Nifty Thrifty

Five on Friday: Thrift Shops

TGIF! Fridays are great for so many reasons - the end of a (traditional) work week, the beginning of two days to spend with family and friends, the day to finalize those weekend plans, and more. For Valerie and I, though, one thing we look forward to on Fridays is the potential for what the next morning might bring - thrifting! Now, it's unfortunately not something we get to do every weekend (hey, we're busy, people!), and generally by this time of year it's getting a little cooler and, therefore, we don't go as often (especially to those outdoor flea markets). But, the weather is still unseasonably warm and the opportunity for thrifting, whether at a thrift store, flea market, yard sale, antiques market, etc., is always on our radar. So, for today's edition of Five on Friday, I thought I'd share my Top 5 Thrift Shops in the Central PA region! As mentioned above, thrifting doesn't have to happen at just traditional thrift shops, like Salvation Army or Goodwill, so stay tuned for some other variations too.

With that said, here are my...

Top 5 Picks for Thrift Shops!

  1. Blue Mountain Thrift Store. This thrift store is located in Annville, PA. Don't be turned off by its unassuming location and building, however. Once inside, this place is bigger than it appears from the outside, carries an assorted, ever-changing inventory of furniture, household goods, clothes, books, and more, and I cannot remember a time when we've left here empty-handed!

Furniture at Blue Mountain Thrift Store.


  1. Williams Grove Farmers' Flea Market. You may have seen this flea market surface in one of Valerie's previous posts, so it'll come as no surprise that this is one of our favorite local thrifting spots. However, since that post, some things have changed - the lower portion of the flea market, which was held at the former amusement park, is no longer in operation. You can read more about this here. As sad as this is, the upper portion, maintained by the Williams Grove Historical Steam Engine Association, is still in operation and has taken on many of the vendors that previously sold at the lower area. Therefore, while some of the amazing atmosphere is no more, the finds are still there! Bonus: as its name suggests, there's a Farmer's market there as well!

A stand at the Williams Grove Flea Market.


  1. Hampden Center Goodwill. Located in the Hampden Shopping Center in Mechanicsburg, PA, this is your typical Goodwill store. What sets this location apart, however, is its collection of home goods and housewares. Located in the back of the store (which is great because you have to pass by all of the clothes, where you're sure to find a gem as well, to get there), these items are neatly (well, neat for a thrift store!) organized by color, which makes any thrifting adventure even more fun :)

Hampden Center Goodwill.


  1. Antique Marketplace of Lemoyne. Valerie and I love, love, love this place. Located just over the river from us, it's a convenient trip to make, especially since they're open everyday! From the beautiful building to the many independent vendors, shopping here always proves to be a good time. There's always a variety of items to ogle, and even with this being an antiques shop, we've found many affordable items during our various shopping trips here. The photo below happens to be a shot of one of our favorite vendors located inside. If you get a chance to stop by this gem, be sure to check out Architecturally Speaking!

A vendor space from the Antique Marketplace of Lemoyne.


  1. Root's Old Mill Flea Market. This is another favorite and a place I grew up going to. Situated in a huge field, which allots for many vendors (and with many vendors, usually comes many great finds!), Root's (pronounced "Ruutz") is near Manheim, PA. Make sure you take time to go inside the barn too; there are more vendors inside! Located across the street from the Root's Country Market & Auction, you can literally spend the whole day here.. just make sure it's a Tuesday since that's the only day it's open :)

A table at the Root's Old Mill Flea Market.


Well, now I'm in the mood to thrift! The good new is today is Friday and we've got a pretty open weekend ahead of us.. I think I know what might find its way onto our agenda!

Have a thrifting gem you want to share? Tell us about it in the comments!

Anniversary Escape

Back on September 19th, Logan and I reached our two year wedding anniversary, yay! Wedding Photo

See more photos from our big day here!

