically recommend the following:

  • Zap & Co., 315 N. Queen St, Lancaster (717-397- 7405) This is a very well-stocked vintage store that has so much inventory it has the feel of being in a clothing store during the 1940s. This is a good place for men to visit because they have a fairly large selection in larger sizes. I found a mouse-gray shawl collar dinner jacket that looks like a band uniform for $20. my partner found a great piece of marcasite jewelry. They had swizzle sticks from the Stork Club in stock (at $20). The owner tells me that they supply clothes and accessories to the AMC show Remember WENN.
  • Pop Deluxe, 6 N. Prince St, Lancaster (717-299- 6220) This place offers both vintage clothing and body piercing, just in case you need to have a spike inserted at a strategic location. We had a chat with the owner, Michele Graser and she indicates that the dominant market in Central Pennsylvania is for 70s and 80s, although stuff from the 40s gets snapped up when she can get it. She had a good collection of ties and some very nice 1950s stuff. Her prices weren't cheap, but the quality was high. my partner found a very nice marching band coat for only $10.
  • Water Street Mission Thrift, corner of Water and Vine Streets. This was an average thrift store, but my partner managed to find a very nice mouton coat for $8
  • Caroline Manor Antique, 624 Manor St, Lancaster, (717- 396-9552) 50s-60s vintage and some decorative furnishings
  • Deja Vu Selective Consignments, 283 Columbia Avenue, Lancaster (717-291-4481)
  • Chris' Buy and Sell 201-03 W. King St, Lancaster (717- 291-9133)
  • Sincerely Yours 1609 Oregon Pike, Lancaster (717-392- 2533)
  • New store, called S&R Treasures on 332 N. Queen St, Lancaster, PA carries lots of vintage clothes and shoes plus antiques and collectibles.
  • Price-less Treasures 30 N Duke St, Lancaster (717- 390-4868)

After doing the downtown area, we headed out to the Salvation Army, taking Queen Street north. This makes a sharp jog at the Train Station and another sharp right where it turns into Route 72 (Mannheim Parkway) A few miles outside of town leads you to the Salvation Army megastore. Prices are reasonable, but not dirt cheap. We got several tuxedos to sell at about $12. I assembled a group of six of the absolute WORST 1970s polyester coats that I had ever seen. These really would cause epileptic seizures... They were priced from $4 to $10. Anyone who desires to take Steve Cowles up on his challenge to have the "Worlds Worst Suit" should make a beeline for this place. my partner would not let me put them in the car ("It's either me or them...") so I left them behind.

After our shopping, we were hungry and were pleased to find the Neptune Diner, 924 North Prince Street, Lancaster (717-399-8358). Although it has a Greek name, it has not been "Hellenized" --- it is still a red and chrome Mountain View diner with rounded ends and leatherette booths. There was no jukebox, or we would have done a little Lindy. The food was good and the prices are reasonable.

We took Orange Street (west) out of town to get ready for dancing. One proceeds about two miles out until there are signs for Route 30. The intersection has a very large Blockbuster Video store. The reason that we give this detail is that there is a Goodwill supercenter there in a little strip mall right after you make the turn. We found more tuxedos and a complete hand-made WWII marine sergeant's uniform at very reasonable prices. The bonanza of the day was a "newsboy's sweater" (jacquard knit with reindeer on the front) that is most likely authentic (at $3). I have been looking for one of these for years, to go with a pair of knickers that I have.

We chose to stay at the Red Roof Inn in York because it is right next to the San Carlos Restaurant which has a small annex called The Hop marked by a yellow '53 DeSoto protruding from the roof. The only real address that would mean anything is Exit 9E on I-83, because the place is listed as on San Carlos Road, which is a rather large driveway near the exit.

Unfortunately, the City of York's waste water treatment plant is located behind the restaurant and the motel. The smell is... well, unusual. At the motel, they refer to it as a "treatment plant" and the word "sewage" is not mentioned. Fortunately, our odorific surroundings did not follow us into the restaurant (or the motel, for that matter which turned out to be a bargain at $20). The Hop is a nice friendly place with a dance floor as big as Vienna Grille. The DJ booth is the front end of a Buick Roadmaster, again painted yellow. On Monday, it was "Supply your own CD Night"

Fortunately, we are always armed to the teeth with swing music. While rushed to the car to get our CDs, we were beaten to the draw by a fellow who wanted a polka disc played. We smiled, conversed, and met people and didn't look a bit like we were gritting our teeth. Nobody danced -- they just wanted to listen to Polka. This is Central Pennsylvania, folks. Finally, Frankie Yankovic had recorded no more on that CD and it was our turn to play Count Basie. As you know, our maxim is "Do aerials early and often." It worked -- after the double driveshaft, we had the crowd sort of eating out of our hands --- they allowed the Basie to continue and didn't scream for polka.

