Small Town Squares : Monticello, FL

Our #smalltownsquares series continues with a trip to a tiny town in Florida. Monticello has a special place in my heart. In Georgia, it is where Shane’s family has a beautiful farm, a place where we’ve made so many wondering memories over the years.

In Florida however, it is nearly as magical. A small, almost forgotten town just 20 minutes East of Tallahassee, where I grew up, Monticello has some of the most beautiful bones of a small town square.

Monticello, FL / heirloomed

The Courthouse sends in teh center of town with roads weaving around it in all directions. The large Opera House is favorite of mine, filled with rows of seating and a grande stage packing the main room. You just wonder what kind of performances + occasions have taken place in this beautiful place over the years.

The town newspaper still operates out of a little brick building near the town square, otherwise lined with a small diner, real estate office and quite a few antique + second-hand shops (right up my alley). My oldest son enjoyed the Fried Shrimp on the menu at the diner, claiming them to be “his new favorite meal.”

Small Town Florida / heirloomed
Small Town Travel / heirloomed
Antiques / Heirloomed
Antique Mall / heirloomed

A boarded up jail is quite a sight to see, and the old school is currently under renovations. There are often folks parked near the square selling fresh fruits + vegetables from their roadside stands, and a bed + breakfast in a gorgeous old home.

The historic homes in Monticello are plenty. Many of them have seen much better days and need quite a bit of work, but from time to time I see a new one pop up and text it to my Mom in hopes she’ll take the risk. They are oh-so-charming and just filled with potential, especially as Tallahassee doesn’t have much in the way of historic properties remaining.

Old Home / heirloomed
Southern Homes / heirloomed
Small Town Travel / heirloomed

This grande old home was one of my favorites, I didn’t see it listed for sale but gosh I’d love to walk around inside and bring this beauty back to life.

Love to know if you’ve visited Monticello before and what memories you have of this sweet Southern town. #HEIRLOOMED


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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

A Yancey County Cabin.

If you've followed me here for any amount of time you know that I love a good treasure hunt - from antique stores to barn sales on the side of a back road, I can certainly relate to the "American Pickers" way of life.

I posted previously about tips for how to shop an antiques market and one my biggest recommendations is having an on-going list of things you're looking for so there is always something you can be keeping your eye out for.

My list is a funny thing, I'm sure, if you see it without explanation and in its entirety. One thing that is always on my list, that I inherited from my Dad's very same list, is National Geographic, June, 1958.

national geographic cover

Pretty specific, I know. This issue holds a special place in my heart and in my life. There is a particular story with the issue of June 1958 that features one of the tiniest towns that holds one of the biggest pieces of my heart. The story is set in the heart of Burnsville, in Yancey County, North Carolina and the author of the story My Neighbors Hold to Mountain Ways once lived in the cabin that my Aunt + Uncle live in today, the very cabin we grew up visiting all throughout our childhood.

I was just up visiting this past weekend, a getaway we make on the same weekend each year to take part in the Olde Timey Days tractor parade + Fall festival. The cabin was just listed for sale and when I visited I found out it has just been sold. My heart is heavy but I know our tradition will continue now that my dad lives up there, having a place where my own children will visit and growing that fondness in their own little hearts for the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains.

A map of Yancey County is featured, with a little sketch of the original, rustic cabin just as I remember it from my youth. A long back porch overlooking the 180 degree mountain view, where I'd sit on a picnic table with my sister every chilly morning sipping our cups of hot cocoa with one single large marshmallow melting inside. The inspiration behind the naming of our "cozy cupped cocoa" children's apron, in fact.

National Geographic / June 1958 / Yancey County North Carolina Map

The article goes on to highlight local landmarks, talk about the craft and culture of the area, including the gemstone + mica mining that occurs still today in surrounding towns. It shows the Parkway Playhouse, revived and in operation today, and a bronze statue that stands tall in the very center of the small town square. The author shares his fondness for this area, the way of life and the throwback and forgotten mountain ways but remarkable to me is that not much has changed since June of 1958. From my childhood in the 1980's to today when I still visit in the summers with my own young family, the experiences we have are the same as they have been for generations, untouched by the technology and civilization of today.

National Geographic / Mountain Ways article / heirloomed

There is much I will be sharing in future stories about this special place and our travels to the area. As part of our #HEIRLOOMEDTRAVEL series, you will certainly be hearing more from me on my love of the mountains and the traditions we are keeping alive today. If nothing else, keep your eyes peeled for this issue of National Geo just for me as my collection continues to grow.



heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen aprons, tabletop linens, art, ceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com.

heirloomed Travel : Cashiers + Highlands, North Carolina.

