Friday, September 21, 2007

'Shrooms and a Hat

With the weather being so great, and the dollar being so equal, it was time for another road trip. We'd been wanting to visit the Ontario Antique Mall, just outside of Rochester NY so off we went. They boast of a thousand dealers, and are in Farmington, NY. Just get off at New York State Thruway exit 44, drive three miles, and you're there.

We'd been warned to expect delays crossing the border at Lewiston NY but the delay was all of three long minutes.

An hour later we were parked at the mall and ready to go. It's a lovely mall, but mostly comprised of dealer showcases. Not much for me, mostly collectibles, glass and china, but enough jewelry and accessories to keep P occupied while I sat in the car and read.

We bought nothing.

On the way back we stopped at Clarence, NY. Hadn't been there in five years or more and what a difference.

A little back story first. The first time we went, almost thirty years ago, the busiest field was Hickey's. Truly a field, with a bunch of rickety dealer tables set out every Sunday and one small shack of building for those few dealers who didn't want to unpack and repack every week. Clarence Antique World was just a mile or so away and with better facilities eventually took most of the dealers away.

Hickey's closed.

Antique World expanded. Then there were partner squabbles, buyouts, non-competition agreements, then competing fields. This is all over a twenty year span or so. And all during the heyday of antiques mania.

There were two huge Extravaganza Expos a year in addition to the weekly Sunday offerings. It was fun then to be there shopping with flashlights in the misty, biting-bug ridden pre-dawn hours, and there were treasures to be found. Some dealers even packed up by 11:00 am not wanting to be around for the tire-kickers who'd show up after church let out.

During the Expos we'd sit with twice-a-year friends, play catch-up and feast on the chicken BBQ set up by Chiavettas. (We still buy their Italian salad dressing by the case).

And all good things must come to an end.

With the dollar then at at 1.50 or more and the creeping price of gasoline and 9/11 and the ease of ebay, we, along with a lot of other Canadians, just stopped going.

We still don't know how it is on Sundays, but during the week there are a number of building/group shops open and that's what we saw this trip. A lot of the same old, same old: some interesting things, some not so, but worth a look if you're in the neighbourhood.

And we were.

One thing we didn't do while we were in the 'hood back in the Rochester/Avon area was have lunch at Tom Wahl's.

That alone would have been worth the drive.
Especially the mushrooms. And the rootbeer.

So in the end what did we buy (and this includes a final stop at the Outlet Mall)?

Two Mighty Tacos (actually not too bad and pretty big) and a hat.

A very nice hat. And worth the trip.

But I'm sorry we didn't make it to Tom Wahl's.

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