Wednesday, November 12, 2014

the thrift road trip

"Poughkeepsie Bridge 115997" by Jack E. Boucher

I moved a few months ago to a small town a few counties over but still in New York state. It feels so remote and rural, although, ironically, I am now closer to NYC than ever, only a 90-minute drive away. It's a place where an array of wildlife (deer, a wily groundhog) visits the apple trees in the neighbor's yard, and where the local thrift shop offers layaway. Before we moved, I figured that in order to enjoy the pleasures that this place had to offer, I would have to cultivate new interests and acclimate to the rhythm of a slower day, and I haven't been wrong in that.

So slowly I have been making forays into my new environs. And one way that I like to explore a new area is by plotting a day-long road trip where I stop at all the local thrift shops within a particular area. I use The Thrift Shopper directory, which helpfully has reviews from previous visitors, to find a list of shops within a certain radius and then map them out on Mapquest. Even with two kids in tow, it can be a pleasant daytrip.

Recently I went on a loop that encompassed some towns along the Hudson River. With the haunting notes of Over the Rhine's "Poughkeepsie" song playing in my head, I stopped at little church shops and big chains like Goodwill and the Salvation Army. The church shops were filled with tiny treasures and smiling older women who God blessed me and exclaimed over the kids. The Salvation Army was located next to their homeless shelter, so it was pretty sketchy and smelled of roach spray. You never know what you will find at a thrift store, and that's never more true than when you go to one in a new area. But still, it was so pleasant to be driving on the bridge over the river, kids sleeping in the back, a new road at my feet.

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