Vintage fun & finds

North East day trip offers unique, antique treats

Ready for a road trip that’s also a trip down memory lane? Spend the day in North East, Pa.

Founded in 1794, the town is nestled along the shores of Lake Erie, near the New York state line.

The historic downtown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is home to numerous unique retailers, restaurants and more than a dozen wineries.

Start your day with coffee roasted in house at The Bean, 12 S. Lake St. and a custom decorated cake donut from Little Shop of Donuts, 45 E. Main St.

Then begin your treasure hunt.

Did you know North East has been home to a bike shop throughout its history? Check out a vintage model on display at Lake Country Bikes, 21 E. Main St. Today the store houses a variety of modern machines for all ages and abilities. Also in the same location you’ll find Tia Book Cellar, a new independent bookstore.

Truly, you never know what you’ll find at re.FOUND.ry, 14 S. Lake St. More than a dozen vendors offer a variety of vintage items, primitives, pottery and crocks, Depression ware, comic books and collectibles, and small and large furniture. Don’t miss the original watercolors and paintings, handmade clothing and steampunk lamps made from repurposed vintage pipes and industrial finds.

Speaking of art and pottery, local artist and potter, Bill Kirner, is in residence at The House of the Potter, 12391 E. Main Road. 

Meanwhile, Mark’s Coins and Collectibles, 9 E. Main St., offers a huge selection of rare and collectible coins, glassware and dishes, and so much more.

Just off the main drag near the Post Office is The Alley Shop, 5 Mechanic Alley. Don’t be fooled by its tiny entrance, the store offers room after room of treasures including jewelry, purses, clothing, home décor and a special Christmas room.

Down the road, the North Easterner Boutique & Emporium, 109 S. Lake St. is packed full of personality. Owner Don Bova curates the collection of thousands of second hand items that includes everything from kitchenware to vintage vinyl.

Next stop on the trip down memory lane is The Lake Shore Railway Museum, 31 Wall St. In the 1800s North East was home to the biggest depot in the region.  Today you can still watch from the original station as trains rumble by. The museum grounds feature a large collection of vintage and locally made GE engines and stock.

Nearby you’ll find Treva’s Trinkets and Treasures, 77 S. Pearl St., offering an ever-changing selection of furniture and home accents, all staged in amazing displays.

Ready for some bargains? The 4 N.I.N.E. Thrift Store, 49 Smedley St., has a huge selection of clothing, household items, books, furniture and seasonal décor. All proceeds go back into helping the community.

Meanwhile, Erie Bargains, 11 Clinton St., has screaming deals with new liquidated merchandise added weekly.

Across the street, LaRocca’s Menswear, 12 Clinton St., has been outfitting gentlemen since 1938. They offer Carhartt, casual and formal wear, shoes and boots all with old school customer service you can’t find in a big box shop.

Last but not least is the Interstate Antique Mall, 5446 Route 89. The large, multi-dealer store specializes in the rare and unusual and has a porch packed with items.

End your adventure with a sweet treat from Penny’s Candy, Dragonfly Sweets or The Straw Hat Sundae Shoppe all located off historic Gibson Park, where you can sit a spell under the 100-year-old oaks admiring the lady in the fountain statute, banners honoring local veterans, huge hanging baskets and art painted right on the sidewalks.

This article originally appeared in the Meadville Tribune.


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