My heart belongs to two very special places from my childhood, almost equally. The beaches of the Gulf in North Florida and the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. It's a constant pull that brings me home to them both as often as I can possibly find an excuse to escape.

During our family travels to High Hampton Inn earlier this summer, I found some time to explore the sweet surrounding towns of Cashiers and Highlands, North Carolina. During my travels I always go out of my way to include time to really take in the local hidden gems. The restaurant the locals eat at, the best home + lifestyle shops (because, business), historical markers and national parks, the first historic homes in the area, and the sweetest old churches. Oh, and every antique, architectural salvage + junk store I come across along the way (sorry honey ...).

historic home marker / highlands NC / heirloomed travel
church in highlands North Carolina / heirloomed travel
Dutchmans store in downtown Highlands North Carolina / heirloomed
historical marker on tree in Highlands NC / heirloomed travel

North Carolina is always an exceptionally great place to find treasures for a collector like myself. I am certain some of my greatest pieces have hailed from this area and the items you can find are so unique and unlike ones you can find anywhere else. There is always a lot of vintage advertising from the popularity of the mountain town general stores, as well as a good variety of rustic farm, barn + utilitarian pieces that are oh-so-popular in today's farmhouse interiors.

Here's a little sneak peek into some of the sites along the trip. If you haven't been to this area before, I highly recommend you add it to your list.

the wormy chestnut / heirloomed travel
taxidermy bear in antique store / heirloomed travel
chairs hanging in antique store  / heirloomed
antique wood sign /heirloomed
Cashiers NC / heirloomed

historic church / heirloomed travel
church bell in cashiers NC / heirloomed travel
historic church in cashiers NC / heirloomed travel
antique architectural salvage store / cashiers NC / heirloomed travel
vintage typewriters / heirloomed
vintage cast iron collection / heirloomed
vintage art / heirloomed
vintage jewelry with box / heirloomed
antique hardware store hidden in the side of a North Carolina mountain / heirloomed travel


heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

Small Town Squares : Chamblee, GA.

As the #smalltownsquares series continues, I venture just a few steps down the road to the little town of Chamblee, GA.

I must admit it's less than 5 minutes from me, from where I've been for about 10 years now, and I haven't even begun to get through the layers and layers of this historic little town.

Chamblee Georgia City Hall / Small Town Squares / heirloomed

We are fortunate that the town is experiencing a rebirth of sorts, with a Whole Foods on the verge of opening nearby there has a been a revitalization of new restaurants, shops and building restorations nearby. The area is also home to some of the film studios that are flourishing in Georgia, which to me seems very current but also very old-school at the very same time.

The thing I love most about Chamblee is the abundance of antique and thrift stores known as "Chamblee's Antique Row." This little area claims "over 200 dealers" and I must say the variety and niche of some of the shops is a little mind blowing to a vintage lover like myself.

When you wander through each, you begin to notice they each have their own thing going on. From a grande European architectural house to an antique hardware store to what you must call an antique mall but one that is filled with case after case of the deepest and richest collections you could imagine. 

Architectural Antiques in Chamblee GA / small town squares / heirloomed
antique architectural gates in chamblee / heirloomed
Old Brick Pit BBQ in Chamblee GA / Small Town Squares / heirloomed
Old Brick Pit handprinted window signage / heirloomed

The area boasts more and more restaurants that seem to be popping up, by a few staples are the Old Brick Pit Bar-B-Q, which has gorgeous hand-painted windows and has a smoker that seems to run day and night. We also love Vintage Pizza for a tasty family weeknight out or Southbound which is perfect for an upscale + creative Southern date night.

Eugenias Antique Hardware can only be described as the jewelry store of antique hardware, with row after row of glass cases filled with matching sets of hardware. Old bath knobs, hinges and metal plates, all neatly stored and displayed beautifully by genre, color and collection. 

A variety of chandeliers and light fixtures hang from the ceiling with random collections of fixtures, Christmas items and classic kids toys in smaller cases in the back. This one stole my heart from the moment I walked in.

Eugenias Antique Hardware Store in Chamblee GA / heirloomed
antique hardware store interior / heirloomed
antique chairs and hardware / heirloomed
amazing antique hardware store collection / heirloomed
vintage printing drawers / heirloomed
vintage postcards / heirloomed
frosty caboose ice cream shop in Chamblee GA / heirloomed

The Frosty Caboose is a favorite if the kiddos are picking, giving homage to the town that sits among the still active train tracks. They have the cutest little kid cones and classics when it comes to this frosty treat, and I do believe they serve Greenwood Ice Cream, made just down the street. We love to grab a cone after dinner and watch the trains go by, screaming and laughing ensues if the kids get one of the engineers to blow their horn and wave.

