Shopping Uptown

It was cold this weekend. I won’t say it was dreary but it was an excellent day to go shopping indoors.

There is a particular cluster of businesses in Uptown to whom I’d like to give a shout out. They are all right next to each other, not far from a parking lot (so you don’t have to parallel park if you don’t want to), and, if you’re lucky, there’s a restaurant open right next to them. Then we’ll round out the trip with a visit to Books & Crannies, our local independent book store.

Before we start though, I just wanted to mention to any who didn’t know that the Daily Grind has branched into donuts. I belong to the wine club there and had to pick up my December and January bottles. Naturally, I came home with donuts too. Pictured in the photo above are the Bacon Waffle, Salted Caramel, the classic confectionary sugar, and the Trashcan (so named because it is topped with whatever is left over from making the other donuts). They are all wonderful and substantial. I do not want to know about the calories.

Fido’s Finds & Kittie’s Collectibles
119 E Main Street

Fido’s Finds & Kittie’s Collectibles is entirely volunteer run and all the proceeds benefit the local SPCA. They are not normally open on Saturdays because it’s difficult to find volunteers to work on the weekends. They do have “basement sales” on weekends every now and again but that’s a completely different thing.

Jewelry at Fido’s Finds

Recently, Fido’s put out a call for more donations. Particularly furniture. Fido’s is essentially a thrift store but, after a recent move from a couple of storefronts down the street, they have become a great deal more upscale.

Table Settings at Fido’s Finds

The old storefront was quaint and significantly smaller. Now, they have room to spread out and really show off what they have. And they have some beautiful things.

Figurines at Fido’s Finds

If you have items to donate, they have a long list of things that they cannot accept. This list includes things like clothing, car seats, christmas trees, computers or computer accessories, electronics, exercise equipment, entertainment centers, big appliances, mattresses, pianos, or outdated media like VHS tapes or cassettes.

What they do have now are some really exceptional finds. Like this vintage Royal typewriter. And it’s sitting on an antique school desk priced at $75.

Vintage Royal Typewriter siting on a Vintage School Desk

Or this vintage “gentleman’s chair” that was on sale for $199.

Vintage Gentleman’s Chair on sale for $199

Normal business hours for Fido’s are Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 5. Keep an eye on their Facebook page for special weekend openings (like this one) and basement sales.

Pieces From The Past
115 E. Main Street
(276) 336-8812

Outside Pieces From The Past, there is a sandwich board that says “Always Buying Nice Old Things”. Inside the shop, owner Vince Reis operates Doctor Cane Chair Caning and co-owner Terri Reis meticulously researches and labels the oodles of antiques they have in the shop.

Doctor Cane Chair Caning

The displays here are gorgeous and they have an eye for what is colorful and pretty. If you are collecting a particular line of glassware, this is where I would look first. You can tell that they take pride in the things that they sell in the way that they are displayed and the prices are extremely good. In the Harlequin collection below, the individual pieces are marked from $3 to $8.

Homer Laughlin “Harlequin” 1937 – 1964

Everything is meticulously clean and cared for. Here, they have noted that the Oklahoma clay used in this Frankoma Pottery set gives it its unique color. I love the little extra that they are giving you in these displays.

In this Frankoma Pottery display, the coffee cups are marked $12 a piece, the taller cups are $10 and the bowl is marked at $22.

This handpainted Lefton tea set is absolutely gorgeous. The picture doesn’t at all do it justice because I’ve scaled it down for loading speed and storage space. In real life, the colors are bursting with vibrancy and the image is just as crisp as it can be. It was priced at $45.

Hand Painted Lefton Tea Set

There is much more here than just glassware. They have furniture. There was an antique bird cage for $40 and a nice bistro set in the window. They have antique books. They even had roller skate keys. If you are looking for quality, possible upper scale antiques at very good prices, this is your store.

Antique Books

Normal business hours for Pieces From The Past are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 11:30 to 2:00.

Junk & Disorderly
107 E. Main Street

Junk & Disorderly specializes in upcycled furniture and always has a selection available and more coming in. I don’t know how she finds so much.