Later, we got a sort of compliment from the waitress who suggested that we come back on Wednesday and teach the rest of the crowd something. The folks were quite friendly, but really seemed to be more interested in Beer. Oh yes, the Harley Davidson factory is also next door. If I were chosen to pick the site for a Harley factory, I would say, "Hmm -- where is the nearest Sewage treatment plant..." Apparently great minds run in the same gutter.

We moved from Basie to my collection of "Uptempo Doo-Wop Classics" which at least got some glimmer of familiarity from the crowd. The Carla and two of her college friends showed up. Now it was one guy with four girls, and all of a sudden our table became very popular. Alas, Carla was one week shy of being 21 and we got tossed out. Well, we will have to do this again with a larger crowd.

On Tuesday, we got up very early to go to the Central Market in Lancaster. Now, get this straight: the Central Market is only open three days a week: Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday. On Tuesday and Friday, it is open from 6:00am to 4:00pm; on Saturday, it is open from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm. This is the nation's oldest publicly owned continuously operating farmer's market. The buildings are listed in the National register of Historic Places. The current building was erected in 1899 but the "market" has been held in the same place since the 1730s. The food is of amazingly high quality and the baked goods are spectacular. The meat looks so good that it might even tempt a vegan.

From the city, we moved to the Roots Market, taking Route 72 through East Petersburg. Turn left (i.e. West) on Graystone Road and proceed about two miles until you see signs for the market. NOTE: The market is ONLY open on Tuesday. The activities include a Farmers Market (with a wide array of baked goods, sausages, etc.), a Flea Market which covers about two acres, an Antique Auction, and a Livestock Auction. We spent three hours there and enjoyed every minute. I was able to find four "new old stock" ties from the 1940s --- in their original boxes. There was something for just about every collector, although prices were higher than normal. I would suggest that you go to Roots to take advantage of the selection (i.e. to fill in gaps in your collection) rather than in search of bargains.

After walking around for such a long time, we were ready for lunch. At the suggestion of one of the folks at the market, we stopped at Haydn Zug's (1987 State St, East Petersburg, Pa 717-569-5746). This restaurant is located in a historic building and features regional specialties. They had a great lineup of salads, an unusual feature here in Meat Country.

It was time to hit the road again, and we headed for Harrisburg. Alas, most of the antique and vintage stores there are closed on Wednesday. We spent some time walking down Front Street, admiring all the very nice restored houses that look out on the Susquehanna River. This would be a very nice walk during the springtime when all the trees are in leaf. We also stopped in a few bars and inquired about the local dance scene which turns out to be nil. We would certainly like to go back to Harrisburg on another day to check out some of the stores. In the meantime, any of our readers with information on dance and vintage in Harrisburg are welcome to write in!

From Harrisburg, we headed west to Carlisle. Here in DC this city is best known as the summer training camp for the Redskins, although it is also home to Dickinson College and the U.S. Army War College. my partner actually spent a portion of her youth here when her father was at the War College. This is an interesting place. It was founded in 1903 by Elihu Root on the site of the old Carlisle Indian School which gave us Jim Thorpe. During the 1960s there were a lot of jokes about student unrest at the "War College" and "smart bombs" that refused to be dropped. The campus is very nice. I was on my best behavior during our visit and I did not ask anyone, "What's your major?" or to sing the "College Fight Song" or for directions to the "Department of Collateral Damage". You see, you can take Lindy Hoppers out in public...

