To antique lovers, there is nothing more satisfying than a day of browsing through back rooms, hidden corners and rows of shelves looking for that one elusive item. Whether you are a connoisseur of cookie jars, a collector of clocks or you simply love to wander through the aisles of an antique store taking in the aura of another time, the Antique Adventure in southern Illinois is certain to please.
The Southern Illinois Tourism and Development Office put together an adventure trail that winds through the Shawnee Hills and forests of the region that focuses on a dozen antique shops worth checking out. Most of these antiques stores offer a wide range of collectibles, antiques and furniture while others specialize on just a few categories. The trail begins in Benton and travels through 11 towns before ending in Lawrenceville.
Here is a brief rundown of what you can expect to find along the trail:
- The County Seat in Benton is on Benton’s town square and offers a range of merchandise from antique furniture to sports memorabilia. The shop is a mall with a variety of vendors so you never know what you’ll find. Hours Mon – Sat 9:30 to 5:30, Sun 1pm to 5pm 618-439-9045
- The Coal Belt also shares space on Benton’s town square. Dozens of dealers sell their wares from this unique storefront. Hours Mon – Sat 9:30 to 5:30, 618-435-2704
- Phyl’s Antiques has four locations in Christopher making it one of the largest antique outlets in southern Illinois. Wares include china, glassware, jewelry, antique furniture and lots more. 618-724-2002
- The Antique Mall of Perry County makes its home in Nashville in a country setting. Hours Mon – Sat 10:00 to 5:00, Sun 1pm to 5pm 618-336-5300
- Isom’s located in Anna is home to the largest collection of Anna Pottery in the country. Other wares include rare antiques, art, stoneware and Cornwall & Wallace Kirkpatrick Pottery. 7 Days 10:00 to 5:00 618-833-3516
- From the Past in Vienna specializes in American oak, walnut and pine furniture, paper ephemera and glassware. Thurs – Sat 10:00 to 4:00 618-771-6877
- Wolf Creek sits in the heart of downtown Goreville in n quaint 3-story storefront and is loaded with craft items, art, antiques and collectibles. Tues – Sat 10:00 to 5:00, Sun Noon to 5:00 618-995-9654
- Whitecotton Antiques is hidden on a back road in rural Marion. With more than 10,000 square feet of antiques and collectibles, you could spend an entire afternoon in heaven. 618-995-2058
- Purple Peacock features 15 booths along with the owner’s collection of jewelry, gift baskets, cases, purses, antiques pictures and furniture. Mon – Fri 10:00 to 5:00, Sat 9:00 to 3:00 618-993-0242
- The Antique Gallery of Eldorado has an extensive collection of Depression glass, more than 3000 books and an amazing selection of quilts. 618-273-2737
- Home Front Antiques of Albion sits on the courthouse square and features 65 dealers. They also provide chair caning/seat weaving. 618-445-2440
- The Collectors Gallery of Lawrenceville is the final stop on the trail. There are more than 60 booths spanning three floors of furniture, collectibles and antiques. 618-643-5398
Thorough shoppers may need more than just one day to take in all the shops. Any serious antique-r knows that you have to look in every nook and cranny otherwise a treasure might be overlooked. It might be a good idea to call ahead to be sure the stores without listed hours are open on the day you wish to visit.
For tips on telling antiques from reproductions, check out the video on the left.