But, beyond that, this store has every kind of antique you could possibly think of and some that I’m pretty sure that you can’t. Much of it is standard fare but, if you are good at farmhouse chic, this is a good shop for the antique milk can to use in a flower arrangement. I discovered this store last fall when I happened across it on a Sunday afternoon. This may be the only place open for shopping on Sunday afternoons.

This standing mirror was priced at $75 and ended up coming home with me.

Standing Mirror

Pro tip: come in and go straight to the back of the store, past the outdoor items and the home decor and the kitchen antiques. This area is where the kid’s stuff is but I always find something incredibly unique back here. I once found a huge doll house for $30. There was once an adjustable dress form for sewing. And I’ve already mentioned the mirror.

This time there was this guy. If I had grandkids, this would be in my house right now. Is it just me or does $32 seem incredibly low for something like this?

Antique Spring Action Horse

Normal hours for Junk & Disorderly are Thursday and Friday from 11 to 5, Saturday from 11 to 3 and Sunday from 12 to 3.

I wasn’t in luck with the restaurant this time. It was closed. So my last stop was to Books and Crannies, our local independent bookstore.

Books & Crannies
50 E. Church Street, Suite 4

The first time I went to shop at Books & Crannies, I couldn’t find it. The address is Church Street but it faces onto Broad Street. It was only because I took advantage of the big parking lot across the street that I eventually found the entrance.

I’ve been in many times since then and the owner, DeShanta Hairston, has always been extraordinarily helpful. She seems to remember me and my preferences and I’ve always enjoyed what she has suggested.

Books & Crannies Store Front on Broad Street

This time I had an idea. As I said previously, I belong to the wine club through the Daily Grind coffee shop and, although you always get a choice of wines each month, I’ve learned that I do better if I let Danny (the owner) pick for me. When he says a wine is outstanding, it really, truly is.

My thought was this: what if the book store could do the same thing with books? She seems to know me and my preferences and I trust her judgment. This could open me up to a lot of good books that I might not ever try on my own.

We tried a photo with the mask on but it didn’t come out well. We held our breaths for this one.

The owner wasn’t in but I decided to take the same chance on Rose, the lady who was manning the desk. She was reading Moby Dick and we got into a discussion on classics and I think I could be in good hands. I told her the last book I read and really enjoyed was They Both Die at the End. I think that may have gotten us on kind of a death theme but I’m alright with that because, since that book, I’ve reread Mort by Terry Pratchett and its sequel, Reaper Man. This is a fairly persistent theme.

Books & Crannies

So, I’ve come home with Under the Whispering Door and Piranesi, and a free advanced copy of Alice Isn’t Dead. I’m quite happy with my idea and her choices. I don’t know if I’m being lazy or adventurous. I haven’t read the books yet, so I could be wrong. The descriptions on Good Reads look fantastic though.

If you’ve heard the news that Books & Crannies may be moving, Rose reports that this is likely later in the year – possibly even next fall or winter. The shop needs more space and I know that I’ll love to see it grow but I’m a little spoiled by having easy parking right next to the store.

No one wants to see this gal attempt to parallel park.

Sunday Afternoon at Hamlet Vineyard

This is one of the best kept secrets I’ve ever seen. And it’s a secret from the locals, it seems. I’ve been there twice now. Both times it was sold out. The first time it was Labor Day weekend so I figured, holiday weekend. This past Sunday (August 7th)? Lobster rolls, apparently.

Hamlet Vineyard is up in Bassett, just a stone’s throw from Stanleytown Health & Rehabilitation Center, where my mom went to recover from a stroke. I was there every day and I never realized that there was a vineyard just down the road. Literally, within sight.

There is just a small sign on the left side of road and a long gravel drive leading off into the trees.

Driving into Hamlet Vineyards

I arrived only about a quarter of an hour after the 1 o’clock opening and the parking lot was already quite full. There is ample parking. It is all on mown grass.

I’m told that this rush always happens when lobster rolls are available and that was what I was here for. Salty’s Lobster & Co had brought them down from Roanoke.