Carlisle was among my very favorite small towns. It is actually surviving and the main square was filled with real businesses. The housing stock is very nice and this would be a wonderful place to raise kids. We stopped for a snack at Mandy's Coffee Shop which doubles as the local cyber cafe. The owner graciously let us use the internet so that we could check our mail. We had a discussion of dance and vintage as well. It turns out that the vintage scene is still in 70s polyester. However, we got a lead on a person whose grandfather had been a bus driver; apparently she had tried (without success) to sell some of his stuff, including a complete Greyhound Bus driver's uniform in a "big size". We followed up this lead, even though it meant a hurried e-mail to Iver to postpone viewing his tapes on aerials and then dancing at Vienna Grille. The lead turned out to be true and I am beside myself with joy -- it fits like a glove! We stayed at a motel that offered cable and were able to see Stormy Weather, featuring Bill Robinson, Cab Calloway, and the Nicholas Brothers.

We heartily recommend the Central Pennsylvania area to folks who are looking for a fun getaway that is less than two hours from DC

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Our Trip to Shepherdstown and Martinsburg
By: Frank
February 18, 1998

Shepherdstown is not the kind of place that you would drive about 80 minutes to because you had heard of it. I had been there once when my company had a retreat at the Bavarian Inn (304-876-2551) and I liked the town although at the time I was too busy to see much of it. There really isn't anything famous there, although it is close to a lot of noteworthy places like the Antietam Battlefield and Harper's Ferry. This has kept it from being "Touristified". Apparently Shepherd College is enough to keep the town afloat economically, and there really isn't enough flat space in the surrounding hills to build a Wal-Mart, so the downtown is actually alive.

The city is a great place for walking around. There is a little stream that meanders through the city that is tightly encased in a stone channel, known as the "Town Run". periodically, the stream disappears and then re-appears. We have no idea about why this particular arrangement has evolved, but it is interesting because the stonework in the channel looks like it is very old. We were unable to spot any knowledgeable locals to determine the particulars of the Town Run. Another interesting part of the infrastructure are the two-foot high curbs. These are probably very useful when spring rains send torrents down the hills, but my partner remarked that these would generate lifetime incomes for accident lawyers here in DC

There is one vintage store, but it was closed on Wednesday. We spent some time poking around the city and liked almost everything that we saw. There is an upscale restaurant at the Yellow Brick Bank (304-876-2126), but they were closed for renovations. They have recycled the Victorian bank building into an interesting place; they even offer two guest bedrooms in what used to be the bank president's private offices.

The town does not want for eating places. We passed a pizza place that looked good, a Tex-Mex place, and a refuge from the non-yuppie past called Betty's Cafe. After some scouting, we settled on the Old Pharmacy Cafe (138 E. German St, 304- 876-2085). This is located inside an old pharmacy (surprise!) but retains a considerable amount of equipment from those days, including a marble soda fountain. The mosaic tile floor has survived intact as has the pressed tin ceiling and a lot of the dark wood display cases. So, while not an authentic restoration, the cafe was not a "fern bar" either. The menu offered a lot of options and nothing was on a bed of anything, so real people can eat there. They had a great chicken Caesar salad with lots of anchovies (on request); the soups were very good and their soda fountain delights were excellent. The prices were reasonable and service very good.

As part of my ongoing program to ensure quality of bakeries by eating lots of pastry, we stopped into the Shepherdstown Sweet Shop and Bakery (100 W. German St, 304-876-2432). We determined that the cinnamon buns are competitive with bakeries across the country. Get some of these to take home. We did.

Every small town has something that is "quirky". By this, we mean unique and unusual (but not offensive) and definitely not part of mass culture. Shepherdstown's quirk is the "Little House". Located on the campus of Shepherd College, this is indeed a Little House, about 10 feet on each size that looks like a quarter-scale model of a real stone house. You can look in the windows and see that it is fully furnished and imagine little people enjoying a thoroughly middle class lifestyle therein. There is a brass plaque on the side that indicates that it was built in 1928 under the direction of Professor Florence Shaw of the Home Economics department. We have seen the Little House. If you go, you ought to take a look at it and glory in the thought that a major corporation or a big- deal urban planner would never in all its days dream of constructing a little house. You will never see a little house on the campus of a gigantic state university with a ranked football team. We have to be thankful to Professor Shaw for something, but I can't say exactly what at the moment. Perhaps our readers will have some suggestions.

