At New Market, visitors enjoy old treasures

`Antiques capital' has lots of shops and charm

Trips

December 04, 2003|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Two hundred years ago, New Market was a stop on the National Pike, a resting place for travelers and their weary horses.

The Frederick County community boasted eight hotels and taverns offering food and lodging for the night as well as wheelwrights, blacksmiths and other travel services for that era.

At one time, the town was even home to two factories (making buttons and shoes), a tannery and a thriving agricultural community that regularly sent livestock to the markets in Baltimore.

With the invention of the automobile and the building of interstate highways, New Market could have just faded quietly away.

Instead, the town reinvented itself. The first antiques shop in New Market is believed to have opened in 1936.

Today, New Market -- home to nearly 20 antiques shops on an eight-block stretch -- is the unofficial "antiques capital" of Maryland and perhaps even the Mid-Atlantic region.

Travelers still stop here, making a quick exit off Interstate 70. Oftentimes, however, New Market is where they were bound in the first place.

Just about an hour from Baltimore, New Market is a great place to while away an afternoon or spend a romantic weekend.

New Market's cobblestone, tree-lined streets beckon at all seasons, especially Christmas. The town officially welcomes the holidays this weekend with its annual Old Fashioned Christmas Celebration from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The town Christmas tree will be lighted each day at 5 p.m., Santa will be on hand, and a live Nativity scene is planned. Carolers and musicians will perform. The New Market Garden Club will sell holiday greens at the Town Hall. And crafts and food vendors will offer their wares in two locations: at the town's volunteer fire department along Main Street and at the Grange Hall, at the end of Seventh Alley.

Visitors can enjoy complimentary cookies and hot cider in the hospitality center at the Masonic Hall, along Main Street. All of the town's antiques shops are expected to be open for extended hours as well.

Where to shop

Antiques Folly (105 W. Main St., 301-607-6513): Advertisements and articles from old Vanity Fair, Country Gentleman, Ladies' Home Journal and other magazines -- all suitable for framing; china in a variety of patterns including original chintz; and original and reproduction African-American photographs and memorabilia.

Finch's Antiques (122 W. Main St., 301-865-3926): The soothing tick-tock of many clocks hints at Finch's specialty. Sterling silver tea sets and utensils as well as crystal are also offered. Items for any budget downstairs include cedar souvenir boxes, old carpentry tools, antique daguerreotypes and linen napkins and table runners.

The Chair Loft Antiques (84 W. Main St., 301-865-1576): Need a place to sit? Wooden chairs in nearly every style with dining tables and sideboards to match.

Mr. Bob and Andrea's Antiques (52 W. Main St., 301-865-4222): High-end carved mahogany pieces dominate, along with sofas and loveseats upholstered in jewel-toned silks and damasks. Don't overlook the case filled with unique estate jewelry.

Tomorrow's Antiques (50 W. Main St., 301-831-3950): Learn to set a proper table from the friendly proprietors. They'll answer questions about the myriad items that are a mystery to most of today's diners, including salt cellars, butter plates, mustache cups and more. Lots of nice oak and other wood furniture in the back.

New Market General Store (26 W. Main St., 301-865-6313): A huge display of reproduction Old World glass Christmas ornaments, custom furniture from the Lawrence Crouse Workshop, a variety of lotions and fancy bath items as well as gourmet cooking mixes for every appetite; the General Store has a little bit of everything. Light fare in the rear cafe.

Thirsty Knight (7 and 9 W. Main St., 301-831-9889): Antique beer steins from Europe so beautifully crafted only royalty would dare drink from them.

Where to eat

Mealey's Restaurant and Wine Cellar (8 W. Main St., 301-865-5488): The "destination" restaurant in New Market, Mealey's does traditional American cuisine very well. The dining room is warm and cozy with a historic feel. Don't miss the wine list -- it received a Wine Spectator award of excellence this year.

Village Tea Room Restaurant (81 W. Main St., 301-865-3450): Have a spot of tea with a sandwich, salad or hearty bowl of Tea Room Chili. No dainty portions these, but save room for ice cream or the delicious Hot Fudge Brownie.

Staying the night

The Founder's House Inn (51 W. Main St., 301-607-6346): The oldest house in New Market, the inn was the former home of the town's co-founder, William Plummer.

The Strawberry Inn (17 W. Main St., 301-865-3318): Stay in a restored 1837 farmhouse right in the heart of town.

Getting there

Take Interstate 70 west toward Frederick. Take the exit for Route 75 north (Green Valley Road), New Market/Libertytown. Turn left (west) on Route 144 (Old National Pike). This becomes Main Street in New Market.

Information

Call the Town Hall at 301-865-5544 or visit www .newmarkettoday.com or www .newmarketmd.com.

For more regional trips, see Page 49.

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