I admit to being a treasure hunter. I like to seek out unique and creative items both around the region and when I travel. In fact when traveling to distant locations, searching for a treasure is always included on the itinerary. The hunt is often a bit challenging in unfamiliar territory, but it definitely adds to the experience. The perfect item won’t be found sitting on the shelf among the labeled t-shirts and shot glasses. It must be unique, something that has the character and soul of its origin. More often than not, it will be a handcrafted item; something creatively artistic that characterizes its own environment or the culture of the region. Of course it will speak to me and be an item I will dust with a smile in the future. If any of this resonates with your own cravings, let me offer you a couple of suggestions as to where you may find your own unique treasure when visiting the Adirondacks.
Adirondack Furniture by George
Located at 113 Montcalm Street in Ticonderoga is an eclectic little shop called Adirondack Furniture by George. It is open seven days a week, year-round. Warning: allow yourself plenty of time to browse this shop. Though not large, it will take considerable time to examine all the inventory that includes furniture and creations handcrafted by the shop owner, George DeMers.
A Peek Inside The Shop
I stopped by recently to get updated on what George currently has on display since the inventory is constantly changing. I suggest you do the same! Don’t be alarmed by the barking dog you hear as you enter — it’s the shop’s doorbell. The amount of content in the shop can be a bit overwhelming at first. There are simply too many things to take in at once. If you are a collector of antique bottles, milk glass, or vintage dinnerware, and serving pieces you are bound to find something of appeal. The store is loaded with retro items and vintage finds both decorative and functional, but the truly one-of-a-kind attention grabbers are the items he has built himself. If you are a fan of rustic furniture with an Adirondack flavor you will be thoroughly entertained as you wander his shop and examine his creations.
Tables, cabinets, bars, and buffets have all been painstakingly crafted out of a variety of locally grown wood varieties. The substantial pieces display their own personalities and often include the imagination and creativity of the builder. Original knotholes add particular interest or have been transformed into a representation of something else, like a little pond-scape with the addition of blue water with a rocky shoreline.
Genuine white-tail antler pulls are found on drawers and doors. Some pieces have the original tree bark left intact to add definite textural and dimensional interest. All pieces certainly reflect a unique, yet functional, personality not to be found in duplicate. Some surfaces display a high-gloss shine through which additional wood burned design or images appear. It’s a treat to simply meander through the several rooms of his shop and take it all in. As I did so, he followed along and carefully shuffled decorative items on the surfaces out of the way so that I could truly appreciate all the key features.
We came across “the fort.” Yes, I learned nearby Fort Ticonderoga was the inspiration for this piece. I could only imagine the hours of work that went into creating this miniature fort with all the intricate detail. What a conversation piece or a fun tool to use in educating youngsters.
George told me he has been building furniture and crafting these unique Adirondack creations for about 26 years. He enjoys building these one-of-a-kind pieces from his imagination or working with a customer to make a custom piece to their liking. Items in the shop that he hasn’t built himself are gathered from auctions and estate sales. It is certainly an interesting mix. Despite the numerous items you will find inside, I learned he has downsized considerably. “I once had a shop over 90-feet long in Schuylerville,” he explained. I could only imagine how many days it would take to peruse that former shop.
More on Montcalm
A few doors east on Ticonderoga’s main street is The Downtown Gallery at 119 Montcalm. This gallery is open year round on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 10am until 4pm, and showcases the works of approximately 20 local artists.
The walls of the gallery are adorned with paintings ranging from watercolor to oil to acrylic, and photography showcasing the region’s scenic beauty, wildlife, and natural character. Display cases and shelves hold a variety of additional artwork in other forms.
Handmade wooden bowls by John Annello rest on a gorgeous table of Adirondack character created by Crispin Shakeshaft. On one shelf rests a ceramic serving dish decorated with an imprinted outline of Lake George by Seddon’s Ceramics.
The gallery offers periodic exhibits in an adjacent room. Currently “Bridges of Ticonderoga,” paintings by Joan Pulling, is being displayed. Most works are available for purchase. Again, plan on spending some time taking it all in. This is not a place you will want to breeze through.
With these two sites, I’ve only scratched the surface of shops and galleries awaiting your exploration along the Adirondack Coast. Happy hunting for your own unique treasure.
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