HOLLY: Old Skool Christmas Shopping

27 Dec

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Along with Christmas decorations and Santa Claus the holidays also bring numerous activities to take part in, the hardest part is deciding  which to do. On a dreary Sunday we took a ride out to Holly to check out their annual Dickens Festival. With beautiful Victorian brick buildings and small town charm Holly is the perfect setting for the festival.  We arrived to find the town decked out in Christmas splendor; tiny white lights strung along the main street, a large decorated tree in the center of town and folks dressed up in period clothing greeting visitors. A hand bell choir was entertaining the crowd, rows of chairs were laid out so you could relax and listen. Small wood burning fires in pots both scented the air and provided a place to warm up, the only thing missing was snow. The highlight of the afternoon is the performance of A Christmas Carol that takes place in front of the Village Office.  Members of Joe Mishler’s Blue Heron Theater Group volunteer their time and put on the show. Actors are dressed in period costumes, but instead of traditional sets they recite their lines standing on the street…. think radio show. There is something irresistible about the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge and the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, it always manages to draw me in no matter how many times I see it!

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Holly offers a number of dining establishments, Blackthorn Pub sits  on S. Saginaw St right in the midst of the activities. The quaint space is long and narrow, walls are orange brick highlighted by indirect lighting, tables were filled with families in town for the festivities. The menu consists of pub favorites; sandwiches, salads, burgers and  a huge beer selection; 20 craft beers on tap and over 100 bottled beers. We went with the Reuben and the Spinach Salad, the service was good, the food not quite… 

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There is no shortage of antique shops in town, we walked from the restaurant to S. Broad Street which is one block over and started there. There are two big shops here Water Tower Antiques, your typical store selling old glassware, lamps, vintage toy trucks, and jewelry. Balcony Row Antiques is one of the more unusual shops we’ve been to; from the really, really old to not-so-old they have an eclectic collection of items for sale. They purchased an entire room and retro-fit it to the store from the carved walnut paneling to the paintings hanging on the wall. We saw primitive items, pewter, a spinning wheel and an old diorama previously displayed at the Ann Arbor Natural History Museum…….you don’t see that every day! The place is fascinating, definitely worth a look.

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Around the corner on Battle Alley you will find Arcade Antiques, this too is a unique setting. Laid out in a creative manner the interior resembles a tiny village, each storefront housing a different blend of antiques. Building facades are two stories tall and no two are alike, even the floor is unique; made of cut logs it adds an air of authenticity.

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 At over 10,000 sq.ft Main Street Antiques on S. Saginaw is the largest shop in the village; this place has everything. From Radio Flyers and Partridge Family record albums to dishes and even a phone booth, plan on spending some time looking around. We walked around the ground floor going from room to room seeing things we recognized from our grandparents and even our own childhoods (how scary is that?) The second floor is one large space with a splendid view of main street; the windows are large with beautiful stained glass pieces creating a colorful arch above. The floor up here is a squeaky one but it doesn’t seem to bother anyone.  We even found some mid-century items up here. No shortage of great antiques in picturesque architecture, Holly, a fun daytrip…

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