Where to Shop for Antiques and Oddities on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Road trip to these auctions and stores for one-of-a-kind finds.

Antiques on Talbot | St. Michaels

English settlers were living, sailing and slurping oysters on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as early as the 1630s. Signs of those past lives dot the bucolic towns on the Chesapeake Bay’s Delmarva Peninsula, from the 1684 Third Haven Meeting House in Easton and the 1741 Pemberton Hall in Salisbury (now a museum) to rows of candy-colored Victorian cottages in St. Michaels.

Since it’s been inhabited for so long, it’s not surprising that the area bustles with antiques stores, vintage shops and a well-known auction house. They’re all repositories for treasures and trinkets left behind or passed along, and many are open year-round.

“It’s fun and relaxing to antique on the Eastern Shore, and I never know what I’ll find,” says D.C. resident Amber Petry, who furnished her weekend house in Oxford, Maryland, with used furniture and accessories from area shops. “I’ve bought country chairs with slats and whitewashed tables. And if you want duck decoys, this is your place.”

Goods are often cheaper and more unusual than what you’ll encounter on the mainland, and there’s a nautical flair to many items. Here’s our guide on where and how to hunt for furniture, jewelry and other finds, plus tips on where to stay and eat along the way.

Trumpeter Swan Antiques | Easton


In the tiny town of Crumpton, Dixon’s Crumpton Auction (2017 Dudley Corners Road; 410-928-3006; crumptonauctions.com) sells about 600 items an hour most Wednesdays throughout the year. If you’ve bought a farm table or midcentury modern lamp at a D.C.-area vintage shop, chances are it came from here. That’s because dealers up and down the East Coast snap up their stock at this auction.

“I’ve purchased a lot of odd items there over the years,” says Pixie Windsor, the owner of Miss Pixie’s vintage shop in D.C. “I’ve found diaries, X-rays, paintings by known artists and a collection of over 500 ceramic frogs.” The family-run auction business started in 1961, and locals, dealers and newbies all come for shopping and a show.

On any given Wednesday, you might see 1930s dressers, midcentury modern leather chairs, 1960s jewelry worthy of a Mad Men outfit and desert-hued Moroccan rugs on display inside and outside of the large barnlike structure. Auctioneers with microphones ride in golf carts or pushcarts, speaking in rapid, nearly musical phrases. It sounds like gibberish until your ears start decoding things.

Dixon’s Crumpton Auction | Crumpton

To bid, you register in the office and choose between concurrent auctions. In the back of the building, they’re selling off “smalls,” which, at a recent auction, ranged from a Ken doll-size statue of Christopher Columbus to enough vintage china to supply a dozen bistros. At the front of the warehouse and outside, there’s a mother lode of 19th- and 20th-century furniture. And in the afternoon, there’s usually a jewelry auction. The prices? They can be downright cheap; I snagged a pair of midcentury modern metal lamps for $40 (similar items on eBay are $400) and a dramatic carnelian stone dragon ring for $50.

Be prepared for heated bidding, with the pros communicating via nods and hand signals and in a rapid pace that could cause you to overpay or lose out on what you want. Still, Windsor says, “When first-timers bid and win the item, their friends and the crowd cheers. It’s a good-natured bunch.” And if competition makes you hungry, a Mennonite-run café on-site offers whoopie pies and good barbecue.


The Modern Bulldog | Easton


Easton’s 19th-century red brick buildings and retro storefronts make a fitting setting for a handful of antiques shops. Take Trumpeter Swan Antiques (35 E. Dover St.; 410-463-5805), where weathered nautical and sporting antiques include duck decoys, metal ammunition boxes and early 20th-century Outdoor Life magazines, their covers decked with Hemingway-like fishermen and guys in safari clothes ($17 each).

Nearby, Easton Antiques and Art Gallery (25 N. Harrison St.; 410-763-9298) offers classic to quirky pieces such as a dark wood Federal bureau, an orange glass Aladdin brand lamp from the 1950s ($195) and an authentic black bear rug, faux eyes gleaming yellow. Under the same roof, The Modern Bulldog (443-239-6668; themodernbulldog.net) traffics in midcentury modern cool. Proprietor T.J. Hindman stocks groovy pieces such as a 5-foot-tall metal whisk ($595), rainbow-hued 1970s Heller plastic dinnerware ($250 for a set) and Eames chairs galore. “Customers either grew up with this stuff and want it back, or they’re millennials and the good design appeals to them,” Hindman says.

On the outskirts of town, dozens of dealers hawk wares at Foxwell’s antiques mall (7793 Ocean Gateway; 410-820-9705). The clean, cavernous space is stuffed with fab aqua Atomic-era cocktail glasses ($32 for eight), wing chairs in multiple styles (a child-size model is $350) and an outsize vintage books section.

Oak Creek Sales | Royal Oak

Royal Oak

At eclectic, shabby chic Oak Creek Sales (25939 Royal Oak Road; 410-745-3193; oakcreeksales.com), dozens of wooden chairs are suspended from the roof and walls of a barn that’s seemingly overseen by a cowboy hat-wearing mannequin. The multibuilding, crammed-to-the-rafters vintage store offers up rusty garden urns, 1950s lamps, and old tomes like the unmissable Giant Book of Snakes. “Anything fun, funky or unusual will sell,” says Julie Andrews, the store’s buyer. “Plus, people love anything nautical—ship wheels, mermaids, paintings of boats.” Just expect to dig around a bit.

