The largest antiques mall in New York State — 88 photos

danish modern artWhat did I do on my summer vacation? Well, DH and I took a week off to (1) spend the weekend in beautiful Skaneatles, New York, with some old friends, then (2) continued toward Cleveland, to meet up with some family. Heading west, we very serendipitously bumped into the self-proclaimed largest antique mall in New York State, and you can bet, some serious “blog research” occurred.  My overall verdict: Fantastic antique mall, well worth the time!

1970s swag lightSo where is this secret stash? Seriously, I kind of don’t want to let this information out, because dealers just pounce. But, oh well: If you are on I-90 in New York State — it’s The Ontario Mall Antiques in Farmington, New York, nearish to Rochester. A few minutes off the thruway, easy on, easy off.

Since the advent of ebay, antique malls are an endangered species. So this was a really fun place to visit — just like the old times when hunting was truly hunting, not ebay shooting-ducks-in-a-barrel. Queue violins.

pine cone santa

I bought this guy. People… people who need pine cone people… are the luckkkkkiest people, in the world.

The Ontario Antiques Mall (I’ll call them that) advertises 1,000 dealers, and I believe it. In general, I am a skeptic. Driving up to the building, I thought it was likely to be hype. But once inside, yowza. Central and Eastern New York state was very prosperous in mid-century America — and it seems like a good many of the treasures collected by homeowners then are making their way into this antique mall. I thought the prices were pretty reasonable, too.

I knew I would not be able to get out of there in an hour and a half, as DH suggested. We were there, like, an hour extra, and we didn’t even finish. We had to get to our next stop by 5 or 6 p.m., so *needed* to go. And I will admit, even I can get fatigued after two and a half hours of intense ogling. I ogle everything. Just ask Kate, from when she and I went to “research” the Antiques on Second antique mall in Milwaukee. There might be treasure in the corners of those cases! Or underneath! Or up top!

But hey, the pictures tell (a wee bit of) the story. So here’s what I captured…

88 photos of vintage treasures spotted at the Ontario Antiques Mall — the largest antique mall in New York State:


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


Get our retrolicious free newsletter.


  1. midmichigan says

    Thanks for the tour, Pam. Really cool stuff; I especially liked the glassware. Did you guys run across any good tiki bars on the trip?

  2. virginia says

    Thank you for the great photos. I would lose my mind! LOVE Gonder and would have snatched up those red ceramic horses if at all possible.

    Your little pine cone guy is very cute. Awesome sad clown action too.

    Was happy to read in the last few days that you were out of the cast and feeling better.

    Thanks as always for brightening my day and helping me to appreciate our house.

    • pam kueber says

      I bought the pine cone elf. I am obsessed with these! As I love to repeat: People… people who need pine cone people… are the luckkkkkiest peoppppple in the world

      • Jay says

        Imagine my surprise to look at today’s post and see my elf ornament staring me in the face – and you bought it! It is one of the ornaments left from childhood but I think mine is missing his tree. Saving the mall photo gallery for lunch. Thanks for mentioning this place, I will be sure to check it out the next time I travel through the area.

  3. SebastianFTL says

    Most people look forward to Saturday because it’s an off day; I look forward to it because I go thrifting! That round table with the blue top would look so good with my Blue Willow & orange Fiestaware!!

    • Cynthia says

      Jackie, me too, those snack snifters are so cool! Imagine how much fun a party would be with those holding festive munchables.

  4. Debbie says

    As much as I love ebay (and I love it much more than I should), it still doesn’t hold a candle to browsing an antique mall or going to an antique show. Sometimes you don’t know what you “need” until you see it! I live in Portland, Oregon and there are big antique and collectible sales held here three times a year. An 8-hour day of wandering through them is not uncommon for me. And there’s an awesome original tiki bar nearby. Pam and Kate, you are cordially invited to come to Portland!

    • Kate says

      Thanks Debbie! I hope to make it out there someday — hopefully during one of those antique shows. They sound awesome!

  5. Jay says

    Nice photos! Nice assortment of spoils from your treasure hunt (the last picture). I never have warmed up to e-bay; I like seeing the stuff in real time. There is always excitement of what lies within when entering a new mall and disapointment leaving empty handed.

  6. tammyCA says

    Are those the mini Barbie booklets for $18?! I have a couple that I bought at the flea market for a few dollars each because I liked them as a kid.
    Also, love the pine cone elves & found some at estate sales..I even make some but of course, I don’t have the heads, just use wooden balls & stitch little hats, coats for them.

