Chester, Long Valley and Morristown
Driving west along Route 24, the easy country road flickers with sunlight filtered through the lush green trees overhanging the passageway to historic Chester, established in the early 1700s.
The first stop, Chester Antiques Mall, is a real find for its farmhouse décor. The well-kept store has 18th and 19th century mahogany, cherry and walnut furniture, with loads of jelly cupboards and farm tables.
"I always enjoyed older things," says owner Bill Coggins. "Back when I was in high school, I had family in the antique business and I used to tag along."
Next up is Norma Jean Antiques, which occupies a historic building designed in 1810 by William H. Seward, Secretary of Defense for Abraham Lincoln. The shop is reminiscent of a miniature museum with many small galleries filled with antiques, art and a remarkable collection of Meissen (German porcelain).
Entering downtown Chester, Main Street is a quaint strip of gift shops, cafés, restaurants and antique shops.
A collection of pharmacy bottles fills an entire room at Pegasus Antiques. They're just a small part of the shop's assortment of miniature collectibles. It could take a lifetime to rummage through all of it, but who knows what you'll find? That's the fun part.
Before you leave town, don't miss Chester Antiques, which carries a vast selection of refurbished lighting from the late 1800s.
Just a few miles west of Chester is the village of Long Valley. Cottage Treasures is the only antique shop in town, but it's spread out among three buildings packed with furniture from 1750 to 1950.
"It's a very eclectic mix," says co-owner Paul Dorman.
Be sure to stop by other Long Valley shops while you're in town. Some of them have their own small antiques collections.
Heading back east you'll enter Morristown, known as the "Military Capital of the American Revolution."
On Speedwell Avenue is the pristine, two-story Richard Bevan Furniture, carrying imported English, Dutch, Chinese, Brazilian and Spanish antique furniture and reproductions. Downstairs, the walls are covered with reproduction tapestries imported from Belgium.
"It's the largest display of tapestry in New Jersey," proclaims buyer Claire Rolin.
Perched on the Delaware River, Frenchtown is spinning with cyclists enjoying a quick bite or a stroll along Bridge Street on break from touring the bike path along the river. Several vintage and antique purveyors are nestled in the dimple-shaped town center.
The barn-like exterior of Riverstone Farm is a sign of what's to come. The cozy shop is stacked with country-casual antiques, vintage home accessories and collectibles, vintage clothing and jewelry, and Victorian furniture.
"It's eclectic to help keep prices low," says owner Laurie Stone.
Two doors down is Ned's Furnishings, a sparse space specializing in mid-century modern and contemporary designs. Co-owner John Rae is a painter and master furniture-maker who sells his creations along with the vintage collection, which includes an elegant grouping of Danish furniture and Russell Wright dinnerware.
A stone's throw away is Brook's Antiques. The voluminous space creates a sense of casual grandeur. Its country-painted furniture, primitives, folk art and one-of-a-kind unusual pieces feel right at home; so does the owner's Scotty dog, who regularly takes an afternoon nap by the screen door.
Across the street, a collection of special scientific instruments such as telescopes, compasses, barometers and sun dials is contained in the high-end showroom of Philip W. Pfeifer Antiques, along with an inimitable assortment of antique wooden mannequins and nautical antiques.
Enjoying warm breezes off the Delaware, the distinctive antiques district of Lambertville is known as the "Antiques Capital of New Jersey."
Bridge Street is dotted with a canvas of shops selling old and new. Jim's of Lambertville specializes in Pennsylvania Impressionist and Modernist paintings. G. Evans Ltd. deals in upscale antiques and decorative arts. Head over to Karen and David Dutch Antiques to decorate the dining table with early 20th century porcelain and china tableware.
On Lambert Lane, enter the hidden Eden of Peter Wallace. Through the back door of the converted house is a peaceful oasis overlooking the river. This retreat is set aside for a large display of garden accessories, from the trickling sounds of water fountains to ornate iron planters, and sometimes a live band. Inside is a shimmering selection of chandeliers and lighting fixtures, among 18th and 19th century furniture and accessories.
The People's Store on Union Street - the self-proclaimed "friendliest shop in town" - is a three-story amalgam of antiques, fine art, silver and vintage apparel. The building has housed the center for more than 20 years. Dealer Jeannette Braam says she and any other dealer in the store are "happy to help customers and look for items, and call if they get them."
Just one mile south of Lambertville is the Golden Nugget Antique Market, which is open Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays year round. The market has over 60 indoor antique shops and over 200 outside dealers.
This tranquil city on the Navesink River is the casual antiquer's dream. West Front Street breathes life into the town's antiquing district.
"You could definitely kill a day" visiting all of the town's antique shops, according to John Gribbon of Monmouth Antique Shoppes. Gribbon's establishment is home to 40 dealers of all specialties and a particularly great collection of architectural items, primitives and chandeliers.