We left Shepherdstown with a good feeling and took a short drive to Martinsburg, which did not engender as much warmth. This city, like Cumberland, is falling apart. The downtown is devastated and it does not exactly give off the best vibrations. It is not that the architectural stock is bad -- in fact there are lots of very interesting buildings, but they are mostly vacant. The atmosphere is not threatening, just depressing.

We took a look at the Berkeley Count Court House and its elegant gilded dome. In the 1920s, Sid Hatfield was tried there for labor-related violence in the "Coal Wars" when he was the sheriff in nearby Matewan. He was found not guilty, but was assassinated by the Pinkertons as he left the courthouse. His assailants were never tried. American industry has all these skeletons in its closet...

The bright spot is the Olde Kilbourn Mill (616 W. John St, 304-263-2900). This is a very large antique mall in what used to be the Inter-Woven sock factory; this was the locus of a protracted, bitter, and sometimes violent strike in the mid 1940s. We believe that this was the very first place where the Taft-Hartley law was invoked, although we can't figure out how socks are vital to the nation's interests The company departed for the Far East long ago. The antique mall has a lot of dealers and we found some very good stuff. I got an autographed photo of Leo Carillo, who played Pancho on the early TV program The Cisco Kid alongside Duncan Renaldo. Although both Carillo and Renaldo were accomplished actors in Latin America and Spain, their legacy is the TV program and they will largely be remembered for choice lines like "Oh Ceesco!" or "Let's went!". This is likely to get me on to Bill Robinson and Shirley Temple, so it is time to move on.

Bargain hunters should take note: the antique mall is scheduled to close in March of 1998 --- something to do with lead paint or handicapped access. Look for big sales during March.

The rain picked up and we decided to head home. So, we give Shepherdstown an "A" and Martinsburg a "C+"

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Virginia Hunt Country:
Hamilton, Purcellville, Middleburg, The Plains, Marshall

By: Frank

Wednesday March 4, 1998

We spent the day in Virginia Hunt Country, mainly because we didn't want to get lost on the way to Marshall (VA) on Friday on the way to Ed and Heidi's dance. We headed to Leesburg from my partner's house in Potomac and got our "$3 river excursion" on the General Jubal T. Early, one of the last surviving car ferries in the region. (This is worth the trip, alone.)

From Leesburg, we headed about seven miles west on Route 7 to the small town of Hamilton, Va. Considering the rampant suburbanization of Loudon County, this is a lovely respite. Founded around 175 under the name Harmony, the name of the town was changed to Hamilton Store in 1826. The Washington and Old Dominion Railway brought prosperity to the town and by 1875, it was the second largest city in Loudon County. Boarding houses accommodated "summer people" from D.C. who were enlivened by trotting races and theatricals. In 1926, a disastrous fire gutted the commercial corridor and the town effectively passed into oblivion and became more-or-less a residential suburb of Leesburg.

There are several nice antique stores in the city, particularly The Pressman (it doubles as a print shop). Also, Village Antiques has a lot of high end china and pine furniture.

We had lunch at a small restaurant called the Wayside. This is a very unusual place -- it looks like a diner, but the food is simply great and ambiance is very relaxing. The owner has a very wry sense of humor. Outside, a chalkboard announced "O.J. to Join Starr Team". When you enter, a "radar toad" croaks your presence. He has prominently displayed a package of something called "Roadkill Helper". In a parody of "placemats as advertising", something called "Preparation Z" is advertised as a cure for thinning hair ("It shrinks your head so the available hair will cover it.") The smoked chicken salad at $7.25 is out of this world. The coffee is very good and the desserts looked just great. The owner has the definitive collection of "Poker Playing Dogs" pictures (why does the name of the artist elude me?) This is a very comfortable place to enjoy lunch or dinner. Nothing is on a bed of anything.

We made our way along Route 7 to Purcellville, a town founded in 1756. Many of the fine Victorian homes that are abundant here started out as log cabins. With prosperity in the 1840s, the original log structures were expanded and resurfaced to create the gothic and Italianate structures which can be seen today. The visitor center has a copy of the minutes of a town meeting in 1861 when the residents voted to secede from the US by a vote of 82 to 31. There is also a copy of the town ordinance setting the speed limit at 8 mph in 1911. A fire destroyed most of the commercial sector in 1914. The town is now mostly residential and abounds in high-end antique stores.

