Treasure Hunting

Go west, shoppers, and you'll discover a historic city and its trove of antiques, gifts and fun finds.

Focus On Frederick

March 11, 2001|By Maria Blackburn | Maria Blackburn,Sun Staff

When former President Bill Clinton and his senator wife wanted to buy a few knickknacks (OK, $3,000 worth of knickknacks) for their two new homes several months ago, they headed to historic downtown Frederick.

When area antiques dealers and boutique owners are looking for that certain something to spice up their shops, many head to Frederick's dozens of antiques stores.

Well-heeled Washington types have long made the 50-mile jaunt to Frederick to search for original treasures in a city center filled with small shops.

Frederick's wealth of antiques stores make the city a haven for magazine stylists and dealers as well as weekend bargain hunters. There are traditional gift shops and galleries on East Patrick Street, antiques warehouses on South Carroll Street, and a burgeoning selection of newish boutiques and restaurants along North Market Street.

Here are a few ideas about where to start. We suggest you also wander along at your own pace and discover your own favorite places. (The numbers correspond to those on the map below.)

Great Stuff

by Paul

10 N. Carroll St.,


Paul Berkowitz isn't just tooting his own horn. His almost-10,000-square-foot warehouse is a shabby-chic treasure trove of excellent stuff from China, France, Canada and beyond. It's all packed floor to ceiling in a glorious jumble of baskets, carts, sleds and pots so cool and necessary for happiness that it doesn't even matter that you have no idea where to put them in your home and garden.

French enamel lunch pails, Dutch cake molds and English jam crocks share space with German antlers, European canes, 100-year-old German goat carts, galvanized washtubs, wooden clogs and Chinese mantel clocks. Berkowitz, who runs the 3-year-old shop with his wife, Joan, travels the world to collect this amazing array of items and wholesales it to dealers across the country.

"Everything I buy I think, 'What else can this be used for? Can this be a planter?' " said Berkowitz.

QVC uses Paul's stuff as props, and many of Martha Stewart's baskets come from Paul's.

Don't miss: At $8 apiece, bring home a half-dozen indigo, chartreuse and magenta Canadian sap buckets from the '30s and '40s to use as vases and outdoor planters.

Edward & Edward


35 S. Carroll St.,


One need look no further than the threshold of Edward & Edward to know that this store is a winner. In winter or summer, rain or shine, the eclectic selection of items outside this antiques store specializing in items for home and garden is a gold mine of home decorating ideas.

Consider worn wood benches for the porch, perfectly weathered bookshelves for the sunroom and pieces of iron gate in the garden. Venture inside and discover a wide array of pillars, wood spindle boxes and a jumble of iron gates, not to mention wooden corbels, shutters and rustic furniture. A new truckload of items arrives every Thursday.

Don't miss: A $22 Radio Flyer wagon planted with flowers would look perfect in the yard.

The Grapevine

117 E. Patrick St.,


Behind the red front door of Michael Mc-Crossin's historic rowhouse you'll find room after room filled with an intriguing selection of antique furniture and new accessories for home and garden: decanters, pictures, lamps, candles, candlesticks, all arranged in a cozy, homey way. Open the back door and discover birdhouses, planters and garden statuary that will have you pining for summer.

Don't miss: At $4.25 a bloom, faux tulips in red, white and pink help force spring along.


of Frederick

9 S. Market St.,


This feminine stationery and gift shop offers a wide variety of items -- from sidecar glasses painted with olives and flowers to color-your-own farm-theme picture frames. It's the perfect place to find gifts for a mother-in-law or new mom, or a little something for yourself that you didn't know you needed.

Don't miss: Decorated with delicately hand-painted chicks and flowers, Austrian eggs whisper spring at an affordable $7.50 each.

Brittle by Elsie

16 N. Market St.,


Just as coffee has become almost a religion in Seattle, candy is a necessity in Frederick. In between all that shopping, drop into Elsie Bills' brittle boutique for the smell alone -- a heavenly blend of butter, sugar and Karo syrup. Stay for the macadamia nut, cashew or chocolate- covered peanut brittle. You won't be disappointed.

Don't miss: Elsie's brittle sampler ($15.75 for 21 ounces).

Dancing Bear

Toys and Gifts

200A N. Market St.,


Toy maker Tom England always wanted to sell his creations at a store specializing in finely crafted playthings. So he opened one. You won't find Barbie, Buzz Lightyear or Baby Alive here. Instead, look for 3D wooden angelfish and dinosaur puzzle sculptures by Virginia artist Peter Chapman, cult favorite Tavern puzzles, wooden bucking bronco toy / folk art by Heritage Toys, children's books by Maryland authors, as well as such classics as cribbage and jacks.

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