Shop ‘Til You Drop Antiques Tour

Cantonware Platter & etched crystal goblets

Paper-thin monogrammed crystal wedding presents (1893)

I have found that there are some glorious things of old hidden away in antique shops and friends’ piazzas.  The skill of man to show forth the glory of the Lord is awe inspiring. Morgan Falk  had an antique sale on her piazza of her Wentworth Street home in Harleston Village of historic Charleston before moving.    I bought Kevin Lawing’s great grandmother’s paper-thin monogrammed wedding crystal from 1893 for our home from her piazza sale as well as  wedding presents for our nephew, Matt and bride Nicole Pridgen.  I am thrilled! Kevin wanted the crystal to go to a home where it would be used.  I use it all the time now for dinner parties, and if you ask,  for you my special tour guests.

I am even  adding an Antique  Shop ‘Til  We  Drop Tour,  going to favorite antique shops for good finds at reasonable prices til we drop, and then back to my house for afternoon tea.

I have found that as people downsize, age,  (or die), they cannot take their beloved family pieces with them.  “Store not up for yourselves treasures on earth…” but there are always birthday presents to buy, or young couples starting out for whom to buy wedding presents, or things we knew from our parents or grandparents era with which we now have time to entertain and can incorporate to enrich our lifestyle.  To continue the culture we call civilization, it is necessary to have more than paper plates and plastic forks, more than stainless steel and tupperware, more than meals eaten on the run, or in front of the TV.  To bring an elegance to the daily routine is to cultivate the art of living.

My Auntie Edie, who I recently visited before she passed at age 98 in England, taught me to bring the milk to the table for mundane cereal in a white porcelain milk jug.  (The English think it charmingly archaic of us to call it a pitcher as Shakespeare did.)  I have brought up my children to have the milk carton stay in the fridge and never be seen at table.  We have several sizes of white porcelain milk jugs suitable for all occasions, especially for morning tea.  Dinner is served in serving dishes often covered and sometimes silver lidded ones to keep it hot.  Plastic never is seen at table.  We are the ones to preserve our civilization, one person at a time.  If you make a habit of using such things, life is richer in the routine.  My teenagers appreciate the difference.

Laura on the piazza.


I am amazed at the treasures showing up in antique shops and the reasonable prices, as well as the number of new antique shops springing up!   This tour will NOT visit the most expensive antique shops downtown; rather,  I will take you further afield to where the merchandise is priced to sell, even to those of my personal friends who may be having piazza sales during your visit.

This is a tour to take if you have done my other historic tour of private homes and gardens.  For those who have several days here, you may take my mother’s walking tour first, then my private tour in my air-conditioned, brand new van ending with lunch and tea at my house; then,  if you like me — and like old things — please join my  Shop ‘Til We Drop Antiques Tour.   It is a fun way of getting to these shops for me as well, and spending more time with the people I have become friends with.  I have made such nice friends with the people on my tour.  It restores my faith in Americans across the continent.

Call me at 843-577-5896 and be one of the first to go on my new Antiques Tour, one hundred dollers each, including gas and transportation and afternoon tea in my home overlooking the Ashley River.  Dr. Jim Toth and his wife found a wood and brass coal scuttle with the original tin liner, which they bought on my tour.  He said it far surpasses what they use now for fire wood.  She said, “a plastic bucket!”  It was a great buy and in perfect condition.  It will add dignity to the daily routines of winter life at the hearth. Save time and energy by going with me to my favorite finds!  His wife also found some estate jewelry!

–Laura Wichmann Hipp

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3 responses to “Shop ‘Til You Drop Antiques Tour

  1. Ann Billeter

    Hi Laura, I have a couple of questions I would like to ask you….could you send me your email address? (And my dear, where is that terrific reading list you gave us here on your site? 😉 You thought we gray-heads would remember it all????)
    You and your tour, your humor and intellect and incredible memory of dates and quotations enchanted our whole group from Seabrook Island. Thanks you so much….lunch was perfect and we enjoyed every minute. Ann and Henry Billeter

    • I loved both Natural History groups from Seabrook Island. I am so glad you want to read my recommended books:
      Lafayette in America in 1824 and 1825 by Levasseur, translated by Allen Hoffman;
      Peter Ashley, by Dubose Heyward set in Charleston the day South Carolina secedes from the Union, December 20, 1860, ending when they ride off gallantly to War.
      Celia Garth, by Gwen Bristow, set in Charleston during the British occupation in the Revolutionary War, bringing in Francis Marion, that ole Swamp Fox.
      Diary From Dixie, by Mary Boykin Chesnut, set during The War describing the Bombardment of Ft. Sumter at the start of The War of Northern Aggression and everyday life of a woman observer of the social life.
      Forgive me but I am so busy, I have had to give up emailing. I need my sleep and reading time a few minutes before.

  2. Laura recommends going to In Good Scents in Rainbow Market, off North Market Street, a Charleston tradition for 30 years.

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