So I had a guest in town: C., a lifelong friend with a long weekend to kill. She had two requirements for her trip. First, we had to visit Niagara Falls. Second, we had to go to an auction.
So on Friday we headed to Kip Garris Auction Service in Middleport, NY. Although it’s not exactly nearby, this auction does boast refreshments including hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, and goulash as well as an assortment of offerings that could be described as a competitive yard sale in an antiques joint. C. returned victorious with a decorative metal star, soon to be spray painted. I scored several small tables for the shop as well as a grab bag of decorative metal wall sconces and mail holders, and a $2 cardboard box of assorted paperback novels (mostly sci-fi with a little Edith Wharton thrown in.) We passed on some seriously gorgeous furniture and assorted boxes of kitchen ware – and some impressively affordable cowboy boots, which were only available in men’s sizes.
Auctions are great because not only can you get a big box of assorted paperback novels for $2, but you feel this incredible rush of victory, like you fought for them (even though at that price it should be clear to you that I was the only bidder on that particular lot.) And also because the local gentlemen are impressed when two ladies carry three seriously tiny end tables one at a time to the car by themselves.
We also stopped by Lumber City Antiques earlier that day, and I finally picked up some cookie cutters. Two of them. And a very small Pyrex bowl. And some larger Pyrex bowls. Shhh. C. got a cute pie server and encouraged me to go for the bowls since she already had the same set and loved them. See why we’re friends?
For housewares, secondhand is the way to go. Old stuff is often cuter and sturdier than new things sold at the same price point, you’re usually supporting an independent local store, and as the woman manning the counter in Reimagine (amazing midcentury furniture and lots of unusual Pyrex) reminded us, it’s a very eco-friendly way to shop. And if you’re lucky enough to find something cool that was manufactured in your town or region, you’ll have a little bit of local history.
And before the Barnraisers’ bread workshop, we spent some time poking around in Rust Belt Books, one of my favorite used book stores. This is my haul. I always feel a little lame buying a recent buzz book, so Freedom got rounded out with a classic $1 videotape, a famous novel I should have read already, and an amazing tome I’ve been looking out for ever since paging through a friend’s copy last summer because sometimes a girl needs to be reminded of her inner Wild Woman.
I might or might not have a little bit of a book problem, but it runs in both sides of the family and I can’t fathom not being surrounded by piles and piles of reading material in my home. And being able to lend out books and support local bookstores is nice, although I should really just look into a library card.
I was glad that the weather behaved enough for us to shop on foot, and C. could return home with several material reminders of my adopted hometown as well as photos and, yeah, the priceless memories, although her loaf of handmade bread got left behind and I forgot to make her sign that darn guestbook.