It was one of those days where you just want to jump in the truck and go someplace new. Someplace never seen before. Sunny October days in Iowa are made for exploring, driving down a country road, through cornfields now stripped and barren. And if you’re lucky that country road might just take you to a barn sale where you’ll spend hours rooting through old heirlooms from an era gone by.
Colo, IA is a small midwest town about 30 minutes southeast from our place. Just outside of town you’ll find a place called Leisa’s Farmtiques, which is really just a beautifully restored barn filled to the brim with unique turn of the century furniture, old toys, boutique clothing and ancient memorabilia. When you enter the barn you’ll instantly be greeted by Leisa, the owner of Farmtiques, who is one of the most genuine and knowledgeable people I’ve met.
Sifting through the relics (there are two stories of glorious junk) you’ll find that its easy to get lost. The place is almost timeless. There’s so much detail in the structure of old things, and that detail demands attention. There’s no skimming here. You don’t want to overlook anything. These old things each tell a story, and you’ll find yourself wanting to hear the words, to know those stories intimately, to let them become a part of you. Cool things like these sports memorabilia from the twenties. What happened to the kids that wore those gloves? Who threw the footballs? Used the bat? Where are they now?
And there are certainly the creepy things that will haunt you. Dolls and old hats. Perfect for Halloween.
We scored these cool metal chairs for a decent price. When we lived in Hood River, OR we used to go to a farm stand every summer and they had a host of these old chairs, all brightly painted and cheerfully lined up in front of the barn. Everybody wanted to sit in the bright metal chairs! We’ve been hunting for our own for some time now. It’s not that they’re hard to find. We’ve come across them in various places, but haven’t been able to find the right price. Until now! Just a little cleaning and some paint and these two chairs will look great outside the old brick barn.
Another score for the day was this cool sideboard from the late 1800s. Its rough, its primitive and its got character. There are stains on the shelves. The top is worn. The doors don’t close neatly. And its seen more autumn months than anyone still alive on this planet!
What do you do with a sideboard like this? Do you restore it? Do you keep it as it is? I have no idea. But I know its going to look great in our dining room, and its going to be well used. When we choose an antique piece, its got to be functional as well as aesthetic. This sideboard certainly fits the bill.
A little ways up the road from Colo is Marshaltown. Take the exit off Hwy 30, head through town and at the end of Main street you’ll find Appleberry Farms. Apple trees, pumpkins, holiday decor and crafts. Plus they make their own cider!
We took the boys here to find their pumpkins and to check out the apple stock for saucin’ and we found a whole lot more.
If there’s something you’re looking for, Appleberry Farms has it. Glassware, old tins, handmade birdhouses, creepy mannequins. Their prices are very reasonably fair. We came for pumpkins and apples and we left with a lot more than that. The owners are friendly too, which is always a plus.
A short trip through Central Iowa on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and we stumbled on a world we didn’t know was there. We met new people and we came home with more “project” material than we can probably find time for. All because we wanted to go down a country road.