Our friend, Jo, was celebrating a big birthday last year, and she likes to browse in antiques stores. We searched the web to find the perfect place to take her, a place with enough antiques to keep her happy, with terrific restaurants, and close enough for a day trip from Washington, D.C. The pleasant discovery was Frederick, Maryland. Frederick boasts having more than 200 antiques stores in an 8 square block area of downtown.
We had a great time last year and took home a few affordable “treasures.” It’s a beautiful old town, so, as Jo’s birthday rolled around this year, we agreed on a return to Frederick. Our first stop on a cold January day was the tourist center, conveniently located by the free parking lot. They helped us refine our day’s plan and map out our walking route. (You can drive, but walking the town is more fun.)
The first shop we stopped in was just a warm up – a few nice things but not exactly what we were looking for. Nearby, The Little Pottery Shop piqued our interest. Last stop before lunch was a captivating place, Great Stuff by Paul. We stayed for a long time, enjoying the artfully displayed collections.
Last year we lunched at Isabella’s Taverna, and the tapas were wonderful. A particular standout was the asparagus “fries” with smoked tomato aioli. We had to order them again this year. The waiter served several dishes but we turned our full attention to the asparagus “fries” and ate nothing else until we’d enjoyed every last morsel. They were as good as we’d remembered!
After lunch, we strolled down Patrick Street, stopping at a few shops. Terressentials has a number of beautifully selected fair-trade items. We easily found a few to purchase. All along Emporium Antiques was our true destination. Emporium Antiques is a huge place where dealers display their goods in small areas that flow endlessly from one to the other. Displays of maps are followed by punch bowls and linens followed by oak furniture and paintings, and on it goes. It’s really quite fascinating. Maybe it’s finding treasures and deals. Maybe it’s a good laugh over really awful stuff. Maybe it’s seeing things totally unknown to us. We happily browsed and were not bored.
By late afternoon, we felt more than ready to sit down to have a coffee and dessert. Café Nola was dimly lit and inviting. Its coffeehouse ambiance made us happy. Our experience at Cafe Nola was typical of everything we’d experienced throughout the day in Frederick: well done!