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Gillian Graham

Gillian Graham is a staff writer for the Portland Press Herald. When she’s not digging up stories about York County, she’s out combing flea markets and yard sales for vintage Pyrex or taking photos of her cats.

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Posted: July 17, 2014

Your Route 1 antiquing guide: 4 treasure-filled shops you can hit in an afternoon

The 30 miles of Route 1 from Arundel to Kittery has more than 50 antique shops and is often described as the best hunting grounds for antiques in New England.

Written by: Gillian Graham

Think summer weekend mornings in Maine are perfect only for sleeping in before heading to the beach? Think again.

They’re also the perfect time for finding treasures along the best hunting ground for antiques and retro pieces in New England: the 30 miles of Route 1 from Arundel to Kittery. There are more than 50 antique shops along the stretch of Route 1, with the highest concentration along the north end of Route 1 in Wells. It’s enough to make an antiquing junkie swoon.

Overwhelmed by the choices? Use this guide to dive into the wonderful world of antiquing. Remember to arm yourself with comfy shoes, cash and a camera to Instagram the treasures you’ll spot along the away.

Gillian Graham photos

Gillian Graham photos

1. ARUNDEL FLEA MARKET

One of the best things about summer in York County is this outdoor treasure trove, where dealers line wooden tables with everything from antique farm tools to vintage comic books to bright retro gas station signs. Sundays are the busiest mornings, with as many as 250 sellers set up from pre-dawn to early afternoon. You’ll definitely want to swing by early, when the pickings are good. The flea market is on a large lot at the corner of Route 1 and Log Cabin Road, with plenty of parking and space for shoppers to peruse the tables. The dealers make this stop especially fun. They’re friendly, willing to make a deal and always ready to swap stories.

Remember to bring cash. There’s a playground for the kids and a food stand with tables and restrooms, making it even easier to take your time poking around. If you need a break from the sun, head inside Arundel Antiques, the store on the same property as the flea market, for two floors of antiques and collectibles.

Arundel Swap Meet (Flea Market) | 1697 Portland Road (Route 1), Arundel | Open mornings, seven days a week, year-round, although busiest on summer weekends | www.yelp.com/biz/arundel-flea-market-arundel

Gillian Graham photos

Gillian Graham photos

2. HARDING’S BOOKS, WELLS

Even people who aren’t wild about antiquing won’t want to miss a stop at Harding’s Books, which is basically heaven for book lovers. The 14 rooms (yes, 14!) contain more than 100,00 used, out-of-print and rare books on pretty much every topic imaginable. The shop, which has been open for 30 years, specializes in Americana, maritime and art books, but you’ll also find current titles and every book you remember from your childhood. The room of rare prints – think maps, magazine covers and illustrations – is always interesting to look through. As you wander through the maze of rooms, keep an eye out for Bear, the little black shop cat.

Harding’s Books |  2152 Post Road (Route 1), Wells | Open year-round, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week |  www.hardingsbooks.com

Gillian Graham photos

Gillian Graham photos

3. BO-MAR HALL, WELLS NOTE: BO-MAR HALL HAS CLOSED 🙁

Bo-Mar Hall, now in its 41st year, claims to be the one of the oldest multi-dealer antique shops in New England. The long, low-slung building has 8,000 square feet of treasure hunting, courtesy of 130 sellers. This year-round shop has more of a flea market feel, though dealers aren’t usually in the store. The best thing about Bo-Mar Hall? You never know what you’re going to find. The booths have a huge range of stuff, from sports memorabilia to glass milk bottles to vintage kitchenware (leave the Pyrex for me). Also awesome: there’s almost always a sale going on. Don’t forget to peak under the tables, where you might find a vintage typewriter, framed art or the exact lunch box you had in Kindergarten.

Bo-Mar Hall | 1622 Post Road (Route 1), Wells | Open 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. year round (closed Wednesdays November to March) | www.bomarhall.com

Gillian Graham photos

Gillian Graham photos

4. THE POTLUCK SHOP

As you drive down Route 1, you’ll see what seems like an endless number of antique shops, some in old houses, some in strip malls. But as you near the southern end of Route 1, you’ll find one of the most unique stops: the Potluck Shop.
The building – marked with a faded “antiques” sign – is a little rough around the edges, but packed full of colorful bottles, baseball cards, records and who knows what else.
Owner Jeff Franklin says it’s just a “good old-fashioned bottle shop.” Where else would you find a six-pack of glass Tab bottles still in their cardboard case alongside beer bottles and mason jars?
The back room is a jumble of, well, junk. But it’s a great place to pick through piles of dusty bottles, tools, records and magazines in search of a cheap treasure.

The Potluck Shop | 373 Route 1, York | Open year-round from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week

ALSO CHECK OUT:

R. Jorgensen Antiques in Wells, seller of period furniture from the 17th through 19th centuries | www.rjorgensen.com
Hutchin’s Antiques in downtown Ogunquit, featuring antiques and collectibles from 75 dealers | www.facebook.com/Hutchinsantiques
Chinchillas Antiques in Kittery Point, two floors of vintage furniture, nautical items and art | www.chinchillasantiques.com

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