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On the Hunt in Virginia

Cradled by the Blue Ridge Mountains, Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley is a pastoral slice of countryside sprinkled with stately small towns and containing a trove of antique stores. There’s great antiquing throughout the valley, but the central part of the Shenandoah offers some of the best variety. In the towns of Woodstock, Harrisonburg and Staunton, you may just find that perfect heirloom piece you’ve been looking for (or maybe something unexpected you never knew you couldn’t live without).

Two blocks from the Shenandoah County Courthouse, in charming Woodstock, you’ll find Spring Hollow Antiques, a small shop featuring regional furniture and housewares. Most of the stock tends toward beautifully unadorned wooden pieces—simple cabinets, original-finish trunks—and crock ware, including Strasburg pottery, a Shenandoah specialty distinguished by its distinctive greenish-gray hue and blue painted designs. Six miles south of town is Richards’ Antiques, where for more than 25 years owners Richard Booze and Richard Bushong have specialized in what they call country furniture of a better sort. Their restored 1810 farmhouse showcases an impressive array of very fine antiques, such as delicate spindles, hand-hewn Windsor chairs and glass-front cabinets.

The owner of Burt Long Antiques has been buying and selling antiques since he was 10 years old; today he’s a renowned dealer of 19th-century furniture. Long’s collection includes stunning large mantelpieces, breakfronts, chests, sideboards and even an oversize back bar. (You can stop off at the Meem’s Bottom bridge on your way to Burt Long; it’s Virginia’s longest covered bridge and great for a photo op.)

In the market for a hand-carved Balinese daybed? How about a ballroom-sized chandelier rescued from a shuttered Richmond hotel? At the Luray Antique & Design Center, owner James Jennell says, “there’s something for every taste, from Louis XIV to art deco.” Housed in a former tannery the size of an airplane hangar, this 71,000-square-foot showroom is filled with one-of-a-kind pieces from every corner of the globe. Grab lunch in Luray at the Artisans Grill, a Depression-era deli that today serves sandwiches named for famous poets and painters. The Rembrandt—house-roasted corned beef and Thousand Island on toasted rye—is a favorite, as is the O’Keeffe, a vegan wrap filled with roasted seasonal vegetables and a sweet-pea hummus.

A few miles east of Harrisonburg you’ll find a modest roadside building that was originally a service station for Model T cars (and through the years a hardware store, a grocery, a pool hall and a church). Since 2007 it’s been home to Stumps Old Town Antiques, where two dozen vendors peddle farmhouse furniture (rustic pie safes, blanket chests) alongside Civil War pieces and historical political memorabilia.

When you’re ready for a shopping break, sample the suds at Three Brothers Brewing Co., a family-run brewpub and taproom opened in late 2012. Besides beers by the glass, Three Brothers offers tasting flights of five beers—the sour Belgian stout is especially good—and live music and food trucks on Friday and Saturday night.

Offering upscale cafés, hip coffee shops and offbeat boutiques and bookstores, Staunton is a postcard-perfect small town and a great jumping-off point for a day of antique shopping. Just to the north is the cavernous Factory Antique Mall, whose 240 vendors fill some 115,000 square feet. Shopping here can be like a treasure hunt: You may find an eight-foot-wide solid copper awning from 1880s Pittsburgh or Christmas nostalgia from the 1960s alongside serious collector furniture. The mall provided several period pieces for the film Lincoln and the Revolution-era Turn, on AMC.

In downtown Staunton there’s Sweet P’s, a recently opened shop in a converted 1920s auto dealership. Upstairs you’ll find a mix of antique furniture and funky vintage decor (anyone searching for an oil painting of James Dean?); downstairs is an artisans’ market featuring locally made crafts and jewelry. In the span of just a couple of downtown blocks are three antique malls with furniture, knickknacks and collectibles from dozens of vendors. Queen City Marketplace has three whole floors to browse on; at the Staunton Antiques Center you may stumble on a mid-’50s vending machine; 17 East Beverley has lots of great finds and a trippy clothes attic that feels like your favorite wacky aunt’s closet. For a mid-shopping snack, step into the Yelping Dog, an unpretentious wine bar specializing in grilled-cheese sandwiches. After all, you have to keep up your stamina: In this part of Virginia you never know if that perfect find is just around the corner.


17 East Beverley Antiques: 17 E. Beverley St., Staunton; 1.540.885.1117;

Burt Long Antiques: 3455 Old Valley Pike, New Market; 1.540.740.3777;

Factory Antique Mall:  50 Lodge Lane, Verona; 1.540.248.1110;

Luray Antique & Design Center: 2385 Tannery Rd., Luray; 1.540.742.1864

Queen City Marketplace: 110 W. Beverley St., Staunton; 1.540.213.0219;

Richards’ Antiques: 14211 Old Valley Pike, Edinburg; 1.540.984.4502;

Shabby Love: 80 W. Water St., Harrisonburg; 1.540.406.0077;

Shenandoah Heritage Market: 121 Carpenter Lane, Harrisonburg; 1.540.564.0642;

Spring Hollow Antiques: 322 S. Main St., Woodstock;1.540.459.3946;

Staunton Antiques Center: 19 W. Beverley St., Staunton; 1.5401.3241.2570

Stumps Old Town Antiques: 10279 McGaheysville Rd., McGaheysville; 1.540.289.6600

Sweet P’s: 800 W. Beverley St., Staunton; 1.540.280.0507;

Artisans Grill: 2 E. Main St., Luray; 1.540.743.7030;

Three Brothers Brewing Co.: 800 N. Main St., Harrisonburg; 1.540.421.6599;

The Yelping Dog: 9 E. Beverley St., Staunton; 1.540.885.2275;

NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.