A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
So there are deals, and there are deals.
We’ve all come across a sweater or something on clearance, $10 when it used to be $90, yadda yadda.
But then there are those rare, beautiful times when you turn a corner and your eye falls on something you weren’t really even looking for, and it’s gorgeous, and then you see the price, and the heavens open up and the light shines down and the angels start in on the Hallelujah Chorus.
All I was supposed to be doing was making a quick scan through the Mid-Towne Antique Mall, which has been on my hey-I-should-check-that-out-sometime list for years now. (I spend a lot of time in antique malls, on a never-ending quest for a lamp for my living room and additional wineglasses to match a partial set I bought at an estate sale. If I ever find either one, I may cry.)
You can’t tell it from the entrance, which is sandwiched between the Drug Emporium and an office furniture store at Markham and Rodney Parham, but the place is actually pretty big. You also can’t tell from any antique mall/flea market entrance what caliber of leftovers and junk and treasures you’ll find inside, so I was very happy to discover that Mid-Towne has the perfect mix of genuine antiques, kitschy dust-catchers and assorted randomness — and, from what I saw, at really, really good prices. One booth had a kindergartener-sized school desk and chair, circa my childhood, for $20, and a nice illustrated hardback “Arabian Nights” for $4.50. Another had a beautiful Art Deco desk and chair marked down to $145.
But way off in a corner — I won’t say which one, because that would take all the fun out of it — is a booth run by a guy who’s clearly LOST HIS MIND. And that’s where the clouds parted and the angels sang, for an absolutely lovely Art Deco nightstand, with the curved top edge and the diagonal woodgrain and everything, for — and I really wish numbers had capital versions like letters do so I could emphasize the sheer unbelievability of this — $24.50. Less than the list price of the new Charles Frazier novel. I have neither the need nor the space for it, but it wound up in the backseat of my car anyway. To not buy it at that price would have been a sin, and that’s all there is to it. Other stuff in his booth: an antique table-top radio, “untested,” for $14.50, and a small, rusty cast-iron stove for $18.50. The helpful woman who helped me carry the nightstand out told me he comes in with a new load every Thursday night, so Friday’s the best day to check out his deals. Mid-Towne’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Speaking of things Midtowne: The second wave of stores will open in the next week, starting with Harold’s today, Oct. 12, and followed by Bombay Co., Pottery Barn (yay!), Williams-Sonoma and J. Jill on Oct. 16.
• And speaking of J. Jill, I was flipping through a “Real Simple” magazine the other day and what did I find but a coupon for $25 off a $100 purchase. Which got me curious about what discounts might be lurking in the pages of other magazines. A 20-minute hunt at Barnes and Noble turned up a $5 Old Navy coupon in Lucky, a 15 percent off coupon for Sherwin Williams paint stores in Domino (shopping mag for the home, if you’re not familiar) and a slew of 20-percent-off deals in the back of Shop magazine, including Storehouse and Newport News.
• Shoptrio, a new “contemporary women’s boutique,” opened Oct. 7 at 3300 JFK Boulevard (at C Street) in Park Hill. I haven’t been inside yet, but what’s on the mannequins in the windows looks nice. The phone number is 753-8828.
• Parisian is planning a Nov. 1 grand opening; I’ll have details and, I hope, a sneak peek in my Oct. 26 column.
• Rumors have been floating around that Park Plaza is renovating the food-court level for a single, large tenant. Well, it’s true, but they’re not saying who yet. Sherry Duggin, the mall’s assistant marketing director, said the tenant will be announced at a Nov. 11 ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the mall-wide make-over. Until then, all she’d say is that it’s a national retailer without a current location in Little Rock, or, according to the retailer’s website, anywhere else in the state.
• Meanwhile, though, Park Plaza’s new Talbots Woman store is opening today, Oct. 12, with a reception from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. If you go, plan to be there at 7 p.m., when they’ll draw the winner of a $200 gift card. If you miss it, you register for a second $200 gift card through Sunday.
• And finally, if you’re looking for something unusual in the way of Halloween or fall-themed decorating, check out the blown-glass pumpkins and other vegetables at Chameleon Art Glass on Kavanaugh in the Heights. Much classier than a skeleton that sings “Monster Mash” every time you walk by it.
Yeah, it’s stuck in my head now too.