In Lexington and surrounding communities, antique shopping is an activity that never, so to speak, gets old.
In fact, to visit all the antique shops in the area, you'd have to plan to stay a while. There are more than 200 antique shops, ranging from large multi-dealer malls to small specialty stores, ready to tempt you with old Kentucky cabinetry, quilts, imported furniture, Shaker items, Depression glass, collectibles - you name it!
There's enough great antiquing within Lexington itself to keep you busy for days. In addition, virtually every surrounding community includes at least a few antique malls and shops, so it's easy to combine antique shopping with general sightseeing. As a writer for The New York Times put it, antiquing in the Bluegrass is "a chance to unearth some great buys in American antiques and, in the bargain, enjoy some of the most beautiful rural countryside anywhere."
Such a deal! And while all Bluegrass roads eventually lead to an antique shop or two, here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Bluegrass Note: A large monthly antique show is held in Lexington. Athens Schoolhouse Antiques (859-255-7309) offers an astounding array of antiques and collectibles from hundreds of dealers on selected weekends year round.
In the RegionIn a state that's as antique-laden as Kentucky, it takes a lot of bravado (and old stuff) to call yourself the "antiques capital." Georgetown, 13 miles north of Lexington, backs up its claim with a number of antique malls and shops. One of them, Georgetown Antique Mall (502-863-1891), encompasses two buildings on Main Street and is open seven days a week. Also on Main Street: Heirlooms & Gretchens. You'll find stained glass, lamps, dollhouse miniatures and small antiques (502-863-2538). Peddler's Mall is a great source for flea market novelties as well as antiques. (502-868-6888). It's located at the Outlet Shopping Center east of downtown. Peddlar's Mall has ten locations around the state. In the Oxford Antiques District, five miles east of Georgetown on US 62 , you'll find Jarvis Antiques, in the Old Presbyterian Church . Call ahead (502-863-5193 or 502-863-3965).
Frankfort is more than just the seat of state government and home to the Kentucky History Center. It is also a haven for antique stores. You'll find an assortment of shops featuring classic collectibles. Check out Old Capitol Antiques at 231 West Broadway (502-223-3879).
In Woodford County, west of Lexington, several shops are found in Midway and Versailles . But what is perhaps the most well-known of all Bluegrass antique shops is found in the tiny community of Nonesuch . The term "shop" hardly describes Irish Acres, 4205 Ford's Mill Road (859-873-7235). You'll find everything from affordable whatnots to pricey museum-quality pieces on three floors in this 32,000 square foot former school building. Take the beautiful country drive Tuesdays through Saturdays, mid-March through December. You'd better pack a lunch - or, even better, make reservations to have lunch in the on-site tearoom, The Glitz (859- 873-6956). You have to see it to believe it!
Bluegrass Note: Wakefield-Scearce Galleries in Shelbyville, 47 miles west of Lexington via I-64, is a bit of the "British aisles" in the Bluegrass. Established in 1947, the shop specializes in imported English furniture, fine silver, paintings and objects of art. Sterling silver julep cups from Wakefield-Scearce are a popular Kentucky gift.
For more information contact VisitLEX, the Lexington Convention and Visitors Bureau, at (800) 845-3959.
By Teresa Day, a freelance travel writer based in Lexington, KY.
Updated May 2016