Antiquing Asheville — Barns, Booths and Boutiques
By Constance E. Richards
Treasures to Take Home — Asheville Bursts with Antique Offerings
Art and antiques are practically synonymous in Asheville. Whether it’s new antique-art markets sprouting up like Asheville Flea for Y’All or cavernous treasure troves like the Antique Tobacco Barn, antiquing has never been easier nor more adventurous.
A Bounty in Biltmore
For the traditionalist, Biltmore Village provides tony shopping opportunities with Village Antiques. For 25 years this 25,000-square-foot emporium of European and American antiques, fine art, and decorative arts has showcased an impressive collection, from centuries-old religious icons and 17th century French estate pieces to Southern furniture, pottery and folk art.
A bit newer on the block you’ll find Estate Jewelry Limited. Open since 2005 in the heart of Biltmore Village, the boutique displays elegant jewelry pieces spanning the Victorian and Art Deco eras to more modern.
Nearby, Biltmore Lamp and Shade Gallery stays true to its name. With more than 500 lampshades, the shop also showcases international furnishing, porcelain, chandeliers and naturally, lamps and everything about lamps. Find your pulls, bases and antique parts. Specialists also assist with lamp rewiring or lampshade repair.
All Along the River
Staying on the south end of town, hit the motherlode at the Antique Tobacco Barn. More than 70 purveyors in this 77,000-square-foot warehouse offer furniture, retro office cabinets, mailboxes, garden sculptures, wind vanes, stained glass windows, decommissioned commercial signs, paintings, sculptures, brass beds and objects that simply defy description. You’ll need the better part of an afternoon to explore, but an old-fashioned cola machine, antique coin-operated ride for children and sofas for those less inclined to shop, make this a pleasant trip for the entire family.
Along the same Swannanoa River Road, find a number of spaces dealing in antiques. On this antique row, Bryant Antiques showcases many European antiques in 9,000 square feet of air-conditioned space, as well as a collection of ‘kitchenalia’ for those yearning for the good ole’ days of low-tech cooking.
On your way to downtown Asheville, make a side-trip to the ScreenDoor, a beautifully-appointed uncrowded series of vendor stations that highlight repurposed crafts and art objects by local artisans and antique enthusiasts. A boutique with artisan-made cards, journals and new books welcomes visitors. Venture further in and discover much for the garden and indoor tabletop gardening including gorgeous terrariums, vases and planters. Booths also feature jewelry, letterpress signage, furniture and decor to inspire the designer in all of us.
Downtown and Around Treasures
Antique shops in Asheville’s downtown center around Lexington Avenue and Broadway Street. Lexington Park Antiques, squeezes much into many small booths and has been around for decades. Look for antique knives, barware and records here. For antique and rare books, Battery Park Book Exchange offers literary collectibles.
West of town, the River Arts District has a smattering of antique or repurposed used-item shops, like the funky Splurge. West Asheville itself has truly cornered the market on mid-century vintage and second-hand shops.
The towns of Weaverville and Black Mountain have their own small antique districts for exploration and happy discovery. Happy hunting!