Updated: Dec 6, 2019
By Kelly Spicer
The Hudson Valley is home to a trove of well-curated vintage shops that stock unique, high-quality secondhand pieces to enhance your home decor and wardrobe, and cut down on the cycle of fast fashion. In our “Vintage Voyager” series I will explore vintage shops across the Hudson Valley. Stop number one? Beacon, NY!
Upon arrival via the MetroNorth, I took a quick 10-minute bus ride on the G line from the train station to Main Street Beacon (note: this bus runs daily, except for Sundays), arriving right by our first stop, Knot Too Shabby (155 Main St).
Knot Too Shabby is owned and operated by Caryn Carhart Morales, specializing in shabby-chic furniture and other home decor items, along with selling supplies to complete DIY home and furniture improvement projects. Morales opened the store in 2016 with a desire to expand her side hobby of refurbishing old furniture and giving it new life into a full-time business. Morales offers workshops in furniture restoration, as well as “Make and Take” crafting classes to make small custom signs for your home. Don’t have the time to DIY? Refinished pieces available for purchase in the store include a delicate ivory Edwardian headboard, vibrantly painted end tables, and premade signs.
Upon arriving at our second destination, American Honey Vintage (263 Main St), I was immediately greeted by co-owner Cabot Bramhall. The space felt like a cool teen bedroom from the 90s- vintage Playboy covers adorn the fitting room walls and grunge-rock staples like Nirvana and Pearl Jam blast over the stereo system. Bramhall was extremely knowledgeable of the store inventory- after I remarked about a vintage t-shirt that said “Who is the World’s Greatest Lover?” Bramhall explained that it’s actually referencing an obscure 1970s Gene Wilder and Carol Kane movie. Bramhall and his girlfriend, blogger Nicole Sereda, founded the store in 2014 to stock 70s-90s grunge style essentials- think band tees, deadstock Levi’s, flannels, and leather boots, intermixed with fun, quirky accessories (humorous snapbacks, faux fur bags, statement earrings), all at an accessible price point. The store also stocks a small selection of records and home decor items including comic book prints and retro beer advertisements.
Just down the street, Blackbird Attic (442 Main St) feels like a cozy, inviting bohemian space as soon as you enter. Their decor is particular, with a wall of blackbirds as the most dominant design feature, surrounded by a few knitted wall hangings. The racks are tidy and categorized into separate sections for men, women, and children. Owner Michelle Caves-Deal curates trendy vintage finds alongside gently used current pieces from mid-tier brands such as Zara, Anthropologie, Free People, BB Dakota, and Madewell. It’s a great spot to sell your own gently worn pieces as they offer 40% of the sale price to consignors and have no start-up fees. One of the unique perks of Blackbird Attic is their loyalty program- for each dollar spent you can earn points toward future purchases! Deal opened the space in its current state in 2010 (“Almost a decade, which I am still in awe of!”). After working for the previous owner of the space for a few months straight out of college, he offered to sell her the store and it’s contents allowing Deal to “jumpstart into the consignment business.”
Next up, the newest shop of the bunch, opened by Kim Wilson and David Starr in June 2019, The Archive Beacon/13th Floor Mod (456 Main St). The space is a curated blend of mid-century furniture pieces and clothing items for women and men. Items are displayed in such a way that it feels like you could be hanging out in your own living room or walk-in closet. From vintage 50s flight attendant dresses to bright floral 70s maxi dresses, their pieces take from the best of each decades’ designs. Co-owner Kim chatted about the importance of shopping vintage, and espoused “the importance of sustainable goods, especially in 2019 where we have become a “throw-away society.” She prides her business on carrying high-quality pieces that are “created to last many years to come.”
The final store of my Beacon shopping adventure was Vintage:Beacon. Founded in 2012, Vintage:Beacon consigns high-end designer vintage pieces, favoring high-quality fabrics, vibrant patterns, and unique dresses mainly from the 40s to the 90s. Owner Angela Hastings carefully selects “special closet essentials” that she curates based on what she herself “and the women whose style she admires would love to wear.” She has a particular affinity for “items with history” and loves “seeing them rediscovered.” Upon arriving in the shop, Angela immediately put me at ease with her kind demeanor. As I selected a few items to try on, she quickly suggested similar items that I might like and was right on target. We spoke about her passion for vintage, and how she ended up opening a shop in Beacon. After hitting many roadblocks attempting to find a store space in Astoria, Queens she and her boyfriend (now husband) came to Beacon for the weekend to relax and decompress: “We only meant to come for one night, loved it, so that turned into two, however, the second night Hurricane Irene hit Beacon really hard and everything was flooded so badly that trains were shut down until the following Tuesday. As a result we were able to really experience Beacon and it dawned on both of us that this could be our life. We began house-hunting and moved to Beacon six months later!”
To cap off my day in Beacon, I stopped in at Tito Santana for a quick bite to eat before my journey home. Grilled fish tacos, paired with a Doc’s Hard Cider (local to Warwick, NY) were the perfect way to bring the day to a close and reflect on Beacon’s vintage offerings. With a wide variety of vibes, and knowledgeable owners, Beacon’s vintage scene represents a diverse and eclectic array of tastes, whether you’re looking for turn-of-the century dresses, mid-century furniture, 90s grunge, or even something more modern.
Join me next time, as I voyage for vintage in Hudson, NY!