Wedding Photo 2

But, with a lot going on (as usual), that day came and went with just a few sweet anniversary-ish moments and a simple "happy anniversary hunny" exchanged between the both of us. Otherwise, actually celebrating our anniversary was placed on the back burner - which isn't a huge deal, since we're usually pretty low key anyway! But this sort of happened with our first year anniversary too, when friends of ours got married. So, last year, we spent our anniversary weekend at their wedding activities.. Fun? Yes. Celebrating us? Not so much.

So, before we let another year slide, we decided (on a whim) to actually get away for a few days and celebrate! It really is worth celebrating when you have someone so amazing, like I do, and you were able to keep him around another year. Haha. So, that's what we did. We took advantage of the holiday weekend and decided to travel upstate to a charming little town in the Pocono Mountains and stay a couple nights at a cute little bed and breakfast!

We chose the small town of Milford, PA - which, by the way, apparently made the list of the 10 coolest small towns by BudgetTravel. Anyway, it was a very cute place and it was a great place to relax and escape from the stresses of everyday life. Oh, and we had the best unseasonably warm and sunny weather you could ask for!

Milford sign.

We stayed at this beautiful little bed and breakfast, the Harrington House.

Harrington House sign.

View of Harrington House.

=Us in front of Harrington House

When we booked this bed and breakfast, like I mentioned, it was pretty last minute, so they only had one room available. It wasn't our first choice of their charming little rooms, but since we liked this B&B, we booked anyway. Well, when we arrived, a cancellation had occurred and (without our asking) the innkeeper had already moved our reservation to the room that had been our first choice! Now, on any other circumstance, I would have been disappointed that what we booked, and what we expected, was not what we were getting. I mean, can they just do that? But anyway, in this case, it was a good surprise and it was like an everything-works-out-for-a-reason moment. We ended up getting to stay in the room that we kept referring to when saying "well, it would have been nice if we could have booked that room, but we'll have a good time anyway." Haha.

So, anyway, here is our cute little room.

Thistle Room sign.

View of our room.

Second view of our room.

Typically on vacations, or mini-vacations as this one was, we like to just explore the local area and take it as it comes. As I'm sure you know, I definitely have an "itinerary" type personality. I mean, as a designer, it's all about planning, right? And, before we leave for any trip, you'll definitely find me researching the locale, googling cool things to see and do there, reading reviews on where to stay and eat and, of course, taking notes, making lists, and creating itineraries, oh my! But, surprisingly, once we arrive, I play it pretty cool. We usually like to just go with the flow, and use all my planning just as a loose guide. If we see someplace cool, we stop. If we're hungry, we eat. If we're tired, we nap!

Logan asleep on the bed.

Anyway, most of our time spent in Milford was walking the town, casually browsing local shops and eating yummy food!

Photo of Jorgenson's Deli.

Man and monkey sitting outside the deli.

Logan and I at our picnic.

Lots of the shops in this town were antique shops - be still my heart. This was one of our favorites. And, we have two new pieces to prove it. One you'll see below, the other we'll post about in the future.

Old Lumbaryard Antiques

Vintage printing press letters.

Me walking down the stairs with our new purchase.

Another favorite shop was this really fresh and stylish shop called Upriver Home. And, bonus, they have an online shop, so I now have a new resource, yay!

Upriver Home sign.

Logan reflected in wood mirror.

Glass bottles.

Industrial light fixture.

Stools and other stuff at Upriver Home.

Lastly, we heard if you visit Milford, you must visit Grey Towers. So we did.

Grey Towers sign.

As the sign reads, it's a national historic site, and was once the home of Gifford Pinchot, a Pennsylvania governor and America's first forester and noted conservationist. It's a beautiful stone building with gorgeous landscaping and exterior spaces. We did not take the interior tour. I know, I know, as an interior designer you'd think I would, but I have been on many period home tours, and this day, we chose to enjoy the beautiful weather and scenery instead.

Grey Towers.

Stone column walkway.

Circular trellis covering.

Us sitting on a bench.

