Published: June 14, 2016
Review and Photos by Laura Beach
OLD SAYBROOK, CONN. — With a big assist from the gorgeous weather, manager Karen Emack-Dolson and members of the Old Saybrook Historical Society pulled off another successful antiques show on the grounds of the historic Hart House on Saturday, June 4. Homemade baked goods and perennials from the gardens of the General William Hart House, the 1767 colonial maintained by the historical society, added to the charm of this classic village fair.
“My theory about shows is that they are supposed to be fun. It’s one of the reasons we charge no admission. We want to attract younger buyers and those who may not have thought about buying antiques before,” said Emack-Dolson.
The show sets up on either side of the town’s busy Main Street. “We literally stop traffic,” said the manager, adding that the setting encourages visitors to check out the society’s collections. Founded in 1958, the Old Saybrook Historical Society maintains the Frank Stevenson Archives, where some of the village’s most important documents are housed.
Held annually on the first Saturday after Memorial Day, the Old Saybrook Historical Society’s Antique Show began with 27 exhibitors four years again and has grown to include 80 vendors offering a mix of country antiques, marine-themed items and ephemera, some of it aimed at seasonal residents who flood the shoreline town each summer.
Participating area businesses included Essex-Saybrook Antiques Village, Maximus Antiques & Interiors, Hayden Antiques, Blue Whale Antiques and Nancy Hoffman of Mason-Dixon Antiques, an Old Saybrook dealer who grew up in Pennsylvania near the Maryland border and still loves distinctive Mid-Atlantic pieces.
Killingworth, Conn., dealer Lewis Scranton featured weathervanes, cobalt decorated stoneware and painted tin; Falmouth, Mass., dealer Hilary Nolan offered early lighting and fireplace equipment, a yarn-embroidered sailor’s woolie, New England furniture and portraiture and an appealing cottage table which glass top enclosed a seashell collection arrayed on a bed of sand.
Partners in Linsey-Woolsey Antiques, Kathy Olson of Middle Haddam, Conn., and Judy Robertson of Noank, Conn., featured pantry boxes, letter carriers, baskets, hooked rugs and pottery.
Vintage rail and cruise menus were on offer at Chimney Hill Antiques of Newburyport, Mass.
Tradewinds Fine Art Gallery of Narragansett, R.I., hung marine paintings and New England landscapes.
To entice younger buyers, Emack-Dolson works hard to include Midcentury Modern dealers such as Jessica and Dan Kingsbury of Mansfield, Conn., who typically sell well.
Appraisals — $7 for one or three for $20 — raise funds for the historical society. “Seven appraisers looked at 150 to 175 items. This helps keep the show inexpensive for dealers. The cost of the show is only $50,” said Emack-Dolson.
Restoration and glassblowing demonstrations also drew visitors this year to the event underwritten by Lorensen Auto Group and Saybrook Recycled Furniture.
For details on next year’s show, contact Emack-Dolson at 860-662-0245 or the Historical Society at 860-395-1635.
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