Mid-Southerners have a world of shopping opportunities readily available in the Memphis area from Palladio on Central to Frankum Antiques in Germantown, but spending the day in a neighboring town turns your shopping spree into a brief vacation.
Here are a few of my favorite antiquing day trips:
Keo, Arkansas, is two hours from Memphis. It is a well-preserved cotton plantation town with a population of 235, but it will take you a day to cover nine huge buildings that form Morris Antiques and the other antique businesses on the block. Morris antiques has everything from small, practical items to exceptional, hard-to-find items. This stop includes 60,000 square feet of showrooms and on site restoration shop
A piece of pie at Charlotte’s, located on Keo’s Main Street, is a must for every visitor to Keo. Southern Living recently named Charlotte’s in a list of “The South’s Best Pies.”
Hot Springs, Arkansas
One of the most inviting cities in Arkansas is Hot Springs, three hours from Memphis. While an overnight stay is probably necessary for this destination, there are over 24 antique shopping venues in the immediate area. Hot Springs is a hot bed of antique shops with everything from rustic country Americana to period jewelry and silver. Start at Tillman’s Antiques, a must-see antiquing destination in Hot Springs. This venue is filled with affordable finds as well as museum quality porcelain, glass and china. They are also an ideal source for estate jewelry. Customers often say that visiting Tillman’s is much like taking a quick shopping trip abroad.
You might also consider driving south for the day to Greenwood, Mississippi, two hours from Memphis. Enjoy the entire downtown area surrounding the Alluvian, Greenwood’s boutique hotel with modern design and an eclectic collection of artwork by Mississippi artists. The range of antique furnishings and estate jewelry available at Russell-Thomas Antiques will make you feel like you are shopping in the New Orleans French Quarter, but much closer to home!
Oxford, Mississippi, one of America’s great small towns, is 1½ hours from Memphis. In addition to numerous outlets for activity that center around Ole Miss, Oxford’s town square has several restaurants and specialty shops. Local residents recommend The Mustard Seed Emporium on University. It is a 16,000-square-foot dealer-based antique market with an upstairs art gallery.
Taylor, Mississippi, a few miles south of Oxford, is a place acknowledged by Faulkner as a “postage stamp of native soil,” But this small town is far from “sleepy,” and attracts visitors from all over the world who come for the Southern food, music and arts scene … and antique buffs should not miss Old Taylor Antiques.
Explore and add to this list with your discoveries. As you will see, equipped with a map and itinerary, a Mid-Southerner can never saturate the options for antiquing close-by.
- Morris Antiques in Keo, Arkansas: morrisantiques.com
- Tillman’s Antiques and Estate Jewelry in Hot Springs: tillmansantiques.squarespace.com
- Russell-Thomas Antiques in Greenwood, Mississippi: russellthomasantiquesltd.com
- The Mustard Seed Emporium: The Mustard-Seed-Antique-Emporium on Facebook
- Old Taylor Antiques: oldtaylorantiques.com