Destin - While most in the antiques industry are familiar with the Asheford Institute having some deep roots along the northern Gulf's emerald coast, the beautiful sandy white beaches are not the only reason for the school's love of this remarkable and historic area of coastline, also known as the Florida panhandle.
For many, the "deep south" has always been associated with a slower pace of life, and an abiding respect for things and items from the past. From beautiful plantation homes to small historic towns that look like they haven't changed a day in over a hundred years, the feel and fit of South has always been a perfect accompaniment for those working in the antiques business.
Below, you'll find some of our favorite shops and markets along this coastline that we've visited, which we think truly make up the best-of-the-best when it comes to hunting for antiques and collectibles along the Gulf Coast.
From Navarre Beach to Rosemary Beach, we're listing some of the best places to spend a day looking for items from the past. While there are plenty of out-of-the-way locales to choose from, we've narrowed our choices down to a mainstream Top Five list...
1. Smith’s Antique Mall
As a natural successor to Clement's Antiques which operated for over thirty years beginning back in the 1970's, Smith's is now the longest running antique concern in the area and has been in business for over twenty-seven years. The twenty-five thousand square-foot building has more than a hundred quality antique booths with knowledgeable dealers and vendors at every turn. Higher-end items with prices to match.
2. Modern Antiques
Nestled in Uptown Fort Walton Beach in Cinco Bayou, Modern Antiques is a treasure trove for visitors who love antiquing and the atmosphere of flea markets. There's a wide variety of genre's to choose from, ranging from collectibles and objects of art to retro, midcentury modern, and Asian antiques.
3. Antiques on Holiday
Another unusual concern, this business is located just behind Smith’s Antique Mall. Not modelled on your standard idea of what an antique shop should be, Antiques on Holiday manages to fit perfectly into the local blend of beaches and vintage shopping with an eclectic mix from museum quality to general collectibles. Multiple vendors with items from around the world, including architectural antiques.
4. De’ France Indoor Fleamarket Antiques & Collectibles
As far as quality flea markets go, this is the place to be if you're looking for good decorative arts items before they hit the showrooms of antique and vintage stores. With almost fifteen-thousand square feet, there's literally something for everyone - from new and hand-crafted, to reclaimed, to authentic and old. Get there early because De’ France really does offer a little something for everyone's wish list.
5. Flutterby Antiques Uniques & Gifts
Located in Destin proper, Flutterby also has a quality and eclectic mix of antiques and local art. Much of the inventory is sorted and curated into groupings by owners Michele and Ron Sandstead, who like to create display vignettes to help customers visualize the possibilities for their own homes. Items are well chosen with an emphasis on well constructed pieces.
If you've got some favorites of your own, let us know where and why, and we'll see about including some of them in our next series of articles about antiques and the decorative arts in the deep South and along Florida's Gulf Coast.
- A.I.A. Staff Writers
NOTE: For readers seeking more information about the Asheford Institute Of Antiques distance-learning program on professional-level appraising, the study of antiques, collectibles, vintage and mid-century modern items, please click here to visit the school's Home Page.
Should you have additional questions about the Asheford program, you can also write to the school at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Registrar's Office toll-free at: 1-877-444-4508.
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