The threat of rain made for a dreary day in Northwest Indiana recently, the perfect excuse for a jaunt to the antique malls of La Porte, Indiana. I had limited time, but managed to explore Antique Junction and Coachman Antique Mall, two of my favorites. Coachman has some wonderful, steady dealers that feature lots of furniture, glassware, rustic and primitive antiques. Established in what I presume to be an old department store building, the back of the shop features a wide staircase (the railings of which are usually draped in oriental rugs or wonderful quilts) leading to a musty lower level. Don’t let that keep you from descending … I always manage to find something of interest in the booths (which are, overall, less neat and tidy and featuring newer things, therefore it’s a quick zip through them). I saw plenty of good stuff, but nothing compelling enough to buy this time.
Upon entering Antique Junction, it was a pleasant surprise to observe that the place, at least the main level, has been overhauled and cleaned up. The booths have always held interesting collections … I saw local history items, vintage Christmas, advertising pieces, neatly displayed hardware odds and ends, glassware, kicky 50s items and furniture … but in the past, the air was typically thick with cat or dog hair (or both) and lots of dust. Much better now! I didn’t make it upstairs, so can’t speak for that area (which, again, is fun to poke around in, but I usually move at a faster clip up there and in the basement because of the heavy musty smells). I did skim through the basement and found a sweet little oil painting and a grand old frame, so it was worth the extra few minutes. That area has been cleaned up a bit, too – and half of it is now taken up by a dealer selling hundreds of old record albums.
Between the antique malls, I noticed at least two more shops (not malls) on Lincolnway, the main street, and a dealer told me there are a couple more on side streets, within blocks of the big dogs. Will plan to stay longer next time … I left La Porte just as tornado sirens were sounding, heading right into the storm on my way back toward Lake Michigan. Luckily, the clouds just dumped heavy rain.