Interested in antiquing? Join me on the vintage trail in Coastal Maine. You’ll learn all about how to navigate antique stores and thrift shops while having loads of fun along the way.

Antique dress form mannequin in antique shop with vintage file cabinet.

Let’s go antiquing and grab a lobster roll or two along the way.

Antiquing Meaning

Antiquing is a popular hobby and pastime for many people who enjoy collecting and appreciating items from the past. It involves searching for, evaluating, and acquiring antique and vintage items, such as furniture, artwork, jewelry, clothing, or our favorite home decor. If you’re interested in getting started with antiquing, here are some tips to help you navigate this exciting world:

  • Research and Learn: Before diving in, take the time to educate yourself about different types of antiques, their value, and market trends. Read books, visit museums, and attend antique fairs or exhibitions to gain knowledge and insights. Understanding the history, craftsmanship, and characteristics of different eras and styles will help you make informed decisions.
  • Define Your Interests: Antiques cover a wide range of categories and periods. Determine what interests you the most, whether it’s furniture, ceramics, artwork, jewelry, or something else. Focusing on specific areas will help you develop expertise and make your search more efficient.
  • Set a Budget: Antiquing can be a costly hobby, so it’s important to establish a budget and stick to it. Determine how much you’re willing to spend on individual items or per month. This will help you prioritize and make thoughtful purchasing decisions.
  • Establish Your Sources: Explore different sources, such as antique shops, flea markets, estate sales, online marketplaces, and auctions. Each source offers unique opportunities and challenges. Visit local shops and markets regularly, and consider joining online antique communities or forums to connect with fellow enthusiasts and gain insider tips.
  • Learn to Evaluate: Developing the ability to evaluate the authenticity, condition, and value of antiques is crucial. Study the marks, signatures, or hallmarks specific to certain periods or makers. Examine the craftsmanship, materials, and signs of wear. Look for any restoration or repairs that may affect an item’s value. If you’re unsure, consult with experts or experienced collectors.
  • Trust Your Instincts: While knowledge is important, don’t underestimate your own intuition and personal taste. If you come across something that speaks to you or intrigues you, trust your instincts. Antiques are meant to be enjoyed, so choose pieces that resonate with you and fit your personal style.
  • Have Patience: Antiquing is a process that requires time, patience, and persistence. Not every trip or search will yield a treasure. Be prepared for disappointment, and don’t rush into purchasing items that don’t meet your criteria or budget. The joy of antiquing lies in the thrill of discovering and finding that special piece.

Thrift The Vintage Scene at Cabot Mills Antiques Maine

Explore the vibrant world of vintage and thrift in Brunswick, Maine. Join us as we visit the top antique store and uncover unique finds.

Your Antiquing Questions Answered

What are the basics of antiques?

To be considered an antique, an object must be 100 years old or older and often artistically or historically significant. Vintage items, also found in antique stores, are considered to be 20-99 years old and usually more affordable.

How do I get good at antiquing?

Start out going antiquing with experienced antique shoppers. They will know all the ins and outs, such as what things are actually worth, fair pricing, and where to go to find good deals. I’m so grateful that I had my parents to teach me all they knew about antiquing.

Vintage furniture is always on trend. Both vintage furniture and antique quilts are not just a fleeting trend but are here to stay. Vintage pieces that tell a story are always in high demand. Architectural salvage, mid-century modern, and Asian antiques are also on trend.

Is Thrifting and antiquing the same?

Not quite. Thrift stores are known for selling merchandise inexpensively and usually are for nonprofits, or they donate their proceeds to the local community or charities of their choice. Antique shops are quite the opposite. The merchandise tends to be more expensive, and the shops are for profit. But you can still find great bargains antiquing.

Why do people go antiquing?

Many people enjoy antiquing as a hobby and enjoy it in their free time. The allure of unique decorative items that tell a story is often the attraction. Treasure hunting, collecting, nostalgia, interior design, investment, and the appreciation of craftsmanship are just a few reasons why people are passionate about antiquing.

Antiquing Near Me

I’d like to invite you to join me on the antiquing and thrifting trail for a few wonderful days in Coastal Maine. It’s officially spring, but we’re getting our first snowstorm of the season! So my heart was calling for a vintage shopping road trip to visit our home in Maine and my friend Molly in Maine.

The stores are reopening and restocking, and the crowds are at a minimum.

