Arkansas angler and fishing expert Billy Murray shares his extensive knowledge of the Diamond Lakes of Arkansas
Little Rock and its environs abound with antique stores and antique malls of different stripes, offering many options for discerning shoppers. A few (particularly one in Bryant, which shall remain nameless) are so packed as to be panic-inducing or at the least worthy of an appearance on "Hoarders." Those did not make the cut. This selection, gleaned from years or scouring and searching, runs the gamut — from stores that require a bit of digging to the higher-end variety where the editing has already been done for you.
Fabulous Finds Antiques Centrally located (meaning, next to La Hacienda), Fabulous Finds is a seemingly endless warren of nooks worth exploring. You'll find much to choose from here, from a jadeite pitcher to a modern log side table that you might see at modern furniture dealer mertinsdykehome or someplace similar. The store's got an excellent selection of architectural accents, too: doors, windows and corbels. Because of its size and the quality of the merchandise, count on spending time here — and money. But deals can be found, too. 2905 Cantrell Road. Cash, check or credit cards. 501-614-8181. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
Hidden Treasures If you make it past the pack of dachshunds behind the front desk, treasures really do await. Some of the booths aren't worthy of a look, like those filled with Coca-Cola and/or NASCAR memorabilia, but most hold surprises. One trip there yielded a major discovery — a vintage basket purse with a spectacular lion painted on it. Antique malls abound in this area, but this one is definitely worth a thorough look-over. While in the area, it would be wise to also hit up Kiehl Avenue, Twin City and Crystal Hill Antique Malls. Oh, and why not Savers, too? Make a day of it. 9107 Arkansas 107, Sherwood. Cash, check or credit cards. 501-833-0200. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
Mid-Towne Antique Mall Mid-Towne is a standby for those in need of a fix or quick gift. As one might expect, there are booths filled with Yankee Candles and past-its-prime potpourri, but there's also great dishware, collectibles and art. A handful of local hipsters have booths here, so the vintage clothing is primo, albeit on the high end. Everything else, however, remains quite reasonably priced. 105 N. Rodney Parham Road. www.midtownantiquemall.com. Cash, check or credit cards. 501-223-3600. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
Oliver's Antiques Oh, how we love Oliver's! The vintage washtubs filled to the brim with buttons, the over-sized farm tables set as if for a party and the color-coordinated, beautifully arranged merchandise. Owner Sherry Oliver, who's just about one of the nicest people you'll ever meet, organizes her store by color, which creates a pleasing rainbow effect that's easy on the eyes and makes shopping a breeze. (Even nicer, her prices are easy on the pocketbook.). Be sure to check out the stoneware, some vintage, some crafted by her husband. P.S., if you're in the mood for rummaging, Oliver will let you go next door to the warehouse. 1101 Burman Drive, Jacksonville. Cash, check or credit cards. 501-982-0064. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. or by appointment.
*Sweet Home & Clement It's been said time again, and for good reason: Owners John Bell (Sweet Home) and Chris Clement (Clement) share more than space in this charming Hillcrest shop — they also share a good eye and an aesthetic sensibility. The result is one beautiful store, artfully arranged and full of delights. You might want everything in here, from the little glass birds roosting on the mantle to the chandelier in the back. 2909 & 2911 Kavanaugh Blvd. sweethomefurnishings.net. Cash and check only. 501-296-9198. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat.
Blue Suede Shoes Now go, cat, go! In business for nine years, Blue Suede Shoes claims to be the largest antique mall in Arkansas. Whether that's true or not, the massive store is definitely in the running. It has 250 vendors in 460 booths covering 32,000 square feet. Plan to spend half the day there. The vintage clothes and jewelry are spectacular and in pristine condition, but expect to pay for that. 22460 I-30, Bryant. Cash, check or credit cards (Visa or MC). 501-653-2777. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sun.
*Earns an asterisk for all-around favorite.