Maine antiques
Photo by Tara Rice

The Four Maine Antiques Trails No Treasure Hunter Should Miss

From our July 2022 issue
Maps by MollyMaps

Seasoned collectors know: Maine’s reverence for history, abundance of old homesteads and estates, and generations of tourist traffic make the Pine Tree State an antiquing destination par excellence. With so much to comb through, where’s a picky picker to start? We’ve rounded up 40 of our favorite antiques stores, vintage shops, flea markets, and more, following four winding routes across the state. Treasure hunters, it’s road-trip time.

THE MIDCOAST

By Virginia M. Wright

Cabot Mill Antiques, Brunswick

Bigger than a football field, this former cotton-mill spinning room is neatly sectioned into 160 stalls and glass cases, each displaying a merchant’s idiosyncratic interests, be they rainbows of 1950s Fiestaware; salvaged drawer pulls, coat hooks, and cleats; framed copies of Maine town maps from 1880; or seashells, coral, and animal bones. The antiques mall’s neighbors in the renovated riverside brick mill include two restaurants. Fort Andross, 14 Maine St. 207-725-2855.

Trifles, Wiscasset

Helen Robinson is drawn to live-edge tables, cushioned swivel stools, and the clean lines of mid-century-modern design. Her husband, Matthew, who died last year, loved pottery from Roman antiquity, heavy and ornate 16th-century Spanish monastery chairs, 150-year-old tabletop cabinets with secret drawers, and the oak wings of hand-carved angels pulled from renovation waste piles outside churches in Europe. The couple’s different collections reside in two shops — hers a former livery overlooking the Sheepscot River, his a former bank with high ceilings and abundant light. Today, Helen gamely manages both, and if she’s busy in one, she may hand you the key to the other so you can let yourself in. 55 Main St. and 55 Water St. 207-443-5856.

Clockwise from top left: Newcastle’s Indian Trail Antiques goes in big for automotive history; saw display and more at Elmer’s Barn; welcome sign and exterior at Liberty Tool Company; Liberty Tool ladies lounging; Marston House, on Vinalhaven, has plenty of fabric goods. Photos by Mark Fleming (Indian Trail), Tristan Spinski (Elmer’s), Tara Rice (Liberty), and Greta Rybus (Marston).

Indian Trail Antiques, Newcastle

Charles Harris has amassed a large inventory of vintage Americana — merry-go-round horses, tobacco tins, art-deco jukeboxes, wind-up Buck Rogers spaceships, even a 1940s wooden telephone booth with coin-operated dial phone still intact. Antique motor vehicles, ranging from die-cast miniatures to pedal toys to the occasional real thing, are well represented, and the store often hosts car-club cruise-ins. Objects are organized by themes on four floors of a 19th-century red barn. 23 Indian Trail Rd. 207-586-5000.

Flea Market Faves

Serious collectors know that Wednesday is “antiques day” at Woolwich’s Montsweag Flea Market (6 Hunnewell Ln.; 207-443-2809). They arrive with dealers at 6 a.m., and by 9, they are gone — as are the best pieces. On Saturday and Sunday, junk peddlers spread their tables with the generational detritus of hundreds of Maine basements — furniture, tools, cameras, kitchen gadgets, dolls, you name it. Regulars come to chat up the vendors as much as they do to treasure hunt.

Sitting at the north end of Searsport’s antiques row, Hobby Horse Flea Market (383 E. Main St., Searsport; 207-323-6275) comprises six individually housed shops. Hobby Horse Antiques, the anchor store, has the largest and most diverse inventory, with goods arranged in three small attached buildings and on tables in the parking lot. Many items have been plucked from Maine homes, barns, and boathouses and include cast-iron pans, clay jugs, concrete planters, metal plant stands, kerosene lanterns, wooden lobster buoys, milk bottles, and shed moose and deer antlers.

Laure Day has managed Liberty Tool for more than a dozen years. Photo by Tara Rice.

Liberty Tool Company, Liberty

Old tools have been awaiting new owners at Liberty Tool for 52 years. The first floor of this former general store is a network of rough-hewn shelves holding trays of drill bits, chisels, planes, and wrenches. Handsaws and hammers hang on racks, looking like sculptural assemblages. Some tools are genuine antiques, others are merely used and still useful, including many electric-powered drills, circular saws, and sanders. On floors two and three, hardware gives way to homewares, magazines, and books, though jars of nuts, bolts, and other bits and bobs, snagged from the workbenches of retired and departed DIYers, are scattered throughout. 57 Main St. 207-589-4771.

