American primitives are harder and harder to come by these days. The handmade furniture and everyday objects from 1700-1900, a time before manufacturing, were made with purpose and care and meant to last for years.
These kinds of items have been popular among collectors for their history, craftsmanship, and beautifully aged looked. Younger generations of collectors know less about this era, so here is a short run down on a few pieces in the shop to spur some interest!
Below is a collection of primitive objects found on the top floor of the shop.
Here is a nice collection of wood carving tools, mashers, mallets, muddlers and pestles. These were likely made by a farmer or craftsman for personal use or trade. Most primitive objects that were used in the house were made by the homeowner. These items would be passed down generationally until they were no longer usable. Most primitive American pieces have been well worn, creating a beautiful aged patina.
These timeless tools have proven to be mainstays in modern everyday activity; so, next time you’re vacuuming or making mashed potatoes try to imagine your ancestors using these tools, and think about how easy you’ve got it.
From Colonial times till around WWII, in most major cities across the country, people moved on the same day, May 1st. This tradition can be traced back to the Dutch, some say that they celebrated May 1st by switching houses, because that was the day they settled Manhattan. The English and the Dutch also had “Pack Rag Day” on May 1st, where servants would leave their place of work and change their employers. This created a lot of chaos in crowded cities and became very unpopular. Streets were full of broken furniture, carriages overflowing with personal possession and people in disarray. Eventually cities gave in to the public pressure and real estate boards allowed leases to be made at any time of the year.
May remains the most popular month to move. Here in Providence, May is when most students take their final exams and then move back home or change apartments. Many families choose to move in May because school is ending and summer hasn’t yet begun, so this one month allows them to resettle with enough time to then enjoy summer without the hassle of having to move in the heat.
May is also a great time to spring clean and redecorate! It’s a time to switch things up, bring in brighter colors, plants, and set up any outdoor areas you might have. You’ll also want to put away the winter boots and coats and make room for summer clothes!
At Nostalgia, our vendors also mark May as a time to switch up inventory and bring in all the summery goodness they have been holding onto over the winter. If you have just moved and are feeling inspired to decorate or need a new bookshelf or end table, there are so many to choose from.
There are also beautiful cast iron benches and planters, great vintage summer dresses, and lots of art to spruce up your walls. If outdoor entertaining is your thing, you are bound to find an incredible selection of trays, vintage glasses, bar carts, and festive lighting. So, come on in and find something original to add your new home!
Everything Locals’ Love On and Around Wickenden St.
Walking down Wickenden St. you can feel a youthful energy that surrounds every coffee shop, thrift store, and pub you walk by. It’s a combination of the offbeat vibes in Austin Texas and the inclusive character of Portland Oregon all packed into one street.
And if we call it “the local color,” we mean it literally. The Portuguese influenced pastel-colored homes give the whole area a vibrant and upbeat aesthetic. Though it indeed is a popular area for locals and passers-by alike. With a welcoming atmosphere to outsiders and a variety of local shops and services that locals love, it’s a truly unique place.
The area gets its character from its active community and its thriving local businesses. Whether you’re coming for a short visit or thinking about putting down roots in Rhode Island, I want to invite you to take a closer look at this neighborhood and all the people and places that have made it such a cherished place.
Culture & Community
It’s impossible to give to describe the East Providence community in few words. It’s an incredibly diverse area with people of all classes and backgrounds strolling its streets. Walking down Wickenden street, you’ll see plenty of young people, families with children, professionals, seniors, and of course tourists from all walks of life.
Things to Do
Other than the community, its the thriving local businesses that have made this area so desirable over the years. It takes just one stroll up Wickenden to see just how much there is to do and see in this part of the city. Though you likely won’t make it all the way from one end to the other without stopping in for a cup of coffee roasted right here at home or hunting for unique treasures in one of the many shops and boutiques.
Places to Stop By
Whether you’re staying awhile or just passing through, pay some of these local favorites a visit.
Olympic Records - A locally owned record store on Wickenden with a vast inventory of vinyl and a personable owner that’s more than happy to show you around.
Nostalgia Antiques & Collectibles- A unique shop filled to the brim with rare, obscure, and beautiful treasures. You’ll find all kinds of wonderful things in this warm and welcoming shop. As their saying goes, journey through their 3 floors of adventure!
Benefit Street Antiques - A staple in the neighborhood, this shop craftfully curates collections of antique and vintage items such as chandeliers, lamps, furniture, jewelry, china and more.
Red Bridge Antiques - Perhaps the perfect place for the shopper who doesn’t yet know what they are hunting for. This antique shop boasts an extensive collection of unique and interesting treasures.
NAVA - An acronym for “New and Vintage Apparel,” it provides exactly what it says on the sign, a collection of modern and classic styles.
