As of late, I’m a big fan of the back roads and by ways of California. As I’ve spent the summer exploring them, I’ve come to realize that I’ll always find three places on any of these lesser traveled roads – that would be wine tasting rooms, local food stands that serve as diners and antique/vintage shops.
The best thing about the vintage and antique stores I find is that they’re usually medium-sized to massive establishments that house amazing treasures. Who could resist searching the old saloons, airport hangers, gold rush brothels or mining buildings they occupy? – Definitely not me!
This weekend, I decided to head up the back road to Las Vegas, which is the historic Route 66. Off Route 66, there’s a town called Oro Grande. Blink Twice and you’ll drive right through it. In Oro Grande, you’ll find one feed store, one diesel truck gas station, two restaurants and antique stores and vintage shops.
Travel Tip: Gas Prices are high, there’s an ARCO right off the I-15 at exit 153 going into Oro Grande with reasonable prices. Don’t gas up until after exit 147 if you’re coming out of LA, you’ll simply overpay. Save the money for antiques!
In conversing with several of the shop owners, I learned that many of them had been in business in the area for 5-15 years and that business was always brisk, hence they stayed open seven days per week. I also learned that many of these shop owners have business partners that were long time friends or family members. If they had to embark on a buying trip (Canton in Texas and Quartzite in Arizona are big) or head down to the Rose Bowl or Long Beach, the partner watched the store. For a lovely day, here are the five shops I recommend you stop at:
Weathered and Treasured
Weathered and Treasured is brand new National Trails Highway/Route 66 drag; its owners have been in the business for a long time though. They’ve converted this old diesel truck repair and fueling station into a antique hunter’s dream. If you’re an interior designer, prop stylist or set designer, this place is worth the drive and visit alone. Their prices are competitive, you’re dealing with the owners directly and they’ll give you a great deal if you’re buying in bulk. You’ll get your margin for a client or be able to create that TV show set that’s simply next level with a visit here as you’re buying from a collection 20 years in the making. Merchandise seems to turn quickly so I’d say a quarterly or bi-annual visit wouldn’t disappoint.
Antique Station located at 19176 National Trails Highway was my second favorite. It’s been around a long time and the largest venue on the Route 66 stretch. It took me about 2.5 hours to really go through it carefully as it’s an antique mall with 30+ vendors that have very eclectic collections. With Antique Station, you’ll find everything from vintage clothing to collectible toys. You’ll find dishes, jewelry and all the chachkies you can dream of. As a interior design or entertainment industry professional, you’ll want to stop here too. You’ll find lots of outdoor salvage parts, great items to serve as props and more.
What’s also impressive about Antique Station is the amount of large furniture items you can buy. While their was limited midcentury pieces, I could find anything I wanted between the mid-1800s to 1940s with no issue. Dressers, wardrobes, beds, chairs and more are abundant here. There’s also a fair amount of cottage/shabby chic from people restoring older pieces that were probably unsalvageable as originals. Again, since we’re outside of LA, you’re not paying too much. Several smaller stores are located within this complex as well.
Silver Trails is located right next to the local feed store. It’s an amazing smaller place to visit. I met the owner and his kids who ran the place. While the footprint in here is small, it has a balanced selection of midcentury finds, industrial goods and really unique, one-of-a-kind items that I’d not find anywhere else. I picked up a lot of natural minerals, old gold mining cups and even an antique, claw foot piano stool that I’ve wanted forever – for under $100!
Again, if you’re a industry professional, stop in here as well, they had the most on trend items as noted in my recent post. They honor resale licenses as well. This group also does the Rose Bowl and Long Beach Flea Markets. They also specialize in Native American Jewelry, so if you can’t run to Arizona or New Mexico, this is a great place to look.
Linda Marie’s Enchanted Treasures
If you’re into shabby chic, primitive or just plain digging for awesome vintage, then it’s really important to stop by Linda Marie’s. This place is mostly outdoor and offers a very unique mix of products. What I liked most was the availability of parts – windows, doors, etc.– to create things with. They also had a strong collection of vintage bottle-ware and table top goods. There are several wild black cats running around so watch where you step as the sandy parts are clearly the litter box.
Salvaged and Tattered
Salvaged and Tattered is also new to the Route 66 vintage route. If you’re into shabby chic, Parisian style or upscale cottage, it’s worth a stop. Most of the goods here are new or quality reproductions of older items that fit this design style. There are however, some nice vintage and antique pieces sprinkled into the mix. The staff is delightful and they actually have some great dresses and vintage style undergarments.
History Tip: Oro Grande was established in the early 1800s when silver and gold ore where being mined out of Calico.
Happy Hunting, Roadtripping and Exploring!