A few times a year I travel to Georgia and take my mom on a thrifting road trip. Our treasure hunts take us to big box thrift stores, lovingly curated boutiques and junky hole-in-the-walls. On Sunday we’ll begin another adventure - in Texas this time. I can’t wait to show her more of my adopted state!
Mom and I both grew up in Campbell County, Tennessee. The region is filled with rolling hills and trees, and is situated in the Appalachian Mountains, east of the Great Smoky Mountains. It’s a rural area some refer to as “God’s Country.”
My mom, Shirley, grew up using an outhouse. She claims she didn’t know what toilet paper was until she went to high school, having only ever used a Sears and Roebuck’s catalog. Even though my mom has a beautiful and well-appointed home now, she chooses to spend wisely, searching for the unexpected and unique.
We first started these thrifting road trips when my kids were teenagers. We’d head out of Georgia and cut a swath across the Carolinas, up into Tennessee and end up in Abington, Virginia, home of the Barter Theatre, the country’s longest running professional theater. We could well justify the price of play tickets because of all the money we saved along the way.
We also enjoy poking around in small town antique stores. Even if we don’t buy anything, it’s such fun to look at items that were once used for a particular purpose, and daydream about how we could put them to use in our own minimalist homes.
When we’re on the open road we rarely pass up a Dairy Queen, Red Lobster or Olive Garden. And don’t even get me started on Krispy Kreme. We’ve been known to plan a day of shopping around doughnuts and coffee. Dinner is always a picnic in our hotel room, before a game of Bananagrams or Scrabble and then a chick flick.
We’ve learned that we prefer traveling on backroads. Not only is the drive scenic; it’s also where you find the best places and best deals. One of our favorite small towns is Mountain City, Tennessee, near the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. The winding mountain road from Virginia to the border town has an icy creek that runs alongside it. Mountain City is also where my mom bought a fountain that’s been the focal point of her front yard for many years.
North Carolina has held some treasures over the years too. It’s where we first stumbled onto what is known as a Goodwill Outlet, where clothing is separated, in no order whatsoever, into these enormous blue bins and sold by the pound. We also came upon one of these stores in Sacramento, California. We’d just been to my son’s wedding in Lake Tahoe and decided to see what kind of thrift shopping the West Coast had to offer. We were not disappointed. I got a brand new leather tote for $2.49.
Thinking back on all the fun times we’ve had in the past, we’re now planning our Texas adventure. Monday is Waco, where, along with my own daughter, we’ll visit all things Magnolia and local thrift stores. We’re planning a trip to Galveston later in the week and will wrap up my mom's Texas trip with time in Corsicana and Dallas.
If you happen to see a 50ish looking blond woman, with sparkling blue eyes and a Tennessee accent, popping in the boutiques and coffee shops on Beaton Street next week, be sure and give her a warm Corsicana welcome. You’ll be glad you did. She’s a lot of fun and will most likely tell you about some of the deals we’ve gotten over the years on our thrifting trips.
I know there’ll come a day that we won’t be able to go on these adventures. I think maybe that’s why I make it a priority to have this sweet time with my mom now. As much as we celebrate the unique trinkets and designer clothing we unearth, the best treasure for me is time with my mom, creating memories I’ll have for a lifetime.
Sherry Asbury Clark is Co-Founder of Purdon Groves and a freelance writer. You may reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on Purdon Groves, a farm, table, venue and retreat property, check out purdongroves.com, visit their Instagram or Facebook pages, or call 404-606-1243.