Well, I'm so glad we took time out of our often busy schedules to get away and celebrate us. I hope 50 years from now it will be no different. I am such a lucky girl to have found my one!

But, enough with the mushy stuff.. it's back to reality. When we returned home after our trip, we wasted no time starting on some new projects that we'll fill you in on soon.

Even if I Leave Empty Handed..

So, I wrote a blog post quite a while back on flea market finds.. but today's post is less about the finds and more about the journey. In talking with my aunt and uncle recently about flea marketing, I simply asked my uncle, "Well, what are you looking for at the flea market?" And his response, "I don't know yet". While my question was more curious of what his interests were, his answer quite simply explained the joy in flea marketing. My aunt went on to add to the answer, "Yea, I don't know what I'm looking for until I see it." I just love that statement, and I couldn't agree more!

Most flea market enthusiasts would answer the same way, because unlike shopping at the grocery store or the mall, you don't necessarily head to the flea market with a list or even an idea of what your looking to buy. Instead, you head there with the excitement that you never know what you might find and often leave with something you didn't know you needed, ha!

Male dress form at a flea market stand.

Garlic press bird.

Turquise owl necklace.

Anyway, though there are times I do head to the flea market with a "mission", as I like to call it, to find something I just haven't been able to locate, most often it's more about the journey - what will I come across today? who will I meet? what will I just have to buy? and sometimes even, what will I learn today? And, that's just one of the reasons I love stopping by the flea market, a yard sale or even thrift stores.

So, summer is coming to an end, and as the chilly weather begins, most flea markets start to dwindle. So, before that happens, I wanted to make sure I got out there. This time, I went to the Williams Grove Flea Market that I had mentioned in that old post, for a lovely day of "flea-ing" (that's a good term for it, right?) and also, finally took a few photos of the interesting old amusement park grounds to share with you.

Oh, and for the record, though some part of me really wanted each of the items in the above images, I didn't buy any of them.

Shot of the mid-way.

Shot of the wooden roller coaster.

The old basketball shooting game.

Shot of the old train tracks.

Showing the old bumper car pavilion.

The bingo building.

The old water slides..

Used furniture under the old concession stand.

Another thing of beauty at flea markets is the retail merchandising, or lack there of, hehe. I'm always a fan of collections (or piles) of items. Not sure why, but my eye always goes toward them, and so does my camera!

Collection of antique skeleton keys.

Collection of antique boxes.

At the end of the afternoon, though my belly was full with the yummy homemade soft pretzel stick you see in the photo below.. my hands were empty. I didn't buy one single thing, but I was still leaving with some new ideas, lots of inspiration, and of course, having had a nice journey!

Me with my soft pretzel stick!

Flea Market Season

Between StudioVB work and projects around the house, I have been trying to get time to get out and enjoy the summer. I know I've said it many times before, but I am definitely a warm weather kinda girl. And, along with warm weather comes a ton of things that I just can't get enough of - the breeze through open windows (both in the car and at home), ice cream (yep, i'm a total sweet tooth), being outdoors (the park, the lake, the backyard, wherever), and one of my faves.. flea markets! Luckily, we have a few pretty good ones here in the Harrisburg area. Two of which are the Annual Shipoke Flea Market, where we went this past weekend, and the Williams Grove Flea Market that I am planning to pop by this coming weekend. The Williams Grove Flea Market is probably the largest and maybe one of the coolest. It's held at the old Williams Grove Amusement Park grounds, and the setting is totally cute and really quite cool. It has these great little shaded walkways strolling past some of the park's old buildings and old rides and attractions that remain, dilapidated but wonderfully aesthetic. It definitely shows the history of the place. Anyway, I will hopefully take some photos while I'm there to post in the near future.