We liked Clark and Palmer, 108 N. 21st St, (540)-338- 7229. Also Noni's Attic 148 N. 21st St (540)-338-3489 had an eclectic mix of furniture and accessories. There are nine more stores within walking distance of these two, but they are not open on Wednesday. There is lots of selection, but be prepared to pay for what you see.

We then turned south on route 726 for a very charming drive in the country. You should do this immediately, because we saw a sign advertising a farm for sale, indicating that it could be subdivided into 200 lots. Mall culture is gaining rapidly here, so hurry.

With a little jog onto Route 50, we wound up in Middleburg, the epicenter of Horse Country. Middleburg was founded in 1787 by Leven Powell; he purchased the land at $2.50 per acre from Joseph Chinn, George Washington's first cousin. He chose the name Middleburg because of the town's location midway between Alexandria and Winchester on the Ashby Gap trading route (now Route 50). Due to this central location, the town has always offered food and lodging. In the 1920s, wealthy people began to descend on this town for foxhunting and steeplechasing due to the excellent countryside surrounding the town. The town enjoys a reputation as "The Nation's Hunt and Horse Capital".

Everything there is so cute and SO EXPENSIVE. We looked at the celebrated Red Fox Inn and decided that this would make a lovely place for a Sunday Brunch -- say, if we won the lottery or the Nobel Prize or something. (Say, why don't they give the Nobel Prize for Lindy... oh that's Norway, isn't it?) The Red fox has a distinguished history. The Tavern was a meeting place for Confederate Colonel John Mosby and his Rangers; in the 1960s, President Kennedy's press secretary, Pierre Salinger, held press conferences there in the Jeb Stuart room.

I'd like to make up a historical marker honoring Oscar Wilde and surreptitiously plant it in the center of Middleburg, stressing his opinion of Fox Hunting ("The unspeakable chasing the inedible") OK, now the phone calls and e-mails from fox hunters will start to pour in... Lindy Week in Review is firmly on the side of the Fox! No subsidies for fox-hunting! Foxes are for Trotting, not for chasing!

From there, it was just a short jog down Route 690 to The Plains. This is another Hunt Country town, the home of the Late Jack Kent Cooke. The town is not as scenic as Middleburg, amounting to little more than a crossroads, dotted with expensive boutiques. We drove through town very slowly since my car has District plates. We should note that the various homes and estates were very beautiful and we like the stone fences. This really is a scenic trip.

Well, just outside The Plains is Marshall, a town on a human scale. We had coffee at Selma's restaurant on Main Street and everyone was very friendly. The food looked very good. We checked out the Marshall Community Center and the dance floor (aka a basketball court) looked pretty good. Marshall is really just a short hop off I-66, so you won't get lost. We got home in 40 minutes.

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Vintage and Thrift in the Shenandoah Valley
By: Frank
March 20, 2001

We had a really charming time this weekend --- we took a trip to New Market, Virginia to hear Jump Alley play at a local swing dance. The vintage shopping, food and accommodations were excellent Ė more about that later. The point is that there is a thriving Swing community in the Shenandoah Valley! There was a crowd of about 100 very friendly people who were having a wonderful time and took the time to make a couple of strangers welcome.

On the way to New Market, there is a whole string of little antique and vintage stores located on Route 11. Start by getting off I-81 at Strasburg and check out the gigantic Strasburg Antique Mall complex. Have lunch at the Strasburg Hotel Ė they have a dynamite buffet for about $7 per person.

Proceeding South on Route 11, your next major stop is Woodstock, home of Massanutten Military Academy. If you are not dropping off your problem children, you might want to stop into Walon and Smoot, one of the few remaining actual real live Drug Stores WITH A REAL LIVE SODA FOUNTAIN.

New Market Group
Walton and Smoot

Just around the corner from the drug store is the Enamuel Episcopal church. I took this photo just to show to Arnold Taylor. Great kidders, those Episcopalians.

New Market Group
They mean Business

Proceeding south on Route 11, you find Edinburg, which has a few small antique stores. If you didnít eat in Strasburg, you might want to check out Salís Restaurante (Italian) in the middle of Edinburg.

