What a way to spend a lazy Saturday... When I’m trying to ditch my housekeeping responsibilities, there’s nothing more fun than spending an afternoon browsing through the area’s antique malls.
I actually have furnished my home with bargain finds from several of these places (I found a great set of chairs that can be pushed together to form a small sofa for about $75 and am slowly completing a set of everyday china by finding a dish here, a plate there of white Ironstone).
Be warned: Most of these places are like the Tardis, much bigger on the inside than they look from the outside. If you hit one or two (or three or four), you can easily spend most of the day hunting away.
Old Mill Antique Mall, 310 State St., West Columbia, (803) 772-5057. One of my first stops, great for dishes and kitchen do-dads. Don’t forget to go upstairs. www.oldmillantiquemall.com
Ed’s Editions, 406 Meeting St., West Columbia; (803) 791-8002. OK, not an antique store per se, but great for book lovers –and if you like using old books for decorating. I’ve found some great cookbooks and books of travel writing here. www.edseditions.com
763 Meeting St. Antique Mall, West Columbia; (803) 796-1516. Nice mix, including upscale items. www.763antiquemall.com
Chic Antiques & Company, 602 Huger St., Columbia; (803) 765-1584. Two long warehouses plus an open area in between that has great outdoor/wrought iron pieces. Occasionally you’ll find an antique car for sale in the parking lot. Don’t forget to look up when wandering through the building closest to Blossom Street – vintage bicycles hang from the ceiling. chicantiquesandcocolumbiasc.com
Spring Valley Antique Mall, 8808 Two Notch Road; (803) 736-7575. I found a great deal on an oak bed here after suffering from sticker shock at a retail store. www.springvalleyantiques.com
Estate Sale Guys of South Carolina opened a warehouse location at 1929 Hampton St., where they sell leftovers from estate sales and auctions. Lots of good stuff. I picked up some serving items (cake plates and such) at good prices. (803) 467-3655, www.estatesaleguys.com
There are many more locations, just drive up Meeting Street in West Columbia – or make it a day and drive over to Camden, where Broad Street is lined with antique shops, and Heritage Antique Mall on Dekalb Street, headed out of town, is another large warehouse filled with goodies.
Susan Ardis is a designer and food writer at The State. When she’s not obsessing about photo play on the page or writing about her adventures in and out of the kitchen, you can find her wandering the back roads of South Carolina.
Susan Ardis, email@example.com, Twitter: @foodsusan