There was still a line at the door

I think that the fireside seating and the picnic tables up by the vineyards are new since the last time I came. That time, I just gave up in the parking lot when people were coming back to their cars saying that there was no more seating.

The place filled up quickly. I didn’t dilly dally that much looking around but I missed my opportunity at the last table. I think other people are aware of the limited seating and do not waste any time getting seated.

Shaded picnic tables on the vineyard may be the best seats in the house

I wasn’t about to miss my opportunity here a second time so I ended up taking up a chair in the fire pit area. The chair was comfortable and the umbrella provided good shade. This seemed like more of a waiting area than a dining area but any port in a storm, right?

The waitress came and took my order and I sat and watched other late arrivals. Most decided not to stay. Two ladies from Greensboro and the lovely labradoodle, Willow, decided to brave the limited shade and joined me.

We chatted and had a wonderful conversation about all types of things. One was a physical therapist and one was a teacher. One was a single mom and the other, a fur mom. They had driven quite a ways for a day of wine and lobster rolls. Unfortunately, Hamlet had run out of lobster rolls. And it was really hot. Their day wasn’t shaping up too well.

We managed to keep Willow in the shade and two of the three humans. We were on the brink of rearranging their fire pit furniture to get all three of us in the shade when tables started clearing on the covered patio.

That made a huge difference. We all moved together and finished our wine and conversation in the shade. The covered patio, we noticed, has heaters in the ceiling for cold weather. They said that they enjoyed their day enough to come back. I hope so.

Tips for going to Hamlet Vineyard:

Get to the location early. There is a gate across the drive so get in line if you can. If you can’t, there is a drug store across the street where you can lay in wait for a good opportunity to get in earlier.

Try the sangria. It really is out of this world. They have a peach sangria and a pomegranate sangria. I had the pomegranate sangria and I LOVED it.

Budget to get a truffle a piece. They are $2.50 each but they are so worth it. They are made by local chocolatier Cocoa Trails Chocolates and I think they may be their best flavor.

Be persistent. This really is worth the wait.

A Rainy Morning in Downtown Madison, NC

This post is really about pictures.

Downtown Madison

I was at the 2021 Dan River Boat Race wearing a cardigan over shorts and a sleeveless top (it was supposed to be 80 degrees) when I got to thinking about the fru-fru coffees they sell at The Mad Bean in downtown Madison.

Beverage Menu at The Mad Bean

They also offer hot breakfasts or you can get a premade croissant or apple fritter.

Wrapped Pastries

Down by the train tracks, they have a beautiful building with a commemorative clock. I love the bricked up arches. I assume that those were windows back in the day. I have no idea what this building was.

The Madison Town Clock

The plaque reads:

The Madison Town Clock


A memorial to the men who served and died in World War I

Jim Vaughn, The American Legion and local citizens contributed to the purchase of the clock. The purpose of the clock was to serve as a local war memorial for those who served in the Great War. The clock is a rare number two striking clock with still operates by winding.

The Commemorative Plaque

The clock rang as I was standing there.

The Clock Face

Right next door to the Madison Town Clock is the American Legion. I think that this is an anti-aircraft gun.

An Anti-Aircraft Gun?

There is a beautiful old depot just across the street. Just as old rail trails are being turned into hiking/biking trails, old depots are being fixed up in some small towns and turned into tourist attractions. (We have one up in Bassett but I haven’t seen it open).

Historic Depot

But this historic depot is not empty. It is home to the GIA Distillery. Open on Fridays and Saturdays in the afternoons and early evenings. I’m not a huge fan of whiskey but it wouldn’t kill me to stop in and see what they offer.

GIA Distillery

My husband and I used to be very good about getting down to Madison to see new businesses. We loved Southern Spirits, an old fashioned downhome restaurant with fun specialty drinks to go with dinner. If there is such a thing as an American pub, Southern Spirits is it.

Southern Spirits

And now there’s another new place … Wine Nox. Check out their Facebook Page. It looks like they have a wonderful sitting area in the back and live music?

Wine Nox

Madison is just a pretty place. Even the local recycler’s building is beautiful on a rainy morning in August.

Just a Pretty Building