Antiquing: not just a pastime for Grandma

By HANNAH MELTON | March 9, 2017

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COURTESY OF HANNAH MELTON Hampden’s antiques scene offers unique apparel.

Last weekend found me trolling Hampden’s antique shops for a solid two hours on the mighty quest to find Hawaiian shirts worthy of the newest Mental Notes.

This is a long-held tradition: When new members join, we all meet up bright and early, aka 10:30 a.m., on a Saturday and make a noble trek to visit the hipster little sister of Charles Village.

Most students are very familiar with Hampden’s quirky charm: The restaurants are a staple in any Hopkins kid’s rotation.

However, I’m sure that many of us have been wary of the pricey shopping scene on the Avenue. But duck into some of the antique shops, on or just off the Avenue, and you’ll find a plethora of fun and affordable items.

In two hours, we meandered through five stores, all of which sold some sort of antique or second-hand item.

If you’re going down the Avenue from the south (as in, walking in from campus), here’s the order you should hit ‘em up.

First up is Whatnots Antiques. On the left side of the Avenue, on the same block as the Charmery, Whatnots is the prototypical antique shop: lots of china, old hats and cool prints from the ‘50s.

The owners bring their dog into work sometimes, making it a fun shopping experience for those who miss their canine friends. Whatnots has neat little trinkets but is a little pricier than options further down. This is a place to take your history-loving relatives when they visit.

Continue down the same side of the Avenue, about four or five doors down, and you’ll find Milk and Ice. It houses both vintage clothing and decor. Find beautiful sterling silver rings, weird posters and great leather boots at fairly reasonable prices. Be sure to chat with the owners: They’re very kind and are happy to check in the back if you’re looking for something specific.

Back on the main road is Doubledutch, where you can find an array of vintage items as well as hip, newly made apparel. The accessories are great: I picked up some cute earrings and nice new sunglasses for $28 all together.

Speaking of killers, be sure to keep your ears open as you shop around. You’ll hear some juicy things.

As we perused the multi-colored racks at Changed My Mind, further down the Avenue on the corner of 36th Street, we couldn’t help but listen to the cheery regaling of a coffin recently found in the shop above — with the body still in it.

It was reportedly thought to be from the 1920s; When asked if it had been moved, the informant said, “Oh no! He didn’t want to be in the car with a dead body.”

Equally exciting? Sweaters, women’s suits and many other fine items were marked at 20 percent off. Get there before the sale ends (or another body is found).

Keep walking until the Avenue intersects and hits Falls Road, and then turn right. The Hunting Ground is housed in a gorgeous stone cathedral at the end of the block (past a funeral home — maybe that body won’t need to go too far)!

The Hunting Ground hands-down claims the best aesthetic and collection. Prices range from reasonable to more pricey. The Hunting Ground also sells an array of essential oils and avant-garde home decor, perfect gifts for that friend who already seems to own everything.

The Hampden crowd might lean toward the younger side, but some of the neighborhood’s best goods are definitely its oldest. Especially when they’re housed in a coffin under some floorboards.

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