Antiques at 10 Mechanic, Camden

Peyton Place, which was filmed in Camden and neighboring towns, premiered in this former movie house in 1957. Today, it houses 20 antiques vendors’ booths, most with no discernible specialty. Dinnerware, glassware, ceramics, and jewelry are plentiful; the rest is an ever-changing eclectic mix of clothing, housewares, prints, posters, paintings, and some furniture. 10 Mechanic St. 207-236-6010.

Marston House, Vinalhaven

Sharon and Paul Mrozinski have returned to Vinalhaven island after another winter spent scouring markets in southern France. Their cache includes mid-century workwear and men’s linen and cotton shirts, as well as vintage pottery, ebony-handled knives, glassware, and corkscrews. Their signature goods are antique textiles, survivors from a time before fiber-destroying dryers. Their finds, almost all with a utilitarian past, are well suited to Marston House’s rustic interior. A former post office, the building was moved to the island from neighboring North Haven island in 1907. It sits on a bridge over the tidal falls between Vinalhaven’s working harbor and a saltwater pond. 18 Main St. 207-863-9033.

Through the Looking Glass

Courtesy of Michelle Provencal

“My favorite spot for a treasure hunt is Elmer’s Barn (107 Rte. 17, Whitefield; 207-549-7671). The adventure starts before you step inside, with the pickings filling the porch and spilling onto the grounds. Inside, I feel a bit like Alice following the white rabbit. Paths lead you from booth to booth, room to room until you come upon one of many curious staircases that bring you to another floor, and then another, each with more rooms and passageways through stacks of goods. From blueberry crates to travel trunks, furniture to fishing traps, candlesticks to sawmill blades, you will find almost anything (including your way out, eventually)!”

— Michelle Provencal, home-décor designer at Waldoboro’s Thirdlee & Co.


CENTRAL & WESTERN MAINE

 By Adrienne Perron

Cornish Trading Company, Cornish

Derek and Lindsey McIntosh stumbled upon Cornish Trading Co. last winter and fell in love with the place, which was then for sale. Five days later, they had it under contract. They plan to start hosting readings and live music but otherwise leave the 34-year-old business largely unchanged. Indoor and outdoor furniture, artwork, mirrors, area rugs, and hundreds of pieces of décor, all from some 40 vendors, occupy each of the 1864 Masonic hall’s three floors. At the start of each winter, the shop is emptied to make room for all-new merchandise the next season. 19 Main St. 207-625-8387.

Scout Home Finds, Bridgton

Donna Derstine moved her shop from Harrison to Bridgton five years ago to take advantage of the latter town’s bustling Main Street. She’s since blended some new items in with antiques and vintage merch, but the focus here is still on sophisticated second-hand furniture. When she’s not manning the shop, Derstine scours Facebook Marketplace and crisscrosses the state to find bureaus, benches, vanities, tables, and chairs, mostly in a preppy, cottage-y style — her aesthetic is L.L.Bean-esque, she says — which she repaints and refinishes before displaying them in her homey store. 150 Main St. 207-240-3544.

Clockwise from top left: international flair at Rusticators Emporium; at Cornish Trading Company, wall art to wooden elephants; curated stall at The Vault; Scandi prints at Scout. Photos by Dave Dostie (Rusticators, Vault), Danielle Sykes (Cornish Trading Company), and Benjamin Williamson (Scout).

Route 26 Antiques, Oxford

Part flea market and part antiques shop, Route 26 is nothing if not eclectic: we recently eyeballed a $75 electric guitar, a handsome 1946 tube radio for $550, and a few $10 buttons from Nixon’s 1960 presidential campaign. And according to owner Keith McKinnon, the store has a lesser-known forte: outdoor gear. With the Oxford Hills’ history of small gear companies, like Paris Manufacturing Company, and the easy access to lakes and mountain trails, the shop is a natural place to find retro skis, toboggans, snowshoes, ice skates, fishing rods, and more. It’s why, McKinnon says, the store’s such a hit with folks taking Route 26 on their way up to camp. 1188 Main St. 207-744-0232.