Guilford & Co. | St. Michaels

St. Michaels

Bistros, ice cream shops and preppy dressed locals throng Talbot Street, the main drag of St. Michaels, the Eastern Shore’s tony, historic town on the Miles River. Antique and vintage stores shine, too, particularly estate jewelry temple Guilford & Co. (101 N. Talbot St.; 410-745-5544; guilfordandcompany.com), where gleaming glass cabinets hold baubles ranging from Edwardian sapphire engagement rings to chunky gold chains from the disco days (from about $1,400).

A few blocks away, weathered wooden floors and a blue antique French canoe summon a minimalist, seafaring vibe at the newish 1 O.A.K. (202B. S. Talbot St.; 410-745-8032). Finds range from a vintage pine “Rum Runner” sign ($250) and broken-in leather club chairs to a 1920s cedar dog carrier with a built-in water bowl ($1,900). “You could put glass on top for a cool coffee table,” owner Joe Morton says.

The Gatz Home & Garden | St. Michaels

Other stops: the snug Antiques on Talbot (211 N. Talbot St.; 410-745-5208), with vintage oyster cans ($25 and up), granny-chic china cups and duck decoys; and The Gatz Home & Garden (1210 S. Talbot St.; 410-745-3700; thegatz.com). The Gatz, a direct importer, stuffs a 30,000-square-foot warehouse with French, English and Asian antiques, including castle-size armoires, gilt-trimmed French bed frames and nearly life-size religious statues. A vibrantly painted, 5-foot-tall plaster figure of St. George slaying a dragon dates from the early 20th century. It would look regal in a great room or dining space.

Trumpeter Swan Antiques | Easton

Tilghman Island

Over a drawbridge 11 miles southwest of St. Michaels, sleepy Tilghman Island feels like a place to curl up with a good read, maybe on a hammock or in a deck chair. Good thing that new and used volumes pack Crawfords Nautical Books (5782 Tilghman Island Road; 410-886-2230; crawfordsnautical.com), a circa-1918 red brick bank building with a tin ceiling.

“People ride their bikes here and stop for a novel or history book,” says Susan Crawford, who owns the shop with her husband, Gary. They’re offering about 9,000 volumes on sailing, fish and naval history, plus modern fiction. On a recent browse, interesting titles included Basil Lubbock’s 1921 The Colonial Clippers and a 1969 guide to canoe camping with a cryptic inscription that reads: “To Tim, in memory of a wild canoe trip and a great weekend, Sherry, 4/23/77.”


Limoncello | St. Michaels

If You Go

Where to Eat

Bas Rouge

Sophisticated European-meets-mid-Atlantic dishes—such as Maryland crab cabbage rolls and local tomato terrine—are served for lunch or in a prix fixe dinner in a white-tablecloth space with chandeliers. 19 Federal St., Easton; 410-822-1637; basrougeeaston.com


Blue-and-white tiles and bushels of faux lemons create a sunny vibe at this popular Italian trattoria, which serves panini, pastas and strong negronis. 200 S. Talbot St., St. Michaels; 410-745-3111; limoncellostmichaels.com

Scottish Highland Creamery

Scottish Highland Creamery | Oxford

At this wee local dessert favorite just off the water, traditional and unusual ice cream flavors (“Italian Lemon Cookie,” “Banoffee Pie”) headline. 314 Tilghman St., Oxford; 410-924-6298; scottishhighlandcreamery.com

T at The General Store

In a vintage country storefront, local ingredients are transformed into weekend brunch fare, happy hour snacks and inventive dinner dishes (think Nutella French toast or chai tea-rubbed roast chicken). There’s also an extensive tea menu and long wine list. 25942 Royal Oak Road, Easton; 410-745-8402; tatthegeneralstore.com

Two If By Sea

This breakfast and lunch favorite slings hearty fare, including eggs Benedict with fried chicken and a Chesapeake burger, aka a beef patty topped with crab. 5776 Tilghman Island Road, Tilghman; 410-886-2447; twoifbysearestaurant.com

Where to Sleep

Bartlett Pear Inn

This 1790 beauty in downtown Easton features seven rooms with colorful walls and plush furniture, each named for a different type of pear. Ask for the Bosc suite with its cozy working fireplace. Breakfasts here are homemade and focus on local ingredients. Rates begin at $149 a night. 28 S. Harrison St., Easton; 410-770-3300; bartlettpearinn.com

Inn at Perry Cabin

You’ll pay a premium to stay at this luxurious waterside inn with four restaurants, a spa, a pool, tennis and golf. But the scenic grounds, coastal-chic rooms (many with views) and pampering might be worth it. Rates begin at $333 a night. 308 Watkins Lane, St. Michaels; 410-745-2200; innatperrycabin.com

Wylder Hotel Tilghman Island

On 9 waterfront acres, find beachy rooms, a saltwater pool and on-site restaurants Tickler’s Crab Shack and Bar Mumbo. Bocce courts and kayaks add to the outdoorsy appeal. Rates begin at $116 a night. 21551 Chesapeake House Drive, Tilghman Island; 877-818-1922; wylderhoteltilghmanisland.com

Jennifer Barger lives in Washington, D.C., and is a design, travel and lifestyle writer. She’s on Twitter and Instagram @dcjnell.

Categories: Travel