In the Granite State there are some great antique shops dotted here and there, but if you're serious about antiques, the place to go is Antique Alley, located on Route 4 between Concord and Portsmouth. There are over 500 dealers within 20 miles, making this one of the best antiquing experiences in New England. There's something here to suit every taste and budget.
In Northwood, New Hampshire, there is an antique store practically everywhere you look. To make sure you don't miss any, pick up an official Antique Alley map. As you might expect, the stores vary in terms of the price, quality, and selection of goods. Some stores, such as R.S. Butler's, offer a mix of furniture and small collectibles at reasonable prices. This store is painted fuschia, so it's hard to miss. Another wonderful store is Fern Aldridge Antiques, though is not officially part of Antique Alley. Stepping into this shop is like stepping back in time. The old barn houses a wonderful selection of primitives and genuine Shaker collectibles. If you're hunting for dishes, jewelry, or other small treasures, multi-dealer shops are a good bet. Joanne Swallow, owner of a group shop called Town Pump Antiques, describes her store as eclectic. "It's a fun place to shop," she says. "Antiquing is recycling at its best!"
One of the largest and most successful shops on Antique Alley is Sleigh Bell Antiques, which is housed in a huge yellow building. Deb Dolliver, the owner of Sleigh Bell, rents space on the main floor to dealers and showcases consignments on the second floor. Although it's a group shop, Deb is very particular about what comes in the door. She focuses on large, high-quality pieces, such as benches, bookcases, tables, and Hoosier cabinets. "I've had people from all over in here. Most of our business is out-of-staters," she says. Although Antique Alley is a destination in itself, it's quite common for travelers to stop in on their way somewhere else. And the nearby University of New Hampshire is great for business on Antique Alley, Deb says, since thousands of parents drive through on their way to see their kids.
Summer is most popular time of year for antiquing in New Hampshire. Dealers from all over the country pour into the state to take advantage of our tax status. But antiquing is also a great activity in the spring, especially when the weather isn't ideal for skiing. Keep in mind that some shops on New Hampshire Antique Alley are open only on weekends until April.
~Jenn for nhliving.com