The Antique Center of Red Bank has three locations and stocks just about everything. Standout finds include an impeccable collection of Majolica, including some colorful oyster plates, Tiffany silver, superb vintage fur coats, cases and cases of estate and vintage jewelry, a corner covered with sheet music, fully restored Victorian hardware, 40-year-old Ivory Netsuke (small Japanese sculptures), porcelain salts and hand-painted pill boxes.
Nearby is the airy Riverbank Antiques. The showroom holds a large selection of shabby-chic-style painted furniture, among other classical pieces. The enchanting coy pond at the exit whispers the relaxing sounds of a waterfall, as if calling you to come back.
Off the beaten path are two stores not to miss.
Chez Marie deals exclusively in imported French furniture and is the only one of its kind in the area. The owner, Marie Badarani, once lived in Paris and Provence.
"This store allows me to live here and feel connected to there," Badarani says.
Chez Marie also has a fine-tuned range of 19th century European paintings by listed artists. With modest prices and impeccable furnishings, it's a store that's definitely worth your time.
A couple of blocks away is English Rose, supplying 18th and 19th century primitives, on up to '40s and '50s deco, with an extensive collection of chandeliers and lightning fixtures from 1860 to 1940 that have been cleaned, restored and rewired.
"That's our specialty," proclaims proprietor Ben Hern.
English Rose also refurbishes furniture with their in-house craftsman, a man named - fittingly - Woody.
"We don't use any equipment," Hern says. "We want to do it like the old craftsmen did it."
A Victorian beauty, Cape May is located at the southernmost point of the state and has a bounty of antique shops among the pastel-painted Victorian homes for which the city is known.
At the base of the bridge into town is Cape May Antiques, one of the larger antique centers in the area.
Nostalgia Shop is a mainstay in the Cape May Mall. Carrying "a little bit of everything old," the store sells furniture, china, glass and collectibles.
Olde Lights - Lamps & Chandeliers is the only lighting antique shop in town, according to salesperson Janet Wilsey.
If shiny little things catch your eye, Victorious Antiques specializes in estate and antique jewelry and has a gemologist on hand to authenticate each piece. SIDEBAR
Waterloo Antiques Fair, Waterloo Village Concert Field, Stanhope, off Exit 25 on Route 80, Advance info: (212) 255-0020, Day Of: (908) 813-8655. All exhibits are under a cover in case of rain. Admission is $6 for adults; children under 16 are free with an adult. Runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Warren County Antiques Show, Warren County Farmers' Fairgrounds, Route 519 in Harmony Township, (908) 475-6580. Runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Antique Show, Morristown National Guard Armory, Morristown, (973) 631-6277.
Dutch Auction Sales, 356 Swedesboro Ave., Mickleton, (856) 423-6800
S & S Auction, 62 Repaupo Station Road, Swedesboro, (856) 467-3778
South Jersey Auction, 26 Repaupo Station Road, Swedesboro, (856) 467-4834
Englishtown Auction, 90 Wilson Ave., Englishtown, (732) 446-9644
Chester, Long Valley and Morristown
Chester Antiques Mall, 427 Route 24, Chester, (908) 879-7836
Norma Jean Antiques, 484 Main St., Chester, (908) 879-8304
Pegasus Antiques, 98 Main St., Chester, (908) 879-4792
Chester Antiques, 28 Main St., Chester, (908) 879-4331
Cottage Treasures, 10 East Mill Road, Long Valley, (908) 876-1737
Richard Bevan Furniture, 22 Speedwell Ave., Morristown, (973) 984-3140
Riverstone Farm, 8 Race St., (908) 996-4840
Ned's Furnishings, 20 Race St., (917) 225-4845
Brook's Antiques, 24 Bridge St., (908) 996-7161
Philip W. Pfeifer Antiques, 17 Bridge St., (908) 996-0166
Jim's of Lambertville, 6 Bridge St., (609) 397-7700
G. Evans Ltd. , No. 8 Bridge St., (609) 397-4411
Karen and David Dutch Antiques, 22 Bridge St., (609) 397-2288
Peter Wallace, 3 Lambert Lane, (609) 397-4914
The People's Store, 28 N. Union St., (609) 397-9808
Golden Nugget Antique Market, 1850 River Road (Route 29), (609) 397-0811
Monmouth Antique Shoppes, 217 West Front St., (732) 842-7377
The Antique Center of Red Bank, 195 W. Front St. and 226 W. Front St., (732) 842-4336
Riverbank Antiques, 169 W. Front St., (732) 842-5400
Chez Marie, 101 Shrewsbury Ave., (732) 747-7257
English Rose, 197 Shrewsbury Ave., (732) 842-3309
Cape May Antiques, 1228 Route 109, (609) 898-4449
Nostalgia Shop, 408 Washington St., (609) 884-7071
Olde Lights - Lamps & Chandeliers, 678 Washington Ave., (609) 898-0661
Victorious Antiques, 251 Beach Ave., (609) 898-1777
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