To find antique shops or markets near your location, you can use various online resources and tools. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Search Engines: Use popular search engines like Google, Bing, or Yahoo and enter keywords such as “antique shops near me” or “antique markets near me.” The search results will provide you with a list of nearby options.
  • Online Directories: Visit online directories that specialize in listing antique shops, such as or These directories allow you to search for antique stores based on your location.
  • Antique Associations: Check if there are any local antique associations or groups in your area. These organizations often provide directories or lists of their members, which can include antique shops. An example is the National Antique & Art Dealers Association of America.
  • Search for antique shops or join local antique groups. These platforms may have dedicated pages or groups where members share information about nearby antique shops and events. I use Facebook mostly, as vintage and second-hand shops use it as their premium way of communicating.
  • Local Events and Markets: Look for local vintage fairs, markets, or community events that feature antiques. These events often bring together multiple antique vendors in one location, providing a great opportunity to explore a variety of offerings.
  • Word of Mouth: Ask friends, family, or colleagues who share an interest in antiques if they know of any nearby shops or markets. Personal recommendations can often lead to hidden gems that may not be widely known.

Antiquing Principles

It’s nice, not necessary, but nice to have a few goals when you set out to go antiquing. It helps you stay focused and makes the trip more enjoyable as you set out to go vintage shopping.

You may enjoy the What is Thrifting and How to Get Started post.

Bargain Shopping

For instance, I have a vintage booth that I would like to restock for spring. Therefore, I will be looking for vintage pieces that are marked way down that I can resell. This is when thrift shops and Habitat for Humanity shops work best.

Antiquing New Hampshire

So, the first stop on my way to Maine is always the Savers store in Portsmouth, NH, where I look for items that I can resell at bargain pricing.

Savers Thrift Store


Check here for your nearest Savers store. It’s basically a thrift shop department store. It’s hit or miss, but I have found some really great bargains here. From vintage fur hats to dinnerware, you never know what you’ll find!

Have you ever been to a Savers?

Here’s a glimpse into what I found at Savers.

Preparations & Preparedness

  • Walk around your home and look for spaces you’d like to find antiques for. Make a list.
  • Prepare your budget, and know how much you would be willing to spend on a favorite find.
  • Have an agenda. Find your favorite antique stores and second-hand shops that align with your needs. Visit them all in one day or spread them out over days or weeks.
  • Head out on the trail with an empty vehicle so you won’t have to pass up that antique hutch or perfect piece.
  • Bring along a shopping cart, large bag, or other carrying solution, especially when antiquing at outdoor flea markets, vintage markets, or large antique malls. This will save you multiple trips back to your car, making your time antiquing more leisurely and comfortable.
  • Bring cash. Although most second-hand shops take credit cards, checks, or Venmo, cash is always king and will help you in negotiating your prices down. I suggest a minimum of $200.

Antiquing Online

Can you find antiques online? Yes, you most certainly can:

Auction ninja

You may enjoy my Guest Curation on Auction Ninja.

The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles

See our feature on the cover of The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles.

Country Sampler

Featured Story in Country Sampler Magazine

Do you have any tips or comments that you would like to add to these antiquing lists? Please leave them in the comments section below.

You may also be inspired by this Cottage Farmhouse Decor Trending Finds post.

Negotiating for the price you want

It’s always okay to ask for a lower price. Did you know that antique dealers expect customers to ask for at least 10% off, and that is standard in the industry, especially when paying with cash?

If a dealer needs to contact a vendor on your behalf to negotiate the price down, you are expected to then purchase the antique you negotiated if the seller agrees to your offer.

It also helps to know how long the piece you want to negotiate has been for sale. The longer it’s been in the store, the more likely you are to get a good deal for it. Get creative with your negotiations. Remember, antique dealers want to sell their pieces as badly as you want to buy them.

Vintage apothecary in antique store.

ApothecaryA Vintage Apothecary Cabinet Story

When I found this vintage apothecary at an antique shop in Kennebunk, ME, it was more than I wanted to pay. I noticed a missing drawer on the bottom right of the apothecary. I asked if we could negotiate using this empty drawer as my leverage.

Apothecary Drawer

They agreed to drop the price by 15% and made me a matching “dummy” drawer to fit into the empty space. It was a win-win!

Vintage Apothecary drawer

Antiquing Road Trips

Antiquing road trips can be a fun and exciting way to explore different regions, discover hidden treasures, and add unique pieces to your home collections.