Flea Market Faves

Since owners Ray and Lucie Bisson took it over seven years ago, The Willows Flea Market (345 S. Main St., Mechanic Falls; 207-345-7047) has expanded more than tenfold. Now, it’s the largest flea market in the state. One three-story and one single-story building provide more than 36,000 square feet for some 250 vendors, and it’s nothing if not diverse: Next to a booth full of sparkling vintage crystal is another selling aged wooden rocking horses and washboards. A 40-year-old radial arm saw is just down the row from a legion of Hummels. Sink some time into this gargantuan place, and there are great finds to be had.

Orphan Annie’s, Auburn

The first thing you notice is how colorful the place is. The ceiling’s full of vibrant light fixtures, the walkways are lined with cases of jewelry and ceramic figurines, and shelves of pottery and dishware glitter in the light. Dan Poulin has owned the shop for nearly 50 years and deals mostly in antiques from the 1920s through the early 1960s. Lately, he says, he’s noticed younger shoppers drawn in by his vases made from vaseline glass, a uranium glass that glows a yellowish green when flashed with a black light. “I think it talks back to them,” he says. 96 Court St. 207-782-0638.

Freckle Salvage Company, Winthrop

Two dozen vendors’ booths feature everything from retro clothing to antique home décor and dishware to Maine-made art and personal-care products. The shop usually swaps in a vendor every couple months, and owner Nicole Stanford works one-on-one with each dealer to help curate their stalls and keep things fresh. Once a month, Freckle also hosts The Vault vintage market down the street (149 Main St.), where more than two dozen vintage and antique dealers set up flea-market–style, curating their booths to align with monthly themes (in July, it’s “Endless Summer”). 129 Main St. 207-395-5429.

Clockwise from top left: Lexi and Sam Joyall, at The Rusticators Emporium; Paul Cote, with vintage toboggans, at Route 26 Antiques; one of the eclectic displays at Cornish Trading Company. Photos by Dave Dostie, Cait Bourgault, and Danielle Sykes, respectively.

The Rusticators Emporium, Hallowell

Lexi Joyall moved her pop-up vintage market into this brick-and-mortar storefront last winter. The shop’s wide-ranging inventory fills up every inch of the place — even a closet is organized to display one vendor’s antiques. Highlights on a recent visit included an old post-office box with eight compartments for $120, various gardening tools for a few dollars apiece, an enormous birdcage for $375, and little paper grab bags that Joyall fills with mystery items and sells for $5. “We don’t aim to sell items from any particular period,” Sam Joyall, Lexi’s husband and co-owner of the shop, says. “We just want to sell fun things.” 151 Water St. 207-213-6679.

Modern Underground, Waterville

Tucked behind Main Street in Waterville, this furniture-focused antiques store lives up to its name. Visitors to the 3,800-square-foot basement shop are rewarded with hundreds of pieces of mostly mid-century-modern furniture — rosewood nesting tables, cool bar carts, sheep-shaped ottomans — all hand-picked and refinished by owners Lisa and Brian Kallgren. The Kallgrens also sell old-school turntables, speakers, and other audio gear and curate a smaller selection of lighting, art, dishware, and other vintage accessories. 103R Main St. 207-200-1290.

Novelty Act

Photo by Elizabeth Lobozzo

“I prefer antique shops that require digging, so the three floors of oddities at the Auburn Novelty Shop (122 Turner St.; 207-782-0638) are right up my alley. I once bought a bejeweled banana, an Andy Warhol reference, which I plucked from a basket of bejeweled fruit. I asked if I could just buy the banana and they let me, thinking it was hilarious. They’re old-fashioned here — to run a credit card, they call Orphan Annie’s, also owned by Dan Poulin, on a flip phone to process the transaction. There’s so much character in selling old things in an old way. Plus, everything is always half off.”

