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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”