  • Research Destinations: Start by researching different destinations known for their antique shops, flea markets, and vintage stores. Look for areas with a high concentration of antique shops or towns known for their vintage culture. Popular destinations for antiquing road trips in the United States include New England, the Midwest, the South, and the West Coast.
  • Plan Your Route: Once you have identified the destinations you want to visit, plan your route accordingly. Consider the distance between each location and the time you have available for the trip. Create an itinerary that allows you to spend enough time in each area to thoroughly explore the antique shops and markets.
  • Map Out Antique Shops: Use online resources, antique shop directories, and local recommendations to map out the antique shops and markets along your route. Take note of their opening hours, specialties, and any specific items you’re interested in finding. This will help you make the most of your time and ensure you don’t miss out on any hidden gems.
  • Be Flexible: While it’s good to have a plan, be open to unexpected discoveries along the way. Leave some room in your schedule for spontaneous stops at roadside antique stores or yard sales. Some of the best finds can come from these off-the-beaten-path locations. I’ll share how an unexpected spring snowstorm averted some of our plans.
  • Pack Essentials: Make sure to pack essentials for your road trip, such as comfortable clothing, snacks, water, a GPS or maps, and a camera to document your finds. It’s also a good idea to bring measuring tape and bubble wrap for fragile items you may purchase. Not all second-hand shops have these supplies.

Antiquing road trips are not just about the destination but also about the journey. Enjoy the thrill of the hunt, embrace serendipitous discoveries, and have fun exploring the world of antiques.

Arundel Maine

Antique Store Sign with Sale Sign

On this day, I headed up to Arundel, Maine, just north of Kennebunk, Maine. The night before, we received about 2″ of snow, so it was a little slow going up the highway. And the more north I went, the more snow had fallen. I made it just fine, but the unfortunate part was that because of the storm, many of the shops on the Route 1 antiquing trail were closed or had delayed openings.

Antiques USA was my first stop of the day. It is a large antique and collectible shop with over 60 vendors. I was mostly shopping for myself today, looking for unique coastal decor items that I could add to our Maine home. And they were having a large sale too. I found a few fun pieces, like a set of vintage trophy bowling balls

( because I loved the color), a cake stand to add to my Vermont collection, a few decorative architectural wall medallions, 6 antique dinner bowls for $6, and a vintage blue monogrammed tea towel. Unfortunately, the prices were a bit high overall, so I passed on quite a bit. I know my limits, and some of the prices were making me feel a bit uneasy.

Vintage tea towels on primitive Yoke
Primitive Yoke with Vintage Tea Towels on Bathroom Wall

Breakaway Designs and Antiques

So, I decided to press on down the road. Again, because of the weather, many of the shops I wanted to go to were closed, but to my surprise, one of my favorites, Breakaway Designs and Antiques, was open, and Paula rarely is this time of the year. It’s the cutest store if you ever find yourself in the area of Wells, Maine. But call ahead first to be sure she’s open.

They were in the process of restocking for spring, and the shop looked absolutely gorgeous. It was filled with trending neutral and gold furniture tones, lots of vintage globes, and greens for spring, and Paula had all her creative touches everywhere.

A Little Green Basket

On this day, I picked up this little vintage green basket that I’ll bring back to Vermont to decorate with. Here are a few ideas swirling around in my head for it:

Green Spring Wired Basket
  • Utensil holder for the porch.
  • Mason jars or glass vases with flowers.
  • Milk glass vases with flowers.
  • Drinking glass carrier.
  • Candle holder.
  • Dried flower holder.
  • Craft table storage.
  • Wine caddy.

vintage finds at home

Watch my video to see more of the day’s antiques

This day called for Bolognese

To complete the day, I stopped by Bitter End in Wells, Maine, one of the cutest area restaurants that we love to frequent. It was now pouring rain outside, and it was oh-so damp and cold. A bowl of their famous 9-hour bolognese was just what the end to a fine day of antiquing called for. No lobster rolls today…

Thrifting with the Gals Excursion

Thrifting with the gals can be a fun and memorable experience. Join me today as I meet up with my friend Molly at one of our favorite shops, Cabot Mill Antiques, in Brunswick, ME. Molly lives in Downeast, Maine, so this is the ideal destination for us to reunite.

Cabot Mill Antiques and Collectibles

A renowned destination for antique enthusiasts and collectors, this vintage store is situated in a historic mill building and offers a wide array of unique and high-quality antiques, vintage items, and collectibles.