But as for the Annual Shipoke Flea Market - it is very cute and nice as well. This flea market is set along the Susquehanna River in the quaint Shipoke neighborhood of Harrisburg and is only held once a year (hence the "annual" part). So, I always make sure to go because the people are nice, the setting is beautiful and the finds are often pretty good! This time, we went a little later in the day than I hoped, so you know some of the good stuff was already gone. Lots of stands had mostly glassware and ceramic chotchkies/tchotchke/chachka (I'm not sure I know how to spell that - I don't think I've ever written it out), and you know that stuff rarely sells! Anyway, here are a few photos from our day!

Shot of the flea market.

Another shot of the flea market.

Here are a few items we thought could be good finds!

A shot of a folding luggage rack and cute magazine holder.

A photo of a cool antique trunk.

A photo of Logan with an owl art print.

So, sidenote - here's the owl story! We had come to the Shipoke Flea Market last year, and had seen a piece of art with a really quirky little owl that we really liked, but we passed it up hoping on the way back through we could offer less than what it was marked! Well, that was a rookie mistake (even for these veteran flea marketers) because obviously someone else thought it was cool and snatched it up before we made it back through. We were so bummed - Logan especially, because of course it was my suggestion to wait it out. I can't help it, I guess I am too thrifty for our own good! But I learned that lesson well - if you are going to be heart broken if it's gone, bite the bullet and buy it when you see it! So anyway, as you can imagine, I haven't heard the end of it about the 'lost' owl print over the past year. So, when we came across this unique little print (I'm slightly convinced it's the same one), we snagged it right away! I hope I've redeemed myself. Now we just need to find a spot for it.

Back to our afternoon at the flea market! Well, of course, you always find some really strange or weird stuff at flea markets too, but that's part of the fun of it. So here are a few of those finds!

A photo of baskets full of barbies.

A shot of a van seat.

A photo of a motorcycle with toliet paper bungeed onto it.

Ahh.. nothing better than an afternoon at the flea market!

Thrifting

I’ve been out and about stopping by flea markets, yard sales (now that the weather is warmer) and of course good old thrift stores looking for anything that catches my eye! I always keep a running list of things I’m looking for (and need), both personally for our own home and professionally for the design studio, clients or staging inventory. Of course, it’s not the easiest hunt to find exactly what I’m looking for, but instead somehow I end up finding something I really don’t need at all, but that I fall in love with and just have to have. And, this was the case last week.. while perusing a local thrift store, I spotted this!

Blue-green mid-century modern sofa in thrift store.

Marked at just a mere $45, I couldn’t resist! So, first things first – I text the hubby with a quick photo and the words “do we need this?” of which I normally get one of the following responses.. “what for and where will it go?” or “well, how much is it?” or the disheartening “nahh, I don’t think we do”. But to my surprise and affirmation, his text response read “Yes”.

So, after a quick follow-up conversation via phone, we agreed and I snatched it right up! Now began the issue of how are we getting this home and, once we do, where is it going? Unfortunately, even with our new ride, it wasn’t going to be easy getting this vintage sofa home. 24 hours, a u-haul rental truck and another $20 later, we carried this gem over the threshold, literally.

Blue-green mid-century modern sofa in pick-up truck.

But like I mentioned, this isn’t a piece we needed and we may not even have a space for it. Not to mention, it is lovely in it's brilliant mid-century color, but it will definitely dictate the color scheme in whatever space it ends up! So, while we stew over the plan for this piece (perhaps working it into our office, creating a sitting area in our current unused 2nd bedroom, etc.), for now it sits in the middle of our living room and has been serving as our cats' very own sofa! I suppose they approve.

Blue-green mid-century modern sofa in living room.

Cat on blue-green mid-century modern sofa.

And, I should note - Although the thrift shop claims to have cleaned and disinfected any upholstery pieces they sell, we, of course, intend to give the sofa a good cleaning ourselves because, well, you just never know. So, stay tuned, I’m sure we’ll post our tips on how to clean second-hand upholstery.

Oh and just as a bonus! I also snagged this cute little woven stool for under $10 on the same trip.

Woven stool.

I might leave it natural or maybe give it new life with a bold new color. We'll see!