Summer vacations are meant for relaxation, exploration and road trips. This year we did not get much of the former as we decided to explore; through a number of days trips and one very special weekend excursion. My most unique and interesting experience came from our trip to Allen, Michigan. Allen, MI boasts that it is the “Antiques Capital of Michigan”, sadly they are not the teacup capital. If it is within your means, Allen is definitely worth a visit. It, without a doubt, has a little something for everyone. It boasts numerous antiques malls, many within walking distance from each other. Surprisingly, we were able to visit over 100,000 square feet of antiques malls, all in one day. One grouping of antiques malls were clustered together in a charming Ghost Town-esque facade. We were pleased with the friendly service from all of the stores we visited.
Our trip began on Friday afternoon so we just barely had enough time to hit one antique shop on the way to our hotel. There was mad traffic and construction detours, not to mention rush “afternoon” traffic. It felt like hours of traffic, perhaps they should rename it to “rush hours”. We were happy to sneak into Odd Fellows Antiques just before closing time; where I picked up my Red Rose tea figures.
Saturday began with a wonderful breakfast and the 40 minute drive to Allen. The first stop was the Allen Antique Mall and all of its sister stores. We found the Royal Albert Chintz cups and hinges for a future project.
Afterwards, we made the short walk to their neighbour, the Allen Antique Barn, for more funky finds. I was happy to find the Jumbo Chintz Cup, enamelled heart and the Alice in Wonderland tea for one.
Time ran short after that, and we had just enough time for a quick visit to the nearby Hog Creek antique mall. They had some great items, but nothing I couldn’t go home without. In addition to the wide selection of antiques they also had a large section of vendors selling folk art and contemporary pieces.
After Hog Creek, we were famished, as we had completely forgotten to eat. We decided to experience our first drive-in at Coney Hut. It was an interesting encounter, and the deep fried macaroni was amazing.
For a late dinner we decided to visit the “Cheesecake Factory”. The food was ok, but the cheesecake was divine. The 90 minute wait was not worth it for the dinner experience. Get the cheesecake from the takeout counter, and go for a picnic; “afternoon tea” anyone?
Sunday we got an early start but we had to make it home at a reasonable hour. We decided to squeeze in one last antique mall. However, our first stop was a complete bust as it was closed on Sundays. Not to mention the traffic from Comerica park was unreal, a complete nightmare!! We made a quick change of plans and headed to Livingston Antiques Outlet, where I fell in love with a darling little panda figure & a beautiful Woodland Shelley.
Allen is a great place to visit, but you should plan to make it a two day trip. There were many smaller antique stores which we didn’t have time to visit. We would definitely plan another trip in the future.