Vacation Life

I’m not traveling much these days, but am thankful I made the trip to visit family in Tennessee. My brother and dad are transplants here, but it suits them, and for me it is a lovely place to visit and I enjoy our time together.

Sunset the first night from my brother’s deck.

We wrapped up our first evening talking, eating and watching a movie together. (Such a gift.) Then on my first full day in Tennessee we headed to North Carolina–Asheville to be precise with a lovely drive through the Great Smokey Mountains. Lunch was at Farm Burger which I highly recommend for fresh, local ingredients and one of the best illustrated chalkboards.

This is by Liz, one of the charming wait staff.

Of course, I had to go antiquing and thankfully both my brother and dad are willing to put up with it in moderation!

Antique Tobacco Barn

A wowser of an antiquing venue with 77,000 square feet. If you need vintage and antique wood furniture you’ll be spoiled for choice. There were also some fantastic MCM pottery pieces and artwork by various vendors, but all too big for me to transport on a plane.

I wanted a few of these garden statues!

Loved this 1960s dress!

I admired these two hand-crocheted tablecloths/bedspreads in this basket, but each was priced at $85. No meat on the bone there!

Sweeten Antique Store

Another large venue with 125 vendors. This store had more of the small items I buy and the layout was more accessible, but there were a lot of lovely little things in locked cabinets throughout and I didn’t want to take the time to walk back and forth to the front desk to get someone to open them up. If I had been on my own I would have, but not with family members in tow.

I was really tempted by this fabulous 1960sish reversible jacket for $50.

A neat signature quilt.

What I Bought in Asheville

In the end I bought just a few things. Some odd bits and some really worn bits!

Like this heavy, primitive brass thingy. It was described as a “fire tool” and indeed has ash on it, but I wasn’t convinced. For one it seems kinda short. And why is it flat and round at the end? And the sales clerk wasn’t convinced either. Could it be some sort of old kitchen tool? Perhaps for stirring jelly? Or a pendulum…though that doesn’t seem right either. Maybe it is just a fire tool! Other ideas? [UPDATE: Thanks to Lisa who told me this tool is actually an 18th/19th century salamander used in a kitchen for browning food.]

And I know some of you are thinking “You paid money for these?” I know! Both are seriously wabi-sabi. The made-in-Italy leather box with gilding was once sold at B. Altman’s and has a look I think (I hope) someone else will love too. And what about this antique leather kid’s shoe? Such an interesting shoe with a brass toe “bumper.” I’ll give both a rub down with some conditioning paste to revive them.

My one breakable piece is this signed, textured pottery vase with shoulders. Thought it had “a look.” Possibly even a good one!

This Victorian crocheted purse with dangles is rather unique with its colors and stripes. Typically these purses are in ivory with fancy patterns or in black and used as mourning purses. I have never seen one like this.

I spotted this Sam Philipe Jerusalem paperweight and knew the overlay was sterling silver. (It is marked in two places but you really have to hunt for the marks.) The seller didn’t realize it was sterling silver and had it priced at $7.50! Bingo!

Here are recent solds for this paperweight.

Total paid $56.

Of course the main reason we went to Asheville was to visit the famed Biltmore estate. Wow…what a place! It is pricy but fabulous and well run. Worth a visit. Sadly, we didn’t spend nearly as much time here as we wanted. Some parts were not accessible to our 92-year-old father with his limited mobility and walker and he quickly tired.

Loved the tapestries and paisleys in the music room.

Here’s one of the sitting areas around the main atrium. And yes, the Christmas decorations are up!

We are back in Tennessee now and I am enjoying hanging out at my brother’s house. He made a delicious chicken stew last night for dinner (who knew he could cook?!) and afterwards we watched an old Hitchcock movie. Good times!

Wishing you happy hunting wherever you are,



  1. I love that paperweight! And the odd vase, with literal shoulders. It looks like a dress makers dummy!
    The “thingy” is, a salamander. Look up Victorian salamander kitchen tool (without the kitchen tool you get… salamanders!), they look like that. So, not a fire place tool, but still a tool to use in a fire!
    I would have loved to browse through all that artwork. Although, I’m used to cheap prices, so those probably cost what they were worth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lisa. You are a rock star! Thank you for telling me what that brass tool actually was. I’ll be able to update the post thanks to you!!

      The paperweight was a nice find!! I didn’t even bother looking through much of the artwork because it was all too big.

      Hugs, Karen


  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE following your entertaining and informative posts, which I’ve been doing for some time, now!

    I also have a vintage shop on Etsy…nothing purchased for the shop…all items my sister and I have inherited or acquired through the years and no longer using or fully appreciating.

    Question: what will you use to freshen your leather items? I have saddle soap, but I’m not sure that’s what to use on leather jackets, etc.

    Please keep the postings coming! A always look forward to seeing them in my email feed!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Kathryn!! Thanks for all the love! I have a lot of fun writing these posts.

      I still add personal stuff to my Etsy store too. Sometimes I’m surprised by what I decide to let go of.

      Lately I’ve been using “Paul’s Pail All Natural Beeswax Leather Conditioner” for old, dry leather goods.

      All the best,


  3. I live in east TN, it is a beautiful place, glad you liked it. There are some great places here where you will find some goodies!! I am always on the lookout too!!
    Happy shopping

    Liked by 1 person

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