Jeff Roberts, New Gloucester–based architectural and interiors photographer


DOWN EAST

By Brian Kevin

Big Chicken Barn, Ellsworth

You’ll find plenty of the usual furniture, housewares, art, and collectibles — more curios and bric-a-brac than fine period stuff — in the stalls lining this 300-foot-long Route 1 landmark. But the second floor’s gargantuan collection of books (including rarities and first editions) and vintage magazines is what sets the place apart. That and the history: the 22,000-square-foot building once incubated tens of thousands of chicks bound for the poultry industry and has attracted treasure hunters and Acadia pilgrims (year-round!) since Annegret and Michael Cukierski took it over in 1986. 1768 Bucksport Rd. 207-667-7308.

Old Creamery Antique Mall, Ellsworth

Some 40 dealers fill two floors in this unassuming (you guessed it) former creamery a few blocks off Ellsworth’s main drag. The collections of kitchenware are particularly vast, with cornucopias of vintage Pyrex, shelf after shelf of high-quality ceramic and cast-iron cookware, and plenty of mid-century glassware. Also a great place to look for estate jewelry, old tools, and maritime knickknacks (lots of old buoys and glass fishing floats). Heads-up crate diggers: the vinyl collection is vast and impressively well organized. 13 Hancock St. 207-667-0522.

Top right: among the stacks at Ellsworth’s Big Chicken Barn. Surrounding: not far away, 1A Relics is an eye-catching landmark and a jumble of the precious and weird (complete with a creepy Stephen King bookshelf). Photos by Benjamin Williamson.

1A Relics, Ellsworth

From the minute you pull up to the oddball, turreted, many-additioned former barn — where, on a recent visit, life-size statues of the Blues Brothers looked down from a balcony on a phalanx of stone Buddhas and Sasquatches — it’s clear this place is embracing camp. Among the 130 booths, you’ll also find more pedestrian salvage items and household goods, but 1A is a particularly good place to spot that retro lunchbox you remember from grade school, weird toys and games you loved in the ’80s, figurines, sports memorabilia, zany folk art, and more. A pop-nostalgist’s paradise. 444 Bangor Rd. 207-412-0822.

Country Store Antiques, Trenton

The silo is the first thing to catch your eye, a few miles before the bridge over the narrows onto Mount Desert Island. Pull over and find wares from more than two dozen dealers filling up three pleasantly jumbled floors. Particularly ample are collections of basketry, ceramic kitchenware, and books, which owner and former librarian Vicki Landman has shelved by impressively narrow interests — e.g., engineering, prayer, health. Also, unexpectedly, a lovely wine selection on the lower level. 410 Rte. 1. 207-667-5922.

4 Main St. Antiques, Cherryfield

Lynn Smith and Richard Tompkins’s charming three-story store backs up to the Narraguagus River in tiny Cherryfield, a seemingly unlikely spot for a shop with a reputation for stocking excellent-condition 19th- and 18th-century European and English furnishings. Lots of lovely estate-sourced rugs, mirrors, frames, lighting, and other fixtures. Designers and decorators from around New England are known to pilgrimage here. Call ahead, as hours are limited. 4 Main St. 207-546-2664.

Digital Antiquing

Heidi and Zach Beaudry, of Ellsworth, curate the smart collection of mid-century home goods in their Etsy shop, This Attic Vintage, combing yard and estate sales (and many of the same shops on these pages). Danielle Filosa, of New Harbor, supplies Hollywood set decorators, but a lot of her goods — from vintage décor to rare books to country-rustic curios — are for sale at Filosaphy Home. Stacey and Neil Collins accept visits by appointment to eyeball Danish and mid-century finds they gather in their Falmouth barn, but their full inventory of furniture, dinnerware, and accessories is browsable on their online shop Vintage Modern Maine.

Ray Foster Antiques and Fine Art, Machias

You’ll find some nice examples of Early American and farmhouse-style furniture and hearthware in this downtown-Machias storefront (and sometimes spilling onto the lawn), which longtime dealer and restorer Ray Foster fills with finds from auctions, estates, and antique shows. Foster always seems to have a nice selection of nautical antiques — not just wooden buoys but ship’s wheels, barometers and other equipment, brass hardware, and more. Also, nicely framed art: mostly landscapes, vintage and contemporary, some of it Foster’s own. 1 Water St. 207-255-0686.

Clockwise from top left: regular-size chickens once occupied the Big Chicken Barn; 1A Relics has rooms full of metal and enamel signs; Danielle Filosa’s finds at Filosaphy Home might include scuffed steamer trunks, snazzy fixtures, or well-preserved toboggans; the Chicken Barn is the place to dig through preserved print materials; Chicken Barn pickax. Photos by Benjamin Williamson and courtesy of Filasophy Home.

