Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Carolina Mountain Treasure Hunting

I spent a very relaxing weekend with a few friends at my parent's mountain house in North Carolina. Podunk small town thrift stores are often rich in their bounty, full of vintage goodies, and at the very least amusing kitsch. I was with some fellow treasure hunters and we enjoyed two of the best stops in the North Carolina mountains. Be sure to visit these places if you're ever in the area! 


My all time favorite stop is in a little town called Sylva, at Dodie's
Dodie is an eccentric older woman in Peggy Guggenheim glasses who runs weekly auctions of her antique wares. 

During the week, the shop is open for browsing but it is set up more like your favorite grandmother's overflowing attic; racks stuffed with clothes, some funny not-so-vintage pieces but with the random old gem thrown in here and there! There are piles of boxes you are free to rummage through and shelves covered in shoes, hats, bags, you name it. 

Dodie will chat you up with interesting anecdotes about her past, her knowledge about vintage clothing, and occasionally some political babble if you accidentally steer her in that direction. (In addition to auctions, Dodie's is also home to the Republican Headquarters and Dodie drives a "Victory Van" complete with a graphic of her face on it).  

When you're done piling up your loot, she usually just eyeballs it and gives you a price that's better than thrift store prices. If you don't go to Sylva to experience Dodie's antique wonderland, at least pop in to the store to experience Dodie herself!


Uncle Bill's is another excellent stop but a world apart from Dodie's. Dodie is all about old glamour and class and general fabulosity, whereas Uncle Bill's is more about, um, southern mountain people heritage to put it delicately. 

Here you will find a long strip of flea market tchotchke as far as the eye can see. My parents hate this place because they think it's junk (which it kind of is) but junk can be so much fun! My friends and I all found some great stuff! 

There are plenty of throwing knives, confederate flags, religious inspired t-shirts, fried food, and even a small little tattoo booth! But thrown in the mix are also plenty of antiques. I went a little crazy for the costume jewelry.

Beyond shopping, it was so wonderful just to get out of the city for the weekend and to explore the area around the cabin. I took some pictures in an extremely old cemetery up the road. Many of the graves are worn beyond legibility but the dates on some place them as early as the Civil War. Some confederate soldiers are buried there as well as at least one ex-slave. His epitaph (which was obviously written by a white man) sang his praises by stating "A Negro with the Soul of a White Man." Ha! I wonder what he would have thought of that. 

Here are a few of the treasures I successfully hunted:

Vintage silk pajama shrug from Dodie's. Costume Jewelry etc from Uncle Bill's.

1930s/40s dropwaist sheer peach dress with lace. This was my favorite score from Dodie's.
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