If winter’s usual hibernation — now coupled with COVID-19 isolation — gives you a double whammy of cabin fever in the coming weeks, the antidote right up your alley might be antiques … and a road trip to Indiana’s Antique Alley.
“There’s never a bad time to antique,” said Beth Leisure, who, with her husband, owns and operates the National Road Antique Mall in Cambridge City, one of the stops on the Antique Alley trails. “People just want to get out and do something they enjoy,” she said. “We have a big store, so people can come in here and feel safe; they can stay away from each other.”
The mall houses some 85 dealers on two floors of an old five and dime store right on U.S. 40, which doubles as Cambridge City’s Main Street. Leisure said they’ve seen some of their best business in a long time after reopening following the initial pandemic closure last May.
“During COVID, a lot of people were cleaning their house, re-doing a room and are looking for that one piece of furniture — a chest or dresser or table,” said Nancy Sartain, leisure marketing manager at the Wayne County Convention and Tourism Bureau which markets Antique Alley.
Antique Alley is a hotbed of vintage finds and is one of Indiana’s most diverse antique destinations offering some 1,200 dealers along two interlocking loop trails. The trails leisurely ramble through six historic and scenic eastern Indiana and western Ohio counties. A variety of both small and large antique shops and malls offer a plethora of affordable treasures from the past.
Antique Alley Trail 1 — begins in Richmond and continues west on the historic Old National Road (now U.S. 40) through six towns to Knightstown. Then, it heads north to New Castle, east to Hagerstown and concludes in New Paris, Ohio, just northeast of Richmond.
Antique Alley Trail 2 — starts in Richmond and continues north to Winchester, Union City, Farmland, and Redkey, before heading southeast into Ohio and running through Greenville, Arcanum, Lewisburg, and Verona, concluding back on the Old National Road at New Paris.
“Antiquing has always been a great wintertime getaway because it gets you out,” said Sartain. “It gets you going to different little communities and seeing what’s out there. You’re doing something that keeps your mind occupied, yet you’re able to keep your [social] distancing.”
Sartain said the best days to plan a visit are Wednesdays through Sundays. Plan on two days if you want to really explore the shops on either trail, and two to three days if you plan to venture along both trails. For more information, downloadable PDFs of trail maps and listings of shops, go to visitrichmond.org.