New Market Group
Lunch at Sal's
(l to r) Keith, Libby, Ellen, Frank, Karyn

Next in line is Mount Jackson, which has a very unusual establishment -- it is an Art Gallery and it is Duckpin Bowling Lanes. You will not see this anywhere else in the country

New Market Group
Art'n'Bowl

In Mount Jackson, check out three stores: (1) The Nostalgia Mart (Paper and advertising); (2) Even More Stuff (vintage clothes); and (3) The AMR Thrift Store, with its very interesting vitriolite facade, shown below:

New Market Group
Mt. Jackson Thrift Store

It was at this august Thrift Store that we found this magnificent Hair Dryer, straight from the 1960s.

The dryer
60s Hair Dryer

Just outside Mount Jackson is at the Meems Bottom Bridge, one of the few covered bridges remaining in the country, and at 200 feet span, the longest in Virginia. I can remember when these things were everywhere in Pennsylvania and it was a great thing to gun your motor and revel in the echo as you drove through. I also have memories of going through one of these on a Hay Ride. Does anyone have Hay Rides anymore???

Meems Bottom Bridge
The Meems Bottom Covered Bridge

Meems Crossing Bridge
Ellen and Karyn inside the bridge

Finally, you arrive in New Market. If you favor classic Southern Roadside Cooking, then you owe yourself a trip to the aptly yclept Southern Kitchen (540-740-3514). . They seem to be quite used to Swing dancers --- apparently, the locals like to get dressed up in vintage and have a pre-dance dinner there. They specialize in chicken --- and their fried chicken livers are among the very best that I have ever eaten. Also check out their china --- it is a Shenango pattern with Dogwood flowers. They also have a very, very good breakfast on Sunday morning. Best of all, even though you are in the relaxed charm of the valley in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, you can also get a copy of the Washington Post. There is plenty of good antique and vintage shopping in New Market as well.

New Market Group
Southern Kitchen

If you want to stay the night, we suggest the Red Shutter Farmhouse, located on a large working farm at the foot of the mountains, near the Endless caverns. The main house was built in 1730 and has a great history. Service and amenities were top flight for about $60 (540-740-4281)

Route 11 Potato Chip Factory -- On Route 11 in Middletown. 800/294-7783. Web site: www.rt11.com

Paper Treasures -- 9595 Congress St. (Route 11), New Market. 540/740-3135. Web site: www.papertreasuresbooks.com

Shenville Creamery and Garden Market -- 16094 Evergreen Rd., Timberville. 877/600-7440. Web site: www.shenville.com

Harper's Lawn Ornaments -- 2670 North Valley Pike (Route 11), Harrisonburg. 540/434-8978. Web site: www.harperslawnornaments.com

Virginia Quilt Museum -- 301 South Main St. (Route 11), Harrisonburg. 540/433-3818. Web site: www.shenadven.com/Quilt/quiltmain.htm.

Southern Kitchen -- 9576 S. Congress St. (Route 11), New Market. 540/740-3514.

Blue Stone Inn -- Route 11, Lacey Spring. 540/434-0535.

Shorty's Diner -- 1013 Richmond Rd. (Route 250), Staunton. 540/885-8861.

Wright's Dairy Rite -- 346 Greenville Ave. (Route 11), Staunton. 540/886-0435. Web site: www.dairy-rite.com

Blue Mountain Coffees -- 12-B Byer's St., Staunton. 540/886-4506. Web site: www.damnfine.net.

Zelma's -- 114 E. Beverly St., Staunton. 540/885-3966.

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Pennsylvania Tuscarora Foothills:
Greencastle, Mercersburg, Chambersburg

By: Frank

Wednesday February 25, 1998

Today, thanks to El Nino, we took a wonderful jaunt into the foothills of the Tuscarora Mountains in Pennsylvania. This is great country for vintage and 1950s collectibles, as the fad doesn't seem to have reached this far. The motivation for the trip was a return to Greencastle, Pennsylvania. In 1978, I was looking for a second home and spent a considerable amount of time scouring the countryside for the "perfect" small town. My criteria were:

  • It had to be alive and functioning
  • It had to have a Town Square with real businesses
  • It had to have interesting architecture
  • It had to be less than 90 minutes from DC

The search led to Greencastle, Pa which had all of the above plus a quirky town newspaper, the Echo Pilot. I eventually made plans to buy about 250 acres there that had six pre-revolutionary log buildings on them. The deal fell through because the seller could not establish clear title; I eventually wound up in Cape May, NJ.