    • pam kueber says

      Kate is going to send me some pine cones from her trees so I can make some this holiday season (for some reason, the pine cone-lets coming off my trees are quite small).

  7. Scott says

    That orange matching swag and table lamp are stunning.

    eBay is useful and fun but there’s a special thrill in actually being there, seeing things, holding them.. and like others mentioned you discover things you never knew even knew about.

  8. pyrexmaniac says

    I make a trip to Canandaigua from Buffalo once or twice a year…..I always….. 1. end up spending far too much time than I expected, 2. spending far more money than expected, and 3. Leaving with the absolute highest-quality assortment of items than any other antique purveyor in Western New York. The quality of the merchandise is astounding, the prices are fair and affordable, ane the staff is helpful and knowlegable. I shop the mall in sections (it really is colossal in size) and make it a day, usually with a nice lunch or dinner in nearby Canandaigua. My home is full of high-quality mid-century furnishings and artwork and most of the big name pieces (eames shell chairs, dcm’s, lcm’s, george nelson clocks, knoll tables, eames aluminum group chairs and tables, in addition to high-end lighting and Steuben crystal) have all been purchased at Ontario Mall Antiques. One of the top five best antique malls in America, possibly the best considering price, selection, condition and especially location, just a ten minute drive to downtown Canandaigua on the picturesque finger lake of the same name. And the people here are so friendly, too!

  9. Cynthia says

    What fun! I just bought a lamp similar to #26/27, $20 with drum shade from a local thrift store. We had a cocoanut head object d’art from Florida back in the 60s. I remember farm animal cutouts (#62) Old Maid, Slap Jack and Animal Rummy (#77) and the white luggage is so sophisticated (#87). Better not let the bleary-eyed smoker in #17 (what’s in that pipe??) play with the deadly Jarts (#64)…which are good for the whole Family only if they’re practicing for the Hunger Games, I guess!

    • Kate says

      My dad had a set of Jarts when I was a kid. I never saw him use them — I think he was afraid my brother or I would get unintentionally harpooned! Not sure what happened to his set…

      • Mary Elizabeth says

        The sale of Jarts or lawn darts with metal shafts has been forbidden in the U.S. and Canada since the 1980s. Don’t know how the antique mall is getting away with it. When I was working in the field, I studied the history of the ban as an example of a complex social policy issue involving childhood injuries. (See the whole history on Wikipedia.)

        As Pam always says, renovate safely. The same applies to the purchase and use of vintage toys, games and juvenile furniture.

        • Pencils says

          I remember playing Jarts in my grandparents’ backyard in the 70s with my siblings and cousins. No one got hurt, but I remember some playful “threats.” Not very funny in retrospect, but I’m sure we had no idea how freakin’ dangerous they really were. But those were the days when kids used to lie across the back deck of cars, under the rear window, or ride in the back of station wagons or even pickups while hanging on the best we could–the very idea, when considering my own child, makes my stomach turn over.

  10. Schnitzelbank says

    I just have to share this somewhere. About 15 years ago, on a trip off-the-beaten-path in northern michigan, I came upon a sale of sorts. A dozen semi-truck trailers, waist-deep in weeds. You dig, you buy. I came out with a tribe of mid-century cement gnomes (all sadly now in new homes– a move across the country, where we were paying a penny a pound, would allow for these cement beauties to come with us). Stacks and stacks of vintage board games, many still wrapped in original cellophane. Vintage Xmas up the wazoo. I don’t remember much else. I spent hours in there and stuffed my car. Didn’t happen upon any other customer. It was like a vintage mirage.

  11. Pencils says

    I got excited for a minute as I’m in NY, on Long Island, but then saw “near Rochester.” Ah. That’s a entire day’s drive away. Maybe if we ever do that trip to Niagara Falls! (Apparently there are a load of great old motels/hotels by Niagara Falls…)

  12. SD Amy says

    Darn! I sure wish I knew about this place when I visited a friend in Canandaigua last October. Now that I know, I’ll have to go next time I’m in the area – thanks for sharing the secret!

  13. Pam says

    I’ve been to this mall. It’s terrific. I couldn’t fit enough in my truck when I was last there which was a while ago!

  14. Kathy Merchant says

    Just visited Alexandria, MN last weekend. Cute little main street with a number of antique shops. Lots of that 70’s gold colored drinking glasses…$3.50 each on average. Is that gold stuff becoming popular again?

    P.S. Bought a Santa mug, $3.00

  15. Grama Robin says

    Resisting the urge to contact the antique mall about a couple of those Santas! Looks like the prices were very reasonable!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *