Monday, November 23, 2009

trying troy

This weekend K and I took a little road trip to Troy, NY.

Sounds crazy, I know... Troy isn't exactly a tourist hot-spot (though it was home to Kurt Vonnegut). The "purpose" of the trip was to determine whether or not this was a place we could potentially live, because RPI has a Historical Preservation program (and that's what K wants to study). We knew that there was an "Antique District," so that pretty much sold me on the trip, despite the fact that Troy didn't seem to have a whole lot else to offer us.

We stopped in Lake George for lunch at the Log Jam Restaurant and I had the best butternut squash soup ever. It was spicy--almost like curry--and the most perfect, chunky texture.

As for Troy itself? In the 1970s an abandoned "urban renewal" project wiped out the downtown district of this once-prosperous industrial city, and it's clear that it never really recovered. The whole town seemed utterly abandoned--it reminded me of our trip to New Bedford, MA (an old whaling community).

We went immediately to the Antique District, where I managed to pick up a few treasures. Our second stop (after a small, overpriced vintage boutique) was at Minion Vintage Costume Jewelry. I've been admiring costume-y rings lately, and Minion didn't disappoint. The owner is Julia Hamilton, a charming, talkative woman who truly appreciates a good piece of costume jewelry. She pointed to a juliana-style lobster brooch pinned to her colorful shirt and said that it was the gateway piece that "started it all" for her. There were a few trays of rings in the case, but when I described what I was looking for Julia pulled out a plastic bag full to bursting with appendage adornments and I shuffled through that for a good twenty minutes before settling (somewhat) decisively on these two pretties:

This one is a sterling silver "poison ring," which was just too eerily Victorian to pass up:

I still have to decide what I will put in the little secret chamber (since I don't have much use for poison)... I will probably write something on a little scroll, roll it up and put it inside, but I have to think of something just right.
The white one came out of the plastic bag and was the last one standing from a group of about five rings that spend the entirety of our visit flirting with my fingers to find out if they would be a good fit. The final cost was definitely more than I had intended to spend on "costume jewelry," but Julia gave me such a good deal that I couldn't refuse. If you're ever in Troy (for any reason) look up this little store, it was definitely a gem!

As we strolled down the deserted street we dropped in to a few more stores, but only one made an impression on my pocketbook: the Bourne Brook Antique Center. This 16,000 square foot showroom is home to fifty antique dealers, but it's nothing like the cheap, junky multi-dealer shops that I've encountered in the past. In fact, it's not cheap at all, which made it a lot less overwhelming. I wasn't really finding anything and it seemed pretty overpriced, so when K asked if I was ready to go I headed for the door. However! On my way out I passed a rolling rack of coats and stopped to take a look. I pulled out a beautiful sixties-style plaid wool coat and slipped it on... it fit like a glove (and so did the $60 price tag). The woman at the counter told me that she thought it had to be handmade, which certainly didn't deter me (it's one of a kind!) and I walked out feeling very satisfied. Stick around, I didn't take a photo of it yet but I'll certainly post one soon.

We circled the downtown district, but that was pretty much the last stop. We didn't spend much time in Troy, despite driving almost four hours to get there because there wasn't much going on (definitely doesn't make the list of potential relocation candidates). That said, I did get the sense that Troy is ripe for revival. It has plenty of beautiful old buildings that are just begging to be remodeled, and it does seem like there is a continuing effort to infuse the area with art galleries and cafes, which is always a good start... it's just not quite there yet.

Last night K and I had planned to attend the Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros show at Club Metronome in Burlington, and we'd been super-excited about it all week [listen to their song "Home" and you'll get a sense of what we've been dancing to in our living room... I'm serious, we do that sort of thing]. However, when Sunday night rolled around with all the doom and gloom of Monday dragging down the energy we debated ditching our plans in favor of an old movie and an early bedtime. Despite our hesitation we rallied (I mean, come on, we had been really excited about this all week!) and drove allllll the way to Burlington for the big show. When we stepped up to the door with cash in hand, the bouncer said the most dreaded nine words in the English Language at nine pm on a Sunday night after a thirty-minute drive: "You know that this show is SOLD OUT, right?" Bah. Fail. There was nothing left to do but drive all the way back home and watch an old movie and go to bed. But oh how I wish I had seen that show!

*speaking of music* I am currently listening to Tom Waits groan his way through "Hoist that Rag" and it is awesome. Add it to your iPod.

1 comment:

  1. Those rings are incredible! Great finds!