The Cabot Mill complex is housed in a former textile mill dating back to the mid-19th century. The mill building itself holds significant historical value, adding to the charm and character of the antique shopping experience. As a visitor, you’ll explore the multi-level store, greeted with a wide selection of antique furniture, artwork, jewelry, silverware, pottery, glassware, and other collectible items.

Walk and shop with us around Cabot Mill Antiques:

Antiquing Downeast

Antique Haul

The joy of an antique haul lies in the thrill of discovering unique and rare pieces, each with its own story and charm.

  • My first find was two lamps made from vintage hurricane lamps. The shades were beautiful and in pristine condition.
  • Second was a vintage red flatware box with hand-painted silverware on the side.
  • Lastly, I picked up a marble slab to create a side table with for our Vermont living room. Learn all about my thoughts on marble accents in the Vintage Turkish Rugs: Elevate Your Living Room Design post.
Marble side table with plant and vintage decor in living room
Elevate Your Living Room Design

After a long morning of antiquing, we headed out to find some lobster rolls and to catch up. However, due to the storm earlier in the week, the entire town of Brunswick, Maine, was still out of power, except for Cabot Mill. So we missed our chance for a lobster roll at The Sea Dog and headed out of town to Molly’s favorite cafe, Wild Oats.

Molly in Maine found these fabulous botanical prints. Wait until you see what she plans to do with them in her bathroom.

Botanical Prints

Antique Lobster Mold From London

For those of you who saw this lobster mold over in my Instagram Stories, this is a vintage lobster mold from London. A decorative item used for molding or shaping lobster-shaped desserts or dishes. It is typically made of porcelain or ceramic and features intricate details to replicate the appearance of a lobster. These molds were popular in the past for creating lobster-shaped jellies or mousses. They are now considered collectors’ items and are often sought after by those interested in vintage kitchenware or culinary history. Now you know!

Antique White Lobster Mold from London.

Antique Showcase Displays

I feel like I need to address the locked antique showcases that you may stumble upon in almost all antique stores on this Antiquing 101 post. To me, they look intimidating. I may be wrong about this, but I rarely browse these showcases. Unless I’m looking for a unique, valuable, small, specific piece, I find these cases are home to high-priced valuables. Not always! But mostly… I’m not suggesting you ignore these showcases; I’m just saying this kind of antique shopping hasn’t been for me. Do you have any thoughts?

Antique Store Showcase Displays

Antique Painting

It’s been since last summer when I last went antiquing with Molly. At that time, I shared with her how much I loved finding and collecting vintage Montague framed sailboat prints for our home in Maine. The Clippers have really become a theme of our coastal vintage home decor.

The next day, at an auction she attended, Molly picked up this vintage framed print of “Fiery Cross” by Jon Schmidt to enjoy in our home. I am finally able to add it to our living room now, which, of course, has me changing the entire living room.

“Fiery Cross” Clipper Ship

The Fiery Cross was a clipper ship built in 1854. It was one of the famous clipper ships of the 19th century. The ship was known for its speed and elegance. The Fiery Cross was primarily used to transport goods, especially tea, between China and Britain. It had a sleek design with three masts and a sharp bow, allowing it to sail at high speeds. The ship was named after the Fiery Cross, a symbol of clan unity in Scottish history.

In Conclusion

Phew, it was a long week of antiquing. I hope you were inspired to plan your own antiquing road trip today. Whether you are a seasoned antique collector or a beginner exploring the world of antiques, antiquing can be a delightful and fulfilling experience. It allows individuals to connect with history, preserve artifacts, and enjoy the timeless appeal of these treasured items.

Antiquing is a journey of exploration and appreciation. Enjoy the process, learn from each experience, and let your passion for history and craftsmanship guide you. Be sure to follow along in our favorite blog series, Thrifting with the Gals, too.

Happy antiquing!

Gratefully Vintage

If you have any thoughts, comments, or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you. Please share in the comments below. And be sure to share this blog post link with your friends who are also vintage enthusiasts.

Do you have a flair for all things vintage, too? I would love to see and feature you in our Reader’s Showcase Series. A place for you to share and be recognized for your talents and passion for all things thrifting, vintage, and antique decor-related inspired by your time here with Dabbling & Decorating. Email me at

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One Comment

  1. Hi Ann! What a fun post! I had so much fun meeting up with you on Monday. It is always great to get together! Of course I need to head back to Cabot Mill for one more botanical…. And I thought I had too many!