Conventional wisdom advises that habits are ingrained after 21 days of repetition. If that theory holds true, then the eat~play~shop local habit requires time and effort to develop. Each month I’ll share “21 Days” of some event, place or organization in the Triangle, enabling (and I mean that in the most positive sense possible) your inner Localista to come out and join us. This month it’s all about shopping at independent retailers, art galleries, craft fairs, coop and specialty markets, wine and bottle shops all around the Triangle.
Sometimes I find it fun to explore new shops outside my normal haunts. If you enjoy that sort of exploration too, then a short trip outside the Triangle proper may be in order. I’d recommend a short trip on I-40 West to downtown Mebane and Clay Street where I found unique gift shops, antique and vintage shops and art galleries worthy of a few hours exploration on a Saturday.
My first stop was the gift shop Solgarden, at the corner of Fourth and West Clay Streets. The store was filled with home decor and upcycled furniture, along with unique jewelry and accessories. I was delighted to find a large rustic tray made by a local craftsman from reclaimed wood (and at a steal of a price). It’s the perfect size for my dining table and will make a great base for holiday decorations.
Just a couple doors down from Solgarden is the cozy Cottage Treasures, a shop that will become an instant favorite of the shabby chic fans with its blend of old and new home decor in pastel palettes. The next store front to catch my eye along Clay Street was Big Oak Restoration. In the shop window display was a freshly painted vintage iron patio table and chair set (that I’m still considering for my own little patio space). Inside the store are brightly colored porch gliders, chairs and a lot of restored iron work pieces. In fact, if you’ve been by Steel String Brewery in Carrboro lately you may have had a seat on bright yellow glider and chairs restored by Big Oak.
On the opposite side of Clay Street I found myself mesmerized by the antique oddities in Quirks and many more antiques, vintage wares and jewelry at The Curious Peddler. I’m sure there’s inspiration in those shops for some really fun Halloween costumes too. Also found on this same side of Clay Street is the boutique that describes itself as “a little bit county and a little bit rock ‘n roll”, Grit and Grace. This shop has been the long time dream of owner/artist Angela DeVincentis and it’s a must visit, for the soft flannel shirts, cowboy boots, kitschy tea towels and tin work signs and plaques made by the owner. Trust me – skip the outlet shops and head straight for downtown Mebane instead.
If you’re looking, you can find independent shops scattered around most any town, including Mebane. I’ve created a Google Map that includes some of my favorite independent retailers in the Mebane area and you can find it here. Did I miss one of your favorites? If so, let me know in the comments. In the meantime, make sure you save the map link to your mobile device of choice for quick reference when you’re out shopping in the area.