One of Lexington’s many charms is its close proximity to many beloved European cities. Traveling by car, Lexingtonians can visit London, Paris, Versailles, and Athens in under two hours. What other American city can boast as much? Of course, I jest, but only a little. You really can visit all four of those cities from Lexington, but they’re of the Kentucky variety, not the European. Oh well, a girl can pretend, right?
This past weekend, I traveled to Athens, Kentucky (pronounced AY-thens in the Bluegrass state, y’all, not like AH-thens, Greece). Our Saturday afternoon destination was Athens Schoolhouse Antiques, which is a quick drive out Richmond Road from Lexington. As you approach, you’ll see what looks from the outside like an active elementary school. The sign identifying the Athens Elementary School still stands in the front yard, and it’s easy to imagine young children hustling around the front door before the school day begins. Although the elementary school has been closed for several years, the hustle and bustle remains constant with its new occupants, the Athens Schoolhouse Antique Show.
During the second weekend of each month, the old schoolhouse comes alive with many unique antique dealers and artists creating custom pieces. Admission is $2 per person for the weekend, and it’s well worth it. Under one roof, you can find everything from bourbon barrels to jewelry, china to vintage prints and maps, furniture to musical instruments, and much more — even an antique telephone booth! It’s easy to spend a couple of hours getting lost in all of the icons of times past. Among my favorite booths were those focused on repairing and restoring antique clocks and antique radios. I think it was the sounds that drew me in. The booth full of clocks all ticking at random has kind of a hypnotic effect, although I couldn’t help laughing to myself about how Captain Hook would react to those sounds. The booth full of radios was equally as interesting and made me think about how much America has changed over the last few decades – going from obtaining news only by gathering around the family radio to the 24-hour news networks we have now.
I also enjoyed looking through all of the vintage jewelry and china and seeing an artist create a beautiful painting of a woman’s portrait right in the middle of the show. One dealer in particular, Diane Mink, had an impressive collection of art deco rings that would make any girl swoon, and others had great collections of costume jewelry that would dress up any outfit. On the china front, multiple dealers had a wide variety of dishware and flatware in just about any style you could ask for. There were multiple sets of blue and white dishes depicting scenes of the country, and many others were a bit more formal with flecks of gold and silver. If only I had the room in my house, I would become a china collector. I love the attention to detail in hand-painted fine china, when the artist’s love of his or her works shines through in each piece.
What did I bring home from this weekend trip? I’ve been searching for some wrought iron fencing to use as an accent along a wall in our backyard. We found two perfect pieces at The Spice of Life Antiques, but we almost went home without them when we realized that they were too big for our car. Lucky for us, the dealers we purchased them from were kind enough to give us a great price on the pair and deliver them to our house on Sunday afternoon. Just that little bit of kindness and a perfect find for our home definitely ensured that we’ll be making the trip out to Athens again in the coming months. The fences don’t have a home yet, but once spring arrives, they’ll look perfect with a few vines growing around them.
If you’d like to go to a show, check out the upcoming show dates here. They also have plans for free lectures each month, which are listed here. I think the Vintage Derby Fashion Show in April sounds like so much fun!
© Copyright 2015 Amelia Adams