The Clutter Shop Antiques and Vintage Desirables, Lubec

Sherry Evers-Jenkins runs this aptly named, single-dealer outpost and can hold forth on the provenance of what’s inside, which includes several shelves of exquisite china, a few racks of high-quality mid-century apparel, a gorgeous collection of colored-translucent Depression glass, lots of off-the-wall Star Trek memorabilia (Evers-Jenkins is a Trekkie — decorative Lieutenant Uhura plate, anyone?), and plenty more. A shed outside has larger items, including some nice antique stoves and lots of architectural salvage. 371 County Rd. 207-733-4733.

Decorous Detour

Photo courtesy of Loi Thai

“Not a lot of people know Mid-coast Fine Antiques of Maine, in Holden (641 Main Rd.; 207-843-7449). It’s between Acadia and Bangor. Francine Grant is the owner, and it’s just her — a large shop, not a multi-group mall, and she keeps that place spic-and-span. She’s an appraiser too, and every Thursday, she does free appraisals, if you want to bring your treasures in. It’s a great place for ‘brown furniture,’ with a lot of really nice period things: country furniture, 19th-century American furniture. I’ve seen some beautiful cupboards and secretaries, and I’ve purchased a couple of tables from her. Plus, the appraisal thing is just kind of fun.”

— Loi Thai, interior and garden designer, Tone on Tone, Castine


SOUTHERN MAINE & GREATER PORTLAND

By Sarah Stebbins

R. Jorgensen Antiques, Wells

Pam Jorgensen Higgins’s taste leans “painted-country,” while her brother, Ric Jorgensen, favors formal pieces. Together, they’ve filled five rooms, plus a barn, in the 1685 Cape their parents turned into an antiques showroom in 1971. Expect surprising juxtapositions, like a primitive 19th-century English cabinet, displaying 1800s Chinoiserie china and a hand-hewn, 19th-century Afghani wooden bowl, leaned alongside an 1870 gilded English slipper chair inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Descriptive, handwritten tags (one, dangling from a 1740 carved-oak English cupboard reads, “Note the early hinges!”) convey the siblings’ passion for their acquisitions. 502 Post Rd. 207-646-9444.

Antiques on Nine, Kennebunk

This shop’s red-shingled, lobster-shack-esque exterior belies the soothing mix of ivory- and blue-painted pieces arrayed inside, in room after whitewashed room. Recognizing that “brown furniture” isn’t always compatible with the coastal-cottage look her customers are after, owner Beverly Bangs refurbishes many of her antiques with Annie Sloan chalk paint. (A spiffed-up old bureau is a particularly wise investment, she says, as it’s usually better made than a new piece and half the price.) Interspersed are new, distressed furnishings and contemporary pillows, rugs, and ceramic lamps, as well as Bangs’s quirky collections, like early-1900s painted-wood pull toys from India. 81 Western Ave. 207-967-0626.

Top left: the porch is full of home goods at Antiques on Nine. Bottom left: find accents like antique wash basins and ceramic jugs strewn among the camp-friendly furnishings at My Sister’s Garage. Right: Decor and more at Portland Flea-For-All. Photos by Heidi Kirn (Antiques on Nine, My Sister’s Garage) and Michael D. Wilson (Flea-For-All).

Americana Workshop, Kennebunk

This 1820 post-and-beam Cape is filled with the antiques equivalent of comfort food: rustic Early American pine cupboards, dry sinks, and farm tables; painted decoys, trunks, and Windsor chairs; faded quilts. An attached barn houses reproduction furnishings made by owner/third-gen antiques dealer Cindy Hamilton in a nearby workshop, where she also restores antiques, builds custom pieces, and will refinish your purchase. Nothing here costs more than $2,000, and, on the day we visited, you could score a dozen charmingly mismatched ladder-back chairs for just $25 apiece. 111 York St. 207-985-8356.

Flea Market Fave

Though it’s open year-round (weather permitting), the Arundel Flea Market (1713 Portland Rd., Arundel; 207-985-7965) peaks in summer, when dealers arrange more than 200 tables beneath flowering trees in a small park. Many items come from estate cleanouts and range from mid-century art to blue-and-white transferware to Middle Eastern carpets. Sellers set up by flashlight as early as 3 a.m. and often pack up at noon, so plan an early start.

