Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Enchanted Yesteryears - Scituate, RI

Being a thirty-something such as myself, I never could have imagined that I’d have interest in going into an antique shop. Apparently I’ve held a prejudice that all antique shops are, for lack of a better term, dull. I mean - who needs an iron from the 1800’s that can’t be used for anything in the modern world except maybe a doorstop? I guess it’s because I’ve always wanted to be an archeologist and I’d rather be out finding the relics and documenting my journey that I never took the time to fully appreciate what these stores have to offer.

Today, I sit here writing this story a changed man. In the quaint little center of historic North Scituate Village at the intersections of Rt. 116 and Danielson Pike, sits a shop filled with curiosity and passion; Enchanted Yesteryears. It’s located at the very heart of the Scituate Art Festival, which by many accounts is the grandest art festival in all of Rhode Island. Owned and operated by Lois Bardsley-Sirois from its inception 3 years ago, I found the store to be more than inviting and meeting Lois I immediately understood why. She was quick with a smile and to make me feel comfortable as I toured the shop.

I was brought to Enchanted Yesteryears by one of its vendors, Linda Dillon, whom I had met at an open house a few weeks prior. When I’m holding an open house, I’m not just there to sell the house or meet a potential client; I’m also looking for my next story about anything Rhode Island. And after meeting Linda and experiencing her excitement about being part of Enchanted Yesteryears, I knew that I had to see this place for myself.

I arrived with cautious optimism not really knowing what to expect and only having my existing prejudice to guide me. Walking up to the counter I was greeted by Lois with a friendly hello as she sped off to tell Linda that I had arrived. My soon-to-be tour guide, who is lovingly dubbed the “Resident Magpie” because of her incredible knowledge of everything going on in the store and in the village for that matter, emerged from the back room to greet me. After brief introductions, Linda led the way. I was introduced to the in house “Artiste” Joan Marie Hanson, whom I found to be very talented and ridiculously nice.

“All I Ask of You,” from Phantom of the Opera played in the background as Linda showed me around. The store holds around 22 vendors currently, and has room for up to 2 more come April 1. There are two levels; the main floor, which greets you as you walk in from the street, and a lower level that I’m guessing used to be a basement but bears no resemblance now thanks to all of the artists.

One theme that I found interesting was the support of local business in the village. Linda, Joan Marie and Lois all spoke so highly of their neighbors including Village Bean Cafe, which I’m told, serves the best coffee and pastry ever…in the history of the world. Ok, so that was an embellishment but I’m sure it’s fantastic and I can’t wait to try it out when Melissa and I go back to visit. I was also told about Rhode Island’s only Bald Eagle nest that sits high in the trees just down the road from the shop. You can bet I’ll be writing about that soon.

Crafts are another common theme of the many vendors who set up shop here. They range from your standard carved wooden door and wall hangings to detailed hand painted bottles or completely refurbished furniture. I’m sure many of these craftspeople, antique dealers and artists will be displaying their wares across New England this summer in places like the Brimfield Fair or the Gaspee Days Arts and Crafts Festival. If you’re at all familiar with RI, you know that we love our crafts shows.

As we walked from area to area I began to realize that it wasn’t about the many things that sat on the shelves or hung from the walls, it was about the people who took the time to display those items or paint those pictures. People like Linda, Joan Marie and Lois. It was about the passion and love for what they do everyday that makes this place so special.

Bob Black
Williams & Stuart Real Estate
870 Oaklawn Ave
Cranston, RI, 02920
Work: 401.942.0200 ext 28
Mobile: 401.261.1599
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