It's time to hit the open road in search of antiques and collectibles. This week, I'm proposing a pair of trips in the South Bay. I hope you will locate an unexpected treasure.
One of my very favorite stores in Santa Cruz County is Betsy's Summerhouse Antiques in downtown Capitola. The words "funky and eclectic" may best describe owner Betsy Conners' delightful mix of merchandise.
Folks smitten with the Monterey line of furniture are in for a treat. Conners happens to be one of the chief proponents in the country of Spanish Revival pieces (1929 to the mid-1940s), and her stepfather had a showroom in Los Angeles that sold the original furnishings.
The longtime seller usually has Monterey items on hand, but they don't stay on the premises long because she has constant requests from folks all over the Golden State. However, she will gladly keep a "want list" for interested buyers. Prices begin at $200 to $300 and escalate quickly for dining room furniture and bedroom sets.
If you're lucky, you might catch Diane Keaton shopping at this charming store. Keaton, Bette Midler and Harry Carey Jr. are among the celebrities enamored of pieces once enjoyed by Clark Gable, Bela Lugosi and Walt Disney.
Conners also knows 1950s heartthrob Tab Hunter, who occasionally sends his castoffs to the shop. The actor helped Conners obtain the estate of Evelyn Keyes, who was married to legendary band leader Artie Shaw. The actress may be
The last time I was there, I purchased a cookbook ($12) that belonged to Keyes. It was an ideal gift for a friend who's a huge fan of the epic 1939 film. I also bought one of Shaw's colorful pocket squares for just $5.
You'll find the antiques emporium at 417 Capitola Ave., across from City Hall. The phone numbers is 831-477-2109. The store is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Tuesdays. Ask for one of the complimentary brochures listing all of the other Santa Cruz County antiques shops.
Our second excursion takes us to Gilroy, which is more than just garlic and outlet stores. Santa Clara County's southernmost city has boutiques offering plenty of vintage vendibles. One shop worthy of a stop is Garbo's Antique Mall.
To be accurate, Garbo's is a collective. It's 24 different concessions under a single roof. Co-owners David Doshack and Bruce Ganzler have been in business since 1992.
I've always considered the major strength of this store to be its stock of American art pottery that emphasizes California wares. Desirable pieces by the notable Ohio firms Roseville, Weller and McCoy are placed shoulder-to-shoulder with California ceramics makers such as Brayton Laguna, Catalina, Gladding McBean, Sascha Brastoff and Bauer.
Check out the Western-themed items, Native American jewelry, paper curios, vintage clothing and military collectibles.
Garbo's Antique Mall is at 7565 Monterey Road. The store is open daily, but hours vary. Call 408-842-7373 for times.
You'll find five other antique marts nearby. Among them is Gilroy Antiques, recently judged best antiques shop by readers of the Gilroy Dispatch.
Contact Steven Wayne Yvaska at firstname.lastname@example.org or 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190.