York Road show: antiquing in Cockeysville

UP FRONT

More and more dealers bring treasures to Cockeysville. Anyone for a vintage jukebox, or some oyster plates?

April 20, 2000|By Gina Kazimir | Gina Kazimir,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

The antique mahogany dining tables are just magnificent. But then, so are the jukeboxes, Wedgwood tea sets, handcrafted pottery, art objects and vintage handbags. The problem isn't finding the perfect item, it's choosing among the treasures in the antiques district in Cockeysville.

Antiques district? In Cockeysville? Yes, you read that right. Whether you're interested in old furniture, old toys, old records or old rugs, Cockeysville has them and more. If you haven't paid a visit to Cockeysville in a while, you'll be surprised to see how much antiquing there is to do.

Residents from the areas around this northern Baltimore County community have been finding antiques in a few shops along York Road in Cockeysville for at least three decades. But recently, large numbers of visitors from outside the neighborhood have been discovering the area, too. The lure is a number of new vendors -- about a half-dozen in the last year or so -- which have joined the established dealers to create a strong concentration of shops in a small corridor.

Ruth Ann Brindley owns two multidealer shops in the district, Abundant Treasures and Brindley & Co. Antiques. She has been in the business for more than 30 years and is pleased to see the influx of new vendors.

"More high-quality dealers and merchandise have come in recently," she says. "I think there's more interest in antiques right now. With [the television program] `Antiques Roadshow,' people are more aware that antiques are a good value. You get more of a history and a mystery with them. There is more respect for the business and the people. It's a lot of work to find good-quality antiques."

With the growth in Cockeysville's antiques district, it may become harder yet for the dealers to find quality antiques, but it's easier than ever for customers to shop for those they do find. Almost all of the district's shops are open Thursday through Sunday, and many are open earlier in the week or by appointment.

The district, which is roughly bordered by Hillside Avenue to the south and Wight Avenue to the north, is not a match for the Frederick County town of New Market, which calls itself the Antiques Capital of Maryland, but it's still a real find. We recently spent a day in Cockeysville and found the choices for antiques and collectibles were astounding.

We started at the southern end of the district, visiting the two shops on the southbound side of the road first. The Polka-dotted Zebra (10717 York Road, 410-683-7200) was our first stop. Billed as featuring "cool stuff, art and antiques," it didn't disappoint. This small shop -- one of the newer ones -- has a selection of everything, from antique cookware to modern frames and funky paving stones. I found a great lidded pottery jar for only $6 that I gladly took home.

The next stop was Cuomo's Antiques & Interiors (10759 York Road, 410-628-0422). This shop, which has another branch on Howard Street in downtown Baltimore, has been part of the antiques district for 11 years. It's a beautiful place, filled with furniture, porcelain, silver and more. We loved an inlaid wood chest and the china services especially.

Crossing the street and heading north, we noticed the Ashland Cafe (10810 York Road, 410-666-3838) and decided to drop in. After all, you need fuel to go antiquing.

Open very early every morning, the Ashland Cafe is a cheery yet unpretentious spot for breakfast. After a cup of coffee there, we browsed in Abundant Treasures Antiques (10818 York Road, 410-666-9797), a 10-dealer shop that offers a bit of everything. Just beyond we found Brindley & Co. Antiques (10828 York Road, 410-666-7790), Ruth Ann Brindley's multidealer shop featuring wicker, textiles, mahogany and a bit of everything else. The antique wicker baby furniture and the Victorian gowns were favorites here.

Up the road a bit is John Barney's Antiques (10832 York Road, 410-666-5066), specializing in traditional mahogany dining rooms and accessories. This shop looks like a setting for a historic home, with graceful dining sets as far as you can see. Although the $5,000 price tag on the table we loved was too rich for us, the furnishings seemed well worth their price.

Next door we found more elegant items at the Pack Rat (10834 York Road, 410-683-4812), which features fine antique and reproduction furniture, mirrors, fireplace accessories, Kirk-Stieff silver, oyster plates and more. The silver services were incredible, and would be a perfect match for that mahogany table we loved.

Music in the air, specifically jukebox music, stopped us in our tracks and we had to go investigate. We found Jumpin' Jim's Musical Jukeboxes (10840 York Road, 410-666-5575), a funky collection of antique and new jukeboxes, pinball machines and records. Yes, real records. "Despite the rumors, vinyl is not final," proclaims proprietor Joe Bloodgood. "We have music back to the 1940s and even have the current Top-40 hits on 45s -- with picture sleeves."

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