For many years, and always on the way to other places, I would pass by a very beckoning road sign. The arrow pointed “To Somerville”, but I was always in a hurry or had a deadline to meet so “I’ll stop by the next time” became my predominant mantra. Well, this past Saturday, my procrastination for “the next time” abruptly culminated as the long awaited trip to Somerville ensued.
Nestled in true Central Jersey, Somerville is a delightful 2.3 square miles of unique shops, delicious foods and friendly people. As I drove and searched for a parking space, my neck craned in the direction of consignment shops and antique galleries. I couldn’t help myself. Everything looked so tempting and being the purveyor of vintage goods that I am, I knew Somerville would not disappoint.
My first stop was to New Start Consignment, a narrow shop chock full of retro handbags, cool threads and endless jewels. I immediately found things I knew I would wear. The proprietor, Thomas, knew most customers by name in addition to their individual tastes and styles. Saturday happened to be his once-a-year sale. As a result, I cleaned up on an awesome belt made of peach pits, a throwback 80’s gold top from “The Icing”, and some super funky pins.
After a power lunch at Mannion’s Pub and Restaurant, I was back at it. Hitting the ground running, I headed to Division Street and an awesome boutique named Incogneeto. I instantly liked the shop’s proprietor, Stacy. We talked 60’s, 80’s, and how one person’s retro is another person’s college years. Incogneeto had a glass case which boasted actual items worn by cast members of the hit TV show, Boardwalk Empire. Just to be up close to the headpieces and shoes from that era would have made my trip worthwhile. But being the mid-century nut that I am, I left Stacy’s shop with a blue vinyl 60’s structured handbag. The 60’s are my retro.
My last vintage stop was to a store on West Main Street called Back Home Again. A mix of newer and vintage furniture, housewares, bric a brac, antique jewelry, and clothing, this store has something for everyone. If I were looking for a desk I knew no one else would have or if I wanted a piece of quality pre-owned furniture to brighten up a room, I would come here.
The town had other great stores that just radiated nostalgia like a train shop called The Big Little Railroad Shop and a cake and candy makers’ dream-come-true called Candyland Crafts. Stepping in these stores was like stepping back into the wonder years.
When it was time to leave Somerville, I was saddened to go but happy to know that I would be back again. I was also happy that I took a few pieces of Somerville with me in the form of unique accessories I would be wearing for years to come.