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Southeastern Group Tour Spring 2014 : Page 14

Antique collecting continues to re-ceive much attention in the reality TV world. Thanks to programs like History Channel’s American Pickers and Pawn Stars ; PBS’s Antiques Roadshow; and A&E’s Storage Wars , people can enjoy an antique hobby from the comfort of their living room. Although entertaining, those shows can’t replace the thrill of the actual pursuit of an antique. FOLLOW AN ANTIQUE TRAIL With so many antique stores and malls out there, it can be hard to choose which ones to include on a tour. Luckily, there is an online resource that can help. Marcia Arnold, an Alabaman and avid antique collector, started the website more than fi ve years ago. Arnold was discouraged with the limited and outdated information that she found online about antique stores and decided to solve the problem with her own website, using information she researched herself. provides infor-mation about 800-plus member shops spread across nine states in the south-east. Each shop is provided with its own website within that includes photos, descriptions and maps. Arnold and her colleagues have person-ally visited about 90 percent of the shops listed. “Groups tour planners looking for antique shops will benefi t from using because they can see what stores offer before planning to go there,” Arnold said. Arnold has been collecting antiques since she was a teenager and likes an-tiques because they are “tangible history.” She sees advantages of going to an-tiques stores with a tour group. “It’s a lot more fun when you’re in a group,” Arnold said. “Each person in the group will have a different expertise or interest, which makes it a learning expe-rience as well.” VINTAGE VIRGINIA “For people looking to plan an an-tique tour, I would say Virginia is a great destination,” said Danielle Emerson, na-tional media relations manager at Vir-ginia Tourism Corporation., the state tourism web-site, includes more than 400 listings for antiques, and Emerson said it’s a great resource for operators looking to plan an antique shopping tour. Proximity to metropolitan areas and a rich history makes Virginia stand out to antique-hunters. That combination, coupled with many historic sites, affords a more immersive experience back in time. “Virginia’s rich history likely gives antique dealers access to more pieces than some other states,” Emerson said. “I would assume that many folks who love antiques also love historic sites, and Vir-ginia has so many throughout the state. From presidential homes to Civil War-era homes furnished with antiques, we have plenty of places for antique lovers to visit for inspiration.” In addition to being a destination for antiques, the variety of attractions found in Virginia strengthens an itinerary. “Virginia has a ton of other experi-ences that could be paired with antique shopping excursions, like wineries, small towns, historic sites and outdoor recre-ation that would round out a nice itiner-ary,” Emerson said. In Old Town Alexandria, dozens of antique shops line the streets. For ancient  Spring 2014  • Photo: Sarah Hauser, Virginia Tourism Corporation Discover architectural antiques at Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, Va. 14

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