And, another of my favorite antique stores in town (how can I choose just one?) is Way Back When Antiques. I love the shop owner who used to have a space in the Rust and Dust building just down the street. He's the one who spent nearly an hour walking Wyatt through the shop, showing him how some of these old things worked like an old rotary phone and an anvil, gave him a railroad nail to take home, and the place where he found his very first antique.  I probably frequent them the most of any in town, simply because of the owners spot-on style for sourcing wonderful, unique pieces. I never leave empty handed.

Way Back When Antiques / Ice House in Chamblee GA / heirloomed
owner of Way Back When Antiques in Chamblee GA / heirloomed
antique cash register / heirloomed
way back when antique store interior / vintage signs / heirloomed
vintage metal store display shelf / heirloomed
antique wooden advertising crates / heirloomed
vintage metal cheese grater with green wooden handle / heirloomed
vintage cast iron cornbread pan / heirloomed

This little green handled grater is actually up on the Vintage Goods section of the site, think it's so fun to know the backstory and where I found some of these pieces.

And I do love the sign painting scattered around town, it's classic and almost always due to the antique shops. There is even the most amazing new little barber shop in town, complete with ticking stripe salon covers and a working barber pole. The sweet barber was wearing suspenders and I instantly told Shane he must go for his next haircut.

Rust N Dust Antiques painted sign in Chamblee GA / heirloomed
Blue House Antique Store / heirloomed
The Way We Were Antiques in Chamblee GA / heirloomed
old church in chamblee ga / heirloomed

This beautiful old building just a few short months ago was filled * to the brim * with amazing antiques and props. The outside was covered in old metal signs with a large bull and the Hamburgler structure standing outside. Very little was actually for sale, most pieces were used for movie and set props, filled with furniture, pictures and vintage packaged dry goods just to name a few things.

I got to talking to the owner one day, who had been there for over 30 years. He told me this gorgeous building was once a church and I wish I could show you the inside of the main area which was clearly where the congregation gathered. I sure hope this place is restored and turned into something wonderful instead of being torn down, only time will tell.

chamblee antiques row / heirloomed
vintage baking pan / heirloomed
My Favorite Things antique store / heirloomed
box of vintage silverware and serving pieces /heirloomed

I love visiting Chamblee and thankfully it's just down the street from me so I'm able to visit often. I frequent the post office to drop off miscellaneous packages. I am slowly working my way through the antique stores, scouring for treasures and props and know as soon as I get through the rotation it will be time to go back through them all again. I hope you'll take some time to visit and if you have, I'd love to know your favorite spots in town too! #HEIRLOOMED


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heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com

 

Small Town Squares : Monticello, GA.

Well, I must say I am totally *overjoyed* to finally be launching this new series, Small Town Squares. If you've followed me for any amount of time, I used to do a #smalltownsquares hashtag over on Twitter and Instagram from time to time and people were really into it. For obvious reasons, at least in my mind.

The South, where I am, is literally bursting at the seams with tiny town squares - some bustling, others complete desolate. The old signage, gorgeous architectural details and buildings, historic homes, statues and community markers all tell a rich story full of history and spread across generations. I love road trips and always beg Shane to stop and let me out to explore, town after town after town, but he knows otherwise if there's an antique store within the vicinity ...

To kick off the series, which I'm hoping will soon be way more than just a few words + pictures, we are starting with one of my favorite towns - Monticello, Georgia.

Monticello Georgia historic town square monument statue and city hall / heirloomed

Like many town squares across the South, this one is no different in its prominent statue at the very center of town, flanked by greenspace that boasts a little farmers market on the weekend and a festival from time to town, like the Deer Festival. Which, much to my oldest sons dismay, we've never actually made it to. 

You see, Monticello is where my husband's family farm is so it's a special place to us. We lived at the farm for 9 months while we were building our home and I ran my business remotely from there. Being in the middle of the country, I had to drive in every day to receive my packages from the post office and to delivery our outbound packages to the UPS and FedEx stores, which were several towns away. Needless to say, I became very familiar with the charm and detail of the town, including the interior of the old post office. 

Monticello Georgia city limits welcome sign / home of Trisha Yearwood / heirloomed

With a welcome sign like this, you don't need to travel too far into the actual town square to know it's going to be amazing.  Home of (the wonderful) country music singer Trisha Yearwood, you can certainly tell the town has had its share of ups and downs over the years. Her song "Jasper County Line" is just one of the nods to her upbringing here in, you guessed it, Jasper County, Georgia. 