Blick Arts - A local art supply shop providing the high level of hospitality and service that East Providence is known for.
Adler’s Hardware - A local provider in Providence for home improvement and hardware since the early 20th century.
Sakura - One of the area’s most outstanding Japanese cuisine & sushi restaurants with free BYOB service.
Brickway on Wickenden - Perhaps the best breakfast in all the Northeast with plenty of gluten-free options.
Fellini Pizzeria - Stop by for some local flavor. Fellini specializes in New York style thin crust pizza.
The East End - A bistro & patio with a relaxing atmosphere and extensive whiskey selection.
The Point Tavern - Enjoy affordable craft beer and cocktails with delicious pub food.
Wickenden Pub - An excellent dive with a great beer selection. A fantastic place to spend an evening with friends!
The Duck & Bunny - Delectable desserts served in a beautiful historic home. They also have coffee, beer, wine, and have a cigar lounge. A great place to spend an evening!
PVD Donuts - A bakery serving gourmet donuts made with local ingredients.
Coffee Exchange - A cafe serving delicious fair trade, organic coffee to get you in the door and providing a relaxed atmosphere to keep you coming back.
Providence Tattoo - A tattoo parlor on Wickenden St. with a reputation for cleanliness and beautiful workmanship.
Mister Sister Erotica - A fun, unique adult erotica boutique with specialty products, accessories and clothing.
Campus Liquors - The neighborhood liquor store with a knowledgeable staff, vast inventory, and tastings.
India Point Park - The perfect spot for lovers of the outdoors, go for a walk, bike, or run or just enjoy lunch with scenic views.
Schools & Youth Resources
Boys & Girls Club - This nationally recognized youth organization is located on Ives St.
Vartan Gregorian Elementary School - A public elementary school serving the area.
Roosevelt International Academy - A local school serving international students.
Fox Point Splash Pad - A water park & playground for children. Best of all, it’s free to the public!
For those of us who adore vintage clothing, whether for collecting, wearing, or both, there are some important guidelines to follow to be sure that you are getting the greatest bang for your buck, so to speak. If you’re new to the game, understand that it takes time and experience to truly realize a great piece of vintage clothing when you see it. To start you on your journey, or to keep you learning, try following these tips:
1. Although there are many reproductions out there, it is fairly easy to determine if the piece is vintage by looking at the label. Older labels are woven vs. printed and can tell you a great deal about the age of a piece. Vintage Fashion Guild has a wonderful label resource on their website that can help you in this area. Older garments often don’t have labels, so come in contact with as many pieces of true vintage clothing that you can before starting to purchase. You will quickly learn to spot an authentic 1950s house dress vs. a 1990s look-alike or a reproduction garment made last year.
2. Be sure that you check the piece for damage. I can’t tell you how often I bought clothing when I first started collecting without thoroughly examining the piece visually or giving it a good “sniff.” By skipping this step out of excitement in finding a great vintage dress, for example, I may not have noticed the musty odor coming from the piece until I had already purchased it and brought it home. There may be damage that you won’t be able to live with, so be sure to check that piece out completely before purchasing.
3. Quality counts! I am not a seamstress by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve learned to appreciate excellent craftsmanship and tailoring by having contact with many garments over my years of searching and by examining historic garments in collections. Look at seams, hems, button holes, fabric integrity, linings, and any other details that you can see that will help you determine whether or not you should purchase the garment. Keep in mind that one of the great things about vintage clothing is that it was just better made back then. Clothing was meant to last, not to be disposed of after one season. So, in addition to owning a unique piece of clothing that one cannot find at the mall, you’ll also enjoy the garment for years to come.
4. Finally, so many wonderful books exist that can give you visual and factual information about vintage and antique clothing that will indeed help you to become a savvy shopper, particularly if you combine your reading with hands on experience to increase your confidence. Again, it takes time, so be patient and have fun!
Do you love treasure hunting? Would you rather shop your grandmother’s closet than the mall for your outfits? If you enjoy looking unique and not like everyone else, then vintage shopping is for you! Shopping for amazing pieces to add to your wardrobe is exciting, fun, and challenging. When I first got started, there still were stores that sold strictly vintage clothing and accessories, but the market has changed. Although great pieces of authentic vintage can be found today, one often must scour thrift stores, consignment shops, and church charity shops, which means looking through lots of cast offs that are neither old nor desirable. At our store, Nostalgia, we have vendors who source true men’s and women’s quality vintage clothing, and they are quite experienced at knowing which eras are “hot” and, so, what the customer is looking to buy. At other antique co-ops, you may find booths or areas that contain vintage or a combination of second hand clothing and older pieces. Again, you often have to dig through or hunt for those can’t-live-without garments. But, I promise you, it’s worth it! The following tips will help you to shop wisely while in pursuit of that vintage gem!