Just came back from a big swing dance event in Gulfport, Florida. Because it’s a 3 1/2 hour drive for me across the middle of the state, my favorite town to stop and take a break is Arcadia, an antique shopper’s dream destination. It’s about an hour east of the gulf coast’s Sarasota/Bradenton area.
If you love hunting for antique and vintage treasures and you’re planning a Florida vacation, I strongly recommend a day trip to this quaint little town. Most people who come down here never see the interior of the state, preferring to be on the coasts with all the palm trees, sandy beaches, Disney World, casinos, crazy traffic and even crazier drivers! That’s all well and good, but the center of the state makes for a nice, relaxing getaway from all the crowds in high season. It’s “Old Florida” with lots of live oak trees dripping Spanish moss, horse and cattle ranches, orange groves and cowboys. Arcadia even has a rodeo!
Anyway, I always like to alert my readers to fun places to shop and Arcadia is on the top of my list. Though now I’m afraid you’ll all go there and buy up all the stuff I want!
The historic buildings in the downtown area house dozens of antique shops. There is no way you can go there without buying something. Trust me on this one. So bring lots of cash or a credit card with a high limit on it! Prices are pretty reasonable compared to big cities, so you’ll be tempted to stock up.
Below are some photos I took of the inside of the old opera house that was built in 1906. This place is now a museum and antique mall. But it used to be used as a movie theater, for political meetings, dances and the USO. It has room after room full of fun stuff and it’s haunted! This would be one cool place to have a Halloween party, with all it’s hallways, rooms, nook and crannies. Though I didn’t experience any paranormal activity while I was shopping, I don’t think I’d have the nerve to spend a night there!
After all the shopping at the Opera House and many of other fine establishments in town, you can’t help but work up an appetite. So it was over to Mary Margaret’s Tea and Biscuit, an adorable English style tea room brimming with character.
Oh, and the desserts are TDF. I inhaled a heavenly white chocolate bread pudding with caramel sauce and clotted cream before my DH could snap a photo of it.
Their impeccable service and delectable food were the perfect finale to my antique hunting expedition in Arcadia. Looking forward to my next cross state trip!