HISTORIC HOMES

One thing I love about the streets surrounding a true small town square is that you can literally see how the town evolved around the bustling little square. Spawning out from the square you can almost always find a few streets with some old, historic homes from the original settlement  of the town. 

grande historic white home in Monticello Georgia / heirloomed
historic wooden home in Monticello Georgia / heirloomed

The grande, historic old homes here are just to. die. for. Am I right? I mean, I could literally just stop here with the pictures and I must say this one home is probably my favorite in all the town. But there are quite a few more we could have captured, standing after so many years in all their glory. Some in need of repairs, others that have been nicely restored. 

The details in the architecture are just amazing , and here especially there are a quite a variety of styles, each of quintessential Southern design but each so unique and gorgeous.

historic home on Monticello GA town square / heirloomed
historic home with chipping paint front steps and southern front porch / heirloomed
chipping paint front steps in grey blue / heirloomed
charming white southern historic farm house in Monticello GA / heirloomed

The upper ceilings of the porches are painted that signature "porch blue" to keep bugs at bay here in the South, and the paint is chipping off wooden staircases and columns more times than naught. The gardens surrounding the home are well established, with overgrown bushes and trees from years of landscaping growth. 

And yet when you get into the outskirts of town, like where the farm is, you find the breathtaking pastures filled with cows, pecan trees and rolls of hay that only the country can provide. It's a beautiful balance to me.

farmland cow field in Monticello Georgia / heirloomed

LOCAL BUSINESS

The town square here in Monticello is certainly not one that I'd describe as bustling in it's current state. There are quite a few vacant buildings, and like most small squares, the City Hall is most certainly the grandest of them all, one that seems to be filled with fireplaces if judged by the number of chimneys seen from the outside. 

Monticello Government Complex / Benton Supply Co Building / Monticello GA / heirloomed
Historic architectural detail from Benton Supply Co building in Monticello GA / heirloomed

The Monticello Government Complex building, which was originally owned entirely by the Benton family, has a rich history that I gathered from my research here. The Benton's had many roots here in the town and you can see their effect on their business here still today from the hand-laid floor mosaics at the front of the building and hand-painted signage in the still-original glass front window displays. 

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town square alley and metal gate in Monticello ga / heirloomed
Historic Benton Supply Co building in Monticello GA  / heirloomed
Benton Supply Co floor mosaic / historic storefront in Monticello GA / heirloomed

There are a variety of smaller shops that take up the buildings along the square. A thrift store has recently closed, a few restaurants, a drug store and an adorable children's shop that is almost displaced here among the vacancies. I often wonder what would happen if you popped in a quaint deli, general store, barber shop and gift store and just let it go and give it the chance to flourish, if little towns like this could support it if given the chance. 

Monticello Farm and Garden Center in Monticello GA / heirloomed
Monticello Family Foods store / heirloomed
D B Benton floor mosaic Monticello GA town square / heirloomed

There was once a fabulous restaurant in town called the Tillman House that served the best fried chicken around. It has since closed and the Monticello Newspaper has moved into their old space inside of a building that was clearly once someones home. Their original newspaper building stands just next door, a tiny building with large vertical windows that is so charming to me. And an old car dealership or service station just across the street from that, it too is vacant but the shell and interior details are rich. 

RELIGION 

Monticello United Methodist Church
Historic church Monticello Georgia
Historic Monticello United Methodist Church / heirloomed
renovated cemetery at Monticello United Methodist Church / heirloomed
cemetery gate in Monticello Georgia

One of my best discoveries while wandering off the beaten path in Monticello one day in route to the Post Office (again) was the discovery of this huge, vacant church from 1895 that stands just on the outskirts of the square. The original Monticello United Methodist Church, which was replaced by a new building to accommodate a growing congregation, now stands vacant in all its glory.  

With towering heights and beautiful stained glass windows, to say it's a shame for this holy building to remain empty and unused is quite the understatement. An old cemetery surrounds the property on two sides with tombstones that have recently been cleaned, repaired or replaced by pristine white markers. You know I'd much rather the old stained and mossy varieties but I'd love to know the story behind this complete renovation.

I hope you've enjoyed exploring a tiny glimpse into this town with me, as much as I've enjoyed sharing it. I'd love your thoughts on some other towns that might be good to explore and celebrate as part of this on-going series. And as I mentioned before, be sure to stay tuned as my passion for these tiny towns continues to grow and evolve into what I hope will be a beautiful project. #HEIRLOOMED


heirloomed is a lifestyle brand with a mission of "keeping heirlooms around for another generation." Our blog features stories about family recipes, creating traditions with your family, interior design and entertaining by mixing new and vintage pieces, classic style, and small town + historic travel. Our shop features a collection of "goods inspired by the past, for generations to enjoy" with an array of products and meaningful gifts including linen apronstabletop linensartceramics and beyond. Learn more at www.heirloomedcollection.com