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:

  1. Grama Robin says:

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

  2. 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

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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…)

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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…

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  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!

    1. Debra says:

      How exciting! Looks like I will have to take a few days off to visit friends in Jamestown and plan a day trip to Salamanca! (Not in the winter tho!)

Comments are closed.