Stretch out your fingers and you can gently and carefully touch the past, kept timeless in objects owned long ago and passed down through countless other hands into yours.
The village of Ballston Spa, first settled in 1771, is rich in antique shops. Visitors to the historic area often spend days roaming through aisles of antiques, hunting for the perfect find to take home.
Locals also go antiquing, and even the dealers buy items from one another.
Despite the challenges of a battered economy, the purveyors of the past carry on, some even flourishing.
The Ballston Spa Antique Center at 217 Milton
Ave., owned by Brent E. Millington for 26 years, is the oldest antique shop in the village. Impressive furniture crowds the left side of the store. Past glass cases of jewelry, the right side features different dealers’ small rented areas, often called “booths,” although there is no demarcation except for that formed by the furniture.
Millington’s booths continue upstairs, in a roomy
region full of vintage dolls and toys, odd little knickknacks and sets of china dishes.
Forty dealers lease space at the Antique Center. Many of them also have booths at other shops.
“I went to my first auction when I was 14,” Millington said. “I had $10 of my own and I borrowed $5 from my mother. With the $15 I bought a drop-leaf table. I set it out for sale on my lawn and sold the piece for $65. I’ve been hooked — and in debt — ever since.”