So, today's trip was a return to Greencastle to see what twenty years had wrought. I am glad to say that the town is still alive. The Town Square supports a number of small businesses and the Echo Pilot still offers its unusual brand of commentary. There is some townhouse development outside of the city.

The Antrim House (104 E. Baltimore St., 717-597-8111) is still the town's Hotel and sit-down restaurant. The food is very good and they still retain the leaded glass from the place's previous incarnation as the McMillan House at the turn of the century. The dining room has, alas, been "remodeled", but the rest of the hotel still retains the original lincrusta.

If you go, you might want to stop into Clark's Rexall Pharmacy just to sit and chat with the owner about the plight of small towns. Also, you should take home some cinnamon buns from Wolf's Baked Goods (42 E. Baltimore St, 717-597- 2669). The Greencastle Antique Mall (Rt 345 , S. Washington St, 717-597-9198) is fairly large and has about 150 dealers.

To get to Greencastle from DC, take 270 N to Frederick, get on I-70 West to Hagerstown, take I-81 north to the Greencastle exit.

From Greencastle, we took Pa Route 16 west to Mercersburg, a charming city in the Cumberland valley in the foothills of the Tuscarora Mountains. This city, founded in 1750, is noted as the birthplace of James Buchanan, America's fifteenth president and the only president from Pennsylvania. Buchanan was also the only bachelor to be president. The city has a keen awareness of its history and a very large number of colonial-era buildings have been preserved, largely due to the Buchanan legacy. The principal industry of the town is the Mercersburg Academy, a nationally-known independent secondary school.

Most of the antique stores are closed on Wednesday, but we were able to visit Light and Shade (13 N. Main St, 717- 328-2965). We spent some time with the owner who has an unusual selection of merchandise. Other stores looked very good from the windows, so perhaps a weekend visit would be in order.

We made a side tour to Cove Gap by following Route 16 west from Mercersburg and hit the jackpot at the Cove Gap Community Thrift Store. We found a complete 1950s canister set in excellent condition for $1, several nice ties at a quarter each, and a large box of diner china. When I began to sort the plates to eliminate those with oxidation stains, the clerk said, "Just give me $1 for the box." We took her up on the deal --- application of bleach will remove these stains in about an hour.

From Cove Gap, we backtracked along Route 16 to catch Route 416 (north) at Mercersburg. We drove along this scenic two lane road for about 20 minutes, enjoying the bucolic ambiance. Route 416 intersects US 30 just west of a small place called St. Thomas. It appeared this hamlet had several very good antique stores, including a large barn that promised to be full of architectural relics. None were open on Wednesday.

Continuing east on US 30, we arrived at Chambersburg, a moderate sized city that seems to have felt the burden of the Wal-Mart. The center city looked very nice, but there was little or no business there.

On the other hand, there is the Molly Pitcher Waffle Shop (109 South Main St, 717-263-5479) which, with some agreement on our part, serves "the best waffles in the world". This place is a very well preserved survivor of the 1940s and those of you fond of this period will feel very much at home at either the counter or the booths. Best of all, they serve real Chicken and Waffles. If you are anywhere within a 30 mile radius of Chambersburg, you should stop in here.

Two blocks down main street from the waffle shop is a church thrift store. They do not really have a sign and I could not find anything with their phone number. But, we walked in and looked around. I found a double-breasted white dinner jacket (size 42) from the 40s that had no price on it. Gingerly, I brought it to the manager who looked at it and said," I'm going to have to charge you $3 for this." I did my level best to look disappointed. I asked whether he had anything else like this and he pointed to a barrel where he kept "Real Old Clothes.". I have been waiting to meet this guy for the last five years. I noted ties, suit coats, pants, etc. from the period 1930 - 1950 (in large sizes) plus more diner china! I offered him $10 for "all this junk" --- and he took it! Later, I found that my treasure included an unopened record of "Come On'a My House". Chambersburg was indeed worth the trip.

Just outside Chambersburg to the east is the Fayetteville Antique Mall, with four very large buildings located from 3625 to 3653 Lincoln Highway (Rt 30), (717)-352-8485. Our cursory investigation indicated that prices were reasonable and selection was high. Based on our experiences, we feel that the Tuscarora foothills bear much more investigation. It took us 95 minutes to get home from Chambersburg.

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