Bonny Read, South Portland

After seven years of hauling her vintage goods to various booths, Megan Abercrombie decided to consolidate her operation in a single shop in 2020. The resulting space, named after 18th-century female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, is a treasure chest for mid-century lovers. Graphic textiles and paintings, bamboo and rattan furnishings, sculptural lamps and swivel chairs, and brass and crystal candelabras crowd the petite shop — to the point where you could easily miss, say, the yellow directors’ chairs stuffed behind a carved dresser. Fortunately, Abercrombie catalogs many of her finds on Instagram (@bonnyreadvintage), so you can get the lay of the land before you shop. 87 Ocean St. 207-233-6110.

Portland Flea-For-All, Portland

Thursday evenings, Erin Kiley and Nathaniel Baldwin tease their nearly 22,000 Instagram fans with photo albums of fresh goods available for purchase when their shop opens on Friday. Buyers line up outside early, ready to claim mid-century Danish teak furniture, leather butterfly and club chairs, dhurrie and kilim rugs, metal task lamps, and portraits from as many as 40 vendors in the 10,000-square-foot, brick-walled space, built in 1881 as the first Shaw’s supermarket. By Saturday — the only other day the store’s open — things may be a bit picked over, but you can browse in peace. 585 Congress St. 207-370-7570.

My Sister’s Garage, Windham

Camp owners en route to Sebago and other nearby lakes stop in to siblings Sarah and Jenn Tringali’s vintage shop to peruse shabby-chic painted dressers, iron and wooden beds, and slipcovered chairs that rarely cost more than $400. Others place holds on items they spot in the Tringalis’ exhaustive Facebook albums, posted every Thursday at 8:30 p.m., before in-person shoppers descend on Friday and Saturday. But no one should pass up the chance to browse the fully decorated rooms inside the sisters’ 19th-century blue-and-pink Cape (or sample their mom Janet Pessolano’s complimentary baked goods). 610 Roosevelt Tr. 207-892-2268.

Salvage Love

Photo courtesy of Portland Architectural Salvage

Southern Maine shoppers looking to match historical materials on a restoration project, or add patina to a new home, have access to an embarrassment of architectural riches. Old House Parts Company (1 Trackside Dr., Kennebunk; 207-985-1999) stocks antique stained-glass windows, cast-iron kitchen sinks, carved fireplace surrounds, and all manner of hardware in an 11,000-square-foot freight warehouse built in 1872. Especially impressive: 3,000 doors, organized by number of panels. In a 1900 factory, Portland Architectural Salvage (131 Preble St., Portland; 207-780-0634) offers 20,000 square feet of reclaimed materials, plus conversation-piece furniture, like a carved Asian dowry chest and a vintage metal “root cellar.”

Pillars, Freeport

For 23 years, designers and homeowners have followed shop owners Larry Newell and Jerry Willmert to various locations in Yarmouth and Freeport. In December, they opened in their latest spot — a 3,500-square-foot, single-floor space chockablock with English, French, Italian, and Swedish antiques. Styles range from rustic (a pair of distressed circa 1900s glass-front French cabinets) to glam (resident pug Kooza likes to snooze on an emerald-green Art Deco velvet sofa from Europe — as does Newell). In back, an array of new lampshades are on hand to freshen up decades-old bases. 125A Rte. 1. 207-869-5164.

Dealer’s Choice

Photo by Jessica Beebe

“When you walk into Gurley Antiques (581 Rte. 1, Scarborough; 207-396-4255), it feels high-end, but there’s a relaxing vibe and a lot of variety. Owner Rachel Gurley and her brother, Josh, grew up in the business and run 25 antiques shows in New England. If you’re looking for something in particular, Rachel knows where to find it and what you should pay for it. Some things are expensive, but I got my coffee table made from an antique ship hatch for $125 and the vintage boat ladder in my studio for $36. Old portraits are making a comeback. ‘Edna,’ on my mantel, was $60 at Gurley. I don’t think I could ever sell her.”

— Erin Donovan, antiques dealer, Of the Sea Studio, Saco


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